Video Killed the Radio Star
Like most boys, my son has a healthy and constantly shifting set of interests that includes, believe it or not, old MTV music videos. Luckily, we live in the 21st Century, the Age of YouTube. Since MTV no longer actually plays any videos, we can still find them on the interwebs, and there is nothing to compare to hearing my three year old son singing songs used to sing along with back when MTV actually did play music. Like me back then, he will sit here for an hour singing and watching. It’s amazing.
And like everybody else who listens to pop music, he gets one song in his head and watches it over and again, learning more and more words each time through. Eventually he is sing-shouting at the top of his lungs that Video Killed that Radio Star.
Which is oddly appropriate given that the famous Buggles hit and first video ever aired on MTV is all about how technology will eventually take over the world and instead of using our imaginations we will sit at the kitchen table and watch moving pictures of the story the artist wants to tell. We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far.
This world Ben is entering moves so quickly, at the speed of light and maybe even beyond it – although he reminds me all the time that “nothing can go faster than light” – that I wonder if he will ever know the pure joy of lying on the grass and looking at the clouds float by or if his Dad will ever wake him up in the middle of the night to go outside in the crunchy snow and witness an ToTaL lunar eclipse?
Progress cannot be stopped, and eventually the test tube will fall over freeing the new tech and new thinking into a waiting world, whether its ready for it or not. Sooner or later the 2nd Symphony will be rewritten – and not for brass bands as it was when I was a kid – into something homogenized and mass produced obliterating the need for the original.
Gee, now I feel depressed.
But you know what? Ben sings the song with fervor and joy, becoming ever louder and more confident until he almost seems to understand not just the words, but the meaning as well. The aria is reached and you can see the sparkle in his eyes and he sings with passion and pride – put all the blame on the VCR – a device he will never see or use.
As the final note fades away, he looks at me, smiles and picks up the book sitting on the table next to him, “The Night Sky.”
“Daddy, can we read this now?”
I finally understand the Supernova scene.