On The Wright Stuff just now they have been moaning about pop music being too sexual; bemoaning the loss of the innocent days of Kylie Minogue in the 1980s. Comparing The Beatles’ I Wanna Hold Your Hand to Lady Gaga’s I Wanna Take a Ride on Your Disco Stick. As far as I’m concerned they seem to be completely missing some important points.
80s Kylie was aimed squarely at children; yes, it was innocent and safe music. But now those kids have grown into adults. Adults like sex. They also like pop music. If a pop act is overtly sexual it’s for adults. Yes of course it shouldn’t be marketed to children, but just because it’s is Pop doesn’t mean it’s for kids. South Park is a cartoon, but it’s clearly not aimed at children. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is a computer game, but it’s not for kids. Concern for the minds and innocence of children should not be a concern when creating entertainment for adults. Keeping inappropriate material away from kids is the parent’s responsibility. Marketing companies should also ensure that they don’t confuse the markets.
When I was a kid I loved wrestling: WWF and WCW. WWF was overtly ‘family’ entertainment, incredibly cheesy and cartoony. WCW was a little more real and occasionally violent; however I never saw the violence because it was carefully edited for TV. Like me, many of the young fans of 80s wrestling grew up continuing to be fans of wrestling. By the late 1990s there was a distinct sector of wrestling being produced aimed at the adults who had always loved wrestling. This was violent, overtly sexual, and featured disturbing storylines about insanity, murder, and even necrophilia. Clearly not for kids. Message: just because it’s wrestling doesn’t mean it’s for kids.
This progression can be seen all over the place. Look at Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Harry Potter books. At the start of the runs of these series’ the target audience was children, however as the audience grew up so did the content.
So, to the ridiculous guests of The Wright Stuff I say this: Pop music does not immediately mean for kids. Adults like pop too. In the 60s the Rolling Stone’s were pop for adults and teenagers, The Archie’s were pop for kids. End of.
I took four buses, to Denton and back. Lovely. Young girls sat behind me, “I can’t believe we’ve only got three weeks left. I don’t want to go back to school. Blah.” All of a sudden one of them shouts at someone I can’t see, “You’re a weirdo, mate; proper scary.” He replies, “You make me cry, boo hoo. Telephone, Gaga, telephone, Beyonce. Boo hoo.” This is getting weird, I think. All the characters in this bizarre dialogue are behind me, and I don’t want to turn around and stare. Another girl says “Do you want the fucking napkin from my Burger King,” and the rest of the girls burst out laughing: Ha ha Burger King!
Then a new female voice speaks out, “Everywhere we go he talks to people, embarrassing me or himself.” This causes an awkward silence, as the speaker seems to have embarrassed herself. Next the speaker says “Aww, Moss Side, shoot you with my telephone.” He gets up to leave the bus at the stop on Princess Road where the drivers change shift. His female accomplice follows, and just as she is about to go down the stairs, she turns and announces to us all, “He used to carry a fucking rabbit with him all the time.”
All of a sudden I recognise him. I have seen him before. A couple of months ago I saw a young black man walking down Oxford Road carrying a massive white rabbit in his arms. I was on the bus then too, but he was walking down the street and I did an amazed double-take as we sped past. I thought I may have imagined it. Obviously not.
The girls behind me didn’t seem to notice the rabbit announcement. They carried on chatting about school and the like, then without warning about ten minutes later, one of them exclaimed “She said he carries a rabbit. I’ve heard about the weirdo who carries a rabbit all the time.” Then they were silent. For the rest of the journey.
I have just discovered bad news about one of my favourite writers. Christopher Hitchens is dying of oesophageal cancer. It has spread to his lymph nodes. He is currently undergoing chemo, but his best prognosis is five years.
He wrote a moving piece for Vanity Fair about the news. He is sad he won’t get to see his children’s weddings, the Word Trade Centre rise again, and the pope’s death.