M is for ...
Also: Baby's First Podcast Appearance
What’s the best Mother’s Day song?
It’s probably not this one:
The last two lines of the opening verse here are “He’s not responsible for what he’s doing/ His mother made him what he is.” What he is is a redneck who beats up hippies
As our singer notes in the M-O-T-H-E-R acrostic (“M is for the mudflaps you give me for my pickup truck…”) he uses as the bridge: “‘H’ is for ‘Haggard,’" who had a more famous song about mama.
It’s not the best recording of the song, but he’s singing in concert to his actual mother, who patiently endures the attention. Neither of these songs is about the mother so much as they’re about her patient endurance of his massive screw-ups.
There’s Tupac, of course:
The mothers in both “Dear Mama” and “Mama Tried” work nobly to raise their sons in the absence of fathers, and both are disappointed, though we do see Tupac (“I hope you got the diamonds that I sent you”) make good, sort of.1
The thing that has always struck me about “Dear Mama” is the repeated hook: “You are appreciated.” Well, yes, that is a thing we want to say on Mother’s Day — “you are appreciated” is in fact, the point of Mother’s Day. I’ve just always found it a little touching that Tupac wrote a whole song to celebrate his mother and found that the best he could do was just offer the replacement-level Hallmark sentiment.
Words fail us all. Unless we’re seven and feel compelled to offer any old thing that pops into our head. As when Ike mentioned to Katie the other day “Mom, you have a big belly.”2
Katie: How do you think that makes me feel?
Ike: It’s OK, it just looks like there’s a baby in there.3
He is, however, also capable of compliments: “Mom, Dad has more of a beard than you.”
Cutting it a little short this week, as we still have to go make our annual, very special4 sour-cream banana pancakes.
Before I leave though, I wanted to ask: is there a Mother’s Day song (really, any song about moms) that just nails it for you? Leave a comment!
Everybody’s Podcasting and Now So Am I
I was so excited to appear on the Better Read than Dead podcast to talk about Janet Malcom’s The Journalist and the Murderer. Tristan Schweiger, Megan Tusler, and Katie Krywokulski have a great show (Tagline: Literature from a Left Perspective), and please go check it out and subscribe. I haven’t listened to the episode yet, as it just went up, but I look forward to cringing at the sound of my own voice. Join me?
The real poignance of this song (and video), it seems to me, stems from our knowledge of what will happen to him all too soon.
Ina Garten’s recipe