Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for November 11, 2011

[Too Many Tears] -- Full disclosure: As a Penn State alumnus and a longtime fan of the Nittany Lions this has been the most difficult week I have ever experienced as a Penn Stater. No, I'm not talking about how I, and other alumni, feel shattered and betrayed. Nor am I talking about being angry over the dismissal of JoePa. No, all of that pales in comparison to what Sandusky's victims (alleged or otherwise, and I hate using "alleged" but the man is charged, not convicted) are reported to have experienced. I have wept -- yes, wept, as I read the details in the Grand Jury Report (Warning: Graphic Content- pdf). And I died a little inside as it seemed increasingly clear that no one tried to help those children. Therefore, this week's flashback has songs about the plight of abused children. And I've included links to organizations that work to prevent and treat victims of sexual abuse. I know this is a heavy topic, but I hope you will continue after the break and check out the latest flashback tunes.

Flashback #1"Because Hell is for children."

In 1980, Pat Benatar released her second album, Crimes of Passion. This five time platinum recording offered up five radio hits. One of those hits, "Hell is for Children," was not initially an A-side release, but it did get plenty of play on album-rock stations. That song, whose lyrics publicly show Benatar's stance against child abuse, is our first flashback of the week. Here is Pat Benatar promoting the release of Crimes of Passion with a performance of "Hell is for Children."

Flashback #2"They only hit until you cry."

Our second flashback is from singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega's sophomore release, Solitude Standing (1987). It was the first single off that album and it remains her highest charting hit in the United States (#3 on Billboard). The song's pleasant music is in disturbing contrast to the brutal story told in its lyrics. According to Wikipedia, a music critic said this dichotomy "is a metaphorical denial, making this seem beautiful and serene while discussing something terrible and devastating. It is a wonderful use of tune as a metaphor for how many abuse victims also deny their abuse" (source). I fear that this song was such a presence on late 80s radio that it lost a bit of its punch due to auditory fatigue. But, perhaps, after all this time, a fresh listen will do us all a bit of good. Here is Suzanne Vega with the story of "Luka."

Flashback #3"When the children sing, then the new world begins."

Our final flashback for the day is not strictly about child abuse, sexual or otherwise. But a song that starts of by speaking of a little child crying and the "fear you feel inside" could easily be construed as being on topic for this week's theme. I did, however, wish to end on a slightly more positive note. So this particular song has an undertone of hope for a better future, one that the child will have a hand in creating. And it all plays out in that very 80s vehicle of the power ballad. "When the Children Cry" was the third single from Pride (1987) by White Lion. The song peaked at #3 with help from MTV putting the video in heavy rotation. So, get your cigarette lighter ready, and join White Lion in dreaming of a day when no one's child has to suffer violence at the hands of an adult.

As I say nearly every week, the rule of three applies to Flashbacks. So also will I apply the rule of three to the links to organizations/agencies working to help current and prevent future victims. May we someday soon relegate the abuse of children to the dustheap of history.

A grassroots network of PSU alumni os standing for victims of sexual abuse by supporting RAINN. They have joined together to mobilize the Penn State fan base – alumni, students and fans – to ensure something like this never happens again – anywhere
Creating safe environments where children and teens are safe from sexual harm is everyone’s responsibility. Join us by taking steps to protect the children in your community from sexual abuse.

Founded in 1959 by Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, Childhelp® is a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect.

Remember, dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives.

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