Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spontaneous Difference

Two of our grandchildren, Malcolm and Henry, are over from France spending a month at Monique’s. Brigitte and I were discussing the surprising width and breadth of their cultural knowledge, drawn, to be sure, at age 14, mostly from popular culture. Part of that discussion involved looking back to our youth, where pop culture, as it is known today, did not even remotely have the reach it has today. “Of course,” I said, “we’re all affected meaningfully by pop culture ourselves. Aren’t we?” I paused to let an example surface. Then I said: “Thunder Road.” Virtually simultaneously—we were both expressing the same impulse—Brigitte said: “Country Roads.” We had quite a good laugh about this as our discussion veered off into the differences between men and women. “You would,” Brigitte said, laughing, “you would say Thunder Road. Men.”

For the pop-culturally challenged, “Thunder Road” is a song by Bruce Springsteen, “Country Roads” a song by John Denver.

Now if a car company names a car the Thunderbird, another names a car the Nightingale, who will be drawn to buy the one, who to the other? Ah, feminism. Ah, kickboxing female action heroines….

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