Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Two Songs, Eh? Just two songs for your soundtrack of life? What would yours be? #makeanargument #justify

For the last three years I've set aside a day in my EN 12 course to help students develop impromptu arguments with a solidified case for what they stand for and believe in. This, of course, is a task I adapted from working with 11th grade high school students in Louisville, Kentucky. The question they respond to is:

If you had to decide on any two songs for the soundtrack of your life, what two would you choose, and why? 

In my freshmyn English classes at Fairfield University, each student  prepares thinking about two songs. They make a statement about why each song matters to them before and we play VH1's The List (a short-lived show, I know) s to dwindle down choices for our entire Squad....that is roughly 20 songs of the 40 that are submitted. The task initiates some debating and. The mini-lesson couples nicely with literary analysis papers  coming their way - they must make an argument about some of the texts we've read.

I usually practice what I preach and that is why I make this post, today.

1. Crandall, you suck (that is youth language for frustration that this is harder than it looks.
2. Crandall, this really does suck (just two? TWO!). That's repetition to restate an argument.

I made my first choice easily as it is a throwback to the J. Graham Brown School, Alice Stevenson, and my Brownies of yesteryear. In my playlist for life I would need at least one Cat Stevens song. Since I argue often for the journey of life,  being on the road, and the idea that who I am today is not who I was yesterday or who I will become tomorrow, I chose "On The Road To Find Out".

Having college freshmen now, I realize they have just exited the proverbial high school cave and are, well, on their road to find out, too. They, like me, might benefit from this song (and the hippier, happier days of American history before everything became so Holly-woodiated)

3. Seriously, Crandall. Cat Stevens was a no-brainer. The second song, however, really does bite.

I've made up my mind, though, but I'm sure it will change tomorrow. Truthfully, I wanted something techie and heart-pumping because if I wanted a sound track for life, I'd want to dance (with Ellen Degeneres). Yet, when I scanned my play list I had to stop on on K'naan's Wavin' Flag - the official theme music for FIFA 2010.

Why? It brings together a lot of memories for me and, most importantly, it was the song that played incessantly in my Explorer in 2010 and after when I drove the boys to and from soccer practices, school, malls, etc. Always a sports fan, I was new to the passion of FIFA and the first time I heard this song I thought about my cousin's work with Hoops4Hope, Nelson Mandela, and the absolute centrality that football (soccer) has to the world in terms of hope. We have our courts for American hoop dreams, but the rest of the planet follows another game passionately. In all cultures, sports unites people. If I was stranded with only two songs and this one was one of them, it would trigger amazing memories of what my life has been, but also dreams of where else I wish it to go. For this post, anyway, those are my songs.

What about you? 

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