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clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, Dec. 19th, 2006 07:30 pm
lyrics offensiveness

Everything below the cut is a query about how offensive some song lyrics are. Click or no, it's up to you.




Just try to see it, and you will soon agree, señors
Why invite regret, when you can get the sort of rape you'll never ever forget?

You can get the rape emphatic, you can get the rape polite
You can get the rape with Indians (a very charming sight)
You can get the rape on horseback, they all say it's new and gay!
So you see the sort of rape depends on what you pay,
It Depends On What You Pay


Are you familiar with the context of the lyrics above?

Yes
16(42.1%)
No
21(55.3%)
Radio button!
1(2.6%)

How offensive do you find them?

Hee
7(18.4%)
Eh
5(13.2%)
They've got an edge to them
20(52.6%)
Quite offensive
5(13.2%)
Fuck you!
0(0.0%)
Other (see comments)
1(2.6%)

Is the version below an improvement?

Yes
14(36.8%)
No
19(50.0%)
Radio buttons again!
5(13.2%)

Other thoughts?




Just try to see it, and you will soon agree, señors
Why invite regret, when you can order an abduction you will never forget?

An abduction that's emphatic, an abduction that's polite
An abduction done with Indians (a truly charming sight)
An abduction done on horseback, they all say it's new and gay!
So you see the sort of rape depends on what you pay,
It Depends On What You Pay





Okay, next question:


There were...
Hottentots with rotten tots and baskets on each mother's head
And Zulus, they concluded, never understood a thing they said
Effendis[okay, this word is wrong, anyone know what it is?] who were ganging up on natives who were being fed
And Swazi who were goosing all the Bushmen in the line ahead

It was dreadful!

The Pygmies had their noses stuck in everybody's business
While Watusis had their business stuck in everybody's nose
But the truth of the matter, if you really want to know
Was that everybody's business was about to decompose


Poll #892089 Watusis

Are you familiar with the context of the lyrics above?

Yes
2(7.1%)
No
26(92.9%)
Where's my ticky box?
0(0.0%)

How offensive do you find them?

Hee
4(14.3%)
Eh
9(32.1%)
They've got an edge to them
8(28.6%)
Quite offensive
4(14.3%)
Fuck you!
1(3.6%)
Other (see comments)
2(7.1%)

Other thoughts?






Last question...


Tell you about them sobbin' women who lived in the Roman days
It seems that they all went swimming while their men was off to graze
Well, a Roman troop was riding by and saw them in their me-oh-my
So they took them all back home to dry, least that's what Plutarch says

Oh, yes, them a-women was sobbin', sobbin', sobbin' fit to be tied
Every muscle was throbbin', throbbin' from that riotious ride
Seems they cried and kissed and kissed and cried
All over that Roman countryside
So don't forget that when you're taking a bride
Sobbin' fit to be tied, from that riotious ride

...

When their men folk went to fetch them the women would not be fetched
It seems when the Romans catch them their lady friends stay catched
Now, let this be, because it's true, a lesson to the likes of you
Rough them up like them there Romans do, or else they'll think you're tetched


Poll #892090 sobbin

Are you familiar with the context of the lyrics above?

Yes
9(32.1%)
No
18(64.3%)
Why am I taking this poll anyway?
1(3.6%)

How offensive do you find them?

Hee
8(28.6%)
Eh
4(14.3%)
They've got an edge to them
8(28.6%)
Quite offensive
7(25.0%)
Fuck you!
1(3.6%)
Other (see comments)
0(0.0%)

Other thoughts?




EDIT: Want context? Check my initial comment.

A friend found this modern re-enactment of the third song on youtube. It's notable for being an actual family of men, and for a slavish devotion to the original blocking and camera angles. Also, Cheryl explained the story context for it better than I did.

... this leads me to hunt youtube versions of the other songs: It Depends on What You Pay, A Difficult Transition

Tags: ,

25CommentReplyShare

clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 01:48 am (UTC)
for those who are curious...

