Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Questionnaire

Last night we were gathered around the fire listening to the Bare Naked Ladies' Christmas album. Their version of Feed the World came on. With all due respect to the Naked Ladies, I couldn't leave my kids in the dark on the true origins of that song. Out came computer, and You Tube too, We watched and we learned and were warmed by its light 'til our fancies were tickled on that cold winter's night.

Feed the World led to We Are the World--America's lamer but more soulful attempt. Hairdos aside, I'm still a fan of both songs. My kids were really startled by Boy George. I explained him to them. But they kept asking if every guy was a girl--even the handsome and manly ones, like Simon Le Bon. I saw for the first time--through my children's eyes--how womanish men were in the 80s. Even Bruce Springsteen was wearing lip gloss.

They were laughing at Michael Jackson's girlishness and even though I am full aware of his objectionableness in the new millennium, I had to defend him. I had to make them see that back in the day, he was really something else. They had to know his history, even though it makes the current state of Michael Jackson affairs all the more tragic. "Guys, when I was your age I LOVED Michael Jackson. Everyone did. It's not unreasonable--he's very talented!" So I showed them his first moonwalk on the Motown Special. Dudes! Do you remember watching that? I must have been 10. We all thought it was some kind of trick--a conveyor belt in the floor? My kids were impressed. Then I was like, "Do you guys know about Thriller?" So we watched that and some clips from 13 Going on 30 so they would understand the cultural significance. I told them they would be expected to know the moves at high school dances. I don't know if that's true, but it certainly can't hurt. By the time we got to Alien Ant Farm's Smooth Criminal I felt that I had accomplished a lot.

So the kids went off to do whatever and I kept watching old music videos. Was MTV your Disney Channel? Answer these questions to find out:

If a 3-D drawn hand beckoned to you from the comic book you were reading, would you follow it into the comic book?

Would you be amenable to a make-over by the ZZ Top girls?

Do you love, hate, or want to be Martha Quinn?

Who's more down home, John Cougar or Bruce Springsteen?

Who would win in a fight, John Cougar or Spandeau Ballet? (hahahahah, just joking.)

Who would you be more afraid to date in 1980, Michael Jackson or David Lee Roth? How about in 2008?

Who should teach your 6th grade Maturation program, Tawny Kitaen or Boy George? (Tawny would have more facts but Boy George would probably be more tactful).

What cautionary tale encourages chastity? Angel is the Centerfold, Billie Jean, or Jack and Diane?

Who wore high wasted pegged cargo pants better: Simon Le Bon or Sting?

Who is more suicidal: Robert Smith of The Cure or Morrisey?

Whose headbands are flashier: Olivia Newton John's or Clarence Clemons' of the E Street Band?

Who is more exquisite, Janet or Michael Jackson?

Which video best describes your academic experiences: Hot for Teacher or Don't Stand So Close to Me?

Who do you want on your team, Siouxsie or Sinead? (Trick question--the correct answer is Blondie.)

Who would you restore to their 80s prime: Whitney Houston or Michael Jackson?

Who do you want to be when you grow up?

How did you actually turn out?

PS I just watched the MJ clip again with my daughter who laughed through the whole thing. "So, you don't think this is even a little bit cool?" I asked. "Well, it's mostly just funny," she giggled. To which I bitterly replied, "WELL SLASH DOESN'T SEEM TO THINK SO AND YOU CAN'T EVEN BEAT HIM ON GUITAR HERO."


  1. I love a questionnaire that I can answer immediately and with unquestionable certainty. (so, thank you for that)

    Thank you, also for pointing out how difficult it is to convince your children how cool MJ really was when we were kids. (We all wore/collected MJ pins and wore them everyday--that's dedication) He really puts Miley Cyrus and Zach Effron to shame. I mean, kids today have really lowered their standards. Put that in a booklet. . .

  2. I remember thinking I was SUPPOSED to hate Martha Quinn because my sisters hated her, but deep down I thought she was wonderful. I also wished I was African American (or whatever) because of Michael Jackson. I remember the moonwalk, I remember my toddler-love for him.

  3. I feel really close to you right now. I know you hate that.

  4. I didn't hate Martha Quinn! I wanted to be her. Maybe Erin did? But I think she was just jealous because Martha had a thing with David Lee Roth.

  5. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Michael Jackson is the biggest waste of talent. Ever.

  6. Excuse me. I mean present-day Michael Jackson.

  7. I LOVED this one. Especially the trick question. I've often thought about how girly men in the 80s looked. Remember Weird Science when the cool guys - one of which was Robert Downey Jr. - looked just like the cool girls (and may have worn even more eyeliner and hair gel). Of course, that was something mainly seen in the movies. All the guys I knew in high school were more like Emilio Estevez in Breakfast Club.

    Michael Jackson is probably one of the hardest subects for a parent to tackle... It's up there with which religion is "right" and whether it's okay to wear white after Labor Day if you call it "winter white."

  8. I didn't even have MTV as a kid and I'm about to wet my pants. Actually...I just did.

  9. I used to tell people I was going to marry Michael Jackson. My life didn't exactly go as planned...

  10. The fate of Michael Jackson is a heartbreak to me. I remember my shirt that said "Michael Jackson is a THRILLER!". He really was amazing. then. sigh. I love how dedicated you are to teaching your kids about the 80s. I'd better get on task.

  11. My 18 year old son has recently decided he needs to broaden his musical knowledge. I came into the living room and found him watching VH1 Classic.

    Of course I recognized the video.

    I loved Martha Quinn.

    And guys were just getting in touch with their feminine side... ok, maybe not.

  12. I certainly watched my share of MTV as a kid--even though it was expressly forbidden by my mom. She was always sure we were watching it behind her back (we were) and would freak out if a commercial on Disney channel sounded like a music video--she'd come running and demand we change the channel. Poor Mom.

  13. Whitney Houston for sure. It is a tragedy that she wasted away her talent in drugs and alcohol. She was my first rock concert ever.

    And I am way impressed with your 80s trivia. You must have a much better memory than me, because if I'm not mistaken we are the same age, missy.

  14. And I'm definitely showing my kids some youtube-moonwalkin'-MJ first thing in the morning. That should keep them busy trying to mimic it for hours!

  15. So you dont know me. But my husband works for your sister Erin. I was reading your blog about barnacles and just had to share with you Dede the Treeman. Check him out.

  16. Well, I clicked on that link and I am sorry. I've seen his ad on TLC and have avoided the show. "Treeman"is such an endearing term--of course, he's not a tree, you know. It's warts. I can't stand it. Please, do not click on that link people.

  17. I just found your blog again after losing it for a while. And after reading through some of your previous entries I have to add that I too was spurned on account of voting for Obama. Not only was I spurned by fox news-watching lds church members (including my own parents), I was doubly spurned by my non-mormon neighbors who couldn't imagine that any self-respecting mormon would vote for Obama. I People said things to me like, " if you really understood the issues you wouldn't vote for him." Hmmmm. Now that just doesn't seem nice.

  18. My daughter's favorite CD is Ultimate Idol (Billy Idol). I am proud of that. And all of my children love Men at Work and Cyndi Lauper. But yeah, I am always alarmed at the girly-ness of 80's men. I guess I can blame the 80's on the fact that I have many an ex who is gay now. Our local radio station used to announce the "retro hour" by saying, "When real men wore's Eat Your 80's!"

  19. We never had MTV at home, but that didn't keep me from watching it at a friends house.


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