I heard a young radio DJ make this reference: "...it's like Queen Latifah and that Dad-from-American-Pie."
I screamed at my radio,"That Dad-from-American-Pie?!?!?!?!??!"
They went on and on, "who is that guy?" "He's made a career doing bit parts," they said. "Hollywood is full of these guys that find a niche and make a great living doing it."
He has a name, dammit! It's Eugene Levy. There aren't many comedians with a longer resume. And he's boiled down to "That-Dad" and "niche-actor." Granted, these past 6 or 7 years, he has played quite a few roles as a Dad, but there was about 30 years prior to that and these kids didn't seem to recognize that work - or even know about it.
This is what's wrong with kids-these-days. They don't know history - and I don't mean Magna Cartas and Nixon's Vice President-type history. Kids seem unaware that pop culture didn't start in 2001 and there was actually stuff on TV, on the radio, and in theaters before the year 2000. Before there was Zach & Cody, there was Ralph & Ed, Laurel & Hardy, Abbot & Costello, Martin & Lewis, and Keenan & Kel. But I wonder how many 12-year olds think that Zach & Cody are trailblazers?
There is a disconnect in this country that we need to address, and it ain't the falling math & science scores that worry me. I'm talking about the education at home. If your kids are going to watch, on average, 3 hours of TV per day, make it count.
I was watching the Grammy's (the best one ever televised, by the way) and Lionel Richie performed. I theorize the nation's teenagers were wondering if that was any relation to Nicole Richie and, if they knew, did they think he was trying to ride his daughter's coat tails, or worse yet, did they just change the channel. Do they even appreciate that Lionel came first, is one of the most successful recording artists of all time, and because of the money he made and his absence from his daughter's early years that they even have Nicole as a pseudo-celebrity-role-model?
Betcha they don't.
My parents made me do alot of things I didn't wanna. Some I still resent (that's for my therapist). But some things ...well ...I guess I can never tell them how much I appreciate their guiding hand. Dad didn't let me enjoy Jackie Gleason as the cop from Smokey and the Bandit or the Dad-from-The-Toy. He didn't allow my brother and I to know Clint Eastwood as the fighting-guy-from-Any-Which-Way-You-Can. He sat us down and made sure we watched the Honeymooners and old cowboy classics. He educated us.
Mom liked The Beatles, and I could sing their entire catalogue. Dad kept his old records, too. Barry White, Ohio Players, and The Drifters. We didn't listen to pop music in the 80s until we had every song on the Oldies station burned into our grey matter. Only then were we allowed to listen to Tiffany and Debbie Gibson. We didn't come to know classics like "You're the First, the Last, My Everything", "Fire," and "Stand By Me*" from a TV-show, a commercial, and a hit movie. No sir. We knew the history behind those songs and those artists.
Many aging blowhards step onto soap boxes every day ranting and raving about the possible causes of falling test scores and obese children. Many of them blame TV, saying it leads to inactivity, attention problems, and difficulty with reading. I say, pratfalls perfected as a result of watching slap stick classics are better exercise than bike riding. Want them to read more better? Your TV has subtitles, right? Enable that li'l feature and you'll have a regular Matilda on your hands.
It's not "less TV" that is the answer ...it's "better" TV!!! Join my movement. Use your Netflix and your cable subscriptions to the fullest. Educate your kids on the TV classics and make this world a better place.
I wonder if those DJs know Queen Latifah got her start as a rapper? Oh, I'm sure they do.
*I know this song is technically by Ben E King, but to appreciate Ben E King, he tutored us in the musical library of The Drifters).
2 years ago