Sunday, February 22, 2009

Instapundit does . . . show tunes?

In linking to a story about Larry Summers allegedly screwing up the Harvard endowment, we find Professor Glenn Reynolds employing the phrase, "The country's in the very best of hands."

Having starred, at age 14, as Pappy Yokum in the Douglas County (Ga.) High School production of the Broadway musical "Li'l Abner," I recognize this as the title of a song (by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul) from that show:
The Treasury says the national debt
Is climbing to the sky
And govermnent expenditures
Have never been so high.
It makes a feller get
A gleam of pride within his eye,
To see how our economy expands,
The country's in the very best of hands.
Now, it is a matter of fact that I majored in drama, so I've got an excuse for knowing lots of Broadway lyrics. But Professor Reynolds is a law grad. What's up with that, Dr. Helen? I mean:
  • When you started dating him, did you notice any Judy Garland posters at his apartment?
  • Does he download Streisand on his iPod?
  • If you happen to be in a department store when the Muzak plays a Rodgers and Hammerstein tune, do you hear him muttering under his breath, ". . . and 6, 7, 8 -- kick -- 2, 3, 4"?
  • When guests arrive at your house, does the professor greet them by saying, "Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome?"
NTTAWWT. I'm so unmistakably macho that I don't mind bursting into an occasional a capella rendition of "Til There Was You." And I believe John Podhoretz has been known to cite "The Street Where You Live." But if the professor is A Guy Who Likes Show Tunes, he needs to come out of the closet about it, don't you think?

". . . our favorite American group, Sophie Tucker."

UPDATE: Welcome, Insty readers! Yes, the armchair psychologists like to accuse us Guys Who Like Show Tunes of overcompensating by swaggering displays of heterosexuality. Insty married Dr. Helen to quell those whispers in the faculty lounge, and I'm a happily married father of six kids who feels compelled to follow up his Chorus Boy camp routine by gratuitous babe-blogging. (Click that link, you sissies -- I dare you!)

UPDATE II: In the comments, the irrepressible Kathy Shaidle -- who's working her diminuitive self to exhaustion trying to get deported from Canada as a one-woman human rights violation -- informs us that Mark Steyn is all about the show tunes. Which may explain why he didn't appreciate the irony of this lame gag. Or worse yet, maybe he did appreciate it. (Foghorn Leghorn: "That's a joke, son! A joke, ah say!")

UPDATE III: Moe Lane manages to work in a sly Ghostbusters allusion. Yeah, he's thinking it's Oscar night, and Bill Murray got ripped that year -- not even nominated!


  1. Now that you mention it...

    Us voters is connected to the nominee.
    The nominee's connected to the treasury.
    When he ain't connected to the treasury,
    He sits around on his thighbones.
    * * *
    Them bones, them bones gonna rise again,
    Gonna exercise the franchise again,
    Gonna tax us up to our eyes again
    When they gets up off of their thigh bones.

    Yup. Johnny Mercer had it pretty well pegged, back in the '50s...

  2. You know, if he keeps calling you Stacy, you could call him Harlan. Or, Briticised, "Harlan-Reynolds." Like "Luther-King," or "Harvey-Oswald."

  3. Anonymous: To friends and family, I am "Stacy." As a journalist, I discovered that if I did not include my first name in my byline, people would call up and ask to speak to "her." I tried "R. Stacy McCain" for a while, but that didn't do the trick. So the use of my full name in print became a necessity. People who don't know me have accused me of being one of those pretentious "guys with three names," but pretense has nothing to do with it.

    And, yes, my late mother was a Johnny Cash fan, who was more amused by the lyrics of "A Boy Named Sue" than I was.

  4. Dude, you're coming THIS close to questioning the hetero manhood of the great Mark Steyn, Musical Theatre Expert, Esq.

  5. No, RSM is following the example of the inimitable FrankJ ...


  6. Think of "Stacy" in terms of Shel Silverstein's "Stacy Brown Got Two," and there's no problem.

  7. the song is absolutely prescient:

    The building boom, they say, is getting bigger every day.
    And when I ask a feller: "How can everybody pay?"
    He come up with an answer that makes everything OK,
    "Supplies are getting greater than demands."
    The country's in the very best of hands,
    the best of hands, the best of hands.

  8. Hah! I beat Glenn to it with this post I made all the way back on February 6th. "Li'l Abner" happened to show on TCM that night; it had probably been 40 years since I had seen the movie, but I was struck by how timely that song was (hence the post).

    Of course, I'm not saying that Glenn actually reads my blog.... :-) ..bruce..

  9. I got outed as being fond of show tunes -- well, a handful of them, anyway, the ones I learned in my childhood piano lessons -- by Marc Danziger on his old Armed Liberal blog years ago. All I can say in my defense is, if you didn't fall hopelessly in love with the fabulous Audrey Hepburn as Liza Doolittle (yes, I said fabulous -- deal), I'm afraid I must question your heterosexuality. Also maybe your patriotism.

    Well, unless you're a girl. NTTAWWT. Ahem.