Blogger and esteemed commenter here Rick Jones shares my passion for theater and is also, like me, a stage director, but seldom has a chance to weigh in on that topic. My post about the troubling lyrics in “Standing on the Corner,” the best known song in Frank Loesser’s “The Most Happy Fella” gave Rick a chance to swing at a pitch in his wheelhouse, as the baseball broadcasters like to say, and he didn’t disappoint.
I want to clarify something from the original post. Having noted the lyrics, I was no way criticizing them or the song, or the musical itself. Older shows are valuable and fascinating in part because they serve as windows on past cultural values and attitudes—that was one of the reasons for the ambitious, important and doomed mission of the theater I have been artistic director of for the last two decades. Such politically incorrect references should never be excised in performance.
“The Most Happy Fella” is a slog, however. Ambitious, sure, but too long, too sentimental, and with too many unavoidable “wince points,” as I call them, to make the show worth the huge investment in talent, money and time that it takes to produce competently. Any time the best songs in a musical are the ones that have nothing to do with the plot (“Standing on the Corner,” “Big D,” and “Abondanza!”, which in in the clip above) it’s ominous. The 1925 Pulitzer Prize-winning hit play this pseudo-opera was based on, “They Knew What They Wanted” by Sydney Howard, is much better.
Here is Rick’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Now That Was A Rape Culture…”: Continue reading
I just happened to be surfing past the Broadway Channel on Sirius XM, and found myself startled at the tone of the lyrics of that Hit Parade smash from the 1956 musical, “The Most Happy Fella,” by the great composer/lyricist Frank Loesser, “Standing on the Corner (Watching All The Girls Go By)”—especially at the end:
Saturday, and I’m so broke
Haven’t got a girl, and that’s no joke
Still I’m living like a millionaire
When I take me down to Main Street and I review the harem parading for me there..
Standing on the corner watching all the girls go by
Standing on the corner underneath the springtime sky!
Brother, you can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking
Or for the “Woo!” look in your eye
You’re only standing on the corner watching all the girls
Watching all the girls, watching all the girls
Nobody saw anything wrong with these sentiments in 1956. It was fun, it was cute, it was innocent! A bunch of guys hanging out, leering and ogling women as they walked on the sidewalk, with “woo”—that is, lust— in their eyes and illegal thoughts in their brains, and periodically wolf-whistling at “the harem.”
Sometimes we forget—sometimes women especially forget—that our culture’s ethics regarding sexual etiquette and respect does advance, and has, as much as self-serving activists would have us believe otherwise.
At 8:46 AM, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial popped on TV. “Women want like to make it last,” bold type told us. “Men are done in seconds.”
Who decided that gratuitous sexual innuendo is inherently hilarious and appropriate in every context, at every moment? Well, no one yet. Again, it is the boors in ad agencies and clods in corporate boardrooms who are pushing us down this uncivil, impolite, needlessly sleazy path. We can remind them that there are limits dictated by taste and decorum, or we can just shrug it off, part of the irreversible ratchet process called “defining deviancy down.”
Of course, we can’t expect advertisers to display respect to their audiences if their audiences prove they deserve none.
How long do you think it will be before we see a Reese’s ad featuring a kinky couple mid-sexual romp, and the naked male points to his erect penis, crying, “Hey! You got peanut butter on my chocolate sauce!” Then his partner, after, ah, checking it out, cries, “Mmmmm! But it tastes great!”
At this rate, not long at all.
Let me tell you, it’s quite a shock when Britt’s head spins around and that forked tongue starts flecking…
Anyone who spends much time watching TV knows that “lookism” is the way of the world in the broadcast news business. From Nora O’Donnell on ABC to Robin Meade on HLN to Erin Andrews and the bevy of Fox blondes, it is obvious that if you are female, talent as a reporter won’t get you as far as some beauty contest creds. Plain, even conventionally pretty women are at a great competitive disadvantage in this field.
One of the more blatant beneficiaries of this bias, ESPN’s Brit McHenry, has just been outed on the web as an ugly human being in a flashy disguise. Her car was towed, and a camera caught the reporter taking out her frustration on the poor clerk who was tasked with collecting her fee.
“I’m in the news, sweetheart, I will fucking sue this place,” McHenry says as the video opens.“Yep, that’s all you care about, is just taking people’s money,” she continues. “With no education, no skillset, just wanted to clarify that. … Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing? Why, cause I have a brain and you don’t?…Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh? ‘Cause they look so stunning … ‘Cause I’m on television and you’re in a fucking trailer, honey.”
“Lose some weight, baby girl,” she taunted as she left.
Yecchh. Continue reading
If you don’t know why a photo of Richard Nixon is appropriate in a post about Hillary Clinton, you need help…
Hillary lies. That’s what she does. She can’t help herself; she does it by reflex, even when there is no reason to. Even when one includes Richard M. Nixon, whose reputation as a liar was think well before he became President, Hillary Clinton’s record is remarkable. She lies about little things (Claiming to be a Yankee fan), big things (conservatives made up the Monica story); she lies without caring who the lies hurt (the White House travel office debacle), and lies to make herself look heroic (her Brian Williams-like tale about being under fire). She lies to try to duck responsibility for her own actions (saying that her use of a private e-mail server was compliant with government rules), and she lies when it is obvious that what she is saying is ridiculous (she and Bill left the White House in penury.) Unlike her charismatic husband, she’s not even good at lying, and apparently practice doesn’t help, in her case.
Yet she keeps doing it. She is not being well served by her supporters, who have given Clinton no reason to reform, improve, or respect the them or the public they are part of. The message Clinton has received is that it doesn’t matter what she does or says. She’s a woman, and she’s a Democrat, and that’s all that matters. Have any voters adopted such an indefensible, irresponsible and civicly disgraceful approach to self-government? Well, yes, come to think or it: the 95% of black citizens who supported Barack Obama for a second term based on race and little more. That’s not mitigation.
Barely out of the gate, Hillary is at it again. Speaking in Iowa Wednesday, she told an audience that all her grandparents had immigrated to the United States, a story that public census data and other records related to her maternal and paternal grandparents show is fabrication. Continue reading