An Idolator Parental Advisory: Take The Kids To Cookie Monster, Not To “Cookie Mountain”

Dec 7th, 2006 // 10 Comments

What you see here is not some jokey Halloween costume, nor a clever bit of Photoshopping: It is an actual baby wearing an actual iPod onesie. Presumably because newborn infants love nothing more than to dress up as high-tech consumer goods that sometimes get lost in the dryer.

We’ve been hesitant to address the yuppie-indie-parenting semi-movement in detail, because a) it’s a relatively small segment of the population and b) we completely understand a parent’s desire to make sure their kids get to hear Abbey Road before they start worshiping the Pussycat Dolls.

But the idea of indoctrinating every tyke with “cool” music has got to stop, as an entire generation of kids is missing out on the time-honored tradition of scaring the crap out of their parents. It’s like cultural-rebellion photosynthesis: You grow up thinking your musical taste is much cooler than your parents; then you have kids, whom you set out to raise with your own cool musical choices; then one day your kid comes home wearing a Slipknot T-shirt or a JoJo locket. As one New York hardcore aficionado said years ago: “I’m going to have a daughter who worships Ani DiFranco and asks me to get her tickets to the Lilith Fair 2016 reunion tour. Which is how it should be.”

And if you think that the new wave of thirtysomething parents is going to be different–that they’re going to raise kids with both good ears and rebellious dispositions–you’re forgetting about the baby boomers. They were the ones who talked a big game about keeping their counter-cultural spirit alive in the bloodline, only to start sending in checks to the PMRC when gangsta rap came along.

The truth is, nobody’s going to raise cool kids until they cop to their own uncoolness. If all goes to plan, your eight-year-old will listen to Illinois non-stop until they’re 15, at which time they will toss it off the roof like an unwanted Go-Bot. And then, they will pick up a guitar (or, since it’s the future, a robot guitar) and start some terrible Baile-rap combo that their classmates will love. And that your grandchildren will absolutely revile.

IPod Baby Onesie [Tekserve]

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  1. kiteless

    As a parent, the coolest album I’m going to own: Phil Collins No Jacket Required. Do your part for the next generation
    - Patton Oswalt (paraphrased)

  2. mike a

    i think this syndrome explains the syndicated success of family ties.

    (full embarrassing disclosure: i almost bought the ipod onesie. and i play my kids all kinds of music, but they prefer much raffi to the ramones. as long as they’re good, kind people, i don’t much care.)

  3. Ned Raggett

    I remember both John Peel and David J saying in separate interviews about how they never told their kids what to listen to or forced them to hear anything or the like — they understood this pitfall above instinctively, I’d guess. To me I think that’s a great gift for someone to have as a parent, to let their kids find their own way, but even more so when it’s regarding something close to their own hearts.

  4. qyntellspitbull

    My dad hung with numerous 60/70s rock superstars, and I’ll never forget the look on his face when a 13-yr-old me told him that, “Soul Asylum is the greatest band ever.”

    The pleasure of disappointing a parent with your musical tastes is priceless.

  5. janine

    I don’t have kids, but I could understand, with children’s love of repetition, the desire to have them listen to something that doesn’t drive you crazy. If I had kids, I’d give them all of the major scales and high bpms they want (cognitive psychologists say toddlers like that) but I’d try to avoid the Wiggles if at all possible. If you hear it once, you WILL hear it 40 times in a single road trip.

  6. deusdiabolus

    This seems like as good of a place as any to recount one of my favorite finds: Kirk Hammett of Metallica said in an interview once that he was walking down the street in L.A. and this 10 year old comes up to him and says, “You’re Kirk Hammett from Metallica!” He nods confirmation and the kid says, “I really liked you guys when I was 6.”

  7. K-Murph

    Comedian Todd Barry has a bit about this … basically telling parents to stop dressing up their kids in Dead Kennedys shirts as proof of how cool their (parents) CD collection is. Good stuff.

  8. Wasp vs Stryper

    My mom once shook her head when I told her Kurt Cobain’s death was like when John Lennon died… and when I came home with a Marilyn Manson poster (bought with babysitting money)..and when I asked for Family Values Tour tickets circa ’98.

    But she let me do my thing, even though it revolted her.

    Today, in my apartment you will find vinyl albums by Doc and Earl Watson, Doors, Beatles, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Blood Sweat and Tears…stolen by me from her collection (“just for a while mom, you and dad werent using them”).

    You will also find empty jewel cases for Elefant…because the cds are in my mom’s car (they sound so pretty yet melancholy, honey! did these boys get degrees in poetry?)

    I find these mother daughter exchanges amazing.. and if the Park Slope crowd ruins that, I am going to flip out…

  9. chaircrusher

    I a) never tried to be a cool dad and b) never tried to indoctrinate my kids into liking ‘cool’ music. But I don’t think I’m alone in having teenage kids who are as obsessed by Hendrix, Dylan, and the Beatles as they are by currently popular music.

    It is strangely gratifying, though, to see your teenage son playing covers of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine songs. Who knew he was listening that closely on the way to preschool?

    Of course, one does cherish those moments when you are revealed to have been, at least at some time during the past, cool. My oldest son is amazed that I split a pitcher with Gary the drunk drummer from Pavement, and the youngest thinks it rules that I had a long convo with Jeff Buckley about being in marching band in high school.

  10. wedestroymyths

    My baby will someday be raised on a strict diet of soap operas, Andrew Lloyd Weber Musicals and Bill O’Reilly’s book for kids. If that doesn’t produce a teenage backlash of good taste I don’t know what will.

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