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Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?

McGrath of Harlow 30 Aug 15 - 11:23 AM
Backwoodsman 30 Aug 15 - 02:14 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 30 Aug 15 - 01:49 AM
PHJim 30 Aug 15 - 01:04 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Aug 15 - 12:35 PM
GUEST,mauvepink 29 Aug 15 - 12:05 PM
PHJim 29 Aug 15 - 11:30 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Aug 15 - 04:40 AM
PHJim 29 Aug 15 - 12:18 AM
GUEST,Tootler who cba to reset his cookie 28 Aug 15 - 06:39 PM
Lighter 02 Oct 13 - 01:30 PM
Ged Fox 02 Oct 13 - 01:12 PM
GUEST,spleen cringe 02 Oct 13 - 11:29 AM
Leadfingers 02 Oct 13 - 11:12 AM
Lighter 02 Oct 13 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 02 Oct 13 - 08:00 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Oct 13 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 01 Oct 13 - 10:39 AM
Lighter 01 Oct 13 - 10:35 AM
GUEST,Spleen Cringe 01 Oct 13 - 09:36 AM
Noreen 01 Oct 13 - 08:54 AM
Lighter 01 Oct 13 - 08:48 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Oct 13 - 08:19 AM
Nigel Parsons 01 Oct 13 - 07:08 AM
GUEST 01 Oct 13 - 03:22 AM
GUEST 01 Oct 13 - 12:31 AM
PHJim 30 Sep 13 - 08:56 PM
GUEST 10 Aug 01 - 01:55 PM
nutty 10 Aug 01 - 12:58 PM
sophocleese 10 Aug 01 - 12:18 PM
GUEST 10 Aug 01 - 10:57 AM
nutty 10 Aug 01 - 03:57 AM
katlaughing 10 Aug 01 - 12:27 AM
sophocleese 09 Aug 01 - 10:43 PM
Hawker 09 Aug 01 - 06:51 PM
nutty 09 Aug 01 - 06:39 PM
katlaughing 09 Aug 01 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,Willa 09 Aug 01 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,Harvey andrews 09 Aug 01 - 05:03 PM
Maryrrf 09 Aug 01 - 04:31 PM
nutty 09 Aug 01 - 03:36 PM
katlaughing 09 Aug 01 - 03:23 PM
Hawker 09 Aug 01 - 02:18 PM
GUEST,The Admiral 09 Aug 01 - 09:19 AM
Noreen 09 Aug 01 - 09:10 AM
nutty 09 Aug 01 - 03:25 AM
sophocleese 08 Aug 01 - 11:12 PM
Noreen 08 Aug 01 - 09:07 PM
Gloredhel 08 Aug 01 - 08:14 PM
Noreen 08 Aug 01 - 07:44 PM
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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Aug 15 - 11:23 AM

Well it was still a song about a brothel, so I can't see any significant difference.

Mind There a nice little pub round my way that I used to play in called "The Rising Sun", so it could be a song about a pub I suppose...


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 30 Aug 15 - 02:14 AM

Not surprising, that, Allan.
How times change!


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 30 Aug 15 - 01:49 AM

Seemingly the Animals changed the song's (ie House) lyrics because they knew that at that time they wouldn't get a song which was obviously about a prostitute played on the BBC.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: PHJim
Date: 30 Aug 15 - 01:04 AM

I just realised that I posted to this thread about two years ago and said almost the exact same thing. My apologies for repeating myself.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 15 - 12:35 PM

Thanks, Jim - much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,mauvepink
Date: 29 Aug 15 - 12:05 PM

When all men Sing

I have listened to this and do wonder what all the fuss is about. I can neither see where any sensible woman would take offence nor do I read anywhere in the thread where one has done so.

I cannot imagine Dereke Gifford being involved in anything meant to upset anyone. He is one of the most open minded, accepting people I have known involved in folk music.

