We all know what a moral panic is, right? That’s when there is an upwelling of public distress — pearl clutching, if you will — over a concern (real or imagined) that outweighs the actual consequence of the thing. It can be a flash moment (think Four Loko) or lead to terrible consequences ( think Satanic Panic).
So, today, I thought I’d mention two items that, had I seen them on Twitter, I might have accused folks of pearl clutching over nothing. The first involves Urban Outfitters in a move I actually do find creepy. The second involves something from my childhood in the early 80s that is of absolutely no concern to anyone but, were I a parent then, I might actually complain of it being marketed toward elementary school-age kids.
Today on the Lstrblg...
Dear Urban Outfitters: Ew, Gross. Stop That.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here, but I’m a Scout leader. A Scoutmaster, in fact, of a girl troop I helped start when my son joined Scouts BSA a few years back. Yesterday, I went to put on my uniform shirt to find that my ballpoint pen had excreted all down the front of it. Various attempts to remove the ink have remained unsuccessful, thus far, and I’m giving up hope…so I went to search for a new shirt online.
I could go to the Scoutshop and shell out for a new one, but I just Googled Scout Uniform Shirt online to see if I could pick up one cheap on ebay or something. That’s when I saw this:
I found this to be wrong on a couple of levels. First, this ain’t “vintage,” its clearly a recent model of the shirt before they changed the logo from “Boy Scouts of America”to BSA on the front. You can still pick them up at the ScoutShop for about $25 on clearance, as opposed to $39 (I cropped it out accidentally) at UO.
This isn’t just “I’m wearing my boyfriend’s shirt” kind of thing, unless you’re into dating high schoolers. It is an overt sexualization of Scouting just as the BSA is trying to settle a lawsuit stemming from its legacy of abuse and pedophilia. Gross, Urban Outfitters. Runner up gross, all of the “Sexy Girl Scout” Halloween costumes. We know those are terrible, however, so I’m not going to complain about a caricature of a Scout uniform in the face of Urban Outfitters fetishizing an actual kid’s uniform. True, adults can wear one too, but typically not like this.
I thought I “discovered” this, when it turns out that this first broke in a round of pearl clutching way back in 2018. Back then, however, they were selling old Cub Scout uniforms, which is the next level of creepy.
Chipmunk Punk Revisted
Back when I was a Cub Scout, I distinctly remember grooving in Carl Franke’s basement to the Chipmunks, which was experiencing a revival in the 80s with a number of parody albums. Chipmunk Punk had plenty of Chipmunk, but precious little Punk, but Chipmunk New Wave Plus Whatever Billy Joel Is would have been lost on the target demographic.
I will say, while the Chipmunks’ version of The Cars’ “Let’s Go” is my definitive version of the song, their cover of “Good Girls Don’t” is a little creepy in retrospect. Somehow, my very Catholic mother didn’t pick up on this (or care) as I blared this after school each afternoon.
For those of you who do not know, “Good Girls Don’t” was the song that saved The Knack from being a one-hit wonder after “My Sharona,” which the Chipmunks also cover on the album. Have a listen:
Some interesting choices were made here, and I admire Ross Bagdasarian Jr.* for sticking to his artistic guns and not switching up the lyrics. Allow me to re-print some of the relevant bits:
And it’s a teenage sadness
Everyone has got to taste
An in-between age madness
That you know you can’t erase
‘Til she’s sitting on your face
Alright, Alvin settle down…
You’re alone with her at last
And you’re waiting ’til you think the time is right
‘Cause you’ve heard she’s pretty fast
And you’re hoping that she’ll give you some tonight
So, you start to make your play
‘Cause you could have swore
You thought you heard her saying
Good girls don’t
Good girls don’t
But, she’ll be telling you
Good girls don’t
But I do
And there we have it, Alvin singing about getting laid in an album marketed to schoolkids by Scholastic books. Somehow, we were worried at the time about Proctor & Gamble printing occult symbology* on our tubes of Crest, but completely ignoring the False Dave Seville indoctrinating our children.
*Ross Jr., I need to mention, was the son of the original Dave Seville, Ross Bagdasarian, who successfully brought The Chipmunks back to life in the 80s with a series of hit cover albums and a Christmas show that made me cry when I was 7.
** Really, the Satanic Panic was weird and stupid: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/procter-gamble-satan-conspiracy-theory