Thursday, April 26, 2012

Deep Teacher Thoughts...

You know what I am one of those that HAS to listen to great music while cranking out a paper. I'm in the midst of finishing my graduate paper which is the other 50% of my grade to graduate. It's due next Thursday. *pray for me. ha!*

Even in college, I was like this. Tonight, I put on the Pandora's Pete Yorn station and went to writing. By the way, great station! Plays everything from Pete Yorn to Snow Patrol to Mazzy Star (high school flashback or what!) to Coldplay and so many more. Foster the People's famous "Pumped up Kicks" came on. I've always thought this song reminded me of a kid who was bullied. Of course, being a teacher this bothers me. It bothers me that kids have access to guns. It bothers me that they turn to guns to answer problems. It bothers me that a child would feel so alone.
I thought the term "Pumped Up Kicks" was a metaphor for the "popular" kids. I wasn't too far off...

Here are they lyrics: 
 Pumped Up Kicks

Robert's got a quick hand.
He'll look around the room, he won't tell you his plan.
He's got a rolled cigarette, hanging out his mouth, he's a cowboy kid.
Yeah, he found a six shooter gun.
In his dad's closet hidden with a box of fun things, and I don't even know what.
But he's coming for you, yeah he's coming for you.

[Chorus: x2]
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.

Daddy works a long day.
He'll be coming home late, he's coming home late.
And he's bringing me a surprise.
'Cause dinner's in the kitchen and it's packed in ice.
I've waited for a long time.
Yeah the sleight of my hand is now a quick-pull trigger,
I reason with my cigarette,
And say, "Your hair's on fire, you must have lost your wits, yeah."

[Chorus: x2]
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.


[Chorus: x4]
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.

Here's what Wikipedia had to say, and I was pretty much right: 
The lyrics to "Pumped Up Kicks" are written from the perspective of a troubled and delusional youth with homicidal thoughts. The lines in the chorus warn potential victims to "outrun my gun" and that they "better run, better run, faster than my bullet". Foster said, "I was trying to get inside the head of an isolated, psychotic kid." He wrote the lyrics in order to "bring awareness" to the issue of gun violence amongst youth, which he feels is an epidemic perpetuated by "lack of family, lack of love, and isolation".The song's title refers to shoes that the narrator's peers wear as a status symbol. The issue of youth violence is a matter close to the group. Foster was bullied in high school, while bassist Cubbie Fink has a cousin who survived the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Fink said of his cousin's experience, "She was actually in the library when everything went down, so I actually flew out to be with her the day after it happened and experienced the trauma surrounding it and saw how affected she was by it. She is as close as a sister, so obviously, it affected me deeply. So to be able to have a song to create a platform to talk about this stuff has been good for us... Due to the opening lyrics, "Robert's got a quick hand," many have speculated that the song is a reference to Robert Hawkins, perpetrator of Omaha's Westroads Mall shooting. The band's publicist refutes this with "This is completely false. The character name in the song is just a coincidence." For play on the television channels MTV and MTVu, the words "gun" and "bullet" were removed from the song's chorus. Foster believes many have misinterpreted the song's meaning, and he has written letters to his record label and called radio stations to complain. He explained, "The song is not about condoning violence at all. It's the complete opposite. The song is an amazing platform to have a conversation with your kids about something that shouldn't be ignored, to talk about it in a loving way."

It's so hard to see this as a teacher. Sometimes, it's even harder to find out about it; bullied kids are afraid to tell and bullies are sneaky. Bullying HAS to stop. When you bully someone, it never really goes away. Kids don't forget that. I'll never forget when a classmate gave me the nickname Ducky in middle school. It's hard enough just being in middle school let alone being made fun of. I have no idea why he called me this because he never fully explained why he decided to call me that nonstop. And, I do mean NONSTOP. He would quack at me EVERY chance he got, and it got the other kids doing it too. It went on for two years until he changed schools. I hated it. While that isn't anything near what some kids go through, I still haven't forgotten it which means that these kids who are tormented with much worse WILL NEVER forget it. It never goes away for them. Please parents if you get a phone call about your child "bullying" another student, please don't disregard it. Please help your child stop.
Personalized Gifts


Leslie said...

Best of luck on finishing up your paper. Unfortunately, you comments about bullying are so true. It's difficult to watch sometimes, because it is very insidious.

Brooke said...

Interesting, I never knew this about that song. And I agree, about having to stop the bullying. I was bullied by a boy in school who used to call me shamu (yes like the whale) on the bus every time I got on and off... True I was/am not a small girl. But I did/do have a heart and feelings.I cannot even tell you what him saying that to me every day did to me as a person even to this day:( I used to just keep walking fast so he would not see me, sit at the front to get off the bus faster. Then go into my room and cry. So hurtful. If I see anything going on around me like that I will stop and say something.

Kids need to be taught to respect one another, starting with the parents.

Elizabeth said...

Becky and I had a conversation about this song when it first came out, and I feel the same way you do about this song. It sure is catchy and I've heard my students singing it when it first hit radio waves, but they have NO IDEA that it is supposed to be an "anti bullying" platform!! Because the parents do not monitor and have no idea what their kids listen to, watch on tv, or search for online. I plead to parents too: PLEASE!!!!!

Oh, and good luck on the paper, JM! I KNOW you will do amazingly :):)

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