January 9th, 2002

JOY

Another MTV-Inspired Postulation

I was watching some fresh-faced yet ethnically-diverse youth explain the music scene to me on MTV over the weekend. One of them was talking about how some godawful musical group whose two-trick-ponies can either have Group Member A moan and wail while Members B and C repeat the same three words or group members (or solo artist in either case) moan and wail while either Rapper D talks about how he’d like to bag said Girl Singer or Producer E grunts and says “mmmhmmm. Yeah.”

They call this “R&B”. Call me crazy, but this doesn’t rub me the right way (or rock the boat, rock the boat, change positions, change positions, work the middle, work the middle). Rhythm, I’ll grant. But Blues? Come on. I’m sure Bouncey Knowles makes Robert Johnson want to spit on his own grave. His Hot Tamales just aren’t ready for her Jelly.

Semantic use of the term Blues aside, it just seems too different from classic R&B to be called the same thing. Note the term Rock ‘n’ Roll is rarely used anymore. The Roll was dropped a while back when Rock chose a path far different from his father’s Roll. Can we not do the same service to R&B? Pay homage to its roots, but indicate its difference.

My proposal: R&P. Contains the surname, if you will, of Rhythm, but can shake off it’s identity crisis and come into its own with the new name Rhythm & Pop. Because, really. It’s more pop than anything else, but insofar as separating it from standard issue bubblegum and classic rhythm and blues, I think it works.

Let it be written, let it be known.
Dog Balls

Pathetic Geek Story for Carla Beth

In seventh grade, we had Mr. Lyons for health. He was the 28-year-old junior varsity wrestling coach who doubled as a gym/health teacher. He was the object of many a 12-year-old girl’s desire (a dream which came to a crashing reality while hanging out at a bar in my hometown this summer I saw him cruising for chicks in the same bar his former students hang out at). He had some good approaches to teaching what 7th grade health is all about: sex ed. And since he was seen by the students as a sexual being, he was authentic. He’d do things like have us write anonymous questions on slips of paper and then he’d read them all in front of class so as not to embarrass anyone, or set up Sex-Ed Jeopardy games and stuff.

One day, during a Sex-Ed-Jeopardy game I was paired up with two of the biggest geeks in our grade. And we were losing. Bad. For some reason, all of the other teams whose members would be having sex within the next year or so were all doing much better than we were and it was a bit of an embarrassment. So when the question on the board was, “What male organ fills with blood when aroused?” I rang right in.

Panic.

Realizing that I now had to say a sexual word out loud in class in front of everyone made me think maybe the embarrassment of losing the game was better than this. In my panic, I froze. Pause. Everyone is staring at me, waiting. Longer pause. Finally, my voice let out a crack and then in a question-like inflection: “Penis?”

Red faced, I remained frozen. Everyone was still staring. Suddenly, Mr. Lyons burst out laughing. So did the rest of the class. They laughed at me for a good three minutes. Through his weeping laughter, Mr. Lyons wiped his eyes and chalked me and my geek teammates up for ten points.