Pro-angel AND pro-science! Pretty much pro-everybodyeverything.

Even though 80% to 100% of the meanings go over their heads, the kids are quite enjoying the newest offering from They Might Be Giants, “Here Comes Science“.  I give quite a lot of credit to their earlier works, “Here Come The ABCs” and “Here Come the 123s,” for not only teaching the kids the basics of each (with some abstract noggin’ scratchers such as “there’s only one everything” and which trees really are conifers to keep us busy as well) but also for keeping my sanity and my marriage intact after a grueling, portable-dvd-less road trip to and from North Carolina.

With such higher level education subjects as hypothesis formation and the tragic fate of Pluto, I thought that the kids would just enjoy the same energetic and unique tunes and clever graphics in the science edition as were featured in the language and math versions.  It’s never too early to start adoring The Brothers Chaps or David Cowles.  I was surprised when I was humming (or la-la-ing) the tune to “Why Does the Sun Shine?” and ZP piped up with the lyrics, “the sun is hot!” I realized that he really is listening and trying to absorb what is being said/sung.  That’s all well and good for the lessons taught in “Why Does the Sun Really Shine,” but it gave me pause to hear and consider the lyrics to “Science is Real”:

I like those stories
About angels, unicorns, and elves
Now, I like those stories
As much as anybody else
But when I’m seeking knowledge
Either simple or abstract
The facts are with science
Science is real

I read in Wired that the Johns had considered the implications of lumping religion with fantasy and responded thusly:

“Although it wasn’t designed to create controversy, it’s still a big relief to me that the opening track, ‘Science Is Real,’ didn’t raise any red flags with the label,” the 49-year-old Flansburgh told Wired.com in an e-mail interview. “The song freely acknowledges the Big Bang and evolution, and casually conflates angels with unicorns and elves, which might bug some anti-science, pro-angel folk.”

Why do the two have to be mutually exclusive?  Can’t I be pro-science as well as pro-angel?  As for the “wasn’t designed to create controversy” line … um, really?  You didn’t think that specifically adding a verse about the differences between reality and fantasy by including something that is featured in various religions would create controversy?  Yeah, I get that you are saying “when I’m seeking knowledge” rather than “spiritual fulfillment,” but did you have to go out of your way to point it out and lump it together with the sadly now extinct unicorns and the surely furious by now elves?  The catchy songs are for kids and I just feel a little squeamish about that line sinking into their tiny brains before I’ve had a chance to wash them.  KIDDING, MOM!  But still.  I haven’t really scratched the surface of discussing religion with them and I already have their heroes telling them that it’s kinda silly.  Ah me.  Maybe I’ll follow my friend’s habit of skipping the first disturbing chapter of “Finding Nemo” or Phoebe’s mom’s trick with “Old Yeller” by jumping to “Meet The Elements.”  At least until they are older.  In the meantime, I don’t mind putting these on repeat:

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5 responses to “Pro-angel AND pro-science! Pretty much pro-everybodyeverything.

  1. i once knew a guy who would laugh about how his mom wouldn’t let him play “wake up little susie” when he was a kid because she was scandalized by the implication of sex. you realize that 20 years or so from now zp will be telling his friends about his weird mom who would skip “science is real” because the word “angels” is in the same sentence as “unicorns”.

  2. Well, angels and unicorns … what’re we gonna tell our friends when they go “oo la la”?

  3. tp is more in line with the groucho marxist philosophy. emphasis on the GROUCH part.

    zp will have many more interesting stories to tell about his weird mom than that, i’m sure.

  4. While I think this can be interpreted as controversial, and thus making it so (because really, what else is required to make something controversial?). I don’t think it’s something that they otherwise should not have done.

    In fact, I find it rather appropriate.

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