Oh No! I could not listen to Styx!

Oh No! I could not listen to Styx! March 1, 2021

What is a real problem?

I suspect that the genocide of religious people by the atheist Chinese regime is maximally bad, the death of Christian Armenia is terrible, and the troubles in holy Aksum, modern Ethiopia, serious. The fact my Christian parents may have made a wrong call about my media consumption is not so terribly bad by comparison.

If I could not listen to Styx until High School, when Come Sail Away became the anthem of my college years, this strikes me as either wisdom on my parents’ part or a relatively harmless mistake. Mayhap Vox would have given me a career writing on my deprivation, but profiting thereby would have been unseemly and caddish.

I suspect that not having access to corporate culture (“pop” culture) was not a real problem in my life. 

After all, I could check out any book from the library I wished. Mom and Dad thought honest doubt was good. If I did not wish to go to Church, I did not have to do so. They did draw some lines. They even did not go along with everything their folks thought was fine. After all, times have a habit of changing.

Mom and Dad always opposed Jim Crow, but also were skeptical about corporate culture.

Granny bought me a portable radio, that was expensive tech in the day (1969)*, but Mom thought that this technology was too much too soon for me. She loved music, we knew contemporary stuff, but she thought a six year old walking about listening to whatever someone decided to pump into my head was not so good. Mom knew me and knew that the Establishment, corporate radio, might invade my thinking too easily.

Mom made different decisions for my brother, because (even though he is my life long pal), we are different people. Justice does not treat different people as if they are the same!

Thanks, Mom. So I got to listen to Styx later in life than my peers. This was no tragedy.

So it goes if you have decent parents committed to discussing everything, thinking about anything and open to new ideas. They will consider any number of things.

Should we eat natural foods? Mom thought about it. Mom and Dad considered many options and if I wished to blame them for my life, I could turn that great virtue, thinking, into a vice. After all, our neighbors were just doing what the elite said to do.

Should we walk around cut off from the world wearing headphones? Mom and Dad thought about it, we talked about it, we argued. Giving my life a soundtrack provided by the Establishment turned out to be hard to defend, at least for me, so we waited until I could make the case that resisting the spirit of the age was possible.

I lost the argument as a kid and I am glad.

What if, right now, I know enough to win the argument? Why bother?

My parents lived in a time when corporations controlled all three networks and what we could consume. They were not keen on my being a clone of that culture.

Just so.

They fought the Man and if they did often made allies with wild and whacky sorts, so much the better. I knew some real characters in my day.

They watched John Wayne movies, listened to Jesus Christ Super Star, and fought the Klan.

Did they make mistakes?

I assume so, since humans make mistakes. Do I wish to be judged by the judgment that a reasonable person would judge my folks?


That would be a blessing.

They are good souls. I recall my Dad slamming the eject button on a prosperity gospel preacher’s tape. The tape flew out, far, into the car. They let me read Isaac Asimov, but I had to discuss his scientism and his lifestyle. Their criticism has held up over time. 

Thanks Mom and Dad.


*I am old.

**Yes. The picture is Simon and Garfunkel. When we got married, I lost Styx again to better pop music from my musician wife. The album pictured is an icon of that shift.

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