Saturday, January 11, 2003

Lyrics to share and lyrics to squash

I have no clear idea why it's on a government Web page, much less under the umbrella of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, but there's a very nifty listing of song lyrics here nonetheless -- kiddie songs, songs from movies and musicals, patriotic ditties and popular favorites ranging from "Yes, We Have No Bananas" to the theme from "Friends." The NIEHS does present some lame attempt at connection by claiming that music is part of our environment; and the fact that it's part of the site's Kids' Pages (where you can also find games like "Toxic Waste Bug Bash") allows it a certain irrelevance; but I'll bet that there's really just some obsessed techie in the NIEHS Web site department with this endless list of song lyrics, and he or she just wanted a chance to show it off. Well, nice show, whoever! A useful service indeed.

Speaking of song lyrics, in the "this is what I've come to" category I must report that today I allowed my daughter to buy a CD that had been edited to remove offensive content. I carefully picked through the bin and looked for one without the Parental Advisory Sticker so I'd know it had been sanitized. I remember how apalled I was by the blatant censorship of those stickers back when I was young, childless and idealistic, and Tipper Gore, Frank Zappa and Dee Snider were battling it out; and I remember tsking when I heard that, since big chains like WalMart wouldn't carry advisory-stickered music, whitewashed versions of offensive CDs were being produced. But now, you know -- I just don't think my 12-year-old really needs to be exposed to the entire breadth and depth of Uncle Kracker's vocabulary, especially since she really just wants to hear "Follow Me." So I've become that thing which I used to hold in such contempt, a squasher of artistic expression. And really not all that ashamed of it, as it turns out.

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