Bad, bad, bad

The Columbine High School massacre, one of man...

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I am so disturbed by a “catchy” tune that is constantly playing on the radio.  The song is “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People.

The chorus’s overwhelmingly disturbing lyrics, “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you’d better run, better run, outrun my gun.  All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet, ” are set to an almost sweet-sounding pop melody that makes the singers sound as if they are in a trance, and is definitely targeted towards the teenage crowd.

I have noticed friends singing this song under their breaths, and because the music is catchy and sounds happy (how strange!), people don’t mind that the words have a truly psychotic meaning…if they even stop to think about what the words are.

As a teenager who was two months away from graduation when the Columbine High School massacre occurred, I am repulsed by the abhorrent message of this song.  The pang of fear that I felt when I heard about Columbine occurs every time this song comes on the radio.  And as a current teacher, I am terrified at the catastrophic message that our students are chanting without even realizing it.  (See the articles below for the negative and dangerous effect that these lyrics have already had.)

As teachers, it is our responsibility to open our students’ eyes to the barrage of information that our media is inculcating them with.  Now I need to figure out how to do so!  Back to the drawing board.

“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks…”

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2 thoughts on “Bad, bad, bad

  1. Not just that song, but we must remember gangster rap. It’s disgusting, the lyrics are degrading towards human life and to women and how they are treated and referred to in the songs. I’m not a teacher, but I see what happens when people have no hope for the future or have not had someone push them to their fullest potential. Life is a slippery slope my friend, just hope that you have someone that puts out a hand for you.

  2. Thanks for the commentary about this topic. It urks me to the core when songs promote violence and general disrespect toward others!! But in today’s world ‘experts’ look to research outcomes to be our guide for virtually everything. The bulk of my academic training was in child development. Up until 2010, the plethora of research on impact of violent video games, television and music on children’s behavior has consistently shown that kids who are ALREADY prone to violent behavior may mimic what they have seen and heard, and that their violent behavior may escalate for a few minutes, but generally comes back to THEIR baseline. (By children we are talking about kids as old as mid-teens) Since our system, for better or for worse, is so tied to making decisions based upon research outcomes, it is unlikely anything will change until research shows otherwise. To me it just feels morally corrupt and wrong to have anyone singing lyrics that promote harming others.

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