Friday, September 22, 2006

Ratings

I grew up watching American Bandstand. In fact, my great grandmother turned me onto it. I would come home after school, the fourth grade, and she would be watching American Bandstand. Rock ‘n Roll had not captured my imagination yet, but it was not long before I caught the fever from watching American Bandstand with my great grandmother. My great grandmother was a wiry tough woman who liked her pro wrestling too.

Now, we remember American Bandstand: squeaky clean well-groomed kids hoppin’ and a boppin’ to the latest hits. The squeaky cleanest of the group was Dick Clark. Who but he could have turned the image of Rock ‘n Roll as the devil’s music into the image of having good clean fun?

One of the best parts of the show was the rate-a-record segment. Three kids would listen and rate two new records. The rules were that you had to rate the records on a scale of 33 to 98. The theory being that no record or artist was so bad he/she deserved a zero, and no record could ever attain absolute perfection. (I still insist Jerry Lee Lewis’s Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On deserves a 100, but let’s not quibble.) The kids would have to justify their ratings. Invariably, you would hear I liked the beat and it was easy to dance to as the justification for a record someone liked.

The rating system still seems sound to me. The world would be a better place if we rated each other on that scale and with that underlying motivation.

This may be my day to turn saccharine, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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