Monday, November 5, 2012

Free To Be... You and Me: Still Kind of Creepy After All These Years


This month marks the 40th anniversary of Marlo Thomas' charmingly oddball hippie propaganda album, Free To Be... You and Me, and since I'm trying to ignore my election-related diarrhea, I decided that today would be a good day to write an ode to FTB...YAM's delightfully unintentional creepiness.

To those of you who are all, Free to Be... You and Me was my jam and you shall NOT disparage it! take a look at Original Flavor® Michael Jackson™ pretending to be a little boy alongside a pigtailed Roberta Flack and then talk to me.


Mostly, I kid. FTB...YAM includes a lot of great messages, like telling kids they can be anything they want to be no matter what society considers normal, and that they shouldn't judge other people or subscribe to traditional gender roles. But there are a few tracks that stand out as kind of... freaky. And not in the '70s disco way:

Song: "Boy Meets Girl" (spoken word)
Intended Message: Making assumptions based on gender is wrong.
Hidden Message: Newborn infants are pushy and sound like Mel Brooks.
Creepiest Lyric/Line: Boy: You just shaved, right? Girl: Wrong.
Creepiness Rating, With 1 Being 1969 Motown Michael Jackson and 10 Being 2003 Molestation Trial Michael Jackson: 2 (It's pretty cute, actually. Except for the whole talking adult babies thing.)

Song: "Ladies First" (spoken word)
Intended Message: Don't be a selfish bitch.
Hidden Message: Animals might kidnap and eat you.
Creepiest Lyric/Line: And if it's all the same to you, Tiger, I wish you'd stop licking me. And untie me this instant! My dress is getting mussed.
Creepiness Rating, With 1 Being 1969 Motown Michael Jackson and 10 Being 2003 Molestation Trial Michael Jackson: 5

Song: "William's Doll"
Intended Message: Boys should be allowed to play with dolls if they want to.
Hidden Message: They will still get mercilessly mocked, though. Also, Alan Alda can sing--who knew?
Creepiest Lyric/Line: A doll, a doll, William wants a doll!/A doll, a doll, William wants a doll! (Packs of children singing a refrain is never not creepy. See also: M)
Creepiness Rating, With 1 Being 1969 Motown Michael Jackson and 10 Being 2003 Molestation Trial Michael Jackson: 3

Song: "Dudley Pipping and the Principal" (spoken word)
Intended Message: It's alright to cry, especially when you're falsely accused of sand table sabotage.
Hidden Message: Bureaucrats are assholes.
Creepiest Lyric/Line: Dudley ran into the principal. He had a long nose and fierce eyes. "Hello, Dudley. People are saying you tipped over the sand table at school today... you look like you're about to cry." (Paging Joe McCarthy!)
Creepiness Rating, With 1 Being 1969 Motown Michael Jackson and 10 Being 2003 Molestation Trial Michael Jackson: 3 (Because the actual song "It's Alright to Cry" is boss.)

Song: "Girl Land"
Intended Message: Girls no longer have to be subservient housewives, isn't that great?
Hidden Message: AAHHHH THERE'S A CREEPY CARNIVAL BARKER WHO'S PROBABLY GOING TO SELL YOU INTO SEX SLAVERY! RUN FOR YOUR LIIIIIIIFE!!!!
Creepiest Lyric/Line: Wonderful Girl Land, the island of joys, Where good little girls pick up after the boys! So come on in. Look about. You go in a girl ... and you never get out! (I mean, seriously, Marlo?)
Creepiness Rating, With 1 Being 1969 Motown Michael Jackson and 10 Being 2003 Molestation Trial Michael Jackson: 10.5

Girl Land... shudder. That still gives me flashbacks of bladder-empting terror.

I'd still take FTB...YAM over The Wiggles, though. Any day of the week. And I'd rather be strapped down and forced to listen to "Girl Land" on repeat for a week straight than entertain the reality of a Romney presidency.

Sorry, election paranoia sneaking in. So much for distracting myself. Here are the creepy babies. Sleep tight, America!


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1 comment :

  1. My husband, who clearly had a miserable childhood, has decided that viewing FTB...YAM, Anne of Green Gables, The Neverending Story, and The Dark Crystal should have been mandatory before getting in a long-term relationship with me.

    But COME ON. He'd never even seen LABYRINTH before we got together. As far as I'm concerned, his world is 67x better because of what I've brought to it. Even if his dreams are a little freakier.

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