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October 25, 1996     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern indiana --On The Record-- Are you required to be flawless? PERFECT Sometimes is never quite enough/If you're flawless,/Then you'll win my love/Don't forget to win first place/Don't forget to keep/That smile on your face. I By CHARLIE MARTIN / c00So00u00Ns m ! Be a good boy/Try a little harder/You got to measure up/And make me prouder. How long before you screw it up/How many times do I have/To tell you to hurry up/With everything I do for you/The least you can do is keep quiet. Be a good girl/You gotta try a little harder/That simply wasn't good enough/To make us proud. I'll live through you/I'll make you what I never was/If you're the best/Then maybe so am I/Compared to him, compared to her/I'm doing this/For your own damn good/You'll make up for what I blew/What's the prob- lem,/Why are you crying?. Be a good boy/Push a little farther now/That wasn't fast enough/To make us happy/We'll love you/Just the way you are/If you're per- fect. Written and sung by Alanis Morrissette Copyright (c) by MCA Music Publishing/Ven- hurst Place Music BMI/Aerostation Corpo- ration (ASCAP) Several readers responded to my review ofAlanis Morrissette's "You Learn." Most thought I was not giving Morrissette a fair evaluation. So, with their incentive, I revisited her "Jagged Little Pill" disc. While doing so, I discovered the song "Perfect" and its important message for both teens and their parents. This is a song that deserves discussion. It is written from a young person's point of view, some- one who feels that she is never quite "good enough." She senses that she must be flawless if she is to win her parents' love. Most parents would never make such a demand. Rather, they just want their teens to do their best and enjoy their lives. Yet parents can gain insight into their teens' feelings by examining more closely the content of the messages given to them. Consider the words that the teen in the song hears: "Don't forget to win first place .... Try a lit- tle harder .... That simply wasn't good enough .... Push a little farther now." Most parents do occasionally express such mes- sages. We need to be careful. We don't want to be saying indirectly, "We'll love you just the way you are if you're perfect." Morrissette challenges parents to look for the hidden motivation underlying such messages. Is it because parents are attempting to survive their teens' lives? Could a parent be attempting to "make" the teen "what I never was" or even up for what I blew"? As Morrissette suggests, ents tell their sons and daughters for their good might actually be a way to escape the parents themselves don't want to face. Often, parents do want to encourage teens' endeavors and goals. They children achieve and experience success. we parents might want to ask ourselves: words come across as encouragement or do t strike our teens as criticism? Second, whose goals actually are being addressed by our words? Also, to what we parents focusing on our own life goals than on the successes, failures and mistakes our teens might encounter? The deeper concern addressed in understanding. This is the bridge of needed in all parent-teen standing does not just happen; it is both parents and teens. Understanding grows when listening occurs. It will flourish when love is practiced. Contrary to the impression some got f previous column, I liked Morrissette's Learn." "Perfect" has even more merit. all who wrote and asked me to re-examine music. (Your comments are always welcome. address: Charlie Martin, RR 3, Box 182, Ind. 47635.) At the movies: Current capsule reviews THE CATHOLIC COMMUNICATION CAMPAIGN i I i | NEW YORK (CNS)-- The fol- lowing are capsule reviews of movies recently reviewed by the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) Office for Film and Broadcasting. Ratings are also given for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). "l_xmking for Richard" (Fox Searchlight) Playful documentmT exploring the historical background, Eliz- abethan language and dramatic stagecraft of Shakespeare's "Richard III" as undertaken by actor A1 Pacino and his cohorts in preparing for an American version of the play. Also directed by Pacino, the result is an amus- ing hodge-podge of fact and whimsy, sometimes serious but most often frivolous and at times self- indulgent, especially Paci- no's hammy run-throughs in the title role. Dramatized violence, sexual references and occasional rough language. The USCC clas- sification is