The price of being 'woke': editing your music library

By Reade Brower | Apr 15, 2021

In the late 1960s, this almost-teenager began listening to radio; popular songs played on the school bus each day. A few of those songs make recently banned Dr. Seuss books deemed “racist” seem tame. Sirius radio still plays these catchy melodies that still encourage sing along — but now judgmental "woke" culture suggests we put fingers in ears humming a “la-la-la” mantra to drown out the lyrics if one wants to be with the times.

The woke police need to weigh in — should these songs be shunned?

“Young Girl” by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap hit No. 2 on Billboard Magazine charts in 1968, while “Indian Giver,” sung by 1910 Fruitgum Company, was on the charts for 13 weeks, reaching No. 5 in 1969. Though the melodies are catchy, the lyrics would now be interpreted as downright unacceptable by those who are woke.

The “Young Girl” lyrics were picked apart far earlier than woke became part of our vocabulary. In 2013 Shane Ryan shared Reid Butler’s review of “horrifying song lyrics.” Butler takes us through this ditty, starting with an open mind, thinking “young girl” could mean a 90-year-old man pursuing a 70- year-old woman with a twilight romance; kind of sweet perhaps? Then, “better run girl” sends that theory packing (70-year-old women aren’t known runners) and begs the question, “Run from what?" Reid theorizes it might be like the scene in “The Shining” when Jack realized he was going nuts and told Danny to get out before it was too late.

Then, five lines in, Butler wonders “Gary, how old is this girl, dude?” still holding out hope she’s 18. He wonders what “with all the charms of a woman/you’ve kept the secret of your youth” means? “You led me to believe/you’re old enough/to give me love” but “beneath your perfume and make-up/you’re just a baby in disguise” was the giveaway with “hurry home to your mama/I’m sure she wonders where you are” the clincher she must indeed be underage. Gary warns her again to “get out of here/before I have time to change my mind/cause I’m afraid we’ll go too far.”

The last song, “Indian Giver,” depicts a popular playground putdown from the 1960s, an offensive line going back hundreds of years to the crazy notion American Indians gave us their land, then wanted it back. The roots trace back to 1765, made the dictionary in 1848, and became commonplace, used by newspapers during the 1900s, often describing divorces.

Seinfeld created an episode about the term in 1993. Kris Jenner brought it to millennials in 2011 saying her “soon-to-be ex-son-in-law was an Indian giver because he wanted the $2 million dollar engagement ring he bought Kim Kardashian returned after the wedding was called off.”

The phrase is objectionable and implies American Indians employed trickery when dealing with the white man. That was before woke, when melody over lyrics prevailed more often than not.

These “disturbing songs” with catchy melodies might be next for censoring by woke police; should they petition Sirius radio to ban them?

It is obvious my 12-year-old self was definitely not woke and the 64-year-old me struggles with the concept.

Being woke is important. The struggle is how much cancel culture (another catchphrase needing definition)” is OK?

The hypocrites on the left cancel at the drop of a hat, yet live in glass houses. On the right, led by the biggest hypocrite of all, former President Trump berates cancel culture, while secretly sipping on Coca Cola, after calling for their boycott for denunciation of Georgia for trying to show what rigging elections really looks like.

The former president keeps sending emails about a petition boycotting/punishing MLB for removing the All-Star game from Georgia, hoping the checked box for donations stays checked. Trump doesn’t want to add to the $122 million already returned to duped supporters; his actions bordering on fraud would be the demise of most politicians, but not Teflon Don.

This, on the heels of progressives inviting me to join the “cancel culture” by signing a petition keeping Trump banned from Facebook and YouTube — something that shouldn’t happen because of something called the first amendment.

Why cancel Trump? Let him speak and let the country judge him for his words. Stripping him of bully pulpits might be woke, but is not the foundation on which our country was created.

If the price of being woke means interpreting free speech with a narrow brush, count me out.


“Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” —Theodore Rubin, psychiatrist, writer (1923-2019)

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Comments (6)
Posted by: Kevin Riley | Apr 19, 2021 07:40

Cancel Culture Accountability

There, I fixed for you.

Posted by: Seth Thayer | Apr 18, 2021 06:05

Cancel culture?  If I own the rights to something and decide of my own free will not to publish that item ever ain't cancelling it....its called a business decision that I made myself.  It's a free market economy when I decide not to produce something I own.  Why not do a column about censuring Republicans by their own party when they don't fall in line with the Orange Overlord...that would be a prime example of cancel culture.

Posted by: Seth Thayer | Apr 18, 2021 06:03

Cancel culture?  If I own the rights to something and decide of my own free will not to publish that item ever ain't cancelling it....its called a business decision that I made myself.  Its a free market economy when I decide not to produce something I own....get over it.

Posted by: Lynda DeWitt | Apr 16, 2021 08:58

Censorship is rarely a good idea. But if a speaker continually shouts "fire" in a crowded movie theater, meaning his or her lying words can lead to death and destruction, then, I believe, it is the time to censor.

Posted by: Reade Brower | Apr 15, 2021 23:26

thank you Barrie; more cancel culture going on but you are right banned was not correct expression.

Posted by: Barrie C Keegan | Apr 15, 2021 08:24

Just a note: the Dr Seuss books were not banned, the estate made the decision not to publish them anymore.

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