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Advice Please? - use of offensive words in songs

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GUEST 25 Sep 00 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Michael in Swansea 25 Sep 00 - 06:30 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 25 Sep 00 - 09:13 AM
sophocleese 25 Sep 00 - 09:26 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 25 Sep 00 - 11:39 AM
MMario 25 Sep 00 - 12:09 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Sep 00 - 01:51 PM
GUEST,Joe 25 Sep 00 - 02:09 PM
paddymac 25 Sep 00 - 02:13 PM
DougR 25 Sep 00 - 02:38 PM
Naemanson 25 Sep 00 - 03:21 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Sep 00 - 03:41 PM
sophocleese 25 Sep 00 - 04:05 PM
radriano 25 Sep 00 - 04:46 PM
Uncle_DaveO 25 Sep 00 - 04:55 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Sep 00 - 06:15 PM
Jim Dixon 25 Sep 00 - 06:17 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Sep 00 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Michael in Swansea 26 Sep 00 - 08:41 AM
catspaw49 26 Sep 00 - 09:15 AM
radriano 26 Sep 00 - 11:12 AM
radriano 26 Sep 00 - 07:16 PM
Lepus Rex 26 Sep 00 - 07:27 PM
catspaw49 26 Sep 00 - 07:34 PM
Gypsy 26 Sep 00 - 09:27 PM
Lepus Rex 27 Sep 00 - 01:15 AM
Lepus Rex 27 Sep 00 - 01:16 AM
Les B 27 Sep 00 - 01:37 AM
Chanteyranger 27 Sep 00 - 02:18 AM
GUEST,Michael in Swansea 27 Sep 00 - 08:59 AM
SINSULL 27 Sep 00 - 10:25 AM
M.Ted 27 Sep 00 - 11:49 AM
mousethief 27 Sep 00 - 11:51 AM
catspaw49 27 Sep 00 - 12:09 PM
Jim Krause 27 Sep 00 - 12:32 PM
Jim the Bart 27 Sep 00 - 01:51 PM
Gern 27 Sep 00 - 02:08 PM
MMario 27 Sep 00 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,d.bryant@kingston.ac.uk 05 Jan 01 - 06:15 AM
LR Mole 05 Jan 01 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,John McGovern 05 Jan 01 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,John McGovern 05 Jan 01 - 08:43 PM
Gypsy 05 Jan 01 - 09:09 PM
Joe Offer 06 Jan 01 - 03:42 AM
Night Owl 06 Jan 01 - 03:55 AM
Michael in Swansea 06 Jan 01 - 06:53 AM
mkebenn 06 Jan 01 - 07:39 AM
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Subject: Advice Please?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 06:28 AM

There's been a couple of ugly threads recently concerning derogatory terms in songs, well at the risk of incurring the wrath of the Mudcat I'd like to ask your advice about a song that I've sung twice at singarounds, never on stage, not realising that I might be offending someone.
The song is "Lee Fore Brace" and contains the term "Dago" twice. For those who are not familiar with the song the lyrics are below.

LEE FORE BRACE
(Words Cicely Fox-Smith)

There was ten men haulin' on the lee fore brace
In the rain an' the drivin' hail
An' the mile long greybeards chargin' by
An' a thunderin' Cape Horn gale

That dark it was you scarce could see
Your hand before your face
That cold it was our fingers froze
Stiff as they gripped the brace

An' "Christ" said Dan "for a night in port
An' a Dago fiddler's tune
An' just one sniff of the drinks again
In a Callao saloon"

There was ten men haulin' on the lee fore brace
When the big sea broke abroad
Like a stream in spate a foaming flood
Right fore and aft it poured

The ship she staggered and lay still
So deep so dead lay she
You'd think she could not rise again
From such a weight of sea

There was ten men haulin' on the lee fore brace
Seven when she rose at last
The rest was gone to the pitch dark night
An' the sea an' the ice cold blast

An' one o' them was Dago Pete
An' one was Lars the Dane
An' the third was a lad whose like on Earth
I shall not find again

An' I'll heave an' haul an' stand my wheel
An' reef an' furl wi' the rest
For winds an' seas go on the same
When they've took an' drowned the best

An' it ain't no use to curse the Lord
Nor it ain't no sense to moan
For a man must live his life the same
An' keep his grief his own

An' I'll drink my drink an' I'll sing my song
An' nobody'll know but me
A lump o' my heart went down with Dan
That night on the wild Horn sea


So, what do you think? Derogatory or affectionate?
If changes are needed, change to what?

