The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mika: The Boy Who Knew Too Much

Mika is, apparently, a singer. His second album is now entitled: "The Boy Who Knew Too Much." Personally, I find this irksome, for reasons which should be obvious.

I shall explain.

Someone arrived on my blog, today, searching for "Mika The Boy Who Knew Too Much", naturally, I did a search, myself, on Google, to find out just who this Mika was - since I had never heard of him, before. It turned out that Mika who was born Michael Holbrook Penniman, is a 26 year old singer in the early stages of his career (he didn't come to notice until 2007). It also turns out that his second album is called: "The Boy Who Knew Too Much".

Now, I find this galling for two reasons. Firstly, it is not the original name for the album. The album was meant to be called: "We are golden", after the first track on the album. Something prompted him to change the name, recently - something which may, very well, be my blog. Secondly, I was irritated to find much praise, on his fan site, for the "originality" of his title...some of the commenters were going overboard on how "original" this Mika fellow is. Well, I don't see originality, in this particular instance...I see that my blog started before Mika's entire career.

I have never heard a Mika song. I don't know if he is much good. I know this, however: this boy, Mika, only knows enough to take his titles from elsewhere. Imitating a blog title does not constitute an act of originality, despite what his fans think.

On another note, however, it is interesting to see how the phrase: "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" is becoming much more frequently used since I started this blog. The phrase was used, after Michael Jackson's death, in an article by Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times. The same phrase was actually the title of the reprint of that article in The Age, Australia. Independent origination of the phrase is possible, but I think it is more likely that it was the influence of my blog that prompted the use in this article for one good reason: I actually wrote a couple of posts about Michael Jackson, subsequent to his death - and any journalist doing research into MJ is likely to have found them, since my blog is highly ranked and appears high on listings in most Google searches.

Anyway, Mika is based in London. It is of note that the Daily Telegraph, in the UK, wrote of my blog and mentioned it specifically, by name: "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", in a large article, this year. So, it is very likely that Mika was personally aware of my blog and its title. So, to those fans who think he is being "original" in his use of this title...err not so. I have been using it for years. It seems to me, that he is just trading on the familiarity of the name I have created over the past few years, to increase his album sales.

By the way, I can't help but notice that he uses the word "boy" an awful lot, for a male singer. Track titles on the album, "The Boy Who Knew Too Much", include "Toy Boy" and "One Foot Boy". You can draw your own conclusions.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:02 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, there is also a Simpsons episode on this.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. I first heard about that long after I named my blog. I was never a regular viewer of the Simpsons – so I missed that one.

“The Boy Who Knew Too Much” arose as a simple direct description of the way Ainan was, in his first few years of life – he just seemed to know too much, for a boy his age – so I named the blog that, to capture what it was like to talk to Ainan.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Furthermore, if you Google "Mika plagiarism", you will discover that there is a LOT of controversy surrounding Mika's work. Basically, it seems that he has plagiarized much of what he has produced. He goes in for stealing the essence of other people's music...even very famous people's music, like Annie Lennox...and then calling it is his own. The general assessment of his career, according to critics, is that he is highly derivative in all it is not just the titles of his album that is clearly from somewhere else - his music is taken from elsewhere, too. He is just all hype, and no real substance (of his own).

If you listen to some of his better known pieces it is quite disturbing how very, very similar they are to famous pieces by other people. I really don't know how he gets away with it...maybe his fans are too young to have heard the original pieces.

12:09 PM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

A note for Ozob:

You seem unable to read my words above. I was unaware of the Simpsons episode in question. I only became aware of it long after my blog had started. Therefore your intimation is inaccurate. I did not spend my life watching cartoons!

8:13 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said... assume that I had knowledge of things of which I had no knowledge, nor would reasonably have had any knowledge, given the type of things that interest me. So, put away your assumptions - and see how things actually are.


8:16 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Ozob. You should take a look at the history and character of Mika. In particular, his music is clearly plagiaristic of very well known pieces of other composers. This has been pointed out, by many people on the net. Indeed, you only have to listen to his songs to hear the origins of it.

Thus, Mika is in the habit of sourcing "his" work, in the thoughts of others. It is his "modus operandi". It is no surprise, therefore, that, since he acquires his music from the thoughts of others, that he should acquire an album title, too, while he was at it. Some people are like that. He has every appearance of being one such person. If he was not, then his music would actually have a spark of originality. It doesn't.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Jujube said...

You wrote : "I have never heard a Mika song. I don't know if he is much good."

IMHO you should watch some of his video on Youtube, and try to know a little bit more about him ... I am concerned with giftedness (I was a gifted child, my two kids are gifted as well) and something tells me this artist is not only dyslexic, as widely known. He has many attributes of gifted people ...

And as far as I know, artists have always been inspired by other artists. It's not necessarily "plagiarism".

For the title of his album, I think it was just inspired by the 1956 Hitchcock movie ... It inspired you and the producers of the Simpsons, and lots of other people. "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s"

Sorry for my poor english, I am French.

10:38 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

You presume too much Jujube.

I have not seen "Hitchcock's 1956 movie", and so find myself distinctly uninfluenced by it. Not everyone post-1956 will have seen or heard it.

I am unfamiliar with what makes you think of Mika as "gifted". There is a lot of controversy surrounding some of his work. The word "plagiarist" has been used a lot by others, not just me...particular works do seem to have come from elsewhere in a seemingly conscious manner.

My blog title is not influenced by anyone at all, was simply a description of my son...nothing more than that: I DESCRIBED him, as he was at six years old. So, if anyone influenced me, it was he.

Thanks for your comment.

5:33 PM  

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