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LMFAO, Ke$ha, and Black Eyed Peas: Raves for Kids

LMFAO is tacky, fratty, loud, goofy, and stupid. That's not the biggest bad of the dance-party duo. Their worst quality is that they're a group that is tacky, fratty, goofy, and stupid that performs for audiences of babies.

This past year, three concerts in particular exemplified the phenomenon of what we'll call "raves for children." Real raves belong in the '90s. Examples of their modern-day incarnations for underagers are the Ke$ha's "Get $leezy" tour, the Black Eyed Peas -- whose final concert took place at SunLife Stadium -- and these guys, LMFAO, who both opened for Ke$ha and played the recent Y-100 Jingle Ball.

Before launching into this old-fart diatribe, let's preface with a few things: 1. Raves and drum 'n' bass nights were fun 15 years ago; 2. Except for a Gathering of the Juggalos, concerts are almost always awesome; 3. Dancing is the best.

Now back to complaining. 

The Black Eyed Peas are a group of megalomaniacs who think they're doing right by the world. A look down at the stadium at their final show revealed a sea of children who appeared as if they were rolling on ecstasy. It was a nightclub for toddlers. It was like being at Pachas in Ibiza with prepubescents whose eyes rolled back in their heads and their butts cocked this way and that, making figure eights with their hands. All this while Fergie sang and Will.i.am looked dumb. 

The Ke$ha show didn't involve actual nursing babies, though we're pretty certain the Jingle Ball show with LMFAO did. The "Get $leezy" audience was primarily preteen gals and at least one incredibly intoxicated mother whose boobs threatened to peep from the top of her tube top the entire night. Protected only by her 6-year old daughter, she exemplified the title of the tour. It was at this show, listening to the inane lyrics of LMFAO and the moronic drivel of Ke$ha, that we realized the extent of this questionable lifestyle that's selling young and selling big.

You've heard the song "We R Who We R," where Ke$ha sort of defines what living like a "superstar" is. "We're running this town just like a club," she sings. Her repertoire includes such songs as "Blow," "Hungover," oh, and "C U Next Tuesday." Her whole shtick is: You're famous. Everything you do is fabulous. Look! There's a camera. Smile or look sexy; it's going to be all over the web. When you go to clubs, the snapping of shutters will be the beat of the night. You're on top and ready to rock! You're a rock star, and people are watching you. People are thus important when they are wild. You're most valued because you know how to party and your picture made it on some internet site. 

We're sounding like a fuddy-dutty, but hold on. 

The internet adds something new to the human experience. Suddenly, the world is huge, you can know anything, but it's also made smaller. Sites like Facebook make you see the world as it revolves around yourself. Most people aren't actually looking at you, though; they're watching pets sing Christmas carols. There's a 12-year old uploading a video of herself sexy-dancing to "I'm in Miami, Bitch." She thinks the world cares about her and her moves. She's cool because of this lifestyle she perceives as valuable. There's something sad about growing up and realizing that no one cares about the things about which you were taught to care. 

That it is children who are buying into this idea of cool is a problem. Staying out all night and partying in the way of Ke$ha isn't something little people should be doing. There are very few people who can stay out, dancing and partying all night long, without drugs. Remember DARE? How about Drew Barrymore at 13? Drugs and kids don't mix. 

Ke$ha tells kids that they're "famous" and that they're getting this attention because they're being sleazy. Seriously, grumpy-old-lady moment, but how about getting attention for being funny, unique, or intellectual? 

As kids, we dressed ridiculously in lace gloves and cut-off shorts; we thought we were Madonna. However, Madonna, though a slave to whatever is about to be cool, at least had a certain underground element to her style and stuff. Maybe she sold a grimy, horny New York appeal that was sort of seedy. The thing is, that club culture was far removed from our backyards. It lay in the mystical place of Manhattan. A Manhattan that no longer exists but that was then a bastion of creativity. It was sensual, not sexual. Ke$ha's world is right here, it's on the internet, it's at any party or club. There's no mystery. Ke$ha's cool club is that of being the same, not different. 

Elementary-school children dancing with glow sticks is beyond bizarre. Glow sticks are usually accompanied by grinding teeth and dilated pupils. Ravey drug cravings are normal for young people. Every kid yearns to be older and have "fun." But do they need to start this young? These guys were like 7. In the '90s, when raves and ecstasy were the big thang, no one had cell phones or digital cameras. We had film and Polaroids. We were immortalized socially, not technologically. 

This new way of living that's marketed toward a very young crowd is scandalous. What made partying cool originally was that it wasn't something everyone did. Now you'll find LMFAO yelling at a crowd of 12-year-olds to stick their middle finger up. Wait, what? Isn't that something you're not supposed to do in front of your mother? LMFAO don't care. They're going to get your preschooler to turn to you and say "Fuck you!" with their bodies. 

Sure, it all lacks class, but it also creates a world of dysfunction. Parents may want to relive their rave days, but kids should be treated a bit more carefully. Maybe take them to painting class. Put them in tennis. Bring them to the beach. But please, stop giving them glow sticks and hard-partying fantasies. 

They've even got Elmo doing weird things!

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Liz has her master’s degree in religion from Florida State University. She has since written for publications and outlets such as Miami New Times, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Ocean Drive, the Huffington Post, NBC Miami, Time Out Miami, Insomniac, the Daily Dot, and the Atlantic. Liz spent three years as New Times Broward-Palm Beach’s music editor, was the weekend news editor at Inverse, and is currently the managing editor at Tom Tom Magazine.
Contact: Liz Tracy

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