This is How We Educate Our Youth

Yup, that’s how it gets done, y’all.

75 thoughts on “This is How We Educate Our Youth

  1. It must be Heroes/Helden, not just Heroes. The German lyrics are perfect.

    If you want a “Best of Berlin Bowie”, get the soundtrack to “Christiana F.”

    If you want to know why you should never do heroin, watch “Christiana F.”

  2. The other night I was playing Space Oddity in the car and asked my daughter if she likes David Bowie. She said no. I’m pretty sure she was trolling me.

  3. You may have missed the ideal time to attune your child to Bowie-music-appreciation. Did you show her Labyrinth as a young person?

  4. Love the duet of Bowie playing with Reeves Gabrels doing “Dead Man Walking” on the old Conan O’Brien show. It was released in 1997 on “Live from 6A” with several other really good live performances from Conan’s program.

  5. This is my very favorite Bowie video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT__JxncHEs

    I can never listen to Bowie-and-Bing’s “Little Drummer Boy” without remembering what a violent, wives- and children-beating bullying asshole Crosby was – the lyric “… every child must be MADE to care” turns my stomach. He got away with it for decades because people believed his crooning, PR-fueled persona was actually HIM. He was a cowardly piece of shit; I don’t believe in hell, but I’d happily be proven wrong if it meant that he’s a permanent resident.

  6. I do hope we get a follow-up with Athena’s reaction to this crash course in Bowie.

    I’ve been learning to play a simplified version of Rebel Rebel on the acoustic guitar. If I could just get that damn B minor chord to work without my hand spasming, I’d be golden.

  7. As the perfect topper for the Bowie-Crosby “Little Drummer Boy”, you might try “Rummy Drummer Boy” by the Bob Rivers Group!

  8. If memory serves, I spent a fair amount of my years at that age avoiding the music my father insisted was just *the best* ad nauseum. At first it was because I was annoyed that I never got to choose the station when Dad was driving (a big deal because he picked me up from school and was at the wheel for any and all family excursions), and after that because it became an ongoing issue with him to prove me wrong, which annoyed me so severely that I didn’t tread anywhere near the stuff until I went off to college and he couldn’t hear.

    Not knowing her, I would never suggest Athena is the kind of stubborn teenager I was, but should it come to that, she’s got my support on principle. It may be David Bowie, but thwarting the Dad Push of Pop Culture is the birthright of all girls.

  9. What did you do to cheese off VEVO? You are apparently one of the sites they don’t permit to embed. Minerals-for-brains.

    That said, it’s nice to have a good selection of Bowie all in one place. (She doesn’t have to appreciate Bowie now. She might need something to rebel against.)

  10. But.. but you only have the short version of Heroes. It’s a mere teaser! It starts in the middle of the song! THIS MAY DESTROY EVERYTHING YOU’RE TRYING TO BUILD!!

  11. I have already educated my 13 year old daughter on the wonderfulness of David Bowie. Our favorite is Life on Mars (Excellent TV series too!). I tried to introduce her to George Michael, but in the middle of “One More Try,” she sighed and asked, “Can we just put on some David Bowie?”

    Show her Labyrinth. That might do it ;-) (Or the whole David Bowie Booster Campaign may go pear-shaped at that point…)

  12. I’m voting with the young lady. Never got the whole Bowie thing back then….and after listening to all the suggestions, still don’t. My bad according to the majority here. Oh well.

  13. You should do a road trip back to Chicago (I know you were here recently for your Seminary Co-op reading) to see the David Bowie exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Costumes, paintings, rare photos, a napkin with Bowie’s lipstick smeared on it, and his coke spoon. A must for every Bowie fan.

  14. @Anne
    I’m also partial to “I’m Afraid of Americans”. That the video features a creepy Trent Reznor stalking David Bowie through New York may be a factor.

  15. Take that child to Chicago right now, march her down to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and spent the entire day at the David Bowie Is exhibit. And while you do, I’ll be sitting here seething in jealousy that you’re at the exhibit and I’m not.

    Seriously, I planned a trip from South Carolina just to see the show, and it was worth every penny.

    David Bowie’s cocaine spoon. Need I say more?

  16. ERose: My father and I share remarkably similar taste in music. When I was young, my father had the M-F 9-5 job, while my mother worked weekend evenings. My father liked to relax on the weekends by playing his favorite music while my mother wasn’t around–they share some commonality, but not a lot. I learned to like modern jazz (Herb Alpert–“Rise” is still one of my favorite jazz instrumentals, Spyro Gyra, The Rippingtons, Russ Freeman, Bob James, Earl Klugh, etc) and rock music by listening to his collection.

