Guest poem submitted by Anita B.:
(Poem #1539) National Brotherhood Week
Oh, the white folks hate the black folks, And the black folks hate the white folks; To hate all but the right folks Is an old established rule. But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week, Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark are dancing cheek to cheek. It's fun to eulogize The people you despise As long as you don't let 'em in your school. Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks, And the rich folks hate the poor folks. All of my folks hate all of your folks, It's American as apple pie. But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week, New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans 'cause it's very chic. Step up and shake the hand Of someone you can't stand, You can tolerate him if you try! Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics And the Catholics hate the Protestants, And the Hindus hate the Muslims, And everybody hates the Jews. But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week, It's National Everyone-Smile-At-One-Another-Hood Week. Be nice to people who Are inferior to you. It's only for a week, so have no fear; Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!
This song is from Tom Lehrer's album 'That was the year that was'. I heard it for the first time in a friend's house where we laughed out loud for nearly 5 minutes after listening to this one. The song is a very good example of how politically incorrect he can get. The man starts being irreverent from the word go. When you think about it you realise he has neatly packaged all the superficiality of brotherhood days, or 'any other cause' days for that matter, when it really does not make a major difference. Totally cynical but I guess also too true. The best way to enjoy this song of course is to listen to Lehrer say 'national brotherhood week' in lofty tones and then deliver his punch lines in a bland understated manner. There is already a lot of background material on Lehrer in the Minstrels archives, so I shall not include more. On this song specifically: when it was performed live, Lehrer introduced it with these words: "During National Brotherhood Week various special events are arranged to drive home the message of brotherhood -- this year, for example, on the first day of the week, Malcolm X was killed, which gives you an idea of how effective the whole thing is. I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another, and I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that! Here's a song about National Brotherhood Week. " Regards, Anita B.