The song is above for your own interpretations.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: PHJim
Date: 29 Aug 15 - 11:30 AM

You're right Backwoodsman. My mistake and my post makes no sense with that mistake in it. Eric changed the sex of the protagonist and the meaning of the song.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Aug 15 - 04:40 AM

"while Eric Burdon didn't feel comfortable singing the part of a woman trapped in a life of prostitution, so sang the part of a man trapped in a life of paying for sex (or perhaps a boy trapped in a life of prostitution). He sang, "It's been the ruin of many poor girl, and me Oh God, I'm one."

I think you'll find he sang, "It's been the ruin of many a poor boy". At least, he did in the recorded version which topped the UK charts in the '60s...

Recording with Lyrics


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: PHJim
Date: 29 Aug 15 - 12:18 AM

When Ed McCurdy played I Cobourg, Ontario a couple of decades ago, he distributed the words to "Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream" and told the audience to note that he had changed, "And the room was filled with men," to, "Filled with women and men.

The person who wrote the words for Neil Armstrong to speak when he stepped onto the moon was pissed off at the fact that Neil left out a word which changed the meaning entirely - "One small step for (a) man; one giant step for mankind."

And regarding changing the sex of the character in the song to match the sex of the singer, many male sigers like Josh White, Woody Guthrie, Jack Elliott, Dave Van Ronk and Bob Dylan didnèt mean to mind singing the woman's part in "It's been the ruin of many poor girl, and me Oh God, I'm one," while Eric Burdon didn't feel comfortable singing the part of a woman trapped in a life of prostitution, so sang the part of a man trapped in a life of paying for sex (or perhaps a boy trapped in a life of prostitution). He sang, "It's been the ruin of many poor girl, and me Oh God, I'm one."


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,Tootler who cba to reset his cookie
Date: 28 Aug 15 - 06:39 PM

When all hupersonkind sing?


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Oct 13 - 01:30 PM

"Persondolin" is merely a sexist way to avoid saying "womandolin." Fairness requires that one half the number of such instruments be declared male and the other half female. Or, to be completely fair, vice versa.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Ged Fox
Date: 02 Oct 13 - 01:12 PM

Persondolin - accent on the second syllable - lovely word - is it a place in Middle Earth or a rare gem?


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,spleen cringe
Date: 02 Oct 13 - 11:29 AM

Correct (except for the spelling).

Mia kulper...


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 02 Oct 13 - 11:12 AM

NO way am I going to play a Persondolin just to please some idiot who wants to stir up trouble !!!


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Oct 13 - 08:21 AM

> Trying to argue that a living, changing thing should remain a certain way is a pointless attempt to acheive the impossible.

Correct (except for the spelling). But that's not to say that every change, particularly when imposed by academic or editorial fiat rather than by natural usage, is for the better or worth adopting.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 02 Oct 13 - 08:00 AM

"An interesting handle chosen by Spleen Cringe for herself or himself."

In fact it's just an anagram of my name. I suppose the point I was trying to make above was that language is not and never has been preserved in aspic. Trying to argue that a living, changing thing should remain a certain way is a pointless attempt to acheive the impossible. And I have no idea why anyone thinks language that isn't gender specific reinforces sexism. Are the users of such language 'asking for it' or something?

To respond to the original question in the thread, why not change the words in whatever way you see fit and for whatever reason you want if so moved? These songs are not carved in stone and unless historical re-enactment is your bag there's no reason not to. Same with the tunes.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 01:42 PM

An interesting handle chosen by Spleen Cringe for herself or himself.

But I can't think of any woman whose salary has been raised or whose abusive partner has desisted because of the introduction of new stylistic "rules." Sexism is real, but English usage is not the enemy.

Precisely so, Lighter. In fact a lot of the time this kind of things actually serves to reinforce sexism. And sometimes that is probably actually intentional.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 10:39 AM

Can I hear the sound of the stable door being closed after the horse has bolted? Or is it the sound of folkies singing about the good old days when we had the old lightbulb?


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 10:35 AM

Go right ahead, Spleen.

In five hundred years you may be considered a visionary.

Today, however, your listeners' reaction may be quite different.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,Spleen Cringe
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 09:36 AM

So I guess it wouldn't matter if I chose to say 'she' instead of 'he' or 'he and she', then, Lighter? Times change, language use changes. English isn't static, as a quck dip in the Canterbury Tales will undoubtedly remind you...


