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The Desert Song
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Total posts: [18]
1

The Desert Song:

 1 Morwen Edhelwen, Sun, 8th Jul '12 5:31:29 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
While I was writing up the Works page for The Desert Song, I noted some Unfortunate Implications with the musical. Here are some of them. (But then, YMMV.)

1. The "Eastern and Western Love" sequence. Its name implies that all "Eastern" men are polygamists. The songs don't help either.

2. The Red Shadow/Pierre being the best at single combat in the whole of Morocco.

3. The idea that Arab men are exotic and aggressive at romantic love. (And so savage they have to kidnap women to start a "normal Western" heterosexual relationship.)

4. The idea that the poor, oppressed natives need a white man to save them.

5. The idea that a man is only good marriage material for a European woman if he's European too.

And then there's the plot holes. Such as why doesn't anyone on the French side notice the governor's son sneaking out to who-knows-where?

Why exactly does Pierre, of all people get to lead the Riff band? Wasn't there a native Riff who could do the job just as well and had equal single combat skills? (see point 2)For example, anyone else in the group? The thing is, I actually love this show (But then, I'm an 18-year-old Australian musical geek) so it's not Complaining About Musicals I Don't Like. It's a very Guilty Pleasure for me.

edited 9th Jul '12 1:37:07 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 2 Morwen Edhelwen, Sun, 8th Jul '12 9:49:54 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
EDIT: Is this forum dead? No-one's posting on it.

edited 9th Jul '12 2:58:14 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 3 Morwen Edhelwen, Mon, 9th Jul '12 1:49:33 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
More implications:

6. Arab men are sexist. "Why let yourself be led by a woman?" "Women are slaves, men have not realised." Both these lines are said by the same character.

7. Arab women are easy. (Azuri's stereotypically skimpy outfit speaks for itself.)

8. Arabs are noble savages. They may be oppressed and need the Mighty Whitey's help but they're still savages who commit Honor-Related Abuse and are better off under colonialism.

9. Islam isn't a religion the way Christianity is.

10. Colonialism is a good thing, especially when it's the type not involving raiding villages.

11. Arab men are oversexed.

12. A Muslim will fight and kill his father.

edited 9th Jul '12 7:49:19 PM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 4 Morwen Edhelwen, Tue, 10th Jul '12 1:24:07 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Am I alone in this? Or does someone else on here also like operettas and want to discuss them?

edited 10th Jul '12 3:01:53 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 5 phoenixdaughter AM, Tue, 10th Jul '12 9:07:12 AM from Cursed college Relationship Status: Wishing you were here
Wiping All Out
I like operetta's. I just haven't heard of this one.

-slinks away shamefully-
The board is rarely active, and this is a fairly obscure show, really.

Pre-Oklahoma! musical theatre that doesn't have music by Jerome Kern or Cole Porter tends to be largely ignored.

edited 10th Jul '12 2:21:19 PM by Pannic

 7 Morwen Edhelwen, Tue, 10th Jul '12 6:02:09 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
@Pannic: So what do you think of the Unfortunate Implications of the show?

@phoenixdaughter: Listen to it! But beware- the songs are ear worms. I'd suggest the early 1929 movie version with John Boles and Carlotta King (you can find it on youtube) or the 1955 TV broadcast (on DVD) with Nelson Eddy as starting points.

edited 11th Jul '12 6:30:29 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
It's from the 1920s. Pretty par for the course, honestly.
 9 Morwen Edhelwen, Wed, 11th Jul '12 2:45:40 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
@Pannic: Yeah, but in my experience, those sorts of beliefs about Arabs/Muslims still exist in modern Western popular culture in the 21st century to some extent. The idea about Arab/Muslim men all being sexist is behind the idea that "All women in "the Muslim world" are oppressed" and all those sensational stories about Afghanistan and burqas etc. (Not to say there aren't problems with women's rights in the Middle East/North Africa, but there are problems with women's rights in the West too. They're just not reported to the same extent.) Belly dancing is associated with strippers etc in some Westerners' minds.. the other side of the coin is "Arab/Muslim women are promiscuous." My friends don't see any problem with the skimpy outfit Jasmine wears in Disney's Aladdin for instance. (I love Aladdin too, it's just a little problematic.) Some people I know also think Muslims=Arabs=polygamy=sexism.

