Comments: Pop Culture Delivers Quite a Surprise

Jeez Ben, Avril kinda sucks. Mediocre pop at best. Plus, what's with the Lieberman cum Pat Robertson overtones in your comments about message in music? I think one can enjoy sex and be socially stable as well as use "sound judgment." Reads as if you are doing the judging. Better you find a song that, I don't know, says something like, "yo yo yo, this be the main nizzle up in da hizzle, tellin' ya'll bizzles to make sho ya'lls boyfrizzles use pratizzle." Sounds like a hit to me!

God, I suck.

Just my two sense anyway......

Posted by simon from jerzz at March 7, 2004 02:58 PM

Good Lord, Ben. First you turn Catholic, then you go from being Libertarian to a right-winger, and *noW* you're extolling the virtues of Avril fricking Lavigne?!

Okay, I think someone or something has kidnapped the real Ben Kepple, and squirreled him away to some undisclosed location. Whoever or whatever is running this blog is obviously some sort of imposter.

Posted by Geoff Brown at March 10, 2004 02:35 PM

Hi Geoff,

Didn't we have this discussion once before? :-) However, I can assure you that I am of sound mind and body and am still the same Ben Kepple as before. Which is unfortunate, since Ben Kepple needs a bit of work, especially around the abdomen.

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Hi Simon,

I didn't express my views properly on the song, so I shall clarify them now. I'm not saying that sex is a bad thing; I can assure you that I think it is wonderful and lovely. The message I saw in the song, though, was that young women ought not give into pressures to engage in coitus if they are not ready for it. I agree that I may be reading too much into the song; perhaps it is all manufactured crap. Even still, though, from a societal standpoint, I would argue we need more of this, as opposed to the messages encouraging teenagers to have at it.

However, I would say you were right in arguing that I was judging things. We can argue about whether I was justified in doing so; but that was very much the intent.

Also -- odd unrelated music question here -- whatever happened to Fiona Apple?

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at March 10, 2004 06:30 PM

Fiona is hard at work on a new CD, should be out spring/summer. Yippe.

Posted by simon from jersey at March 11, 2004 09:10 AM

Yeah, we probably did. I mean, the Catholic thing is one thing -- I worked my whole life to get away from the Church, and I always find it amazing when people who are adults actually go voluntarily to it, but it's always cool when one finds one's spiritual way. The politics thing is also understandable, what with the Review gig. The Avril thing, though, man, I just can't picture Ben Kepple, the great detester of tripe in all its forms, actually liking the tripe-fest that is Avril Lavigne. :-) Although I *do* see your point about it being a positive message (you really shouldn't do much of ANYTHING if you don't feel right doing it), and if young people are going to listen to tripe, it might as well have a positive message.

Posted by Geoff Brown at March 11, 2004 09:47 AM

When I was in high school I listened primarily to Madonna, Prince, and The Clash. These musicians are obviously not writing songs promoting abstinence. As a matter of fact, it's the opposite. And yet still, miraculously, it was years after high school that I would finally give up my virtue. (And gladly, by that point!! I was sick of lugging my virginity around.)

I guess my point is: my morality had nothing to do with the music I was listening to. My parents instilled in me a sense of my own autonomy - that I get to say what happens and when - I wasn't raised to be a "pleaser". (Which I think is most of the problem with young women. That they honestly have never been taught how to say "no" with enough oomph behind it.)

Basically, my point is you can listen to Avril Lavigne's song about saying "no" and still be a raging slut, and you can listen to Madonna's sexually explicit lyrics and remain pure.

Posted by red at March 11, 2004 04:46 PM

Wouldn't "Raging Slut" be an *excellent* name for a band?

Posted by Geoff Brown at March 12, 2004 01:21 PM

I bet it's already taken. Let me Google it.

Headline: "The Raging Sluts" opening for Avril Lavigne.

Posted by red at March 12, 2004 05:33 PM

Hi Sheila --

Gad. I ought write about music more often; this is the most comments I've had in a while.

Anyway, I do generally agree that a youth's morality will not be influenced by the particular music to which he or she listens. That said, if you take the music along with all the other sex-saturated things in society, I'd submit this in totality does have an impact on youth behavior.

After all, when people are teenagers, most have to deal with all the horrible aspects of life that generally go along with being an adolescent. A key part of those, of course, is being under the mistaken impression that things later found to be meaningless are the most important things in the world. Another key part is changing hormones. So I suppose I would argue that until a youth reaches adulthood and gains a true sense of perspective, in general they're prone to being influenced by their peers and the culture at large.

And that combination counts for a lot today with kids, I think; if the popular kids at any given school all started listening to Beethoven, it stands to reason that a lot of students at that school would at least give classical music a listen. Hence, in this case, I thought it would be worthy to point out an example of a cultural product that DIDN'T encourage risky behavior.

However, that's not to say this idea of peer pressure is an absolute set of circumstances. Certainly in my life, as time went on, I eventually learned that one ought not let the bastards get one down. Then I learned that if they didn't care for me, they could go to perdition. It's fair to say that by my senior year in high school, I was horribly contrarian; and I have stayed that way ever since.

Again, my intent here is not to make an argument against sex in general, even if I do think it's just smart living for people to wait until they are out in the world to go at it. Rather, my intent was to make a positive plug for something which I do think might make some good contribution to certain teenaged listeners' lives.

Finally, I must apologize if this response is incoherent; have been up since 5 a.m.

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Simon: I have one word to say in regards to your first comment: fo'shizzle! :-D

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at March 12, 2004 10:27 PM

AVRIL REALLY ROCKS! AND IF YOU DONT LIKE HER F***
YOU

Posted by paige at March 28, 2004 03:26 PM