October 27, 2014

Please Keep Your Impure Thoughts To Yourself

As most of you know, I listen to a lot of college radio, which is due to the fact that it's the closest I can get to an eclectic mix of music w/o paying gobs of money (yes, I can be cheap sometimes). I also enjoy listening to talk radio, mostly on the drive home from work and when I'm running my nightly errands after work. What I don't enjoy is when people try to mix the two.

While I'm not ashamed to admit that I consider myself to be a moderate Republican, that doesn't mean I want to strictly listen to politics that lean extremely right. I consider myself to be a rather open minded individual, but not so open minded that I would tolerate politics that lean extremely left.

Now, I bet you're asking me, "What in the world does this have to do with music?"


The other day I was listening to a morning college program on my way to work, when the jock decided to offer his two cents about a song that he just played (Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix), saying that it was misogynist and offensive to women. Now, with that one little comment, he managed to annoy me enough to make me switch the radio to jazz.

Now, this isn't the first time this numbnut offered his skewered left-of-center opinion on something old. Back when I first started listening to college radio (mid 90's) he had someone on nicknamed The Biblio Babe, who proceeded to chop the book "Babar" down to size by applying her warped values to something that was originally written back in the early 20th century (make sure you check out some of the reviews of this, they are priceless).

I'm of the opinion that one cannot apply one's values to something that happened decades/centuries ago (i.e. revisionism). Why? The values and mores of say, the early 20th century were extremely different from the warped/skewered values and mores of today, so to apply those values only makes you look like an idiot.

Same thing applies to music. Trying to scrub out offensive words (i.e. bitch, shit, goddamn and faggot*) that were acceptable back when the song came out or making a comment about the music you grew up with is suddenly offensive/misogynistic is simply, in my opinion, hypocritical.

If you don't like something about the music you play, Then. Don't. Play. It. Especially when you actually control your own playlist/programming of your show. Nobody wants to hear/listen to your warped opinion when all they want to do is listen to some uninterrupted music. You want to offer an opinion about music, then do a separate show that is critical of music from days gone by. Don't ruin it for everyone else, especially for those who actually turn into your program on a weekly basis.

*in order, the songs are: Rich Girl by Hall & Oates; Legs by ZZ Top; Sweet Home Alabama by Lynryd Skynyrd and Money for Nothing by Dire Straits.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Right on! I think you made valid points in your post. I'm working on a memoir of the North right now, and even though it isn't PC to refer to Canadian first nations people as Indians, I couldn't be true to the times a half a century ago, if I didn't use the words that were used then. Btw, I have always loved the music of Jimi Hendrix and the song "Hey Joe." When I taught third grade (I'm retired now ~ well, I'm a writer now!), most years I showed a video of Jimi Hendrix playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" when we learned about the national anthem. I showed it to my kiddos in many forms. Have a good week!

  2. Then don't play it - well said!
    It's like all the people who want to ban Mark Twain. The way he wrote was just a sign of the times. And we can't go back and change history.

  3. You know, I just learned the other day that Tom and Jerry was wildly racist. Did you know that? Because when I was a kid, I didn't see racism in the slightest. I still don't. But that's probably also because I'm a racist misogynist. Or so society would tell me.

  4. Fundy: Thanks.

    I definitely agree, if you want to stay absolutely true to what you're writing, you have to use what was common for the time period.

    At my first state job, I used to work with old newspapers from the 18th thru early 20th century, and let me tell you, what was common back then would probably make your jaw drop now.

    Alex: Exactly.

    I enjoy reading Mark Twain immensely and in order to appreciate, you have to understand how it was back then. Plus, most people don't know that a lot of the time, he was also making fun of people in the way they talked as well.

    ABFtS: I did not know that. I did know that for a good chunk of the Looney Tune cartoons, but again, people have to remember that cartoons back then were simply a reflection of what life was like.

    I think deep down, we're really just people who grew up normal and everyone else under the age of 35 is built screwy.

  5. I agree that we can't impose our modern values on cultural items from the past (music, books, plays, whatever) by censoring or suppressing them. But I do think we have to make an effort to place them in their historical context and note that it has changed. Sort of like when theatres these days stage "The Merchant of Venice," they often have an educational aspect explaining the historical context of anti-semitism. Because of course some people still today would take the play at face value and assume that its anti-semitic values are still culturally valid and/or desirable.

  6. Debra: Excellent point. Too bad people like you and I are in the minority with that opinion.

    Which is why book banning always bothered me. Even if I didn't agree with some of the content, I still would want the book available for my children to read and experience. Same goes for music.

  7. People never stop and think that maybe the artist is trying to tell a story. I doubt very much that Jimi Hendrix advocated killing your partner if they cheated on you - I take it this guy doesn't like Neil Young either?

  8. M: This is very true.

    I'm not sure about that. He rarely plays classic rock on his show as it's mostly folk/acoustic music with a left-of-center bent to it.

  9. I agree with you my friend. Growing up in the 60's I was never a bra burner but always a feminist. However I agree that there are better things to do going forward than belittle the past. We can learn from it but not linger there. I still love John Wayne though he grabbed Maureen O'Hara by the hair quite often. It's a lot like the Bible. Yikes, talk about a source of discrimination against women!

  10. I love listening to Political Radio in America - I could not believe what those guys were saying!! They'd be taken off the air here. It was really fun to listen to .. for 5 minutes or so anyway.

    It's such an interesting subject - the relevance of the language of the time .... I have a young student who has to sing an early 20th century song for an exam - try describing spoon and june!!!
    I wonder what they'll make of early 21st century music and writing in another 100 years time.

  11. G.A.: Thanks.

    Belittling the past seems to be the fashionable thing to do nowadays. It permeates so much of every day life that it's quite difficult to enjoy the stuff that you grew up on it.

    And perhaps John did pull Maureen's hair just a tad too much, but it was all in good clean fun.

    Fil: 5 minutes is the absolute maximum I can deal with at a given time when it comes to political radio. It's so polarizing that more often than not, I go days w/o listening to it (there is a lot of conservative leaning talk radio where I live).

    Old music is fun, and studying the history behind the lyrics is a great way to learn about the past.

  12. I agree with you - that's why I listen to books on CD during my commute (mostly).

  13. Lynn: A good chunk of the time I usually have a few c.d.'s in my car, so when radio gets extremely toxic/annoying, I'll push the play button to be brought to a world of my own choosing.

  14. Yes, college students do froth at the mouth over such things. I have to admit that I was a bit like that for a while, after I'd taken my first (and last) women's studies course. In time one gains perspective, hopefully.

  15. S.R.: Sadly, this wasn't a college student, but someone closer to my age (49) who was frothing at the mouth.


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