The Kids Are All Right: The Trouble with the Lost 1970s

Just this morning, as I loaded a bowl with Cheerios for my son, he sang these lines to the tune of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”:

“You think that you can buy us off with crummy wedding rings
You never give us half the profit that our labor brings”

He did this for a laugh, and of course I did laugh. The lines were from “The Battle Hymn of Women,” which he came across in the folk songbook called Rise Up Singing. I didn’t ferret out this anthem—honest. He found it with my husband. They’d been looking for the lyrics to the original “Battle Hymn,” but all they turned up was this version.

So now my eight-year-old son sings a battle hymn for women’s lib, with the sweet acceptance children in progressive Cambridge, Mass., often have. And hearing the words from his lips has made me think harder about why the movie The Kids Are All Right, despite so many critical raves, disappointed me.

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