Tonawanda News


May 3, 2013

ADAMCZYK: The sort of thing that used to be illegal


Tonawanda News — YouTube has a sidebar of sorts, offering material in a similar vein on the screen (i.e., if you liked that, you might like this), and scrolling down I found the song as presented by Scala, a group unknown to me.

It turns out Scala is a Belgian women’s vocal ensemble, and their version of “I Touch Myself” is performed solemnly, like a church hymn. To a somber piano accompaniment, about 30 female voices join in luscious harmony, a choir singing “I Touch Myself,” without winking, campiness or anything to suggest a good-natured joke is in progress.

The icing on the cake, so to speak, is that the members of Scala look like they’re each about 14 years old.

There is something vaguely jaw dropping about this. If Mutt and Jeff were here, this is the point their hats would fly off. If Popeye was here, his trademark pipe would simulate a steam whistle. If Mark Twain was here, he’d likely look on it favorably, think it part of the natural order of artistic progress and suggest there was a time this sort of thing was illegal.

There was an example of bumper sticker philosophy, a few years ago, reading “I used to be disgusted, now I’m just amused.” A benefit of our fifteen-minutes-of fame culture is that we recipients can be outraged or impressed, or both or in between, and then we move on. Fame is fleeting not because something better or more outrageous comes along, but because the beneficiaries of what fame-seekers offer have moved along. 

It’s why YouTube has many uses and one of them is as a history museum. 

When an X-rated supply shop opened in my hometown of Kenmore in the late 1970s, protesters walked the street outside it, some carrying placards depicting the Village’s innocent youth, about to be corrupted. A photograph from a protest showed that, according to one poster, Kenmore kids back then had pigtails, freckles and innocent, radiant smiles.

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