Of Childhood Songs

The Little Rascals

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I was sitting at work when a song entitled, The Little Green Frog, popped into my head. I sang it while shuffling papers and sitting at the computer. I hummed it while walking near the patients and doctors. The song was on a perpetual loop in my brain when I suddenly thought, “This song is barbaric.”

It’s no mystery that a lot of traditional children’s songs have a depressing or messed up back story, Ring Around the Rosy being the prime example. And yet, they keep getting passed down generation to generation.

I learned The Little Green Frog back in Girl Scouts, it has motions and everything:

Mm, mm, went the little green frog one day,

Mm, mm, went the little green frog,

Mm, mm, went the little green frog one day,

And his eyes went mm, mm, too.

Honk, honk, went the big red truck one day,

Squish, squish, went the little green frog.

Now his eyes don’t go mm, mm, anymore,

Cause he got eaten up by a dog, arf, arf.

Our troop sang this song at meetings, day camps, car rides, and most importantly – on stage. Imagine a bunch of 6-year-old’s singing a song about the gruesome death of a frog for their parents and grandparents. Either the adults didn’t really pay attention to the lyrics, most likely because of our blinding cuteness. Or, they laughed and didn’t care.

Upon the realization of the morbidness of the frog song, I immediately paused to think, “What other awful message have I sung for years?” Quickly I thought of, The Canoe Song – this song also has hand gestures. Let’s be real, they ALL have hand gestures.

This song is deceptive, it gives the illusion of girl power, but I think it’s a little rapey. I can’t help but throw in some commentary:

There was a boy and a girl in a little canoe with the moon shining all around,
Aw, romantic!

He paddled his paddle so that you couldn’t even hear a sound,
Why did he need to be so quiet? Did they steal the boat? Was it her parents boat? Were they somewhere they shouldn’t have been?

And they talked and the talked till the moon grew dim,
All night!

He said you better kiss me or get out and swim,
If she hasn’t kissed you by now, you’re friendzoned. You’ve literally been on a romantic boat trip from dusk to dawn. It’s not gonna happen buddy – sorry.

Well what you gonna do in a little canoe, 

With the moon shining all a,

Boat going all a,

Girl swimming all around.
Something serious must have gone down for her to be swimming in the water. A simple conversation wouldn’t suffice? Are they all talked out? Did he get aggressive?

As a child, we would yell, “Kersplash! Oh yeah! Smart girl!” But looking at the lyrics, I’m convinced that the girl said no and the boy didn’t take no for an answer. So either A: he pushed her into the lake cause he’s a jerk of a manchild, or B: her choices were swim, or get raped, and she chose to swim. So yeah, I guess chanting smart girl is in order. However, he’s in a boat. She’s in the middle of what I assume is a lake. There’s no way she can outrun him for long.

This screams horror movie.