I think some students hit the nail on the head this last year when they said there's no other way to dance to the kind of music played at school dances. And you know what? They're right! Listen to the rap and hip-hop so-called music they listen to. There's not as much music there as a beat. Watch dancing from the ancient days (like the 80s, for instance) and you'll determine, as I have, that one cannot apply such dance moves to today's rap and hip-hop. The only thing you can do to such a beat is thrust and grind.
Perhaps the music is a big part of the problem.
By saying that I don't intend to let any adults, especially the parents, off the hook for teaching children appropriate (there's that word again) public behavior. I merely point out that we don't help the situation by playing what amounts to porn music and then wonder why the kids get aroused.
Now, lo and behold, the Rand Corporation comes out with a study that says that teens that listen to sexually suggestive music have sex earlier than those who do not. Surprise, surprise.
Teens who said they listened to lots of music with degrading sexual messages were almost twice as likely to start having intercourse or other sexual activities within the following two years as were teens who listened to little or no sexually degrading music.
Among heavy listeners, 51 percent started having sex within two years, versus 29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music.
Exposure to lots of sexually degrading music "gives them a specific message about sex," said lead author Steven Martino, a researcher for Rand Corp. in Pittsburgh. Boys learn they should be relentless in pursuit of women and girls learn to view themselves as sex objects, he said.
"We think that really lowers kids' inhibitions and makes them less thoughtful" about sexual decisions and may influence them to make decisions they regret, he said.
The Rand study is slightly different from what my student told me--Rand focused on the lyrics, whereas my student focused only on the beat. I'm convinced, though, that both are correct.
Ready for another not-so-surprise?
Benjamin Chavis, chief executive officer of the Hip-Hip Summit Action Network, a coalition of hip-hop musicians and recording industry executives, said explicit music lyrics are a cultural expression that reflect "social and economic realities."
"We caution rushing to judgment that music more than any other factor is a causative factor" for teens initiating sex, Chavis said.
And nicotine is not addictive. Uh huh. But Rand wasn't finished just yet:
Martino said the researchers tried to account for other factors that could affect teens' sexual behavior, including parental permissiveness, and still found explicit lyrics had a strong influence.
So just who is Benjamin Chavis, anyway? From what he said above I'd say he's more concerned with recording industry profits than with the (black) children he's willing to use in order to make those profits. But who is this man, where have I heard his name before?
Oh, now I remember. He's not only converted, he's sold his soul. He's the disgraced former head of the NAACP, a former Christian minister who converted to Islam. And he supports this music and its lyrics.
Odd, I don't hear clamoring for this type of music among the imams of Cairo and Riyadh. Must be a distinctly Americanized version of Islam that this man practices. Here's what he says he's doing:
The organization's goal is "to use the influence and power of hip-hop to promote positive social change," Muhammad (ex-Chavis) said. "We're working to eradicate poverty."
Ah, yes. We're going to eradicate poverty by treating men as sex-crazed stud-horses and women as nothing more than men's sexual toys. Come to think of it, maybe that version of Islam is not so Americanized, based on how the most stringently Islamic countries differentiate between the sexes. How having more poor (often black) babies is a positive social change, and how that eradicates poverty, though, I have yet to understand.
The man is a purveyor of smut.
Update: Yes, I competely ignored MTV and its ilk in this piece. Then I read this, and I just have to wonder if the barbarians are at the gates.