Last week, Amber Porto, 30, was driving around with her six-year-old niece, Lila, when the song “Hallelujah” started playing on Porto’s car playlist. In a moment of quick thinking, Porto skipped past the song, making the judgment call that its heavy lyrics mixing religious and sexual metaphors might not be appropriate for her young niece. But what happened next was an outcome far more troubling than she could have prepared for.
In response to the change of song, Lila specifically asked for the track to be put on again. It turned out, not only did the kindergartener know the song, she felt a particular affinity for it and could even sing along. The catch? She recognized Hallelujah solely as a segment of the Shrek soundtrack.
“I tried to tell her that the song predates Shrek, but I don’t think it registered,” said Porto when recalling the day’s events. “She just kept saying, ‘This is from the part when Shrek gets sad.’”
Porto tried explaining to her niece the fallacy in her association by identifying how the equivalency would be saying that Beethoven wrote his 9th Symphony for A Clockwork Orange. “
Gotta tell you,” recalls Porto, “I’ve never seen a kid’s eyes glaze over so quickly.”
Lila’s insistence that Hallelujah was “from Shrek” frustrated Porto on multiple levels. “I wasn’t even playing the Rufus Wainwright cover they use in the soundtrack,” she said. “Hell, I wasn’t even playing Jeff Buckley, which I would even sort of get—they have similar ranges. No, we were straight-up listening to O.G. Leonard Cohen. And that child had the gall to keep relating it back to a CGI ogre.”
After the stressful car ride, Porto began to suspect that Lila has little to no concern for her aunt’s happiness or well-being. In a moment of self-preservation, she finally relented and tried to connect with Lila on the subject matter that seemed to consume her attention: the 2001 movie Shrek.
When asked why she likes Shrek so much, Lila explained, “I just really like old movies. It’s important to know the classics.”
In response, Porto’s ego fully perished, and is not expecting to recover.