so today i was in the berkeley library, doing work with jessie because we are both grad students. i was working on the book, she was doing policy reading or something. something serious. anyway, we broke the studying because she wanted to show me this. what is that? oh just the threesome scene from that recent episode of gossip girl that all the professional moms on npr were up in arms about (npr called it a “menage a trois”, and adorably, the “professional mom” was flummoxed about how her 14 year old son, who was not allowed to watch the episode, had learned what a “menage a trois” was).
anyway, as far as i am concerned, this little bit of episode 9, season 3 completely renewed my interest in gossip girl. it perfectly illustrates this disconnect between the kid world and the adult world and by kid world i mean people under 20 and adult world i mean people over 40. those of us in the middle, i think, are in sort of an interesting position in that we KNOW the internet. we LOVE the internet. but we also remember a time, at least i do, when we didn’t have it at my house, we’d never heard of it, we made due with land lines and 104.7 kduk for our communication and experience of the cool world of hipness. of course, i also grew up with out a tv so you could make the argument that i was pretty freaking sheltered.
kids under 20 though, they are DIFFERENT. the internet is like in their blood. texting: they invented it. why does your 14 year old son know what a threesome is? um, i don’t know if YOU looked up “ass” in the dictionary in 3rd grade but i certainly did. i also specifically remember in 6th grade asking my mom what “cunt” meant. you know what is easier and more informative than my mom on that subject? google .
anyway, all this has been rolling around in my mind, that there is this universe-sized information gap between kids in high school and their parents. it’s cultural really. and then, here comes this scene. watch it again. listen to the song.
that song is this song, only sung by a white girl:
this is truly amazing. i would say, most of my youth there have been some great hip-hop covers bouncing around. mostly hilarious redos of super misogynistic hits (see especially ben folds singing “bitches aint shit”) ironic, slowing down the crazy lyrics of this music so you can see JUST HOW BAD IT IS.
things are changing however. this new version of t.i. “whatever you like” is totally earnest:
this video is interesting because the crowd starts out laughing but it ISN’T FUNNY and the laughter feels awkward. don’t get me wrong, i love this song. i love both versions. i used to listen to the t.i. version all the time. i think what is crazy and interesting is that this music has a very specific message. let me break it down for you: dudes, get money by any means necessary. get a LOT of money. spend it. lavishly. this how people will know you are tough, powerful and successful. girls, dress like a hooker and find a dude who will spend a lot of money on you (don’t worry, it aint trickin if you got it). if possible, allow him to get you pregnant (please see 50 cents new trail blazing anthem “have a baby by me baby be a millionaire”). now he will never leave you. or, i mean, he WILL bone other chicks, probably get them pregnant, whatever. but you’ll have his money. that is true and guaranteed.
so where am i going with this? i made some brownies, i want to eat one. i need to think about it more. but i would say we are in the middle of an interesting shift. if a threesome is all your 14 year old knows about, lucky you. even I knew what that was when i was 14. hip-hop music is the realest thing out there right now, the most compelling, the story line that makes sense to everyone growing up right now in our country. maybe we should be worried. but the ice caps are melting too. and some of those songs are downright CATCHY.