M


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: GUEST,Michael in Swansea
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 06:30 AM

I forgot to put my mane on the above, that's the drawback of having to sign in as a guest. Sorry

Mike.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 09:13 AM

In a song they are not intended as d


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: sophocleese
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 09:26 AM

First question is how comfortable are you singing it? If you feel that you're singing an old song and want to keep a semblance of historical accuracy in singing it then there is no need for changes, but you may want to explain things to your audience. I don't think the term Dago is being used as a derogatory epithet in this song, it is an identifying label. I probably wouldn't change anything myself if I sang it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 11:39 AM

Dago does have some racial overtones and might be considered offensive by Spanish members of your audience. you could substitute "Spanish" and thereby make the song wholesome without losing context.

I do take exception to your use of fore brace as two words however :-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: MMario
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 12:09 PM

"Dago" is also used as a derogatory term for Italians. However, again, I do not believe it it used in this manner here.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 01:51 PM

When I first came to St. Paul, Minnesota, some 30 years ago, there was something called a "dago sandwich" which was frequently served in old-fashioned cafés. It was a slice of meatloaf topped with red spaghetti sauce on a bun or white bread. The name, the sandwich, and that type of café have all disappeared now, as far as I know.

Certainly "dago" wasn't ALWAYS meant to be derogatory, but it often was, often enough that I think it's a good idea to put the word into permanent retirement.

If I were publishing a book of old songs, along with citations to the original source, I would print the word "dago" but I would add a footnote: "Substitute 'Spanish' [or whatever] in performance."

People who perform in public for purely entertainment purposes are under no obligation to be "historically authentic." In fact, I would argue we have a higher obligation to make our performances conform to contemporary standards.

It might be different if you were working at a historic site and performing a historic reenactment, and you were attempting to teach a lesson about history. In such a situation I would consult with the director of the site and follow his or her advice.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 02:09 PM

Dago is an Italian, Yank is an American, Mick is an Irishman. Not bad, just knicknames. Wop is not a nice term for Italians. We have an area in St. Louis known to one and all as 'Dago Hill' where all the great Italian resturants are. We all love the area and the name. regards Joe


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: paddymac
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 02:13 PM

I think that brother Jim has offered some sage advice. I grew up on the west side of Chicago with many Italian pals. The familiar or affectionate synonym for "Italian" was "Paisan or Paisano". In Italian, I think the word actually means something like "rustic" or "country person". "Dago" was considered to be pejorative. People of Italian ancestry might call each other "Dago", much that same way that blacks often refer to each other as "nigger", or that irishmen may call each other a "Paddy" or a "Mick". I presume other ethinic groups have similar words that can be "familiar or affectionate" when used by a member of the group, but are considered offensive when used by someone outside the group. Seems like the bottom line is simple: there's no point in offending somebody.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: DougR
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 02:38 PM

I guess you could substitute "Flago" for "Dago," and keep the rhythm of the song, but then you would probably have to come up with a definition for "Flago," of course. :>) DougR


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Naemanson
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 03:21 PM

I recite a C. Fox Smythe poem that also contains the term "dago" and I substitute the word Spanish for it. I think we need to recognize that there is no dividing line for ethnic slurs. If the "N-word" is a perjorative against blacks then the "D-word" is one against Hispanics. I need to ask my brother in law about this. He is a Mexican National and would have a good opinion.

The other side of the coin is that the old timers didn't neccessarily mean anything derogatory when they used these terms. It was the way to distinguish between people. Of course, there were plenty of people even then who used the words intending to hurt. We can't get around that. Humans are human.

If you are going to use "dago" in a song to be historically accurate then you should be willing to use the other terms as well and stand ready to take the flak. It all boils down to knowing your audience and what they will stand for.

There are those who mourn such cleansing of the old songs and ask where it will end. I understand and believe in their position but also recognize that improving relations between the races will take generations. Erasing these things from the old songs is a small step on that path and a small sacrifice in the overall picture.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 03:41 PM

GUEST,Joe: Oddly enough, St. Louis was where I grew up, before coming to St. Paul. I lived on the fringe of "The Hill" and some of my best friends were Italian. (The ones who didn't go to public school went to St. Aloysius. You're a true South St. Louisan if you know how to pronounce "Aloysius." Want to take a crack at it, Joe?)

