Thursday, December 6, 2007

Yeah, we've got trouble, right here in River City

In high school one year I was in the pit orchestra for the musical, The Music Man. I love that musical so much. I love most musicals. Anyway, there is a part from the musical I finally understand. Harold Hill is trying to get the DL about Marian the Librarian and the other ladies in the town are gossiping about her:

Professor, her kind of woman doesn't belong on any committee. Of course, I shouldn't tell you this but she advocates dirty books.
Dirty books?!
Eulalie: Balzac!

Mrs. Paroo: If you don't mind my sayin' so, It wouldn't have hurt you To find out what the gentleman wanted.
I know what the gentleman wanted.
Mrs. Paroo:
What, dear?
You'll find it in Balzac.
Mrs. Paroo:
Excuse me fer livin' but I never read it.

Mrs. Paroo:
But, darlin'--when a woman has a husband
And you've got none,
Why should she take advice from you?
Even if you can quote Balzac and Shakespeare
And all them other highfalutin' Greeks.

I never knew who or what Balzac was. This is Honoré de Balzac. He was a nineteenth-century French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815. (from Wikipedia). He also shares a birthday with me.

I just listened to one of his books, Letters of Two Brides. It was a romance. A little bizarre, but pretty good. All these years I thought be must be a greek philosopher. I am happy to finally have some closure and understanding about Balzac, after hearing his name yelled so disrespectfully over my head many, many times from the stage of my high school.

Now I understand why those gossiping ladies were so easily convinced of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table in their community.


Topher Lee said...

Rodin, one of my favorites from high school, sculpted a Balzac monument.
These pictures don't do it justice. And, just like the dirty 'ol düd Balzac was, this sculpture has some interesting undertones...I'll tell you if you really want to know.

Holly said...

Marian's mother referred to him as a "high-faluting Greek" to expose her ignorance to the audience. It can be confusing to those of us who didn't study Balzac in High School, which I believe is most modern Americans.

I love The Music Man