Whatever happened to a kid-safe Fourth?

I remember when the Fourth of July was a family friendly holiday. It doesn’t seem to be kid-safe anymore judging from what I saw last night.

My family opted to stay home yesterday instead of fight the crowds to see live fireworks. Our plan was to watch the fireworks display at Boston Harbor that is televised each year. Last year’s display was truly spectacular. Leading up to the main event, a live orchestra played a number of patriotic favorites. The orchestra then accompanied the fireworks as they went off. The display lasted for well over twenty minutes. Wonderful stuff to see, even on a low definition 27″ color Panasonic.

This year was somewhat different. In addition to the Boston Pops, several pop and country musicians were hanging around to “do their thing” every now and then. In other words, they rendered butchered versions of our favorite songs using electric guitars and drums. The entire event was hosted by Dr. Phil (why him, I wonder?) and some other lady I didn’t recognize.

The sad part was when the fireworks started. The orchestra would play a wonderful patriotic song for a few minutes, then a rock song would come on over the loudspeakers. The music kept switching back and forth between the good stuff and the junk. This was quite annoying because we had to keep muting the junk. What was even more annoying was that our television displays closed captions when the volume is muted. This meant we had to read the lyrics of these songs as the fireworks were going off. (Have you ever tried NOT reading closed captioning on a TV? It’s very difficult!) Judging from the lyrics (some of which were quite horrid) the songs had very little to do with the Fourth of July or fireworks in general. Go figure. If there had been young kids in the house who could read, we wouldn’t have been able to watch the show at all.

I now wonder how long it will take before such televised fireworks displays are accompanied exclusively by rock music. When will the network execs finally decide that their sophisticated audiences shouldn’t be subjected to any more of these traditional patriotic tunes and would prefer to be serenaded by the “melodious” strains of Aerosmith and Garth Brooks?

Is it normal for me to want to hear traditional music on the Fourth of July, or am I just a crazy old-fashioned American boy?