Yes, I did call it "dago hill" in my days as a callow youth, but I was also taught that "dago" was an impolite word to use in front of Italians. (My father's term was "Eye-talian.")

On a visit to St. Louis last year, some of my old high school friends took me out for dinner at one of those Italian restaurants, and I mentioned the term "dago hill." He said, "We don't call it that any more; we just call it 'The Hill.'" Certainly all the tourist brochures call it "The Hill," as you can see by using the blue clicky.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: sophocleese
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 04:05 PM

So is dago Spanish or Italian? I always thought of it as Italian. Where does the term come from?

I guess in this song I don't see it as derogatory because Dago Pete appears in the same stanza as Lars the Dane. Is Dane a derogatory term? Is Dago Pete Spanish or Italian? Altering dago to spanish could be a drastic change if Dago Pete was originally Italian.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: radriano
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 04:46 PM

Hi Mike:

I sing this song as well. For the second line of the third verse I sing "for a good old fiddler's tune."

When I transcribed the song originally (from a CD by the English shanty group Landlocked) this is what I thought they were singing. There were some other phrases I was not sure of and when I received a copy of the original poem from one of Landlocked's members I was a little put off by the "Dago" references. However, I do sing "Dago Pete" in the seventh verse because that seems more like someone's nickname and somehow less offensive.

I think it's okay to change words when performing a song in public if those words might be offensive to someone. In fact, I've been known to delete entire verses if it's doesn't detract from the song too much. In other cases, I might only sing a song in certain situations because of content.

Of course, the late great Stan Hugill almost never performed the original verses to most of the shanties he sang because of content. In fact, many of the shanties in his book Shanties of the Seven Seas did not contain the original verses he learned.


Radriano


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 04:55 PM

AL-oh-ISH-us

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 06:15 PM

Dave O: You win the prize: one serving of toasted ravioli, at the McDonald's on the levee.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 06:17 PM

I understand "dago" is a corruption of the name "Diego" which could be either Spanish or Italian.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Sep 00 - 08:17 PM

I've never heard Dago as referring to Italians. Except when it's being used as a general term for everyone on the other side of what the English call the English Channel.

But I can't imagine being offended by this song, if I was Spanish or whatever, any more than I would if it had been Paddy or Mick. That's because the song is conveying a message about a fellowship of the sea which transcends these differences.

There are contexts where I might seriously object to Paddy or Mick, when they are attached to a contemptuous stereotype. It's "horses for courses" - I don't think general rules apply.

That includes general rules like Naemanson's "If you are going to use "dago" in a song to be historically accurate then you should be willing to use the other terms as well and stand ready to take the flak." It's not a question of taking the flak, it's recognsing whether in any particular case it's going to be hurtful to people who don't deserve to be hurt.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: GUEST,Michael in Swansea
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 08:41 AM

Well thanks everyone.
Radriano - I know Landlocked very well they're personal friends of mine, "A good old fiddlers tune" I didn't know they'd recorded it. Pete I shall have to think about.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 09:15 AM

McGrath, in the US at least, Dago refers to mainly Italians and paddymac has it right. I grew up in strongly Italian immigrant little town and the second generation men especially would use the term in banter with each other, along with some other colorful language.

Also, Jim Dixon.......My wife is from St. Louis and her family now only says "The Hill" which has now got some real "class" but still great food. Although I grew up with a strong Italian heritage in the community, it was the first place I had encountered toasted ravioli. Kinda' different.........

I think the changes that occur over the years to these epithets and how/where they are acceptable is always interesting. In WWI there was a patriotic type song in the US, "When Tony goes over the top, keep your eyes on, that fighting Wop."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: radriano
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 11:12 AM

Hi Mike,

"A good old fiddler's tune" is what I thought Landlocked was singing. I forget what they said they actually sang - it might well have been "a Dago fiddler's tune." I've also noticed that in the process of learning a song I sometimes change phrases inadvertently. In this case I preferred my phrase to the one in the original poem. In a way, I guess it's the folk process at work.

Regards,
Radriano


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: radriano
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 07:16 PM

By the way, Mike, according to Landlocked, the melody used for this song was composed by A. Fitzsimmons.

I did post the song earlier this year as a "Lyric Add" but it hasn't gotten into Digitrad yet.

Regards,
Radriano


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 07:27 PM

Jim, just a note: Lots of places in MN still sell dago sandwiches.

