Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ephemera: Song Lyrics

UPDATE Spelling corrected. And apparently Eileen and I were writing our posts at the same time. Don't get so caught up in my silly post that you miss her post below!
"Cortaysé," quoth I, "I leve,
And charyté grete be yow among.
Bot my speche that yow ne greve,
. . . . .
Thyself in heven over hygh thou heve
To make thee quen that was so yonge.
What more honour moghte he acheve
That hade endured in worlde stronge
And lyved in penaunce hys lyves longe
Wyth bodyly bale hym blysse to byye?
What more worschyp moght he fonge
Then corounde be kyng by cortaysé? (469-480)

In the midst of lecturing on Pearl today, I glossed the above stanza with The Smiths, "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby":
You just haven't earned it yet, baby
You just haven't earned it, son
You just haven't earned it yet, baby
You must suffer and cry for a longer time
It just popped out, and then, of course, I realized that most of my students had probably been born after The Smiths broke up. To their credit, or my chagrin, some laughed.

A silly question: what song lyrics have found their way, on purpose or no, into your conversations with students?

11 comments:

hd said...

I always make the same joke about the eeriness of Jonson’s Penhurst and the hotel california: you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

Nicola Masciandaro said...

A great question. A few weeks ago:

The way you wear your hat,
The way you sip your tea . . .

in order to illuminate Agamben's concept of "whatever being" and the relation between the who and the what (following Derrida) in love.

And "Love will tear us apart" for for some point I can't remember.

Not to mention the
Boethian gloss of Black Sabbath's _Paranoid_ which took shape but was not shared in the classroom.

Brandon H. said...

In only my four weeks of teaching, I referenced "You're So Vain" via explaining the myth of Narcissus via defining and explaining the modern word and concept of narcissism. Also, I think I referenced something by The Mountain Goats in the last few weeks, but can't remember what it was.

I'll be sure to keep in mind the idea of using song lyrics in conjunction with the classroom for the future, though. I'm currently teaching Helene Cixous's "The Laugh of the Medusa" and Gloria Anzaldua's "How to Tame a Wild Tongue"--any suggestions for song lyrics to accompany those?

Dr. Virago said...

You know when the Lady in SGGK tells Gawain he can't be Gawain because he's not 'romancing' her enough? That once prompted me to launch into:

"I'm Slim Shady, yes the real Slim Shady -- all the other Slim Shadies are just imitating. So won't the real Slim Shady please stand up, please stand up."

Yup, Eminem.

J J Cohen said...

The AC wasn't working in my classroom yesterday, and as my students and I slowly suffocated while examining that moment in the Knight's Tale when Palamon and Arcite first glimpse Emilye from their prison window, the music to ABBA's "Dancing Queen " started to play on my private soundtrack. Not that I would share that fact with my students.

And yes, I do realize that Emilye doesn't dance and isn't a queen. She's probably younger than 17 as well. I think the song came to me because it is my daughter Katherine's absolute favorite: when she dresses up as a princess, that what she insists be playing in the background. It seemed to me that the two imprisoned knights were likewise dressing up Emilye in princess drag ... and so let the wretched 70s Swedish pop commence.

Karl Steel said...

And "Love will tear us apart" for for some point I can't remember. (and Nicola: Boethius meets Paranoid is fantastic).

Could have been the Knight's Tale, no?

Brandon: totally stumped! But I do think it's best if the song just bursts from you in the midst of a lecture. It's nice to have everyone surprised at once, and nicer still to have you, the speaker, more surprised than the listeners.

DV: I am not worthy. I've tried to picture you doing this, but there's nothing there...you know I'm going to follow you around Kzoo begging for a recital.

JJC: likewise dressing up Emilye in princess drag: and you know I'm stealing this reading for my Chaucer class next semester. Back when I was a DJ, that ABBA song, precisely because of the "only 17" line, gave me the fits; I tended to play "Take a Chance on Me" (which is both lyrically innocuous and musically much more interesting).

But you might compare "Fernando" with "Be·m platz lo gais temps de pascor."

sjr said...

And now I can't get the tune to 'Stuck in the Middle with you' out of my head.

'and I don't know what I'm going to do#
clowns to the right of me, jokers to the left#
and i'm stuck in the middle with ..

Adam Roberts said...

The Smiths, yes: the reason why Morrissey wan't to hang the DJ, of course, was that 'the music that he constantly plays says nothing to me about my life.' It's a good starting point for a discussion on the importance, and nature, of 'relevance' in art. Actually, it's not, since for today's students the Smiths are in the same historical bracket as the Beatles, Bill Haley and Gilbert and Sullivan. But it ought to be.

Dr. Virago said...

Hey Karl, I didn't say I did Eminem *well*! :) But me doing Eminem badly is still kinda funny.

Mary Kate Hurley said...

I'm just about to start the section of my writing course on the construction of monsters, and I've had an old favorite from Lordi stuck in my head...

Would you love a monsterman
could you understand
beauty of the beast?

It's inevitably going to come out in class sometime in the next four weeks -- as I'm getting observed Thursday I hope I choose a different day for it...

Brandon H. said...

MKH, your bit about monsters reminds me of "The Monster Mash"--a great radio staple around Halloween in my younger years.