My daughter does not like jazz “scat” singing

I had to drive to Albuquerque last night to pick up a guest from the airport. Wife is always a madwoman before we have guests, and my charge was to occupy our daughter. There wasn’t anything on TV, it was getting too dark to play outside, we were both tired of the ball and were done with reading. I jumped onto my computer to check the flight status and it occurred to me to check Youtube for something kid friendly.

We sat and watched some insects – ladybugs, praying mantises (mantii?). And we watched funny dogs, and dogs and cats playing together, that kind of thing. One of videos that came up under our search for ladybugs was “Ladybug Picnic,” a Sesame Street classic I’d forgotten about. One thing led to another, and we were watching the original “Mannuh Mannuh” video, however the hell you spell it. Some wacky beatnik (this is the 1969 version) with a turtleneck and crazy black hair blasts across the screen and quietly says “Manuh Manuh” and 2 hippiesh maidens in white cotton dresses and long, earthy pigtails do the response (“do dooo-dee doo do”); if you haven’t seen it, you can picture it if you know the song. (There was also a newer, shorter version with pink monsters and an updated beatnik, we were kicking it old school last night, though.)

The schtick for the segment is that outside the simple, catchy song, the wild beatnik guy occasionally tries to scat sing, as though the constraints of the song represent “the man,” but he longs to let his tortured soul cry out, to soar. But always gives up under the icy and stoic stare from the girls who seem to express their seeming disdain for nonconformity in perfect, Mothra-twin unison, and he sheepishly goes back to the refrain, and the energy for another outburst swells up again.

After the second set of scatting (in the unlikely case that you’re unfamiliar with the term, that’s when jazz singers say things like “doobie doo” and “shoobie dooba”), I notice my daughter scowling at the screen. Without looking up, she said, “What he is trying to say?” (My daughter’s speech patterns are often a cross between my own, Yoda, and Martin Lawrence. I don’t know where the Martin Lawrence influence comes from.) The muppet scats on, and she says, “What he can’t say?!” She gives me a dirty look, like “Where do you find this stuff?” Next scatting, “What’s that guy trying to say? Can’t he talk?”

I look at the time bar, and we’re near the end. He’s scatting for what must be one last time, and she gives me a disgusted look and says, “He can’t talk right.” Without waiting, she hops out of my lap and just walks out of the room.

Kids her age make up words and sounds and whole languages all day every day, and they watch silly songs and have silly stories read to them, and since she lives with me, she’s also been forced to listen to beatboxers and tablas and Tibetan throat singers and every Simpson’s episode and Japanese cartoons and and she gets peppered with really weird questions that don’t even make sense a lot of the time, often involving made-up words. People saying things she doesn’t understand isn’t new.

But there was something about this that was really offensive to her, and as I replayed other instances where she’d been offended by music or speech, that constantly churning rock-tumbler which is my brain assembled the evidence and came to the new conclusion – she doesn’t like jazz scat singing.

I wonder where she got that from? (*cough*)