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Noreen
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 08:54 AM

Well spoken, Lighter!


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Lighter
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 08:48 AM

Despite having known many, many, many of them, I still find it hard to believe that people's thinking can be so atrophied that they can't tell when "man" and "he" have a masculine reference and when they have a general human reference.

Up until about 1970 nobody thought much about it, including nobodies like Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and George Eliot.

One of the first things you learn in a class in linguistics is that words have no built-in, essential, exclusive meaning. Their meaning comes as much from context as from anything memorized.

If people with no sense of English style want to insist that using a word like "mankind" (instead of, say, "humankind") is sexist and disgusting (because others are presumably too stupid to know what's meant), nobody can stop them. Or that the concise monosyllable "he" must always be expanded to the clumsy and very often redundant "he or she." Or, for that matter, that the equally concise "they" can never be used as a singular.

Their claims, however, are based on ignorance - and, in some cases, self-promotion. Unfortunately they've found plenty of followers -including influential editors who should know better. Maybe the die is cast. It wouldn't be the first time that language has changed in an irrational way with little cost to civilization.

But I can't think of any woman whose salary has been raised or whose abusive partner has desisted because of the introduction of new stylistic "rules." Sexism is real, but English usage is not the enemy.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 08:19 AM

For years I heard, and sang, the song as "When Old Men sing" - and actually I prefer that, it seems to carry an image of sitting in the pub defying time. Rather like "Sultans of Swing" in its way.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 07:08 AM

Surely changing "When all men sing" to "When we all sing" as has been suggested several times moves the emphasis to a different word, completely changing the feel!


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 03:22 AM

You might refer to the thread on sea shanties where sailors had a bawdy non pc version and a cleaned up version when in port or in earshot of the general public.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Oct 13 - 12:31 AM

To my mind, the dumbest re-shuffling of words to suit political correctneess occurred when the line "Love between all of my brothers" in "If I had a hammer" became "love between my brothers and my sisters"--an explicit promotion of incest. Language, really does have meaning. (should have been "Love among all of my brothers" in the first place."


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: PHJim
Date: 30 Sep 13 - 08:56 PM

When Ed McCurdy played at Cobourg, Ontario's Waterfront Festival, he handed out lyrics to Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream and pointed out that he had changed the line "And the room was filled with men" to "Filled with women and men".

When The Animals recorded House Of The Rising Sun, they changed the point of view from a woman trapped in a life of prostitution to a man trapped in a life of paying for sex. Not nearly as effective to my way of thinking. Many other male singers like Josh White, Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Al Cromwell sang the song from the woman's point of view.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 01:55 PM

Yes, we are all entitled to our opinions, and not much else.

IMO, its an assinine song. It is sexist in that cozy, comfortable "Old World Traditional" sort of way.

Sung as is, whether in Britain or the US, it would undoubtedly offend certain audiences, whose sensibilities extend beyond nostalgia for a lost authoritarian past. Which is why certain "purists" love to keep singing it. It isn't traditional, but they like to pretend it represents a "traditional" world view.

Well, it certainly doesn't reflect the world view of say, a group of singing fish wives--a pretty feminist group of gals in their own way. They'd be much more likely to sing the parody version, IMO.

So keep on singin' with yer fingers in yer ears thar mateys!


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: nutty
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 12:58 PM

Everyone is entitled to their opinion "GUEST".

I, for my part , have said all I intend to say on the matter


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: sophocleese
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 12:18 PM

Ah but nutty we could use the latin form and spell it 'virmen' which should reduce the confusion....


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 10:57 AM

I find the song overly wrought, pedantic, and crude. Leaning twoards neanderthal folk, which a lot of Britfolk seem to love. Oh you can't scare them, they're stickin' to the empire, till the day they die..." (with a nod and a wink to Dave Lippman).

To find out that it *isn't* traditional is the most disturbing part of it to me.

Anyone have the lyrics to the parody "When Some Men Sing" referred to in the other thread? It would be nice to have a comic anecdote to such drivel.