    Hubby hates David Bowie. I’m not a big fan of much that predates the Serious Moonlight tour (’81 or thereabouts), but I love most of what came after. And I love the “Dancing in the Streets” cover he did with Jagger (not a huge Stones fan, either, but their voices blend very nicely on that tune, imo).

  17. This ain’t no Mudd club, no CBGB.

    But if Athena ran today’s CBGB, it might be interesting to know what cutting edge, school-her-father bands she would have on stage.

    Is there a graphic anywhere that shows the fractalization of music genres over the last century or two and where they connect? Something like this (totally making this up just to give an example of what I”m talking about)

    50’s Rock -> Classic Rock -> Dino-Rock -> punk -> rap?
    chain gang chants -> blues -> blues/funk -> funk -> … disco ?

    with lines connecting the different offshoots and crosss pollenization and such.

  18. No Moonage Daydream, no Scary Monsters. Her education has only begun.

    Then again, as I get older, I realize that it is the obligation of the younger generation to listen to music that the older generation can’t stand. It’s what keeps the world moving forward.

  19. If you do show her Labyrinth, you’ll have to gently let her know that few men, um, measure up to Bowie’s, um, talents. So to speak.

    A couple of women I know were greatly impressed during their informative years but what he, uh, had to display during that movie.

  20. I adore Bowie, have since I was very young thing. Unlike most of my generation Labyrinth was not my introduction, Like all young things I was striving for something that was mine and not my parents and my father mentioned hating David Bowie, I filed it away until I could get to a library and I was hooked. Space Oddity was the song that drew me in. Although the collaboration between Bowie & Reznor on I’m Afraid of Americans is what I usually use to introduce people, it is catchy but edgy. So much Bowie is good but not catchy.

  21. Replace her with Jennifer Connelly immediately!

    PS Time travel will be necessary since Connelly’s about your age now.

    PPS No problem for an SF writer, of course.

    PPPS Athena might enjoy 1986.

    PPPPS I see a movie!

  22. Athena’s response: old people need to be made to feel important. Just smile and nod. I mean the poor dear doesn’t have that much time left.

    (More) seriously (since I am an “old” person.): “This is Not America” and “Cat People” and pretty much all of Ziggy. Good Times. (Also try out the Life Aquatic Brazilian Bowie stuff, it’s quite good.)

  23. I forbade my kids to get into my CD collection. Which worked perfectly: they scored copies and played them at school (this was before more compact solutions such as the iPod). The result was a minor fad for Glen Miller and the Firesign Theater.

    As for Bowie, the less said the better.

  24. I applaud your selection from what is an insanely deep and sporadic catalog. Yeah, China Girl or Let’s Dance would get your toes tapping. But Heroes, there’s the real soul of the man.

    Now get out that tenor guitar and learn this one:

  25. To do this right, I think you need to do a ukelele cover of a Bowie song. I vote for “Sufferagette City”, but others may disagree.

    Vid or it didn’t happen. I’d be happy to contribute to your choice of charity.

  26. I was going to suggest Nirvana’s cover of The Man Who Sold The World for something contemporary to her age. Then I realized it was a generation before her generation. Then came the inevitable realization of just how old I have become. On the positive side it’s been fun so far.

  27. Blh: “Putting Out Fire” is Cat People. (I tried to coax a Soylent Green joke out of that, but I just couldn’t get it to work.)

  28. No problem. For years I had idea what the title was, even though I liked it a lot. The Let’s Dance album is seriously underrated: Cat People, Under Pressure, Modern Love, China Girl and the title track. A record that manages to be very 1980s and yet not very 1980’s at the same time.

  29. Only Bowie is cool enough to be sung in actual freakin’ outer space.

    No woman I know has ever understood why Jennifer Connelly went back to suburbia with her bratty little brother when she could have had Bowie and his, uh, world entirely at her command, plus fun Muppet friends and pretty dresses. Even the baby liked it there!

  30. @jeanne: There are to say the least conflicting stories about Crosby, and it’s undeniable that he could be a most cold and pious man. (In the PR push for Star Trek: The Next Generation back in the 80s, there was more than one wince-inducing moment on talk shows interviewing Denise Crosby – who would invariably be asked about her grandfather, and invariably have to answer “He never had anything to do with my parents or me. He wouldn’t speak to us.”)

    But that performance with Bowie has a history, too. Back in the early ’90s when I was a broadcaster with Armed Forces Radio & Television, we had a video of Crosby and Bowie doing “The Little Drummer Boy” together – but it wasn’t the one linked above, it was either a rehearsal or a live performance on someone else’s show. Bare stage, both men very obviously ill at ease with each other (Crosby eyeing Bowie’s hair and clothing with some distaste, Bowie palpably nervous and almost inaudible in the forced chat before the music strikes up.)

