All About Trey

Life, Travel, Adventure

Hate at Bali Hai

The Kennedy Center is doing some great shows this season (Hair, Follies, Wicked) and last night Lawyer X and I went to see South Pacific. It was great of course. And our box seat rocked. But here's the thing, when I think of South Pacific I think of swaying palm trees, great songs, and dancing sailors (and no that's not gay at all). For some reason I sort of skip over the big racial plots or the fact that the polynesian woman is basically pimping out her young (very young) daughter to the LT. I was sort of stunned when the female lead can't get over that the French man has children who are "colored" or when the LT realizes that he'll never be able to take the polynesian girl back to Philadelphia. He's a Princeton man after all.

After the show, I made a comment about this to Lawyer X and he said South Pacific had caused quite a stir when it came out in the 1950s. I guess so.

Now the music is awesome: There's Nothing Like A Dame, Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair, Some Enchanted Evening. But it's the song the LT sings when he realizes that he can't take the girl home that really just made the back of my neck tingle:

You've got to be taught to hate and fear,
You've got to be taught from year to year,
It's got to be drummed into your dear little ear,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made
and people whose skin is a different shade,
you've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all of the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught.

Wow. Not exactly a warm fuzzy song. But oh so true. True in 1950s. And just as true now.

In the cold of winter, it's hard to remember that last March we were in Kaui where they filmed the movie version of South Pacific. You could actually see the mountains that inspired Bali Hai from our resort. Ah, doesn't it just look like paradise. I wish we were there now.