A-III -- adults. The MPAA rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "Sleepers" (Warner Bros.) Overblown drama of four inner-city boys who grow up to take revenge on the sadistic guards (led by Kevin Bacon) who abused them in reform school, with two of the four getting away with murder on the perjured tes- timony of their parish priest (Robert De Niro). Writer-director Barry Levinson's manipulative crime picture romanticizes the bond of friendship between Catholic youths in a tough work- ing-class neighborhood, then depicts their brutalizing impris- onment in disturbingly realistic detail, with the payoffyears later in a dramatically unconvincing murder trial which nonetheless raises morally ambiguous justice issues. Harrowing scenes of teen inmates subjected to sadistic vio- lence and sexual abuse, cold- blooded murders, vigilante justice and habitual rough language. The USCC classification is A-IV adults, with reservations. The MPAA rating is R  restricted. 'rhree Lives and Only One Death" (New Yorker) Surrealist comedy about a man (Marcello Mastroianni) who leads four very different lives as a traveling salesman, a profes- sor, a butler and a dying busi- nessman whose wandering mind suggests the link between the four personalities. Chilean direc- tor Raul Ruiz's elegant French production recounts stories about each man in turn, involving them in absurd events with to match, thou ical connection other than as ' tions on the human offiction Sexual situations The USCC -- adults. Not Motion Picture America. Dr. Jane A. 1111 S Green River FLOWERS 8 Complete Learning about God is fun with the 'God Squad' Where Does G L/ve? Quest/ons and Answers for Parents and Chil. dren, by Rabbi Marc Gellman and Monsignor Thomas Hartman; Tri- umph Books, Liguori, MO. Paper- back, 1996, 144 pages, $10 Review By MARY ETTA KIEFER, O.S.B. Message Staff ii i i i i Everybody knows somebody who needs this book. Whose child has not asked knotty questions about God?... and what parent has not struggled to find reason- able and satisfying answers? Many people simply do not know enough about the faith to teach it, and others can not find the words; but these authors have the words and images children understand. Written by a rabbi and a Mon- signor who are the best of friends, the book speaks with the author- ity of academia and the simplici- ty of the street, and does it With- out affectation. The reader can visualize the authors as they sit with children and meet their challenges, and in picturing that scene, the reader almost Wishes to be there in that circle of early learning. Even when the job of parent- ing is past, mothers and fathers and teachers remember those dif- ficult questions; for example, "If God is so good, why is there so much bad?  or, "When my pet hamster, Elmo, died, did he go to heaven.  Society might take a lesson from this book in explaining inclusive God language, too. In a chapter called, "What does God look like," the book says, "... Many kids start out thinking that God is a big, old guy With a long white beard floating on the clouds and watching us. That way of thinking about God is wrong, because remember, God is invisi- ble, and haszta edge. By the way, 'i hbt a iy.'Prhnle/ that! And God is also not a girl. And definitely, God is not a thing!... In this book, whenever we talk about God, we just use the name 'God." When it conms to the familiar, "Who made me?" and "Who made God?" the book responds that the world, including allofits people, is made of stuff. In the words of the author, "God is the stuff maker of the world, because stuff does not make itself.  Where Does God Live? is delightful and right on. To read it is to want to share it. About the authors: Rabbi Marc Gellman, Ph.D. and Monsignor Thomas Hart- man, D. Min., co-host "The God Squad,  a weekly national cable television religious program. They appear regularly on "Good Morn- ing America.  Their friendship has enriched the lives of viewers for years, and this book shares their love of God and their love for "Pddlile: Elie Wibse itl of the pair, "When a rabbi and a mon- signor meet to exchange stories and ideas about God, I am sure that God listens. And so do many Jews and many Christians." Memorial will present 'Our Town' Our Town," the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Thornton Wilder, Will be presented Nov. 15 and 16 at Memorial High School, Evansville. The play begins at 7:30 in the school auditorium. Adult tickets are $6, and student tickets are $5. DIE FREE-'3 T-wIoE I LIVERY" (812) 1-80(] 1000 West Franklin BANOUET ROOM