Meanwhile, in small-town America, the crushing of teenage spirit dreams are being put back together in Union County, North Carolina, where a ban on lyrics at sporting events amongst its district schools has been overturned since being enacted since the start of last school year.
Quite probably the first of its kind in the nation, according to the National Association for Music Education, one too many anonymous complaints rolled in of offensive songs, which was enough for Superintendent Ed Davis to get all emotional dictator on “Who Let the Dogs Out?” [LISTEN] and relegate High School and middle schools to an instrumental “Footloose” clause, in which, like the one-horse town Kevin Bacon is forced to move to, bans tuneage and dancing.
Outrage was widespread all year. Girls quit the cheerleading squad. Parents initiated online petitions. Even Elizabeth Lasko, assistant executive director with the National Association for Music Education, called the move “an extreme step.” While Marvin Ridge High School sophmore Amanda Baker provided a heartfelt analogy to the school board: “Taking away our lyrics is like telling the football team they are not allowed to tackle. Can you imagine sitting through two minutes of just the backbeat to ‘We Will Rock You?’ [LISTEN]”
Though here we are, to the chagrin of the superintendent, kids now allowed to submit lyrics for clearance, school board Chair Richard Yercheck decreeing, “Hopefully everyone will move forward with a smile on their face.”
Obviously teens can be ridiculous in what quantifies as spirit jams. Iconic Tag Team bark “Whoomp! (There It Is)” [LISTEN] is merely a narration of an off-the-chain party with plenty of “gin and juice” and “dank,” with its catchphrase a thinly-vieled basketball-themed sex innuendo. DJ Khalad‘s “All I Do is Win,” [LISTEN] the same – a grossly auto-tuned excuse for Rick Ross to tout the “thug life,” Ludacris‘ love for “strippers’ booties” and “Snoopy in the Hoopty”s penchant for selling dope. But this is a reflection of what generation teens are brought up in. Who could blame a young mind for rallying behind a song President Obama walked onstage to?
The sad break is that it doesn’t matter what the lyrics are, because verses are either grossly misunderstood, ignored or taken out of context to serve the gladiators within us. Unless the song is Queen‘s “We Are the Champions” [LISTEN].
So lay it out, should kids be censored at all? Or should we care what a few conservative small-town parents have to say about lyrics that probably won’t even be understood anyway, aside from the soundtrack to a “defense” chant? Or rather, as an angry kid from the Pacific Northwest with a guitar once said, “Oh well, whatever, never mind:”