IMHO, of course.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: nutty
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 03:57 AM

Sophocleese ... With a Germanic 'v' sound would the word would be pronounced 'vermin' - now that could have interesting connotations. :¬)


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: katlaughing
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 12:27 AM

LMAO, Soph!!


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: sophocleese
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 10:43 PM

While agreeing with the basic premise of what you say nutty, it makes my weird mind start wondering at what point altering lyrics becomes acceptable?

I spent a little time today trying to find the history of the word man. I found this little bit from the American Heritage Dictionary:

"USAGE NOTE: Traditionally, many writers have used man and words derived from it to designate any or all of the human race regardless of sex. In fact, this is the oldest use of the word. In Old English the principal sense of man was "a human," and the words wer and wyf were used to refer to "a male human" and "a female human" respectively. But in Middle English man displaced wer as the term for "a male human," while wyfman (which evolved into present-day woman) was retained for "a female human." Despite this change, man continued to carry its original sense of "a human" as well, resulting in an asymmetrical arrangement that many criticize as sexist."

So in light of this information and bert's suggestion that change forward indicates ignorance and therefore change backwards must show erudition, I propose that on the threshold of this new millenium we go back 800 odd years and call men with ovaries wyfmen and those without werman.

What I want to know is the pronunciation of "wer", it comes from old German and may therefore have the germanic 'v' sound instead of a 'w'. This would nicely bring it in line with the latin "vir" which means 'man with balls' and is the basis for the words virile, virility and viagra. Therefore I propose that we amend the chorus of this song to now sing "When vermen sing". I look forward to altering many songs now to read verman instead of man when what is clearly indicated is a male man, going postal or not.

Cheers.

Sophocleese


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Hawker
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 06:51 PM

Good point there Nutty!
Lucy


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: nutty
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 06:39 PM

You do have a point Kat, I probably did not make myself clear

What I was concerned about was that there seemed to be a tacit agreement that changing lyrics (for PC reasons) was acceptable. Whereas I feel that in circumstances like this, where a song is modern and the composer is alive and able to be contacted, no changes should be made without their knowledge and/or agreement.

As TON said, this song is very special to a lot of people.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 05:34 PM

Sorry, nutty, I read "Having read everything so far, I still find it disturbing that basic "courtesy and civility" is not being afforded to the creators of the song ...... " (my emphasis) and took to to mean all postings. I am sorry for the misunderstanding if that is not what you meant.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,Willa
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 05:21 PM

I hoped you might join in on this, Harvey. Just want to thank you for the pleasure your songs give me.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,Harvey andrews
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 05:03 PM

twenty years ago I wrote this as a chorus;

Old Mother Earth She spins in space And carries the race Of man

Is this double sexism?


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 04:31 PM

I confess to changing "Ronald McDonald" in Leezie Linday as well. I just felt too silly singing it.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: nutty
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:36 PM

Katlaughing ... My comments have been aimed at the questions asked by Tony Burns who originated this thread, not at anything you may have posted and I fail to see where I might have given that impression


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:23 PM

nutty and TON/Admiral, please read my posting of 08-Aug-01 - 01:15 PM. I thought I had been pretty courteous and civil throughout? I certainly understood the context of the song.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Hawker
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 02:18 PM

As a woman, let me say that I am not offended by such a lyric, nor would I expect a man to feel insulted or left out if I played 'The Irish Washerwoman'!
I'm with the attitude to hell with PC - It's how it was written! interpret it, or let others interpret it as they will
There are too many sensitive souls in this world to worry about upsetting anyone, can't please all the people all the time - so please yourself!
Lucy


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: GUEST,The Admiral
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 09:19 AM

I would like to add my agreement with 'Nutty' and add the information that the poem was originally written to celebrate a weekend of unaccompanied singing in a barn on a farm in Northamptonshire at the end of October every year more commonly known as Whittlebury - hence the line 'shaking plaster from the walls' line(sic). The weekend is attended by both Women and Men and all tasks (from cooking to cleaning the loos) are shared out in a very PC fashion.

