I am a champion. You’re a firework. We’re unforgettable. We’re undeniable. We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky. I’m on the edge of glory. I’m beautiful in my way. You know we’re superstars. We get what we want. You are perfect to me. We run things.
No, that is not the daily affirmation I say to my reflection in the mirror each morning…
Those are words from hit pop songs over the last few years. I’m sure there are far more examples, but these came from the ubiquitous hits you can’t avoid, even if you try. And believe me, I try to avoid modern pop music like the bubonic plague.
When I hear these songs, I know what the songwriters were doing. They were pitching into the modern teenager’s wheelhouse – unearned self esteem. I’m not talking about every single teenager, just the majority of them.
I was completely unaware of this phenomenon in our youth until I became a high school teacher. Specifically, it was the first time I handed back a Chemistry test. Grading them the night before, I expected sobs, wails, and gnashing of teeth, because probably seventy-five percent of the students failed miserably.
I was shocked at the abundance of laughter and mirth in the air the following day. They didn’t care. They were perfect snowflakes, ready to shoot across the sky like fireworks, without concern for the chemical reactions propelling them through the air.
They had no consequences.
When I was in high school, let’s just say it was not like this. And I will refrain from commenting on the utter lack of discipline in schools today. I used to get licks with a board that would leave my ass burning for six hours – for horrible things like talking three times in a week or setting one foot on a basketball court.
I figured I’d take a look back at the top forty on my thirteenth birthday for comparison. The number one song was “Billie Jean”, accompanied by other hits like “Back on the Chain Gang”, “Hungry Like the Wolf”, “Come On Eileen”, “Der Kommisar”, and “Allentown”, of all things. “Allentown”!!!! I can’t sum up the theme of this post better than that.
If you want to see the top 40 for your birthday, go here – http://www.oldradioshows.com/at40/regindexck.html