April 29, 2010

Teach your parents well

A week ago or so, in one of our trademark rambling, scatter-shooting conversations, my good friend J suddenly thought of the lyrics to one of the lesser-known show songs of the 50’s. J is a few years older than me, and has an amazing memory for such trivia.

The show was South Pacific, the 1958 romantic comedy staring Mitzi Gaynor. South Pacific gave us several memorable tunes, but this particular ditty didn't catch on. Considering the atmosphere of the day, that is unsurprising. Until J brought it up, I had never heard of it.

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 different 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
You’ve got to be carefully taught

Amazingly true, isn’t it? And again, it makes me think of the nutty, religious right members of the Texas State Board of Education, and that group’s efforts to skew the curriculum to their dominionist ends. South Pacific. Lost in time but remembered by my very wise friend. Here is one of the official trailers from the original film version of South Pacific. Note all the familiar songs, but not this particular tune.

UPDATE: The Misfit found a You Tube of the song.

Thanks, Misfit.


David said...

South Pacific was much more than a light-hearted romantic comedy. The underlying storyline of bigotry and intoleration was a very big part of this film.

Comrade E.B. Misfit said...

Here you go!

Comrade E.B. Misfit said...

de nada! :)