Sunday, February 14, 2010

Suburban Isolation

Rush's song "Subdivisions", from 1982's Signals, explores the feelings of teenage isolation stemming from life in the suburbs. Although the video was made almost thirty years ago, many of the themes are still prevalent in today's suburban schools. As a junior high teacher in a suburban school district, I see students, cast out be their peer groups, being made fun of for their perceived differences. Many of these students hide their pain through isolated activities, therefore, they fly under the radar of a school day, going unnoticed by teachers, administrators and peer groups. But what do these isolated students have to say? What are the issues affected students in today's schools? What are the different social groups that one must "conform" to at the risk of being ridiculed and bullied? Has education legislation made it more difficult for staff to identify high risk students?


  1. The "Signals" album was, at the time, a great divide between 'old Rush' and 'new Rush' fans because of the continued emphasis on synthesizers. I was a sophomore in high school and as an adamant fan found my favorite Rush song was (is) the latest Rush song. Raised in the preppy town of Easton, MA, USA, I experienced the pressure to conform described in the song “Subdivisions”. Of course I didn’t and had to find my way on my own. Now I work as a Land Use Planner and take joy infusing Rush philosophy whenever possible, often playing this video as a prelude when presenting at conferences. There have been some great covers of this song recently, which is a testament to its message and music.

    TJK - Napavine, WA

  2. I just have to add that as time goes on, the schools have increasingly aken on parenting roles--it's not just about academics anymore. Children can't get the support they need from parents who are rarely present, whether that be physically or emotionally. The schools can't do it all--they can't be relied upon as a safety net. And so many adolescents (a.k.a. teenagers) go home to an empty house, which can lead to trouble for opportunistic kids.