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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Stealth Drinking From a Red Solo Cup at High School Tailgates




Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith

"Now a red solo cup is the best receptacle
For barbecues, tailgates, fairs and festivals
And you, sir, do not have a pair of testicles
If you prefer drinking from glass

"A red solo cup is cheap and disposable
And in 14 years they are decomposable
And unlike my home, they are not foreclosable
Freddie-Mac can kiss my ass. Woo!

"Red solo cup, I fill you up
Let's have a party, let's have a party
I love you red solo cup, I lift you up
Proceed to party, proceed to party"


These lyrics from an insanely popular Toby Keith song are a little risque, off the wall and demonstrative of the fact that writers can pen a song about any subject. Two sets of brothers wrote the viral hit: Jim Beavers and his brother, Brett, and the Warren Brothers  (Brett and Brad Warren).

Keith, himself, admits,"It is the stupidest song I ever heard in my life, but it's so stupid it's good." And "good" for Toby is an understatement -- the YouTube video surpassed 13 million views; the song was certified platinum with sales and shipments over 1,000,000 copies; and it peaked at #9 on the Billboard Country Songs Chart (#15 on the Billboard Top 100).

Keith calls "Red Solo Cup" a Roger Miller-esque song that is played on the radio despite its FCC questionable reference to "testicles. He admits he wasn't sure about releasing the humorous song, but as he began to play it for people, he noticed them singing along almost immediately.

So, Toby filmed an off-the-wall video frat party for "Red Solo Cup," inviting a crew of celebrity friends to join him in the clip, including TV host Craig Ferguson, baseball great Roger Clemens, basketball icon Larry Bird, and fellow music stars Sammy Hagar, Ted Nugent, Eric Church, Joe Nichols, JT Hodges, Carter's Chord, Rose Falcon and Trailer Choir's Butter, among others.

Other than the obvious consumer connection to the popular cup made by Solo and being sold to Dart Container Company ($315 million in cash and agreeing to assume about $700 million of Solo's debt), the song stresses the necessity of partying with the "only" cup worthy of  attracting women (writing your first name on the cup) and attractively consuming mass quantities of beer while partying at public outings (used also for drinking games like Beer Pong). That is, if you have the "testicles" to use a red Solo cup. And, even then, be sure the color is red, not blue or yellow, to coincide with the manly "fruit to your loom."

Keith adds, "'Red Solo Cup' is like a squirrel loose in a church house. We can play it in an office and then play five other songs, give it an hour, walk out and you'd hear the receptionist singing it. It's like nursery rhyme stupid."

Goofy popular songs are not new by any means. For decades, Dr. Demento has hosted a weekly two-hour radio festival of "mad music and crazy comedy" heard on stations coast to coast. "Witch Doctor," "They're Coming To Take Me Away," and "Dead Puppies" are among the thousands of "different" Demento offerings. I believe comedy songs and nutty lyrics are fun and offer a needed release from the small stream of more serious music offered by most radio stations.




The Red Solo Concealment

Not too long ago the popular, spirited college and pro picnicking events know as tailgates began to gain popularity before high school football games. Now, many area high school students, their parents, and friends are participating in these pregame activities. Although some of the tailgates occur at private homes, others are sanctioned by the school districts in order that fans can show their school spirit on parking lots adjacent to their stadiums and fields.

Of course, showing school spirit and actively supporting a sports team are admirable qualities for a fan base -- that is, as long as a spirit of good sportsmanship is observed by all, and the tailgate activities do not allow fans to break the rules high schools have set for school events.

Lately, the obvious concern of many is the reality of people drinking at high school tailgates. Not only does drinking alcohol increase the potential for altercations and rude behaviors, but also drinking on school property creates a negative modeling situation.

As young people observe their role models -- parents, relatives, and older acquaintances -- drinking, they comprehend that their loved ones can and will put their personal desires above school regulations. In essence, a student who observes adults drinking on school grounds understands that drinking, even at school, is a sanctioned, even encouraged adult activity.

Not only that, but an adult who has been drinking at school represents a powerful, familiar embodiment for students, themselves, to drink and drive. Underage drinking is a very serious problem as it is.

Terrible tragedies could result from tailgate drinking. Intoxicated adults may attempt to drive home after the game. The results could be deadly: The driver may die and kill other innocent people. Does the school assume any responsibility for such accidents? If they let drinking occur on school grounds should they? Food for thought.

Now, the basic ties to me between Toby Keith's macho, drinking and partying "Red Solo Cup" hit song and high school tailgating are twofold:

1. "Red Solo Cup" is marketed almost exclusively to high schoolers and young adults with a stamp of alcohol approval: "proceed to party." "Party" means drinking. The "cup" is a vessel for drinking at social events.

"Now I really love how you're easy to stack
But I really hate how you're easy to crack
Cuz when beer runs down in front of my pack
Well that my friends is quite yucky"

2. "Red Solo Cup" is a song with lyrics (unfortunately taken as serious by juvenile minds)  in support of cleverly concealing drinking at public events. It connotates that deception is fine and paramount to anyone wishing to break the rules. This is not the kind of thing to teach a young student.

"Red solo cup, you're more than just plastic
You're more than amazing you're more than fantastic
And believe me that I'm not the least bit sarcastic
When i look at you and say:

"'Red solo cup, you're not just a cup. (No, no, God no!)
You're my, you're my (friend?) friend. (life long!)
Thank you for being my friend.'"

Listen, people, I taught public high school for 27 years. Let me assure you, high school students know about the things adults think they hide from the younger generation. In fact, they constantly search for these little hypocritical behaviors, use them in arguments against their "two-faced" parents and school, spread the denials to the entire school population, and can't wait to model the behaviors , themselves. 

I guess I'm picking on one song and one manufacterer of picnic products out of many because of that damned cup. It is a symbol of deceit. I have even heard rumors that schools let tailgate drinking go without enforcing rules as long as the fans' alcohol is concealed --  not in a can or in a bottle but in a plastic cup.

If you are an adult fan, even a young graduate of drinking age full of "piss and vinegar," do not drink at a high school tailgate party. Enjoy the food, activities, and social company, but forego the booze. Likewise, if you are a school district in denial that drinking occurs or a school district practicing indifference to drinking as long as it doesn't cause a major concern, stiffen up and fix your problem.


Or, I think you will eventually feel the negative repurcussions of "Red Solo Cup":



"Let's have a party, proceed to party
Red solo cup! Solo cup!"

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