The one significant difference is that you're unlikely to find a "Muslim guy kidnaps/buys non-Muslim woman in majority Muslim country and they fall in love after he "conquers" her" story (Substitute "Non-Muslim guy impersonates Muslim guy" for this one and others, like P.C. Wren's Beau Sabreur) outside of Harlequin/Mills and Boon desert romance novels in the 21st century. It's those ideas about polygamy etc that motivated me to write a "retelling"(more like a deconstruction) of it, with a strong focus on colonialism, racism and its effects. The Red Shadow and Pierre are split into two different characters, with an emphasis on coming-of-age and the Shadow's attempts to gain the trust of the rest of his outlaw band. All but one follow him because they have to since he's the new Caid of the tribe. It's Young Adult. (And when the Riff Caid is a teenager, it's gonna be damn hard for anyone to trust him.)

edited 11th Jul '12 11:39:18 PM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 10 Morwen Edhelwen, Wed, 11th Jul '12 9:17:46 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
BTW, found a very interesting book on Google Books and Amazon. Desert Songs: Western Images of Morocco and Moroccan Images of The West" by John R. Maier, which has a whole chapter discussing The Desert Song'' and its Orientalist implications. I have it in my research books folder for that book I'm working on.

edited 22nd Jul '12 7:27:46 PM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 11 Morwen Edhelwen, Thu, 12th Jul '12 2:26:38 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
BTW IMO the hardest song to sing in the whole show is "The Sabre Song, " beginning "Why, I can take his sword here". Basically anything Margot sings is hard to sing.

edited 13th Jul '12 2:33:45 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 12 Morwen Edhelwen, Fri, 13th Jul '12 2:35:14 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Something which always puzzled me: How did Pierre manage to avoid suspicion all the time he was sneaking out to his secret work as the RS, especially those years after the incident where he refused to raid the village? He's a French Legionnaire, an officer from a well-connected family. You'd think a superior officer would notice someone like him always being missing from the barracks. And again, how did he gain the trust of the Riffs at first? Did he know some of them before?

EDIT: How would you create a Headscratchers page for a work? Because this one has so many. And also, I'm surprised this show hasn't got any fanfics for it on fanfiction.net. You can find fics for the most obscure stuff on there...

edited 13th Jul '12 2:46:26 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 13 Morwen Edhelwen, Sun, 15th Jul '12 5:23:29 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Just posted some questions on the Headscratchers page. Do things about this operetta bug anyone else who's heard of it? Because they certainly bug me... especially the whole "Clementina-matchmaking-Pierre-and Margot" thing. My suspension of disbelief is at its "breaking point." (Clementina is my dream role, BTW. The Song of The Brass Key is so fun to sing.) Anyone want to answer my Headscratchers questions?

edited 18th Jul '12 3:36:33 PM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 14 Morwen Edhelwen, Sun, 22nd Jul '12 7:14:34 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
This thread is dead...
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
Dat Troper
All the threads here are dead, for the most part. It's rather sad.
The artist formerly known as spasticgecko
 16 Morwen Edhelwen, Thu, 2nd Aug '12 7:09:18 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Anyone else (besides me and Pannic) interested in The Desert Song?
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
Dat Troper
I'd like to give it a look/listen if anyone could point me in the direction of a recording. I've heard of it but I'm not at all familiar.

Basically mark me down under the same banner as Phoenixdaughter.
The artist formerly known as spasticgecko
 18 Morwen Edhelwen, Fri, 3rd Aug '12 1:56:26 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
@Take A Melody:

I've found a few. Here's a number of Youtube clips from the 1929 movie, which is fairly faithful to the stage version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_i8XFwIudGQ&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWIngMc8lSM&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjvsKe9c7ms&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tNY1rHqy3k&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umgMIKk9CCM&feature=relmfu

and:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgryszMxMzA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8klHYFC6Zg&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFyW9dhYkbU&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZoE79hhVBM&feature=relmfu

(These are from the Reader's Digest studio cast, which doesn't have all the songs, but does have all the recognisable ones.)

This recording on the Internet Archive with Tony Martin and Kathryn Grayson contains a few MovieBonusSongs: http://archive.org/details/TheDesertSong-sigmundRomberg

edited 3rd Aug '12 2:00:31 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
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Total posts: 18
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