#rsrh Eliminationist rhetoric in the… Mikado?

I am afraid that complaining about calling for the beheading of Sarah Palin IN THIS SPECIFIC CASE falls into the category of “They will get away with it:” the production was of The Mikado, which is a Gilbert & Sullivan opera that features a song called “As someday it may happen” (more commonly known as “I’ve Got A Little List”).  The topic of said song is about suitable subjects for execution; it was wide-ranging in the original, included public figures generally, and has traditionally been updated to include contemporary targets.  I can personally speak to this tradition being both real, and scrupulously followed; a decade ago I attended one revival in DC where the song called for the mass culling of everybody involved in Bush vs. Gore.

Not having seen the production by the Missoula Children’s Theater, I don’t actually know if the aforementioned beheading was included in that specific song; if it wasn’t, the letter writer has a point.  If it was… hey, I love reading Instapundit and James Taranto, but the Republic has survived in spite of this tradition for a century now.  The real question is whether the director thought to balance the score by,  say, hoping for the defenestration of a left-wing politician…

Moe Lane

[UPDATE]: James kindly sent me the MCT Community Theater’s (I was pleasantly surprised to hear that kids were being shown Gilbert & Sullivan) “Sorry if anybody was offended; we’ve removed the lines in question” response.  I normally hate that sort of thing, so I will simply note that they did so and move, as they say, on.

1 Comment

  • Brian Swisher says:

    Having had the pleasure of playing Pish-Tush, I would say the the letter-writer should change their drawers and get a life…here’s what the eminent Martyn Green, writing in the 1960s, had to say about this solo:

    “As a general rule, certain mimed business was used to point up certain statesmen. In spite of Gilbert’s stopping short of mentinoning actual names, there is little doubt that he directed this mimed business. I can still remember the time when Joseph Chamberlain was indicated by inserting a monocle in the eye, and in later years I suggested Neville Chamberlain by opening, in mime, an umbrella. Lloyd George was suggested by making a golf stroke, which would have done very well for Dwight D. Eisenhower in recent years. Occasionally I was taken to task by people who wrote deploring this “insult” to great men. My experience has been that those who were so “insulted” never took it in any other way than that in which it was intended – a spirit of good fun.”

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