Rejuvenile by Christopher Noxon  
 

06.13.06 Ascension of the Alterna-parents

imageIf you dress your infant in a Sex Pistols or Jimi Hendrix onesie, will they grow up Republican?

Surely this question has at some point crossed the mind of the quasi-adult, alterna-leaning moms and dads now snatching up coolie baby merch stocked in boutiques in the burgs of Williamsburg and Silver Lake. Walk those streets and it?s hard to miss the booming business in baby and toddler gear printed with logos and slogans swiped straight from punk or heavy metal ? you can now get a black bib printed with the words ?My mom kicks ass!? or a diaper bag festooned with anarchy symbols. My own 10-month-old son has a black T-shirt printed with the logo for three-chord Aussie maestros AC/DC cleverly rearranged to say ?AB/CD.?

A lot of the same parents buying this stuff are the same ones making plans for the upcoming Lollapalooza festival, which along with an impressive lineup of indie-rock stalwarts (Wilco, Chili Peppers, Flaming Lips) is mounting a sidestage called Kidzapalooza. It?s the brainchild of festival honcho Perry Ferrell, who in a canny attempt to accommodate fellow parents eager to introduce their kids to the glories of festival rock, is admitting kids free and is hosting a sidestage of coolie kid acts (School of Rock, the Candy Band, Justin Roberts), along with free yoga instruction, an ?instrument petting zoo? and tons of hipster merch in children and adult sizes.

All this can be seen as yet another example of Playalong Parenting ? the impulse among rejuvenile parents to hop the generational divide, to share mutual experience and to make a loud announcement to the world that the parents of said tiny-tot rockers are? if not cool, than at least more evolved than a generation ago. A friend of mine recently mentioned he was on the lookout for a rock show that could serve as a ?starter concert? for his small kids. Should it be a safe play like They Might Be Giants, or a balls-out rock fest like the Warped Tour? Sadly, Drs. Spock or Sears are silent on the topic.

Here?s my worry: what will these kids grow up to rebel against?  Might a lot of the kids in tiny Mohawks and itty bitty Doc Martins today turn into buttoned-down, Alex P. Keaton neo-conservatives when adolescence kicks in? Or maybe it?ll work the other way ? perhaps introducing kids to ?Back in Black? early will reduce the chances that kids will grow up hating their parents as teenagers.

I for one am happy that my kids appreciate a good power chord (and really, consider the alternative: Raffi). To me, it?s about where it starts and who?s it for. I?m all for parents and kids bonding over a common love Green Day, but I worry about parents imposing their need for an extended adolescence on their offspring, like frustrated jocks hollering at their kids in pony league football. Writer/comedian Greg Behrent put it best in a funny bit about playing Black Sabbath for his 13-month-old daughter:

When choosing music for her, I wasn’t going to do the ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider.’ Instead, I started her right out with a Black Sabbath jam. I realize that’s just me wanting her to have a story when she gets older, like ‘My dad started me out with a Black Sabbath jam.’ That’s me trying to be cool in the future—which is kind of selfish and fucked up.

 

Posted at 1:41 pm in 1 Comments

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Posted by meteusfrostgreat on 02/20 at 03:36 PM

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