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I was just answering a letter from a reader, and in so doing ended up looking up a song lyric I wanted to include in my response.

I really love this lyric, and so am posting it here, just because I know others here will enjoy seeing it again.

Here it is:

You've got to be taught

To hate and fear,

You've got to be taught

From year to year,

It's got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,

You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You've got to be carefully taught!

I'm sure everyone knows the author, and the source material.


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Ah, Rogers & Hammerstein, from South Pacific. I worked on that movie for about two months (mid-1990s home video reissue), so most of those songs are drilled into my head. I still can't listen to "I Want to Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" without wincing.

I also laughed at "Bali Ha'i" every time I heard it, realizing that Led Zeppelin had ripped off the chorus of "Immigrant Song" from this late 1940s showtune.

More on "You've Got to Be Taught" at this link on Wikipedia.

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Awww Pec, you had to be there at 16, like me, to see south Pacific on an 75 feet screen in 70mm and 6 channel stereo sound, with a thousand other people all sitting in the cinema, to really understand the power of the show. It was a period of show tunes that pervaded the lives of whole generations. I saved up and bought tickets for my mom and step-dad to go and see South Pacific and they came home with tears of joy in their eyes, but it didn't turn them gay, as far as I know.

We young gay guys would do the beats, singing the songs. Always the activist, I particularly remember being very militant, singing as I drove to the beach front beat:

"Younger than Springtime am I, Gayer than laughter am I."

Even at the ripe old age of 22, I was still singing, "Once you have found him, never let him go..."

When I was 25. I went to see it again in small suburban flea-pit. I covered my head so no one would see me when I left the theatre. So embarrassing.

Then I caught up with it again in my 50s, and I enjoyed it for what it was, for the enthusiasm of the production and the nostalgia of an era of cinematic showmanship that has gone. I could see all its faults and excesses, but some how they were overridden by the audaciousness, the sheer daring to be as "corny as Kansas in August," but then I have always been willing to "believe any fable I hear from a person in pants."

Then Bernstein's West Side Story came, and the drive to the beats had a new set of songs:

"Tonight, tonight, I see my love tonight."


"I feel pretty and witty and GAY."

Ah those were days young men drove their cars searching for each other, all over Adelaide, all night, singing songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein II and others.

Somehow rapping on the way to a beat just wouldn't have the same romance, but then maybe it works for the younger generation. :hehe:

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Naaa, South Pacific is too weird and dated for me. Not my kinda film. (But I admire your use of fonts.)

I do like Oklahoma, though. Friends of mine and I used to call it Oklahomo, and we often admired some of the dancers in the background. That's a pretty funny movie, and the songs are great.

"The corn is as high as a elephant's eye..."

Those are classics. Sound of Music I never liked much as a movie, because I grew up with the Mary Martin original cast Broadway album. Julie Andrews was just too "sweetness and light" for me. But it's a well-shot film. I got to work on about ten minutes of that one for home video, and met Robert Wise (albeit briefly); he autographed my copy of The Day the Earth Stood Still, which was a thrill.

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