Special Sub-Topic: Love is a Many Splintered Thing
|According to the opening lines of John Mellencamps's "little ditty" entitled "Jack and Diane", where are these "two American kids growing up"?|
in the heartland. Mellencamp may find "it's another hot, hot night in a cold, cold town", he may be "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.", he may "probably die in a small town", but Jack and Diane are "two American kids growin' up in the heartland". Mellencamp himself is from the heartland of the United States: he was born in Seymour, Indiana, October 7, 1951, and he grew up there. Most of his music over the span of his career has been a kind of rock that emphasized the playing of traditional instruments and that relied on lyrics that focused on the small towns, the farms, and the working class people of middle America. He also helped create Farm Aid, debuting in Champaign, Illinois, in 1985--a series of concerts performed by several musicians attempting to raise money for families in danger of losing their farms.
|In John Mellencamp's song "Jack and Diane", we learn that Jacky dreams of becoming "a football star". Meanwhile, Diane plans to make her debut where?|
In the "backseat of Jacky's car". Line four is a tricky one, but the lyrics, according to most, are "Diane debutante backseat of Jacky's car". Certainly, the syntax and grammar leave much to be desired, but Mellencamp trumps the rules with poetic license. By the way, "Jack and Diane" is Mellencamp's greatest hit single ever; in 1982, it held the position of number one on The Billboard Hot 100 for four solid weeks. The song was released on Mellencamp's 1982 album "American Fool", back when he was recording under the name of John Cougar.
|According to the second verse of John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane", the couple are outside of what establishment while "suckin' on a chili dog"?|
the Tastee Freez. Tastee Freez is the perfect fast-food eatery for Mellencamp to mention in his song about the Midwest. Although the restaurant franchise is currently based in Newport Beach, California, it was established in Illinois in 1950 by Leo Moranz and Harry Axene, and most of its diners can be found in and around Illinois to this day. Moranz had invented a machine and freezer that produced the soft-serve ice cream many throughout America now encounter not only at Tastee Freez but also Dairy Queen, McDonald's, and many other fast-food restaurants. Does anyone remember the mascots, the Tastee Freez Twins--Tee and Eff?
|Now, if you correctly remember the words to Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane", Jack wants Diane to run off with him "behind a shady tree". Then he would like her to "dribble" something. What would that be?|
off her Bobbie Brooks slacks. Bobbie Brooks, Inc., was created as a women's clothing industry in 1939 by Maurice Saltzman and Max Reiter in Cleveland, Ohio. The business exploded into a multi-million-dollar industry with co-ordinated apparel for girls but later expanded its inventory to clothing for young women as well. The company eventually filed for bankruptcy in 1982 but was saved by Pubco, which bought out most of the company's shares. Thematically, this clothing brand is an appropriate reference by Mellencamp. Both Bobbie Brooks and Tastee-Freez are Mid-Western franchises, and both offer inexpensive products or services that would be familiar to the working class of the Midwest. They both seem to suggest grassroots values or culture as well.
|Later, in John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane", Jack is trying to assess his and Diane's situation, and while he is gathering "his thoughts for a moment", the narrator/singer notes that Jack reminds him very much of what cultural figure from America's past?|
James Dean. James Byron Dean lived from 1931 to 1955 and was an actor in the American filmmaking business. His most notable work includes roles in "East of Eden" (1955), "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955), and "Giant" (1956). He received two posthumous Academy Award nominations for Best Actor for his performances in "East of Eden" and "Giant". To this day, Dean is an iconic figure of American culture. He is idolized by the young who see him as a representative of the misunderstood teenager full of angst, and he is considered the embodiment of male sex appeal for both females and males alike. Perhaps, he is the male "Marilyn Monroe", but with more substance as his fans would undoubtedly argue. He is the perfect alllusion for Mellencamp to make in "Jack and Diane", for the real James Dean is not as well known as the romanticized legend of James Dean. Mellencamp, by comparing Jack to Dean, is suggesting that Jack is a romanticized figure to not only Diane but to the song's audience as well. Furthermore, Jack possesses an exaggerated, romanticized, and naive view of life; he believes that he and Diane can live on love and achieve the American Dream in "the heartland". However, Dean died young in a car accident created in part by his speeding. Mellencamp seems to suggest that Jack and Diane are headed for a "crash" as well, at least in the sense that their innocence and youth and carefree lives are not going to last.
