For Father’s Day, I had lunch with my daughter and then shipped her off to a week of summer camp. She likes having fun with her little friends from church and swimming in the lake every day.
Her older brother tagged along again this year, motivated by the fact that camp staff helpers can go back for seconds in the chow line, which goes to show how different people are motivated by different incentives.
The front page of the Missourian had a feature this month about another summer camp, a rock music camp for teen girls at The Blue Note. Along with building confidence through learning an instrument and song composition, the campers build friendships and widen their self-expression skills.
The article also described breakout sessions that schooled these young minds about sexual-identity alternatives and how the world is a sexist and racist place.
The front page photo snapped a moment as the young ladies frolicked in partly torn clothing on stage in front of cheering supporters. These girls had a distinctly different experience at camp than my daughter will have.
I asked an older friend of mine who is a middle school teacher for her opinion, and she instantly responded that the cultural anarchy being promoted at ladies rock camp is tame compared to the politically correct indoctrination that is now the norm in our local public schools.
Kids can wear pajamas and slippers in the classroom, she said, or be half-clothed in general. She described eighth-graders who have the option of dictating to their teachers what gender pronoun they prefer. This does not encourage respect for the educational process, nor does it encourage self-respect.
Social evolution being what it is, I guess this is no surprise. Rock music has been a driver of popular culture for a few generations now, with new artists seeking to gain notoriety and record sales by progressively pushing the envelope.
Back in 1968, in “A Little Less Conversation,” Elvis Presley sang:
“A little less conversation, a little more action .
… close your mouth and open your heart and baby satisfy me.”
This is a little racy, but it could be taken as emotional and romantic: Maybe an invitation to a moonlight stroll, the dance floor or even a rated-PG smooch.
Fast forward to today to sample Ariana Grande, the pop music recording artist (whose recent London concert happened to be bombed by a terrorist).
She declares in the current top-40 radio hit, “Into You”:
“A little bit dangerous, but baby, that’s how I want it.
A little bit scandalous, but baby, don’t let them see it.
A little less conversation, and a little more touch my body.
‘Cause I’m so into you, into you.”
For those optimistic about a PG-13 conclusion here, no dice. The song continues:
“Tell me what you came here for
Cause I can’t, I can’t wait no more
I’m on the edge with no control.”
Our popular culture is indeed out of control. Pop music has continually pushed the envelope of depravity, introducing kids to Transhumanism, cyborg French dance duo Daft Punk and the Swedish outfit Galantis, whose lead men morph into animal forms.
At this rate, what variety of artificial smut will be in teenagers’ earbuds five or 10 years from now?
Some would say this is just edgy fun. But as spiritual philosopher Ravi Zacharias states, music is the language of the soul. It transcends the spoken word and logic. It brings emotions into reality. It can instigate and preserve memories. Its vibe sinks into the listener in unseen, intangible ways.
Zacharias also says there is a difference between form and substance. A melody can calm, energize or lead to aggression. It has sway. But the substance of lyrics and attitude of the music is far more influential.
The 18th-century Scottish political activist Andrew Fletcher opined, “Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.” Entertainers are indeed more influential than politicians.
Is it not just prudish to stop and consider whether kids getting into the rock (or punk, gangsta rap, etc.) lifestyle full tilt are exposing themselves to increased risk for drug use and abuse? Or an increased rate of alcoholism, contracting an STD, unwanted pregnancy or a hurtful pattern of habitually broken relationships?
Just consider the popular music idols being emulated. To successfully emulate such gods of rock is to seriously risk physical and emotional destruction.
After dinner on Father’s Day evening, I was glad to see a healthy 12-year-old girl riding her bike through the neighborhood. She struck me as empowered and confident.
She perhaps risked skinning a knee, but I imagine her making it home safe and sound from her little adventure, before twilight, to kiss her daddy goodnight.
Columnist Steve Spellman hosts “The Mid-Missouri Freedom Forum” on 89.5 FM KOPN at 5 p.m. every Tuesday.