The first song, It Depends on What You Pay, is from The Fantasticks. Two fathers think setting up the daughter of one to be be rescued by the son of the other from an "attempted rape--I know you prefer abduction, but the proper term is rape!" perpetrated by El Gallo, also the narrator of the show. The fathers are shown to be fairly foolish throughout the show.

The second song, A Difficult Transition, is from Nunsense, a musical put on by--the conceit is--a bunch of nuns who sing and dance and make fun of themselves for singing and dancing. The show is gently satirical of Catholic school upbringings, and perhaps there is some irony to this song I can't detect, to do with the charities of Catholic Americans several decades ago and my mom being taught to pray for all the Communists who were bound for hell. But I can't detect it.

But I'm going to hell anyway because any time I've seen the show, the choreography for "Watusis had their business stuck in everybody's nose" has cracked me up.

The third song, Sobbin' Women, is from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The manly man who is the lead singer has successfully "abducted" himself a loving wife and figures this is the best advice to give his younger brothers, who are snowed in up in a pass with the women in question. But the men are shown to be idiots--the women successfully fend the men off and treat them like, well, misbehaving boys until they learn their lesson and court the women properly.

So, hm. I have no point, but I wonder if context changes anyone's opinions.


ReplyThread

amaebi
amaebi
amaebi
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

Rememeber the time Ann reprinted a story a reader sent in which Ogg walloped Mrs Ogg for somethine, and when her readers wrote in to complain she said, "It was cute and funny! Lighten up!"?


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

I agree with you and Mark that some attitudes are never quaint, but I don't think there's any subject that cannot be joked about.

The question is whether it's a successful joke, and I think it's hard to judge that out of context. The three of us who so far said "hee" for the third song grew up loving the movie, and I think that's because we get the humor, but it could also be that we are inured to the inappropriateness. I wonder.


ReplyThread Parent
lyricae
lyricae
Cheryl
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 02:54 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

Having owned "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" since I was old enough to own a movie, I am now forced to take a critical look at the song in question. Undoubtedly, without context the song is offensive. However, it is clear in context that the only person who thinks this approach to matrimony is acceptable is Adam (the guy singing the song). The song is based on his having heard his wife read the story of the Sabine women and his basic inability to empathise with anyone. As the movie unfolds, he is shown the error of his ways as are his brothers. so I guess it becomes a question of whether or not the end justifies the means. Even as a child seeing this movie, I never saw the scene which includes the above song and said, "By golly, I can't believe more men don't take this approach to courtship."


ReplyThread Parent
lyricae
lyricae
Cheryl
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

Also, for reference, when "The Fantastiks" was released in movie format, the "cleaned up version" of the abduction song was used. They cut out the rape version because they thought it might be offensive.

I have no experience at all with the second song,having never seen the play in question.


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

I knew that about the movie, but I haven't seen it because friends panned it for unrelated reasons.

Also, do check the youtube video I added a link to in my original post. :)


ReplyThread Parent
jbsegal
jbsegal
JB
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

It's wretched.


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

The Fantasticks movie, or the Seven Brides home video?


ReplyThread Parent
jbsegal
jbsegal
JB
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 06:34 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

The Fantasticks movie. You were wise to skip it.


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 06:56 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

That does seem to be the strong consensus.


ReplyThread Parent
jbsegal
jbsegal
JB
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 06:12 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

The new lyrics are now the official lyrics. The author was on NPR some while ago discussing it. I suspect searching on NPR.org for fantasticks will find it.


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 06:29 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

Thanks for the tip... I'll take a look.


ReplyThread Parent
arsmith
arsmith
arsmith
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

I had never heard song #1 before, and figured it was somehow related to song #3. Until I read song #3.

Song #2 oddly struck me as some sort of gilbert and sullivan thing. Probably because all the african tribes made me think of the victorian era.

Song #3, to me has context in you telling me about it. :)

Al.