And as for Scowey (Keith Scowcroft in full) not being PC, well that may be so (after all, he is from Lancashire and they do tend be unreconstructed up that way) but a kinder, friendlier, gentle, man who'd give you his last chip you couldn't hope to meet.

The poem was written only a few years ago and accepted immediately by those for whom it penned without any qualms or hesitations. So sing the song for goodness sake and enjoy it and don't try to change it (especially not in the UK or you'll get laughed out of the room) the word are special to a lot of people.

Keep Singing; TON


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Noreen
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 09:10 AM

Sophocleese, I have indeed read the words to the song; it is a song I know well and I also know the author.

The difference of opinion seems to centre on what 'men' is perceived as meaning to an individual, which is at least in part culturally determined, depending on how you have heard the word used.

I am happy for the word 'men' to be used to represent mankind, the way that I imagine Scowie intended it, but I can also appreciate that it could sound wrong to others with a different background. It would appear from the posts here that this usage is less acceptable in North America.

I apologise if I appeared to be discounting the opinions of others; my earlier statement was of course based on how these words sound to me: that is, beautiful, poetic, and not to be changed.

Johnny Collins is obviously aware of this difference in perception across the Atlantic; I can't somehow imagine him prefacing the song with an apology in this country.
I wonder if he does?

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: nutty
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 03:25 AM

Having read everything so far, I still find it disturbing that basic "courtesy and civility" is not being afforded to the creators of the song ...... In this case KEITH SCOWCROFT - who wrote the poem and DEREK GIFFORD - who shaped the words into a wonderful song and wrote a super tune.

Nor is there any understanding of the song's portrayal of a time in rural England when these activities took place.

The song has nothing to do with sexism but portrays (as all Scowie's poems do)an insight into a time gone by which those over 50 may have caught a glimpse of, but which is lost to anyone under that age. Celebrate the song and sing it with pride.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: sophocleese
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 11:12 PM

But Gloredhel and Noreen did you read the words to the song or not?

I know several teenagers who would not use the word man to describe both men and women and, cruel as this may sound at the moment, I know several female teenagers who would, until they are older and then they would begin to question the wisdom of agreeing with everything stated by the attractive but purblind male population in the hopes of getting their attention, and I admit that I have made this mistake myself.

Personally whether you say you are ethically conscious or politically conscious I don't care as long as you are conscious. An awful lot of what is now hysterically considered 'PC' is actually an attempt to be courteous to an enlarged group of persons with whom being courteous is considered desirable. At their roots courtesy and civility are to do with trying to make people comfortable with each other. They are not attempts to introduce rigid rules of what is and what is not allowed to be said or done in the same way that red means stop and green means go in the language of traffic signals.

Altering the words or not is not as important as singing the song as well as you can while acknowledging the differing interpretations that the words will have for various listeners, and the interpretations will differ depending on your audience. A performer has to decide for him or herself the boundaries of his or her own interpretation of any song and the distance he or she is willing to go beyond or around those boundaries. For some this will mean singing some songs in the face of open disapproval and for others it will mean altering words or set lists at the hint of possible disapprobation. Whatever makes you feel happiest and perform your best. In your face performers might like to try accomodating other's tastes while nervous perfomers might attempt standing firm on their interpretations. Either way can be a stretch and will ultimately make them better.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Noreen
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 09:07 PM

Thank you, Gloredhel, well put.

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Gloredhel
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 08:14 PM

If anyone wants the point of view of one of today's "kids" (late teens, actually), changing "man" or "mankind" or anything like that is not worth screwing up the poetry of lyric. I've known ever since I could read that "men" in some contexts could mean me too. Don't change it. The poetry, the sentiment, and the flow of the words are so much more important than the actual words. And the usage of "men" to mean both men and women is not antiquated. The youth of today, of which I am one, still know that it has more than one defenition, although, I admit, I'm not exactly your average teenager, or I wouldn't be in this conversation.


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Subject: RE: Sexist lyric? Change it or ....?
From: Noreen
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 07:44 PM

An earlier thread, containing the harvested lyrics and discussion can be found by clicking on Lyr Add: When All Men Sing


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