Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Christian Music

On our way home from Lake Anna we stopped for a bite at "Chick-Fil-A," hoping to support the chicken campus at Berry College, where my friend Peter Lawler teaches (at Berry, not at the chicken campus). Enclosed in one of the kid's meals was a Veggie Tales CD, which - for those not in the know - is a series featuring an animated set of cartoon characters who offer edifying moral and Christian messages. That's all fine and good - better than the usual schlock in kid's meals. Or, so we thought until we popped it into the CD player on the trip home. The disc - called "Family and Friends" - had a song called "Sports Utility Vehicle" with the following set of refrains:

Both: Oh you and me in our Sport Utility Vehicles, cruisin' to 7-11 for a bag of Frito-Lays! Oh you and me in our Sport Utility Vehicles, we’ll slam into 4 wheel and pick up a dozen eggs.

Both- OOoooh. You and me in our Sport Utility Vehicles cruisin' to Dunkin Donuts for a cup of steaming Joe! Oh you and me in our Sport Utility Vehicles we’ll slam into 4-wheel drive for a scoop of rocky road.


There's a lesson for the kids, and a good Christian one at that! Hop into the Sports Utility Vehicle to buy some brand name deep fried junk food! The formation of the modern American consumer and driver of impossibly big vehicles can't begin too early.

Of course, it's a really catchy tune, so now we hear it sung around the house constantly. Next time we'll pack sandwiches. Sigh...

6 comments:

Matt Frost said...

Might it be a satire? It seems a pretty odd context, and of course it would be lost on the kiddie audience, but I can't help but think these lyrics are intended to mock, not celebrate, the SUV fantasy:

"Girl- And if we ever go campin,.. y'know
Larry- Haven’t been but one day.. I’ll go "

Bryan said...

It is *entirely* satire - if you get the video it comes from you'll see it quite clearly...and, yep, it is quite the catchy tune...

Patrick Deneen said...

This may be worse - they are assuming that our kids are already liberal ironists. Haunted by the ghost of Richard Rorty...

Russell Arben Fox said...

The people behind Veggie Tales are pretty smart--as yes, they do clearly assume that the children (and their parents) watching are able to recognize satire. It's not detached irony, or at least I don't think it is; rather, I think it's a sly attempt to teach a good message. A "crunchy con" message, if you prefer; this one SUV song isn't the only example from Veggie Tales that supports such a reading. For instance, there's my personal favorite, the wickedly funny "Gated Community":

Narrator: There once was a boy
who lived in a house
and the house sat under a tree.

By the tree ran a fence
that stretched far and wide
‘Round the Gated Community.

[Sung by Larry] Can I have my ball?
Can you get my ball?
I kicked it into the tree.
And my ball bounced up
And my ball dropped in
To the Gated Community.

[Sung by Gated Community Chorus] Ohhh, the Gated Community is where we like to be
Everything’s so lovely,
Ohhh our hearts are filled with glee
And when you come to visit, you can stand outside and see
What a lovely bunch we are in our gated unity!

L: Umm, can I have my ball?
Can you get my ball?
I kicked it into the tree.
And my ball bounced up
And my ball dropped in
To the Gated Community.

GC Chorus: Ohhh, the Gated Community is where we like to be
Our clothes are never dirty, and the lawns are always green.
And when you come to visit, you can stand outside and see
What a tidy bunch we are in our gated unity!

The Gated Community we think you will agree
Is pleasantly devoid of unsightly stray debris.

[Sung by yard worker] Free, free of debris.

GC Chorus: The Gated Community is where we love to be
Our smiles are wide when we’re inside, in comfy custody
And when you come to visit, you can stand outside and see
What a smily bunch we are in our gated unity!

L: Can I have my ball?
Can you get my ball?
I kicked it into the tree.
And my ball bounced up
And my ball dropped in....

GC Chorus: The Gated Community is where we like to be
Our lives have been made perfect by a hefty entrance fee.
And when you come to visit, you can stand outside and see

L: To the Gated Commu....

GC Chorus: What a lovely bunch we are!

L: To the Gated Commu....

GC Chorus: What a happy bunch we are!

L: To the Gated Community!
GC Chorus: In our Gated Unity!

Bryan said...

Russell's right - they're not liberal ironists. Quite the opposite. They're just educating with a light touch, and doing it in a way that keeps the parents just a teensy bit interested.

Of course, it doesn't always work. In one of their video sketches, they have a story about "Junior Asparagus" who tells a "little fib." Well, the little fib grows up into a huge monster that threatens to eat JA and only goes away once JA confesses. What did my daughter learn from that? That "little lies" don't hurt anyone. We had to do a little explaining after that.

Patrick Deneen said...

Russell, Bryan -
Alright, I'm coming around a bit, but this sort of satire - if it's effective at all - might have more purchase with the parents than the kids. If the parents end up listening to these sorts of songs in their SUVs as they drive into their gated communities, we can hope they pause for a moment. In the meantime, I wish I could get that @#$#@## SUV song out of my head...