Re: Inappropriate Songs
CHUCK BRAMLET (chuckb@AZTEC.ASU.EDU)
Mon, 29 Jun 1998 23:11:49 -0700
Saw your post in today's digest concerning the comments that you
recieved due to your post. Let me begin by saying that it was
_never_ my intention to belittle your views, much less your person.
What _I_ was reacting to was the, to me, _censorship_ of otherwise
fun songs. Some songs are _not_ appropriate for Scout Groups.
Among them, anymore, are songs like "Onward Christian Soldiers"
(unless used in a Scout worship service.) That one is, BTW, in my
1963 copy of the Boy Scout Songbook.
Where I have the problem is when someone picks up an idea like
yours and uses it in a way completely unintended. For that reason,
I am _very_ wary of any attempt like this to "officially" ban a
whole group of songs - or activities - because no sooner than you
do, you will end up with a completely ridiculous application that
you will either be forced to implement - or back down from the
There is a concept in dealing with most any problem, called "The Law
of Unintended Consequences". The basic concept is that _whatever_
is done to solve a problem will have implications far beyond the
problem being solved. As my GM put it: "You kill one bug, and 10
come to its funeral". Which leads, of course, to _more_ rules to
clarify the exceptions.
FWIW, the song "God Bless America" is no more a military or religous
song than is the "Scout Vespers". At our University of Scouting
2-3 years ago, we were taught a new fun song for Scouts: the
The word are:
"Softly falls the rain today
As our campsite floats away.
Siletly each Scout should ask;
'Did I bring my scuba mask?
Have I tied my tent flaps down,
Learned to swim so I won't drown?
Have I done, and will I try
Everything to keep me dry?'"
By the rule that you posted, _this_ song would also be banned. Now,
is it not possible that you are overreacting to the songs? I don't
really know, only you do. What I _do_ know is that slowly but surely,
_fun_ is being removed from the program.
And no, I'm not "anti-National". The National Office has a job to do,
as do we volunteers. I _do_ have a problem with "micromanagement".
Is that what is happening here? Again, I don't know.
Yes, the _truly_ offensive should be removed. But I haven't seen
much that is truly offensive, in terms of campfire songs.
I just watched a news report tonight (20/20 I think) in which a
spokesman for the National Federation for the Blind stated that Disney
should withdraw the film "Mr. Magoo" as it offends blind people. What
he is advocating is censorship. In a way, I feel that that is what is
being advocated here. Censor out everthing unsafe, objectionable, or
non-PC, to satisfy everybody. Unfortunately, it won't work. _Nobody_
will be satisfied with the result, and you will be left with more
unhappy people than you started with. We have lost the philosoph of
"If life serves you lemons, make lemonade."
Personally, I would rather hear anything on a long trip with Scouts
but "99 Bottles of Beer". That one has, though, become so much a part
of our culture that I really believe that the kids don't "hear" it
anymore. It's just a way to pass time, and annoy the leaders. Come
down hard on it, and you have allowed the boys to "get to" you. You
also show them a bit of hypocracy, esp if you, as the driver, sing
something like "Show Me The Way to Go Home" to yourself while driving.
Let the boys play the "game" of Scouting, and avoid the temptation to
"enhance" or "clean up" the experience. Also, don't let your knee jerk
in reaction to something that you don't especially like. Consider _why_
you don't like it, and try to figure out if it _really_ is a problem,
or if the problem is yours. You'll get fewer uncers that way, and be a
Yes, I do understand that you are dealing with Cub Scouts, (didn't you
say that? Something about a "Pack rule") so some of what I said here
doesn't apply completely.
Chuck Bramlet, ASM Troop 323,
Firebird District, Grand Canyon Council, Phoenix, Az. Member DNRC
I "used to be" an Antelope! WEM-10-95 mailto:email@example.com
"With every deed, you are sowing a seed,
though the harvest you may not see." -- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City