|I will now unpack my adjectives, and perhaps some bon mots as well
||[Apr. 28th, 2004|08:02 am]
first off, is there anyone reading unaware of Schoolhouse rock? If so, you were most likely 1) born after 1980, or before 1965 2) not born in the United States 3) raised by hippies that thought TV was evil or 4) a combination of the above. Suffice to say, if you watched ABC's saturday morning cartoons, you can still recite the preamble to the US Constitution- but only if allowed to sing it.
Anyway, a few months ago, I borrowed the Schoolhouse rock DVD from a pal. I've been watching it in bits and spurts since then, and have some thoughts to share. forgive the 3-minute/short attention span Gen-X format of these thoughts.
* While observing Lolly's adverb store, I kept thinking "Lolly, if you don't diversify and sell something other than adverbs, in 2 decades, Wal-mart will move in and sell milk, eggs, floor wax and adverbs and you'll be out of business in no time".
*The "elbow room" Westward expansion song is actually kinda creepy when you get to this part:
The way was opened up
For folks with bravery.
There were plenty of fights
To win land rights,
But the West was meant to be.
It was Manifest Destiny!
yes, I know Manifest Destiny made sense to the people espousing it at the time, but the song seems to suggest by the "meant to be" line that "we" were in the right to "win land rights". Notice they aren't saying who "we" "won" those land rights from.
*SHR is so etched on my adult brain that whenever I see ducks swimming in a formation on a pond, I think of conjunctions.
*Pretty much everything mentioned in the history rock songs I would encounter later in junior high or high school, except for this from "Mother Necessity":
When Robert Fulton made the steamboat go...
When Marconi gave us wireless radio...
When Henry Ford cranked up his first automo...
When Samuel Slater showed us how factories go...
Samuel Slater?! I still didn't know who that was until I googled him and found this. Maybe Slater gets more props in New England schools, but I never remember learning specifically about him whilst a student. Of all the names/lines they could have fit in there (since it only needed to rhyme with "go"), I'm sorta surprised they picked Slater, whose other notable accomplishment is encouraging child labor in textile mills. I think they should have picked George Washington Carver, inventor of peanut butter, who would have been more relevant to the lives of Schoolhouse Rock viewers, who were presumably big fans of Peanut Butter sandwiches but probably not so crazy about operating textile looms.
*The song about pronouns uses long personal names and nouns like "aardvark" and "kangaroo" to show that without pronouns, the rhythm of your song would get all screwed up. Maybe its just all the sicko barnyard pr0n spam I've seen in my mail over the years that's warped my brain, but I can't help thinking that a human that "found an aardvark That fell in love with her and they're so happy" is a really inappropriate topic for a kid's song.
*Also on the DVD are episodes of "Money Rock", commissioned/broadcast in 1994 for the next generation of SHR viewers but done in similar animation/musical style as the first ones. I'd never seen these, having completed graduate school by that time and thus no longer in the SHR loop, but they're fairly good and cover topics like taxes, budgeting, allowances, stocks, interest, and, for some incomprehensible reason, the National Debt. I frankly can't see why a kid that hasn't mastered the concept of income tax or interest on a loan needs to know about the National Debt, especially when it's portrayed as a Jurassic park style monster with a voracious trillion dollar appetite. If you click that link you'll see the lyrics to the song; try to imagine hearing that as an 8-year old. "Money rock", alas, did not follow "Tyrannosaurus Debt" with songs on topics such as "Once Grandpa's friends collect Social Security, there'll be nothing left for you" or "Mr. Jones's portfolio increases in value when your daddy gets laid off by his company".
*Since we all know our times tables and Preamble to the constitution because of SHR, it would be totally great for budding geeks if there were a SHR style song to help one remember pi to 25 decimal places.
*I'd like to see someone make a live-action Verb movie starring Samuel Jackson as "Verb". Okay, no, I actually wouldn't. But I can't believe it hasn't been pitched at some point in time.