Saturday, 15 November 2008

why oh why oh why-o


Turns out I was right about the decapitation of Grenade Guy -- Frederico did it. He saw the scissors and couldn't resist using them on the plastic soldier's head. I asked him why he'd done it and he shrugged and laughed (what would that be -- a shraugh?). Ed looked disappointed, but not at Frederico. At me. You're not supposed to ask why. Motive is such a grown-up question, and, the way grown-ups ask it of kids, implies blame. Why'd you do that? is grown-up shorthand for: Why'd you do that, you idiot?
Because in grown-up eyes kids are often idiots, and do things for no reason at all. If a typical grown-up question is: Why'd you do that? the typical kid answer is: I dunno. And, like the grown-up question, it is a short-form answer. The long form is: I dunno, and why are you getting so worked up about it anyway, leave me alone can't you? Sheesh! For the longest time all conversations with my son Sam were punctuated by the phrase: Chill the bass -- his universal response to perceived agitation. To worry about or even question anything is, well, in bad taste.
Listened to the new Kaiser Chiefs album with Imo in the car yesterday. The single "Never Miss A Beat" captures the attitude prefectly. The song is anthemic in its way.
What did you learn today (I learned nothin')
What did you do today? (I did nothin')
What did you learn at school? (I didn't go)
Why didn't you go to school? (I don't know)
It's cool to know nothin'
It's cool to know nothin'
Listening to the song, I had a smile on my face. I like the idea of a slacker anthem, and the Chiefs do a good job being ironic and serious (would that be serionic?) They sort of believe the words and sort of don't (however sincerely they may attempt to exemplify the slacker attitude, but it's hard finicky work putting out an album).
Closing, it occurs to me that all questions beginning Why did you .... have a negative subtext. You're not asking why because you think the other person did a great job. Why'd you cut your hair? does not imply that it looks better now. It means that it looked better before. Why are you reading this blog? implies, don't you have anything better to do?
So do it. See you next time.

2 comments:

Stephen Clynes said...

Never Miss a Beat: I like the humour and it appears to be about dumbing down. One of the verses has the wonderful line "What do you want for tea, I want crisps" which gets me into a giggle.

Richard Scrimger said...

I agree. My other favorite line has to do with wanting a big coat with writing on it. Whimsical and goofy (which would be whoofy, I guess).
RS