    And then Bing starts the song, and Bowie comes in right on time and harmonizing perfectly, and you can see both of them realize “Holy crap, he can SING!”…and the fear and aggression just melt away with the music, and at the end the two share a look of mutual respect and even a bit of affection.

    (It wasn’t on YouTube last time I looked, but I I’d love to see and hear it again.)

  31. I’m with JJS. Bowie helped start the modern trend of treating sexuality as a mere toy to play with. Not a fan.

  32. I love some Bowie (and add my vote to Labyrinth, although maybe not a movie I’d want to watch with my dad right there), but I’ve never been able to take “Under Pressure” seriously. It’s just so seventies hyper-earnest I Care About Social Issues, and oh my God that bridge about how LOVE DARES YOU TO CARE FOR THE whatever…it goes in the Hippie Glurge* category for me, with “Feed the World” and “Buy the World a Coke” and Captain Planet reruns.

    Sorry, David. Sorry, David’s area. I have immense respect otherwise, and I realize that it *was*, you know, the seventies.

    *And I am a total SJW liberal chick, but goddamn, you don’t have to be so *drippy* about it. Have a sense of irony, or anger, or something less…that.

  33. a lot of teens today know “Heroes” but not necessarily that it’s Bowie – they know it as “the tunnel song” from the movie version of “Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

  34. Kid: “I don’t care about David Bowie.”
    Me: Really? Don’t care about The Goblin King?
    Kid: Pause… OK, we can try that song again.

  35. @isabelcooper: If you expect most socially-referent pop culture from the ’70s to have “a sense of irony”, you’ll be sadly disappointed. Because we actually took what you’re now calling “SJW” kinda seriously. Not for long enough, apparently.

  36. How it possible to have an educational thread about David Bowie without mentioning his role in The Man Who Fell to Earth? Even if you didn’t have the sci-fi and fantasy overtones of Ziggy Stardust, songs such as Space Oddity, Life on Mars, or his role in Labyrinth, it would be worth talking about his part in that film – it was his first major film role and whether you love or hate the film, Bowie is absolutely amazing in it.

  37. @don hilliard: Oh, I take social justice and activism seriously myself. It’s just…Strike Debt and getting pissed about Ferguson and so on seem like actual reactions to things, whereas “Under Pressure”/RENT/Band-Aid/”Imagine”/etc come off all Afterschool Special. Hey, kids, social inequality is noooot raaaaad! Which, it’s not, duh, but–hoarf.*

    Now that I think about it, I think the problem for me is less about taking issues seriously and more about taking *yourself* seriously, like I Will Now Deliver A Very Special Message or whatever.

    (Oddly, I don’t feel that way about sixties-ish protest songs, for the most part–although the bit in “Eve of Destruction” where your blood’s so mad it feels like coagulating always cracks me up, because what?–so I don’t know what’s going on there.)

    But no, I don’t expect most socially-referent pop culture from the period to have a sense of irony or humor, which is why I tend to avoid it. Like I said, I realize that it was, you know, the seventies. ;)

    *It’s like anti-drug commercials. I am not a big fan of most hard drugs, and I wouldn’t encourage anyone to use them, but those Partnership for a Drug Free America ads would have had me mainlining heroin if anyone would have sold me any.

  38. Add my vote for a ukelele cover of “Suffragette City.” :-)

    Bowie is a genius … and has lurked on teh intarwebz since day 1. He could even be one of the posters here!

  39. One of my nephews was complaining about the country music his parents enjoy, and said his favorite genre was obscure 70’s prog rock – David Bowie, Moody Blues, and Jethro Tull. He was seriously crushed when I opened my iTunes library and showed him several hundred songs by those ‘guys even you probably don’t know’ and then introduced him to ELP and Pink Floyd. He now thinks I’m pretty cool…

  40. Hah I definitely need to sit my 15 year old sister down and force her to take these in. My dad and I are forcing her to go to the Bowie exhibit with us since we can go for free if she comes and she needs some education beforehand.

  41. @Jennifer R. Ewing: I’m so glad to hear you had those moments.

    My dad and I had other things, even other music, that we bonded over.

    Poetry? Science fiction and fantasy novels? Shakespeare plays? Football? Hiking and the outdoors? All things my dad and I really enjoyed doing together and enjoying together.
    Music? Especially Bruce Springsteen? Vicious, vicious flame war. I strongly suspect that a huge contributing factor was that it all began with the car radio argument, which was long and bloody before it ever got to specific music.

    Parents take note – the car radio is a nasty battlefield that combines a teenager’s desire for agency with the generational divide. And, if you’re stubborn and your kid is stubborn, your efforts at education can turn into the exact same fight every few months for about ten years.

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