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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Favorite Song of the Day: You Can't Blame the Youth

Sometimes a song just pops in my head, and I can't always explain why (maybe a phrase overheard at a café, or an image from a film, or a headline from a newspaper, ...). When it happens, I like to try to put it in some kind of context. After all, my friend Terry Feingold says there are no coincidences.

Today's ditty comes from Bob Marley's Talkin' Blues album and attacks a conceit that many modern folks — locally, nationally, and abroad — like to adopt: blaming the victims. Often it's an idea propagated by those in charge in order to redirect potentially accusatory glances from their direction. It's a tactic with a surprising degree of success, considering the illogic of blaming those out-of-power for things perpetuated by the upholders of the status quo.

In the case of our youth, it's easy for we "grown ups" (with much growing up still to do) to fall back on the easy feelings of blame and resentment because of their propensity to "rebel" against that which came before and embrace all things new. But it's those very traits that lead to innovation and progress, albeit with attendant misteps and misgivings. What usually holds them (and us) back are the hang-ups and habits that they've inherited from the generations that came before.

So, before you yell at a kid hanging out on the street with nothing better to do, try to find a productive place for him or her to go.

You Can't Blame The Youth by Peter Tosh

You can't blame the youth
You can't fool the youth
You can't blame the youths of today
You can't fool the youth

You teaching youths to learn in school
That the cow jump over moon
You teaching youths to learn in school
That the dish run away with spoon

So You can't blame the youths of today
You can't fool the youths
You can't blame the youth
None at all
You can't fool the youth

You teach the youths about Christopher Columbus
And you said he was a very great man
You teach the youths about Marco Polo
And you said he was a very great man
You teach the youth about the pirate Hawkins
And you said he was a very great man
You teach the youth about the pirate Morgan
And you said he was a very great man

So you can't blame the youth
When they don't learn
You can't fool the youths
You can't blame the youths of today
You can't fool the youths

When every Christmas come
You buy the youth a pretty toy gun
When every Christmas come around
You buy the youth a fancy toy gun

So you can't blame the youth
When they get bad
You can't fool the youth
You can't blame the youths of today
You can't fool the youth
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