Monday, December 13, 2010


The answer to my latest Broadway Trivia Contest is “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”.

I got one correct answer – from fellow tax blogger and fellow theatre aficionado Trish McIntire of OUR TAXING TIMES.

Even after SOUTH PACIFIC opened the song was highly criticized and, according to Wikipedia, was “judged by some to be too controversial or downright inappropriate for the musical stage”.

Wikipedia goes on –

Rodgers and Hammerstein risked the entire South Pacific venture in light of legislative challenges to its decency or supposed Communist agenda. While on a tour of the Southern United States, lawmakers in Georgia introduced a bill outlawing entertainment containing ‘an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow’. One legislator said that ‘a song justifying interracial marriage was implicitly a threat to the American way of life’.”

James Michener, author of the book “Tales of The South Pacific” upon which SOUTH PACIFIC was based, explained, "The authors {R+H – rdf} replied stubbornly that this number represented why they had wanted to do this play, and that even if it meant the failure of the production, it was going to stay in."

We’ve come a long way, baby!
For those of you unfamiliar with the song it is sung by the character Lieutenant Cable and is preceded by Cable saying racism is "not born in you! It happens after you’re born...". Here are the lyrics -
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 drummedIn 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!