I wouldn't say the use of 'dago' in this song is offensive. I affectionately call my friends 'stupid Kraut,' 'Limey bastard,' 'goddamned reindeer-jockey Finnlander,' and 'McAsshole,' but they don't take it personally, because they know I mean it in a NICE way. :) I don't use ethnic slurs against people who are still descriminated against, however. It's only a matter of time before someone kills me, isn't it?

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: catspaw49
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 07:34 PM

Could you send me your address Lepus? Are you generally home evenings?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Gypsy
Date: 26 Sep 00 - 09:27 PM

Sigh....in a society where I am expected to laugh at "dumb blonde" jokes, and "helpless women" jokes....and am told what a bad sport i am for not laughing. How far must we take political correctness? Are we going to get so cleansed that we truly have a "person person taking the person to the person box"?


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 01:15 AM

Eeegh! Lemme guess, Spaw... Piano wire???

Did I mention that my grandfather's grandma was a Krau... er, German type person? Buy, I do love dem German types! :D

---Lepus Rex


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Lepus Rex
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 01:16 AM

Buy=boy. And BOY, I still love Germans!


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Les B
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 01:37 AM

I heard somewhere that Dago was a slightly derogatory term used between the northern and southern Italians, but can't remember which direction it went.

It seems to me the words aren't that bad as is, but if you feel uncomfortable singing them there are perhaps more acceptable two syllable words to substitute -- "Irish fiddler's tune" - "gypsy fiddler's tune" "Irish Mike" "gypsy dave" etc.

Another ethical problem comes with changing a modern songwriter's words -- of course, one could argue, that's the folk process.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 02:18 AM

What is striking is how sailors had nicknames for sailors of many nationalities, all meant in the spirit of both comradeship and a feeling of superiority, many being or developing into slurs on shore. English speaking sailors used "Johnny Crapoo" (A Frenchman), "Yankee," (for you-know who), "Dutchie," and "Squarehead," which seem pretty mild. I would not, and do not, use words which hitorically and currently very offensive, and today universally used as epithets, such as "nigger," even though in sea songs it too usually wasn't meant in a spirit of hatred. Just judge for yourself which terms conjure up strong feelings, are used today as racist terms, and are offensive. As radriano said, even the great authority and chanteyman Stan Hugill had his line he didn't want to cross - sexually explicit lyrics- (even though he collected songs with the word "nigger"). The point being, if Hugill can edit out what he was uncomfortable with and still capture the spirit of the song with other authentic lyrics, so can you. One last point: chanteys were often made up on the spot, and what we have written are chanteys as presented to the collectors by particular singers. Some sang some very crude stuff, others were more poetic and romantic in their lyrics. "Different ships - different long splices," as the sailors said.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: GUEST,Michael in Swansea
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 08:59 AM

Radriano, what I meant was I like what you thought it was "A good old fiddlers tune". I've only heard one of Landlocked sing it, that was at a party after the Swansea Maritme festival last July and there was a definite double "Dago" then.
Alan Fitzsimmons of The Keelers did write the tune that "we" sing, he used to be in a trio "Pinch of Salt" and they released a tape of Cicely Fox-Smith poems put to mucsic - Alan composing all tunes. It's from this tape that I picked it up.
About feeling uncomfortable singing the song it would of course depend on the company I'm in at the time. I've been in some circles, as no doubt has everyone here, where anything goes. Reckon it's a case of sizing up the situation before opening mouth.
You're a great bunch, glad I found you

Mike


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 10:25 AM

Wasn't the chaplin in M.A.S.H. ( the movie, not the TV show) called Dago Red? I remember Dago red referring to cheap, red, jug wine. Anyway, in the song, I do not interpret it at a slur. But unlike the Rex, I wouldn't use it to address a friend... even if I liked Italians. Not to imply I don't but... I hate these threads. No matter what you say, it still comes out "Some of my best friends are..."


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 11:49 AM

Naming that thing a "Dago sandwich" sounds like an insult to Italians everywhere--though given the fact that the Midwest is the land of meatloaf, perhaps it is an attempt to be inclusive;-)

Dago does seem to be derived from Diego--Southern Italy,centered particularly in Naples and Sicily, has always had close ties with Spain, the rulers have often been Spanish(the Borgias, for instance) and the Italians, particularly from the North, have tended to regard the Spanish as dirty and uncivilized--

"Wop" seems to come from the word "guappo" which is a slightly derogatory term for a dandy--

Italian-Americans don't seem to mind hearing the word "Dago" as long as it is not aimed at them in malice(believe me, I've got a lot of family in Hoboken)--They don't use that word much, or "Wop" for that matter, but they do use "ginzo" a lot, and it has a very specific meaning--


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: mousethief
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 11:51 AM

Ginzo? Aren't those the Japanese knives they sell on late-night TV?