|After Jack "collects his thoughts" in the third verse of Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane", he deduces that their most logical next step should be to "run off to the city". What is Diane's verbal response?|
"Baby, you ain't missin' nu-thing.". And, using correct grammar and standard English, her response would have been, "Baby, you are missing nothing." John Mellencamp has declared that this song is somewhat autobiographical. Diane was the name of a girl who lived near Seymour, Indiana, Mellencamp's childhood hometown.
|In the chorus of John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane", Jacky proposes to those who would listen to his philosophical musings that "life goes on/Long after" WHAT "is gone"?|
the thrill of livin'. John Mellencamp's composition of "Jack and Diane" was also inspired by the 1961 film "Splendor in the Grass", starring Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty. The movie illustrates a failed romance and the loss of youth and innocence. The title of the film comes from a line from William Wordsworth's "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood", an 1804 Romantic poem that also laments the passing away of innocence and the idealistic perspectives of the young.
|During the bridge of John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane", the singer invites WHOM or WHAT to "come and save [his] soul"?|
The Bible Belt. "The Bible Belt" is a region of the United States of America whose population consists of indidividuals who attend church regularly, hold socially conservative beliefs, and are predominantly Protestant. This region is typically accociated with the South but often includes some of the Midwestern states as well. The South had at one time been predominantly Anglican; however, revival movements spurred by the Baptist denomination converted much of the South to its approach to religion. Pejoratively, the term can refer to a society that allows its religious views to affect not only its political perspective but also its scientific and educational perspectives as well; thus, the people residing within The Bible Belt can be seen as "backwards" if not even "ignorant". The singer's invitation to The Bible Belt in this song seems more of a challenge issued to those who would attempt to persuade him to live a life that conformed to tradtional mores when he's convinced that life really is about seizing the moment and experiencing life to the fullest.
|Toward the end of the bridge in Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane", the singer advises his listeners to "hold on" to WHAT "as long as [they] can"?|
sixteen. Why sixteen? Sixteen is the age in our culture often associated with the transition from childhood to adulthood. It's a complicated time yet supposedly a very joyful and exciting time as well. At sixteen, one is still young and possesses all of the benefits of youth, but one is also entering into a time of freedom, particulary the freedom to make one's own choices and experience new things. This unique time of one's life occurs only once, of course. This bridge, which contains the words "Let it rock, let it roll/Let the Bible Belt come and save my soul/Hold on to sixteen as long as you can/Changes come around real soon/Make us women and men", is often the part most people remember the most from "Jack and Diane". Interestingly, Mellencamp gives the credit for this memorable part of the song to a musician named Mick Ronson. Ronson added the heavy percussion sound and came up with the idea of a choir-like sequence of words for the bridge.
|As John Mellencamp's "little ditty about Jack and Diane" comes to a close, the singer tells us that the couple are "Two American kids doin'" what?|
the best they can. Away back in 1982, John Mellencamp gave an interview to someone with the "L.A. Herald Examiner" about the subject matter for "Jack and Diane" as well as many of his other songs with Midwestern subjects and themes. He said: "Most people don't ever reach their goals, but that's cool, too. Failure's a part of what you're all about anyway. Coming to terms with failed expectations is what counts. I try to write about the most insignificant things, really. I mean, someone who picks up a copy of 'Newsweek' then sits down and writes a song about the troubles in South America - who cares? What's that song telling us that we don't already know? Write about something that matters to people, man."
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