Corporate sponsored stupidity, or a well reasoned slap in the face to education?

I recently had the misfortune of seeing another hack awards ceremony (the first being the Oscars) in the form of the Kid’s Choice Awards.  Nickelodeon hired Jack Black to host the ceremony, with a variety of other stars making appearances throughout the duration of the event and about ten minutes into it I realized something…  These kids don’t get 80% of what Jack Black is saying, just as they understood 70% of what Justin Timberlake said last year.  All of the slime in Hollywood couldn’t have saved the evening which consisted of a few actors and actresses making their speeches and trying to grab a piece of the next generation of consumers.  The night eventually ended anticlimactically with more slime to accompany a halfhearted collection of debatably humorous lines issuing from the primary orifice of  Jack Black.  

The standout moment of absolute stupidity was the appearance of The Naked Brothers Band doing their anthem to celebrate the mindset responsible for the mediocre educational output our nation is famous for:  “I Don’t Want To Go To School”.  Now, remember that I come from a punk background where school was the haven for conformist tools, brainless jocks, cheerleaders and the downtrodden mass of everybody else.  So why am I so offended by this seemingly harmless and cheesy kid-pop?  Where shall I begin?

  1. Most importantly, the song itself is so hack and poorly composed that you can’t even hide behind the fact that these are kids writing this slop.  I’ve heard child composers create beautiful melodies as complex as many written in the age of classical music.  Jeeze, I was never a fan of Hanson, but I gave them credit for being passable songwriters, musicians and singers for their genre.  In the case of the Naked Brothers Band, the musicianship is just so poor as to make the fans seem that much more simple-minded and lacking in any ability to appreciate anything related to auditory aesthetics.
  2. The message delivered is so bad, yet so simple to grasp it can’t help but find traction in our society where smart kids are seldom rewarded and the stupid and mediocre are given the majority of the attention.  As a young lad, hearing the Ramones sing “Rock and Roll High School” and listening to the cornball lyrics was a fun experience.  The same rhymes were there with the school/fool play on words easy enough to pick out.  It was the delivery vehicle that made the difference.  The Ramones (a collection of misanthropic and admittedly screwed up individuals who came from backgrounds steeped in drugs, mental illness, right-wing values and sociopathic tendencies) singing such elementary and trite lyrics as “I don’t care about history…  ’cause that’s not where I wanna be.” may not seem like musical genius to you, but they really didn’t look like school types mainly because they were in their 20’s when they wrote it.  The Nickelodeon supported band, on the other hand, just sounds like a bunch of corporate-backed kids hand-picked by the network to represent the voice of the Nick generation.  I just find it too much like the global media engine duping yet another generation of stupid kids.  The Dead Kennedy’s wrote some great anti-school lyrics, but they were speaking to high school and college students and not a bunch of 10 year olds raised on Krabby Patties and Capri Sun:

“Sixteen, on the honor roll
I wish that I was dead
Parents hate me, I got zits
And bruises ’round my head 

Pressure’s on to get good grades
So I can be like them
Do my homework all the time
I can’t go out just then 

People they ain’t friends at all
They tease and suck me dry
Yell at me when I fuck up
And party while I cry
I look so big on paper
I feel so fucking small
Wanna die and you don’t care
Just stride on down the hall”


Upon reflection, I have changed my view somewhat…  My original stance was indignation that Nickelodeon would promote a bunch of talentless little buggers and push their message of stupidity on the gullible masses of sheep many call sons and daughters.

After careful consideration, I have altered my way of thinking…  My own son (8 years old) might not want to go to school and will make sure you know how boring and pointless he thinks it is, but the real message here is that The Naked Brothers Band is pointing out what many forward thinking educational philosophers already believe:  Our educational system is third rate and Nickelodeon knows it apparently.  Nepotism and low scholastic standards tied to anti-education governmental priorities and a “sports-over-smarts” mentality make the “I Don’t Want to Go To School” message that much more biting and poignant.

What the hell was I thinking when I started this topic?  Maybe those minimally talented corporate kids were onto something after all…