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 12:09 PM

Dago was used a lot in the banter of friends, but it could be and often was used as a very derogatory term by outsiders/non-Italians.

WOP on the other hand was very derogatory. I understood the term to come from "Without Papers" but I could well be wrong. Where did you find that Ted?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Jim Krause
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 12:32 PM

I've rasseled with this question, too. I used to sing Henry C. Work's Kingdom Coming. My feeling is that in the case of your song, and the Work song, it draws attention to itself if you censor your performance, and thus the song becomes worse for it. If you decide to keep the song in your performance repertoire, you might wish to select your audience carefully. I finally did that with Kingdom Coming. I sing it only for Civil War enthusiasts, or Victorian living history events. They seem to understand a little better the usages of the 19th century, and excuse them. You may wish to do the same with Lee Fore Brace.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Jim the Bart
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 01:51 PM

Tough question. My dad, that crusty old Polak, still calls red Italian table wine "Dago Red" and doesn't understand why he can't find that section in the liquor store. To him, there is no offense intended - that's just what it's called.

The immigrant generation often used terms like that when talking about other immigrant groups. Later on, when the groups mixed, the terms would still be used, BUT (and it's a big but) you wouldn't use that term in the presence of a friend or acquaintance who was part of that group. The implication in that is that there is that it's not nice to use the term. There is implied derogation in the term.

However, (and it's a big however) to sanitize a song by removing all these terms seems somewhat false. It's like in ther movies where rough, tough teamsters say "shucks"; it just don't work. My suggestion is the common DISCLAIMER. Explain, in introducing songs that have these terms, that you are including them for historical purposes. State that you don't support the term, that you are a skilled professional and they should not use this kind of language at home, etc. Keep it light, but make it clear that like an actor using vernacular language (Out darn spot! - I don't think so) you're just singing it like it was wrote, 'er writed, 'er scribbled.

The role of Miss Manners is being played today by
Bart


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Gern
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 02:08 PM

Why are people so quickly to raise an outraged flag of political correctness when asked to show some sensitivity? If friends don't mind ethnic kidding, that's fine. But an audience of strangers will include some who are offended, who don't listen to any disclaimer about historical accuracy, and who have a right to their feelings even if no harm was intended. As an old-time banjo player, I perform a number of minstrel-era songs, and feel free to exponge any terms liable to offend. If history is somehow violated, so be it. Attitudes change over time, and gratefully a lot of once widespread slurs are no longer acceptable. Words like "dago" and n-words and f-words etc. really hurt and really inspire belittling and hatred. I try not to judge those who are offended -- instead, I make an effort not to offend them. It doesn't cost me much.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: MMario
Date: 27 Sep 00 - 02:31 PM

like many terms, who knows what the derivation of "WOP" actually is, but I know that during the early part of the 1900's when my grandparents came to this country it was used a a derogatory term implying illegal entry. "without papers" was the implication if not the derivation. It was a trigger word for my grandfather (they still talk about a few of the bar fights he was involved with due to someone using the term in regards to him) According to some of the older italians around while I was growing up, it also had the added implication that a "wop" was lower class, had no breeding/culture/couth. Seems logical in a twisted sort of way.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: GUEST,d.bryant@kingston.ac.uk
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 06:15 AM

What a stupid question to ask !

If we reject (or even worse, change) all the songs which aren't strictly PC, what would we be left with ?

The prejudices (or lack of) which are displayed in our heritage material are one of the important clues to the the way that people felt about issues in the past - surely one of the the reasons for singing/researching the stuff in the first place. After all why don't we change the song to make it refer to a modern turbine ship, if we want to modernise it ? If we remove the colour (in more ways than one in this case) from songs we lose those little things which give them their raison d'etre.

Also in this poem/song the word 'dago' is used affectionately rather than maliciously - rather as the insults are in Kipling's 'Gunga Dinn' - I see no malice in its use.

After all that, of course, Cicely Fox-Smith was relatively modern - she only died in 1954 I think, but like Kipling (whose style hers often resembles) she likes to use a linguistic style that she feels would correspond to that of the person narrating it.

