Sunday, May 16, 2010

What Rhymes with Tsk?

Mark Twain pegged it.

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."

Nicely played, Samuel.

I'll go you one better.

When I was a boy of 21, my father had little or no use for any of the music that I enjoyed.

By the time I was 51, I understood why.

Doing a little musical research, I came across the video for the latest Eminem single. Generational gap aside, I've simply never been a fan of the genre' where Mr. Mathers has made his mark.

That said, I think of myself as a creative man, possessed of an open mind.

At least as regards the creative arts.

So, I gave it a look/listen.

And while Marshall's latest self portrait isn't going to convert me, it does accomplish one thing for certain.

It is a textbook illustration of why we tend to hate what our kids listen to as we get older.

And it has nothing to do with the content, per se'.

More in a moment.

First, ladies and gentlemen, the shit stirring stylings of Eminem...

Here's the thing about the thing.

You don't have to be a Rhodes Scholar, or even over the age of eleven or twelve, to see that this is one pissed off fellow.

Live and let live.

And while there's no denying that the envelope of " the world sucks and I'm here to tell you about it" gets pushed exponentially harder with each new generation of tellers, it's also true that there's really no new information being included in the envelope.

Sooner or later, everybody finds out that the world sucks.

Happiness seems to be largely a matter of learning to live with the pony philosophy.

As in "with all this shit...there must be a pony..."

While Marshall's blunt, and very well paid, approach to sharing the shit side of the story isn't exactly the kind of prose you would vote to have carved on a DC monument, it is, like every other point of view, deserving of the freedom to be expressed.

When I was younger and the musical heroes of that youth were pushing that era's envelope, mothers and fathers were quick to dismiss those expressions as, at best, inappropriate, at worst, vulgar, obscene, even moral warping.


Somehow, my generation managed to weather the warping and went on to become the mothers and fathers of the next generation.

Whose envelope pushing is, at best, inappropriate, at worst, vulgar, obscene, even moral warping.

Emotional knee jerking aside, I never intellectually understood why my father had no use for the music that I enjoyed.

And why a lot of what I listened to evoked either stony silence or the tell tale subtle head shaking with a gentle, but obvious, tsk-tsk attached.

I wrote it off to a predictable lack of hip.

The man was in his 50's, for God's sake. Old people don't get shit.

Turned out, I was missing the point.

It came to me some years later.

Long before M and M started venting his spleen to the tune of ten figures.

And I understood why the music I enjoyed pissed my father off.

Because it made him feel old.

By turning him into his father.

As the tsk-tsk torch was passed.

Couldn't help but think, though, as I finished listening to Mr. Mathers' musings.

Time marches on.

Sooner or later.

We all get handed the torch.

Marshall, too.

Yo. Tsk-tsk, muthafucka...

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