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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
TinkerandCrab Double entendre or language shift? (45) RE: Double entendre or language shift? 06 Feb 06


I understand an unwillingness to be laughed at, but it all gets me so grumpy. Why should gigglers rule us all? It feels like pandering... I work at a living history museum, and in October we do a farm program for school children. We had this new staff member once, and he refused to tell the children he was taking around the farm that the tool he was holding up to show them was called a 'hoe', because of more modern associations with that word-sound. He called it a 'spade' instead, and it was so clearly NOT a spade! (In the 1960's and '70's he would have been more reluctant to use *that* particular word, especially since many of our school children are African American). So here was this guy actually giving out *false* information to school children on an educational trip just so as to avoid being laughed at. My point is, all of this lyric editing can go too far, and you can't let silly people form a tyranny. Granted, sometimes I am in a silly mood myself and laughter isn't always bad...

Anyway, my advice to GUEST:v is this: suck it up and sing the original lyric. If people giggle, then let them. Maybe talk to the audience a little about how language changes over time. Folk songs, IMO, are *supposed* to make you think about those things, teach you about life in the past. A song with the word "cock" in it reminds us of the agrarian backgrounds most of these traditional songs have, makes us think about the difference between our lives and theirs, as well as the similarities.

Sorry if I sound like an old grumpy-puss... I know all my advice is easier said than done. I must confess, there are some days at my job where I really have to take a deep breath and brace myself for when I have to do a butter churning demonstration for middle-schoolers... I've had too many thirteen-year-olds sniggering and heard them in their purposely too-loud whispers going, "ooh! harder! faster!" as I'm trying to get stubborn cream to congeal. Being strong isn't always easy...

And I'll leave with this:

"The owl looked up to the stars above
And sang to a small guitar
'Oh lovely pussy, oh pussy my love!
What a beatiful pussy you are, you are, you are!
What a beautifual pussy you are!'"

--Catherine


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