Stuck is a weekly serial appearing at 3QD every Monday through early April. The Prologue is here. The table of contents with links to previous chapters is here.
by Akim Reinhardt
When a song gets really stuck in my head, I break it down. I learn how to play it and even ponder ways to fiddle with it and improve it. In the throes of involuntary obsession, it gives me something to do. It’s a coping mechanism, a way to retain my sanity. And for this project, it also means writing, at least a little bit, about the song and artist. To create some context.
But I don’t need to talk about “Night Moves,” or any of a dozen other radio staples by Bob Seger. Why? Because Bob Seger is already a part of you, me, and everyone else. Bob Seger has sold over 50,000,000 albums.
Jesus, what kind of figure is that? 50,000,000. Is that a real number? If it does exist, where would I find that number? Somewhere between the Sun and Saturn, I reckon.
But even if you’re not among the many millions who’ve purchased a Bob Seger album during the last 40 years, he is still woven into every American’s existence. Even if you don’t listen to “classic rock,” or you’re a younger person who can’t put his name to his songs, you still know his music. You know Bob Seger even if you don’t know you know Bob Seger. Because if you’ve ever walked down the aisle of a supermarket, loitered in a 7-11, or simply stood there and pumped your gas, then you’ve heard more Bob Seger than you could possibly imagine. He’s had so many successful songs that simply listing them all would be tedious. Read more »
by Carol A Westbrook
It’s been over 30 years since Randy Newman released his hit, “Short People,” singing, that they
“…. got grubby little fingers
And dirty little minds
They’re gonna get you every time
Well, I don’t want no short people
Most Americans recognized this song as a parody of racial discrimination. But few recognize the true significance of this song: short people are discriminated against, too!
You don’t think there’s discrimination against short people? Think again. I’m short, and I know. I’m at 5’2, below the average height for a woman (5′ 4.6″) and well below the average height for a man, (5’ 10.2″). In fact, half of Americans are below average in height. Yet they are expected to reach up to the top shelf of the grocery store, sit on chairs where their legs don’t reach the ground, drive cars in which they can’t reach the pedals or can’t see over the dashboard. Sometimes tall people don’t even see me, they just walk right past! Randy Newman had it down when he sang,
“They got little baby legs
And they stand so low
You got to pick ’em up
Just to say hello..
They got little cars
That go beep, beep, beep…”
Newman’s song was a reminder that racism still exists, even though the Civil Rights Act had been passed 13 years before the song was released, and the Americans with Disabilities Act has been in effect for 4 years. Songs like “Short People” raised public awareness of ongoing prejudice against people who are different from ourselves, including people of color, the disabled, and the LGBTQ. And it made a difference; America’s attitudes are recognizably changing, as we have accepted the fact that we are a recognizably diverse society. Read more »