Petri: ‘Baby Shark’ documentary provides parents no easy out

Sorry to disappoint those with ‘do do do’ stuck in their heads, but you have no reason not to listen.

Video: In case it isn’t already stuck in your head.

By Alexandra Petri

The Washington Post

AMERICA, NOW — Millions of Americans described themselves as “devastated” by a documentary full of revelations that the artists behind “Baby Shark” were, in fact, better people than anyone had previously supposed and that it was “inconceivable” that you would ever have any reason to stop listening to the song.

These revelations were, at times, hard to stomach. No one who watches the documentary can pretend ignorance of the fact that the camp counselors who first devised “Baby Shark” donated their kidneys to strangers; were respectful, friendly and consistent advocates for their female colleagues; and always walked the streets with pockets full of twenties in case they encountered someone in need.

The film features interviews with people who interacted with the writers of “Baby Shark” some 30 years ago who are now coming forward to say they remember positive, pleasant, appropriate incidents from their time together that helped them become better people. Indeed, these actions rippled outward to create a great sea of positivity.

It was the “Baby Shark” writers’ idea that the CEO of Little Caesars volunteer to pay Rosa Parks’s rent for years. They have been caught on camera secretly filling in potholes. When there was only one set of footprints in the sand, it was because they left those footprints, walking carefully to the water’s edge to help sea turtles lay their eggs. They not only rescued an elderly woman from a house fire but also managed to save Cory Booker, who had run into the building earlier without success. In the new documentary, Mr. Rogers provided personal testimonials for all of them, saying he could only aspire to their neighborliness.

“When you hear about a documentary that is going to blow the life of an artist wide open, you brace yourself,” said one mother who asked to be identified only as Carol. “You know that what you hear may change how you hear the music forever. But nothing could have prepared me for what the documentary revealed.”

Carol and her friends had gathered with their copies of the song and had optimistically placed the records on a small pile of logs and kindling.

“Afterward,” she said, “we just sat there in shock.”

Carol is now attempting to listen to the song with a feeling of warm appreciation. “I would try to listen to it more,” she commented, “but … I’m not sure that’s physically possible. I listen to it a lot.” Carol gazed into the distance with an expression of quiet devastation. “I listen to it a lot.”

This is not the only news that has rocked music fans.

Millions of Americans are still reeling from the revelation (from a journalist who doggedly pursued the story for years in the face of constant opposition) that the members of Nickelback have never done anything wrong, ever, in their lives.

“After the documentary about the survivors of abuse by R. Kelly, and the documentary about the survivors of abuse by Michael Jackson, I’ve had to do a lot of soul-searching about music I loved,” one listener commented. “Just once — just once — I wish I had to do soul-searching about music I hated. Instead, these revelations keep pouring in. The other day I saw Nickelback trending, and it was for the worst reason: They had singlehandedly saved a community from lead poisoning.” She sighed. “This is like when I learned about Guy Fieri all over again.”

An equally devastating new documentary suggests that the people behind the Chicken Dance were “everything Mother Teresa appeared to be, but wasn’t.”

Follow Alexandra Petri on Twitter @petridishes.

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