“Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All That Bites You”

5 08 2007

You don’t need a ticket to hum along with me here in the critic’s circle. 🙂

“A patriotic song is an emotion and you must not embarrass an audience with it, or they will hate your guts.”
–Irving Berlin

Still thinking about this as it connects to creative truth and literal lies.
Maybe a better anthem than God Bless America for Daryl’s letter-writer, would be “Getting to Know You” from The King and I [a sympathetic western musical about the middle east– well, the East anyway — before 20th century terrorism, imagine!]

By birth Irving Berlin shared neither god nor country with patriotic Christian Americans. No, he was born Jewish and Russian — personal background seldom endearing to the religious right — his family soon fleeing the latter because of the former. He had only two years of formal schooling (maybe a plus for unschoolers but what about Christian school-at-homers?) before going to work, as a singing waiter and struggling songwriter (who could neither read nor write musical notation.) No worry of that connecting to “gay” sins, though, because he was also husband and father — he honeymooned in CUBA with his first wife, a bad idea that killed her. He then married a Catholic whose prominent family disapproved of their mixed-faith match.

No lie, not fiction, literally a true story. So for us as his audience, what truth lies in that? What art came of his history? Read the rest of this entry »

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