Friday, November 16, 2007


My kids are in a stage production of School House Rock this week. Remember School House Rock? Those educational pieces that appeared between Saturday morning cartoons in the '70s? I remember them from a kid perspective. What I don't remember is whether the grown-ups back them found them at all controversial. Re-learning all these songs thirty years later provides an interesting reflection on how social consciousness has both evolved and devolved during those years.

For example: The exuberant "Elbow Room" is an enthusiastic romp through westward expansion. Today it would be suppressed/banned/attacked because it does not even mention the impact of manifest destiny on native populations.

On the other hand "The Great American Melting Pot" contains these lines:
"What great ingredients! Liberty and Immigrants!" and
"Just go and ask your Grandma, there's something she can tell
How it's great to be an American and something else as well . . ."
Great to be an American and something else as well???????
Toss those lines into any immigration debate today and see what happens.

Then there is the very frank discussion of "Tyrannosaurus Debt". Which I think would make the business community today a little nervous.

And "Suffering Until Suffrage"? Certainly some religious right group would jump all over the feminist mind poisoning of our children going down in THAT song.

And the Two Times Tables "Elementary My Dear" are presided over by Noah and the Ark which today would likely bring out the ACLU to make sure no public funds were used in the production of this blatantly Judeo-Christian material.

And so on and so on.

Anyway--I could go on, but I've got to get the kids to the theater on time.


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

That would be so much fun to go to! I bought the DVD of all of the School House Rock for my daughter for Christmas. ssshhh...don't tell her!

Rev Kim said...

That's so awesome! I loved "I'm just a bill, an ordinary bill...", and of course, "Conjunction junction, what's your function?" It really was brilliant.

Presbyterian Gal said...

LOL!! You are so funny.

I missed School House Rock because I am too old.

But it sounds fantastic! I just might buy some for my son now. Great idea!

And break a leg to your kids! (that's theater talk for something nice to say that you cannot say because it's bad luck)

SpookyRach said...

We tend to sing these songs as we walk up and down the hallways at work.

Conjunction Junction and I Am a Bill are my favorites!!