Ma, What Does S&M Mean?

28 Jul

Like some of you out there, I wasn’t allowed to listen to “Non-Jewish music” as a kid. My father was allowed of course, but that was because he lied to us about it. Looking back, that seems to have been the general idea of chinuch in our house.

Anyhow, the reason I bring this up is because I constantly hear complaints about the evils of secular music, movies, etc, from people who I know watch TV and listen to Goyish” Music. “No, that was different, back then music was ok.”  Taken at face value, this statement is ridiculous. What they mean is that music wasn’t as open about it’s meaning. For example, if you wanted to say “have sex” you said “love”. This allowed parents to lie to their children better. When the radio is playing, “I can’t wait till the nights with you, I imagine the things we’ll do”, and your kid asks you what the Scorpions can’t wait for, you can always say, “Monopoly” or “Torah Trivia Contest”. It’s harder when they allow Katy Perry to sing about having “sex on the beach”, and melting your popsicle (which actually sounds dangerous to me).

Is it a bad thing? Well, it probably lowers public decency standards. But does that mean your kids shouldn’t listen to English music? I’ll say this: Definitely not if you’re doing it. The only lesson you’re teaching him is, “This is fun, but you need to feel guilty about it”.  And what about the internet, movies, etc. Are you going to block it all out for him? Come on, your parents did that to you and look how well that turned out. I think that teaching your kids responsibility would remove the need for all these shields. Of course, that’s much harder. But it might be easier on everyone in the long run. Plus you get to listen to your Metallica CD’s in public now.


4 Responses to “Ma, What Does S&M Mean?”

  1. frum single female July 28, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    if parents are listening to secular music its ridiculous for them to ban it for their kids. the other thing is that i think that parents should be looking at the bigger picture. a parent might prefer if their child didnt listen to katy perry or lady gaga or going to the movies, but they would probably prefer these things over their kids going off the derech , commiting suicide or doing drugs. granted there is a lot of not so kosher music and movies but please folks a little perspective .

  2. Gutman Braun July 28, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    If only everything was so simple… Sure, it would be nice if everyone could drop all pretenses and agendas, and we could all live openly, honestly and freely. Dude, what world do you live in?

    This is just one of the infinite cases of parental uncertainty about where to draw lines – parents are almost always in a lose-lose situation here: children are impressionable, and out of concern, parents over-parent. Hey, it’s normal. And the inconsistency (even hypocrisy, if you rather) is explainable:

    Case 1: The fact is that parents have very limited say about standards. Standards are set by the greater community to which the family belongs (i.e. schools, etc). So, Mr John Doe Schwartz may personally not care for the standard (whatever it may be), but since he’s stuck in that community he pretty much has no choice but to see to it that his kids follow the rules (and it’s not so easy to say “screw that, change your community” – it’s a very complicated decision and often not practical). Now, he may personally cheat on those rules, but he keeps those indiscretions to himself. Unfortunately, his children would not necessarily guard their indulgences as carefully, and the ramifications of non-compliance can be significant. What choice do they really have?

    Case 2: Mom and Dad grew up at a different time and place – and in any case they’ve already been exposed. However, ideologically they really believe that sheltering their children and delaying their exposure to the beauties of secular world, with the sexual revolution and all that comes with it, is more healthy and wholesome. Maybe their wrong, maybe their right, but it’s common practice for all parents the world over, to try to have all their ideals, dreams and aspirations fulfilled through their children. As a result, they impose higher standards on the kids in the hope that the next generation will turn out better than they did (I personally think this is disastrous – but it is what it is).

    But, let’s take the same concept and apply it to other, perhaps more widely-accepted “community standards” – say speeding while driving, or alcoholic beverages.

    Every parent speeds, but they want to teach our kids to drive safely – junior can speed when he’s older and more experienced. Dad may drink a few – and hopefully he can handle his liquor – but he may be right not to allow the kiddies get smashed. Can we see the parallels?

    All that said, if I had to grow up without listening to Stevie Nicks, I’d probably rather not be born.

    Rock on!

  3. itchemeyer July 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Gutman, I think you make a good point with the first case. That wasn’t a real issue when I was a kid (which wasn’t that long ago, but still).
    About the second case, I think that parenting style is short-sighted and corruptive. Frum Female hit this on the head. The way I see this issue, kids who want to listen, watch, whatever, have a need -for whatever reason that is- that saying “no” won’t take care of. Thats a good way to create rebellious or neurotic kids.

    • Gutman Braun July 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

      I agree (that’s why I said that I think this tendency is disastrous), but I don’t want to beat up on the parents too much – it’s a typical human limitation that all parents share, it just manifests itself differently depending on the specifics (think Dead Poets Society, for example). Personally, I broke rules right & left – but I knew how to circumvent my parents – maybe not everyone is able to pull that off…

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