If you want a Fox-Smith song which isn't contentious look up 'Home Lads, Home'. Its under 'Where there's rest for Horse and Man' on Digitrad - although 'India' in the first line should be 'Flanders' and 'Munn' later on should be 'Mons'. Sarah Morgan has made a wonderful song out of it.

Finally, although I live in England (and sing sea songs and shanties) I don't know of the 'Landlocked' recording - How does the tune go - I'd like to sing it.

Dave Bryant


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: LR Mole
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 10:15 AM

Ah, but is it you singing or are you being the character singing the song in the piece of theatre the song is?? Were I a lawyer I'd copyright all ethnic or possibly ethnic terms and sue everyone who felt gypped, or welshed on a bet, or mentioned a paddy wagon, or acted waspish. My motto would be ENFORCED HUMMING OF ALL POTENTIALLY OFFENSIVE LYRICS. Poo.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: GUEST,John McGovern
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 08:18 PM

I see this as a celebration of internationalism at sea, the singer/writer is obviously lammenting the loss of three good friends and workmates/colleagues. It does seem slightly criminal to change the words of old songs to suit a now more pc audience.

I'd suggest, like others, the substitution of the derogitory word (as its now seen), to Spanish, only because it does not take anything from the lyric, or, use the word, but, explain its hitorical context (i'd personally choose the latter!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: GUEST,John McGovern
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 08:43 PM

I see this as a celebration of internationalism at sea, the singer/writer is obviously lammenting the loss of three good friends and workmates/colleagues. It does seem slightly criminal to change the words of old songs to suit a now more pc audience.

I'd suggest, like others, the substitution of the derogitory word (as its now seen), to Spanish, only because it does not take anything from the lyric, or, use the word, but, explain its hitorical context (i'd personally choose the latter!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Gypsy
Date: 05 Jan 01 - 09:09 PM

Still cannot believe that something this old, cannot be sung without offense. BUT, if you truly want to avoid offense...pull out that thesauras, and start inserting what will fit rythmically. Good old song has about the same syllables, and you could the mans name one with 3 syllables. Or, conversely, you could state that this is a traditional song, tell the story, then sing it.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 03:42 AM

Well, I gotta vent. I got rudely interrupted in a song circle this evening while singing "Blow Ye Winds in the Morning." I had also sung Greenland Whale Fisheries," and the ladies thought whale-killing songs were offensive.
Grrr.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Night Owl
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 03:55 AM

Joe.....do you think giving a brief history of the songs as Gypsy suggested would have helped make them "acceptable"???


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Michael in Swansea
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 06:53 AM

Since starting this thread I've sung Lee Fore Brace only twice in pubic, once in my local pub, not known for singarounds, and the second time was in the Tap and Spile in Whitby on the Sunday evening of the Captain Scott festival. Both times I sung the "double Dago" no one objected. In the Tap I explained before starting, in my local pub no-one gives a toss.

Joe, I wouldn't have said Greenland Whale Fisheries was a whale killing song, more like a whale killer killing song. Let's hear it for the big fellow.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: mkebenn
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 07:39 AM

Is it just my W.A.S.P. senesibility that does not find mick, polack, kraut, tommy, etc offensive, but finds nigger, kike, spick, chink extremly so? Maybe just me, but I call one of my friends " dumb Canuck" all the time, and he responds in kind. These words seem almost playfull to me as opposed the hate implied in the latter.. Mike


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: Butch
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 08:38 AM

I have to deal with this subject myself. I build and play early 19th century banjos and do shows on the history of the instrument. Many terms that are today considered VERY insulting are sprinkled through the lyrics. My answer is to just say up front:" In the attempt to be honest about this music, I do not change the words. You will be uneasy with these lyrics, but if I changed them, you would loose the spirit of the historical context. If you are not at all uneasy, then you may need to look deep inside yourself and find out why. "

With this as an introduction, I have never had a problem. It does however lead to some great debates on racism, and as I see it, that is a good thing.


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: John Routledge
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 08:43 AM

What please are my rights as someone who is incensed by the adulteration of old songs to satisfy what may or may not be considered acceptable in 2001.

Please leave these songs alone - don't sing them - and the unacceptable elements will cause offence to no-one.

Yours Traditionally John


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Subject: RE: Help: Advice Please?
From: John Routledge
Date: 06 Jan 01 - 08:52 AM

If I had given myself ten minutes to calm down before posting it would have allowed Butch to set out my feelings better than I did myself! John


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