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December 13, 2004

End of Innocence

I saw this story on BoingBoing - Wal-Mart sells a CD with 'fuck' in its lyrics, Maryland family buys the album for daughter, Maryland family seeks "damages up to $74,500 for each of the thousands of people who bought the music."

It's a great American moment, really. The combination of puritanical outrage coupled with down-home litigiousness.

But I'm wondering about this: "Skeens said he and his wife, Melanie, let their daughter buy the music for her 13th birthday and were shocked when they played it in their car while driving home."

Here's what I figure happened: The Skeens are wending their way home from a successful outing at the 'Mart, bopping along to the new Evanescence CD. Dad's saying stuff like "These guys've got nothing on Credence" and the young birthday girl rolls her eyes. Outside, fall leaves shine on damp asphalt.

The fifth track cues up on the CD player and the minivan's speakers ring out:


Why are you trying to make fun of me?

You think it's funny?

What the fuck you think it's doing to me?

You take your turn lashing out at me

I want you crying with your dirty ass in front of me


At first, Skeens' brains refuse to process the f-bomb with which they've been hit. But the chorus repeats (oh, why not a verse!) and the vulgar shockwave washes over the family a second time.

A moment of silent disbelief.

And then ... panic.

Mom screams in anguish and claws at her blouse. Dad roars and turns his head to the backseat. He sees - literally sees - the dissolution of the profanity-free bubble that's encased his little girl for thirteen years. The soft glow that's always surrounded her fades and her face becomes ashen. She begins to visibly adolesce.

Dad jerks the car over to the shoulder and leaps from the driver's seat. He pulls his little girl from the backseat and sees she's now sporting a bare midriff and black fingernail polish. He holds her face close his and watches as her pupils contract and tiny track lines appear in the small blood vessels of her eyes.

"Why God! Why?!"

His daughter mumbles back, "What the fuck you think it's doing to me? I want you crying with your dirty ass in front of me."

And Dad now does begin to cry - a high-pitched, tortured whine punctuated by heavy sobs. And his ass is indeed dirty.

7 comments:

dgcopter said...

Nothing left to do but set the car on fire.

Holy flame!

tony said...

even though wal*mart could afford this fine, why would a court allow such a fine exclusively to the wal*mart customers who didnt complain and not Everyone who bought the cd?

only wal*martians were victimized by the language?

Jason Goldman said...

Wal-Mart doesn't sell profane CDs. The people who shop for music there can do so without having to worry about hearing something that may offend. There's no need for those parental warning stickers - anything that would get one of those stickers isn't stocked.

Wal-Mart is trusted to mean wholesome.

By selling this dirty CD, Wal-Mart has abused that trust. What's more, in a version of the song on Wal-Mart website, the offending lyrics were bleeped out proving that Wal-Mart knew they had tainted goods and still foisted them upon an unwitting public.

$75K per offense is hardly enough.

Pip said...

Wholesome? My dirty ass! ;)

nwoods said...

"She begins to visibly adolesce"

Brilliant line of prose, this.

mooseroo said...

I hope you are being sarcastic above. If you seriously think that the work "fuck" has never been uttered to this guys daughter before (at school, on the bus, in the playground... the list goes on) you need your head checked. She probably used the word 87 times earlier in the day.

The only reason there is an issue at all is that the hypocrisy of the religious wrong lets this guy feel justified in taking money because someone used the right of free speech that out forefathers fought so hard to keep.

Greed, hypocrisy, and screwin' your sister... the motto of those in the religious wrong.

peace out

Anonymous said...

Lighten up. The story father, you too.

Good call nwoods.