Geez. I've listened to this episode three time in the last 24 hours (a record) and laugh out louded each time. "Best episode ever" doesn't mean much when it come to the Drabblecast, but, man, that was up there.
I loved both the intro and the story itself because they were so brilliantly satirical and I thought the satire hit home. The rap was great because, aside from just being so unexpected, it hit on what I've always perceived to be the fundamental stupidity of Rock The Vote-type campaigns. Yes, lets recruit all the people who are clueless, who have absolutely no idea what's going in the world and are probably too ignorant to understand it if they were told, and let's get them to decide who should lead the country. "I don't know the difference between a tariff and a tiara, but I'm gonna get out there and vote because P-Diddy told me to." With typical Norm Sherman irony, we get a rap song that lists off a few of the many, many things people who are motivated to vote by rappers have probably never heard of. The song makes fun of the convoluted electoral process, of the people who don't understand the process, of the Rock the Vote people trying to appeal to the ignorant and of itself all at at the same time while delivering a valid social commentary. All that and it's only a minute long. That is art, my friends.
The story itself was funny precisely because it was so spot on. I really wasn't aware that the campaign to suppress boyhood had such a long history, so it was educational for me to hear that these sorts of ideas were floating around 100 years ago. I love the absolute pathetic-ness of the uncle's attempts to explain why a John Stewart Mills action figure is more fun than cavalry. I could just image the children's blank stares as he tries to explain the municipal dustbin toy and his own increasing embarrassment as he tries to conjure up reasons he doesn't really have or believe himself. The awkwardness of the situation was accentuated perfectly by Norm's voice-work and sound effects. That was hilarious, but what I loved most was how the story illustrated that the children were actually right and the adults were morons. Here we have two kids dying to soak up as much culture and knowledge as they can get their brains around, learning history and geography and logical thinking from their healthy boyish play, and then these idiot grown-ups come along and try to take that away from them and replace it with something that is not only stiflingly boring but also much less educational. The image of the uncle pondering how he could rewrite the history book for the express purpose of keeping future generations in ignorance is so apt as to be eternally memorable. It so reflects contemporary attitudes in education which are more concerned with children developing "healthy" personalities than with actually teaching them anything.
As a closing comment, I recall with much chagrin how, in grade school, we boys were forbidden to make finger guns and play cops-and-robbers because, as my teacher explained, "Guns are bad." The girls, in contrast, were free to make up malicious rumors and taunts to destroy one another's self-esteem because, as we all know, "Stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." So, to me, this story came as something of a personal vindication.
Well, there, there's some of why I totally loved this episode. Norm, you are awesome.
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