P.S. on an unrelated note, I've decided I kinda want to observe the Harry Potter LJRPG, if that's okay, without participating. Can you point out where it is?


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

*grin* Hey you.

The game: oh, good lord. My part in it highly resembles netsex right now. (But, but, there's plot reasons for the sex! I'm seducing Draco to the side of light, no really.)

But if you will, http://veiled-severus.livejournal.com/friends/ will show you everything that's going on in the game. Or http://community.livejournal.com/veiledintention/ will give you much of it, but not characters' private musings or the owl post they send each other. Going all the way back in that community and working forward might be the best way to catch up.

Let me know what you think, if you dare. ;-)


ReplyThread Parent
silver_fic
silver_fic
silver_fic
Sat, Feb. 24th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: for those who are curious...

OKay, see now I want to see all three of those just so that I have the context...


ReplyThread Parent
amaebi
amaebi
amaebi
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)

I'm largely with feste_sylvain. With the first one, I thought it depended on context, though I don't find it very appealing.

I didn't find the second one quaint, but as a repository of ethnic stereotype goes, it's not awfully redolent.

And the third one was repellent.


ReplyThread
juliansinger
juliansinger
Kate
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 02:43 am (UTC)

I only know the context for the last one, and actually, the context makes the song worse, because good lord was that movie a heaping bundle of clap trap and stupid people. (I first saw it in adulthood-- I imagine I would have loved it as a kid.)


ReplyThread
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 02:46 am (UTC)

I think you're right. I was no older than 14 when I first encountered any of these songs, and I rather love them all. BUT, perhaps only in context. I've stopped requesting them on WERS for that reason.


ReplyThread Parent
skreeky
skreeky
Kriss
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 02:36 pm (UTC)

My thoughts on context:

The context does not make any of these less offensive, so it doesn't change my mind.

What it does is explain why the author was being offensive. If the object is to make a character disliked, or set up a feeling of extreme danger, then this is exactly what the author needs to do.

It is precisely BECAUSE the song is offensive that it accomplishes what it sets out to do.

There is a difference between thinking something is offensive and thinking that it cannot serve any purpose and should not exist. It is offensive? Of course. Is it appropriate? Different question. For the purpose of establishing which characters are "bad," yes. That's the point.


ReplyThread
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)

Mmm. This works best for Sobbin' Women, where the lead singer is supposed to be a clueless idiot. His advice totally backfires in typical broad musical comedy ways.

It works somewhat in The Fantasticks, but the messages of that show are somewhat more subtle.

If it is the case at all in Nunsense, if there is a gentle satire of the condescending attitudes of Catholic charities intended, for me it's totally lost. And yet the very scansion of that song gets me giggling--as lyrics divorced from meaning, it's good.


ReplyThread Parent
dr_whom
dr_whom
AJD
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)

I think the context in The Fantasticks certainly makes it less offensive. The context, after all, is basically that El Gallo isn't actually talking about rape; he just enjoys making the girl's father uncomfortable by using the word "rape" a lot.

Incidentally, I've had "I'm an Indian Too" from Annie Get Your Gun stuck in my head all day, and I suspect it's your fault.


ReplyThread Parent
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Wed, Dec. 20th, 2006 09:40 pm (UTC)

I blame hammercock! Did you read people's answers? She mentioned that song in her comments on the Nunsense song.


ReplyThread Parent
last_plane_out
last_plane_out
last_plane_out
Tue, Apr. 17th, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC)
icon lust!

You have no idea who I am. I really don't know who you are, either.

nonetheless!

I FREAKED when I saw the Rosencrantz/Guildenstern icon. OMFG!

Then as I go to leave a comment I discover you have SiP and Sandman and Much ado icons! gaaaah!

::thud::


ReplyThread
clauclauclaudia
clauclauclaudia
Claudia
Tue, Apr. 17th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re: icon lust!

Glad you like! I'm curious how you wandered across this post. Care to share?


ReplyThread Parent