Tuesday, January 07, 2003

Free To Be...Tributary

so that's why I'm a feminist...

It's Gender Issues Week here at Northfield Mount Hermon, which means questionable questionaires to go over with my advisees (True or False: a man/woman who has been raped should always be believed.), same-gender workshops which teach girls to be strong and boys to be guilty and sheepishly so, and a general flavor of opposite-sex discomfort in the dry snowy air. It's not that I have anything against positive gender-identity development; quite the contrary, although I think we do this kind of stuff better than most schools, I'm frustrated by the way schools tend to oversimplify such messages, presenting a charcoal-drawing world filled with grey areas as if it were instead a linoleum print, heavy black lines on pure white idealism.

Pedagogically, I'm an optimist; I believe students are always smarter than we give them credit for, and that we lose them when we dumb things down rather than challenging them to rise to the complex occasion. Luckily, as a specialist in media studies, it's my job to develop some of the content for such programs; I've been asked to introduce, and then moderate, a student panel discussion of gender images in mass media in the school chapel Sunday night, so I've a chance to try and mitigate the dichotomous dredge of the rest of the week. Developing the program has meant working closely with both the Chaplaincy and the Office of Community Development (doublespeak if I ever heard it, as the primary role of the two women who run the latter office is to oversee students-of-color groups and organize schoolwide forums for discussion of tolerance issues), which really meant helping the director of each of the two departments and their respective interns parse and then select ads from television and Vogue and taped-off-MTV hip-hop videos. Today a student walked into the chapel office to find us circled around the television watching a Busta Rhymes video, reviewing some of the final possibilities. I can only imagine what was going through his head. Must have thought he had walked into the Twilight Zone.

Radio show tonight went well as always; Virginia, whose job is primarily to keep track of what we've played and to recite the station phone number on the air when I point to her, joined me late, about a half-hour into the swing of things. Being back in the studio and, of course, back in the rhythms of my beloved vocation after two weeks put me in a cheerful mood, which in turn made for a set of predominantly short silly songs. In honor of Gender Issues Week, tonight's readings were from the fully nuanced and timeless classic Free To Be...You And Me, about as far from a black-and-white vision of cultural relativism as one can get; Kurt Vonnegut's afterword alone is worth the price of the book. As always, tonight's Tributary set list follows; there's lots of covers, so, as always, extra special bonus points and a free cup of coffee for anyone who can identify the original artists of six or more of the songs:

Bob Dorough -- Too Much Coffee Man (Tributary theme song)
Keller Williams -- Brunette
**Nikki Boyer -- Brain Damage
NRBQ -- Whistle While You Work
*Guster -- I've Got To Be Clean
Biscuit Boys -- Ramblin' Fever
*Glen Phillips -- Have A Little Fun With Me
Kasey Chambers -- A Little Bit Lonesome
Skavoovie and the Epitones -- Blood Red Sky (my brother was in this now-sadly-defunct band; this cut, which got lots of airplay on MTV Brazil, is off their second album, Ripe)
Phish -- Cavern
*Cake -- Manah Manah
**Kris McKay -- Wish You Were Here
Be Good Tanyas -- Rain and Snow
Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem -- Let's Pretend There's a Moon
Keb' Mo' -- Tell Everybody I Know
Beck -- Lost Cause
Gillian Welch -- Summer Evening
*Darius Rucker -- It's All Right To Cry
Nancy Griffith -- Boots Of Spanish Leather
**Leslie King -- Money
Norah Jones -- Come Away With Me
Marc Cohn -- 29 Ways
Slaid Cleaves -- This Morning I Was Born Again
*Sarah McLachlan -- The Rainbow Connection
Sheryl Crow -- Strong Enough
Shawn Colvin -- This Must Be The Place
*Dan Zanes -- Wonderwheel
The Persuasions -- Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Lucy Kaplansky -- Ten Year Night
**Patricia Maertens -- Comfortably Numb

* from For The Kids
** from Echoes of Pink: Tribute to Pink Floyd

posted by boyhowdy | 12:54 AM |

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