When I started this musical ministry less than a month ago, I never anticipated the volume of e-mail I would receive. Given Negativland's current wave of popularity, scores of looky-loos have stumbled upon my jukebox, and have been ministered to in ways they never dreamed possible. It may or may not surprise you that the feedback was predominantly negative. It seems that many onlookers found my text insulting, as this music is such an integral part of their past and/or present.
Several complainers told me without reservation that there was nothing wrong with the songs I attacked, and that some had even inspired them to become good and decent individuals. One would think however, that if these people had the kind of intellect that attracted them to Negativworldwidewebland in the first place, they would be quick to poo-poo the notion that something as simple as a "song" could have a significant effect on one's behavior. . .causing one to commit an ax murder for instance. My opinion is that the average Joe or Jane, given over to the adult contemporary lifestyle is complacent to say the least, and during the past week, I set out to prove it!
My experiment began with a simple list of "classic" hits that most of us know all too well:
1) Layla 2) Stairway To Heaven 3) Hotel California 4) I Think I Love You 5) Teach Your Children
Donning my "visitor" badge, I hopped into my Cutlass Cierra for a quick jaunt over to Sunvalley Mall, a haven for those who were referred to a decade-and-a-half ago as "upwardly mobile." I took my position in front of Hickory Farms of Ohio, waving down likely subjects (barely affluent thirty to fifty-somethings) and pulling out my list, I posed the following question: "Which of these songs has most influenced you to become a good and decent person?" Each and every one went for the bait, and selected #5. When asked why, they rattled off thoughtless responses, such as "Oh, it's about being good to your kids and family, and I try to do that...."
My next question left them dumfounded: "What if I told you that this song was written to promote incest ?" As they stammered in disbelief, I asked if they could recite the lyrics. Few could get past the opening line of the chorus. Many were so obviously put off by their own ignorance that they refused to continue the conversation and walked away. Of course I did my best to explain that this song (as far as I know) does not condone any illegal activity, but to let this be a warning to be more aware of what the songs they listen to are about. Apparently I struck a nerve with these truths, for it wasn't 15 minutes before I was politely walked to the door by two plain-clothed security officers. I'm sure you'll see why now more than ever, I believe everything I say.
So now that I have used up the space given me to blast this countrified crock of permissive parenthood, I'll leave you with a simple question. Who would you rather turn to for advice on rearing your child? The Lord Jesus Christ, or a handful of aging drug addicts with criminal records? Now there's a topic for a survey!