Bioethics Blogs

Listen up forefathers

A recent iPad Air 2 commercial (“Change is in the air”) features a song by The Orwells called “Who Needs You” with the following lyrics. The italicized portions are the lines actually used in the spot:

You better toss your bullets
You better hide your guns
You better help the children
Let ’em have some fun

You better count your blessings
Kiss mom and pa
You better burn that flag
Cause it ain’t against the law!

You better pledge your allegiance
You’re not the only one
Listen up forefathers
I’m not your son
You better save the country
You better pass the flask
You better join the army
I said: “no thank you, dear old uncle Sam!”

You better toss your bullets
You better hide your guns
You better help the children
Let them have some fun, some fun, some fun!

On its own terms I find the social commentary of the song a bit murky. It is hard for me, old fogey that I am, to distinguish between the things “you better” do that are meant ironically and the things you better do that are serious, if there are any such. The song seems to stretch for a Sixties-style oppositional sensibility without any clear sense of what to be opposed to. Is it a sly lament about alienation and not feeling needed, or a declaration of complete autonomy? Is the lesson that helping the children is fun? Maybe hipper and younger people at Apple caught the drift when they edited the song in such a way as to suggest that having “some fun” really is the key point.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.