Thoughts On The Mikado Essay

1436 words - 6 pages

In a record shop in Truro last summer I heard someone ask for a recording of the Pirates of Penzance. `Would they be a local group?' drawled the girl behind the counter. G & S had obviously lost their hold on late twentieth century Cornwall, but in late nineteenth century America the Mikado was a wow. Rival Mikado companies sprouted like alfalfa seed and sued each other with litigious fury over who had the proper performing rights. On one evening in 1886, a year after the first performance in England, there took place across the United States 170 separate performances of the opera, one of them probably in the newly christened town of Mikado, Michigan.

The Americans, on the whole quite a prudish lot, had trouble conceiving how Gilbert could decently call his town Titipu, or think there might be a bird called a tit-willow - after all they carry delicacy to the point of talking about chickadees - but they did not jib at the obvious racism of the opera. These days people are more easily offended. In our common room at Winchester we are not allowed to take the Sun, the most obvious voice of the people in the land, because the ladies are upset at the idea of all us lads lubriciously peeping at the boobs on page three, and performances of the Mikado inevitably must face up to the nigger problem - the offensive word occurs twice in the text: you will find commentators who argue that Gilbert must have meant someone who was blacked up. `The nigger serenader and others of his race' were on Ko-Ko's not so little list: I suppose `race' might just have been Gilbertian slang for `kind', with an ironic joke about temporally assumed nationality. Let's hope so.

Gilbert was only mirroring the indifference of the period to such matters, of course; American periodicals of the time, like The Century or Harper's Monthly, commonly represented African Americans using stylised spelling to simulate their mode of speech. The Victorians derided people who came from further away than Basingstoke, and Gilbert's view of Japan gave them a chance to have a good sneer at the supposed barbarity and ritualisation of life in the orient: Ko-Ko's inauguration ceremonies are due to last a week; there is a law against flirting; justice is summary; there's much talk of decapitation and worse. Gilbert also makes fun of the delicacy of oriental society. Citizens of a country which has two hundred and seventy separate styles of flower arrangement can easily find their amatory pulses quickened by the idea of Katisha's left shoulder-blade or right elbow, much more erotic than the ones on the other side.

Gilbert enjoyed himself choosing oriental names, and wasn't too careful to distinguish between Japan and China: Nanki-poo is suggestive of Nankin, and Yum-Yum of deliciousness, of course, so perhaps he wasn't asking to be taken too seriously. Peter Sellers' Indian imitation would now be considered against the Race-Relations Act, but some of Gilbert's less subtle shafts...

Find Another Essay On Thoughts on the Mikado

The Motionless Arrow, Aristotle's thoughts on Zeno's Arrow Paradox

917 words - 4 pages Aristotle's thoughts on Zeno's Arrow Argument as represented in Chapter 9 of Aristotle's Physics: A Guided Study can be understood in such a way that it might not be 'next door to madness'. In this chapter, Aristotle interprets Zeno's argument of the Flying Arrow as 'missing the mark'. There are four premises for this argument, and in Aristotle's opinion, premise three can be rejected. He does not believe that time is composed of indivisible

Thoughts on a Possible Rational Reconstruction of the Method of

3240 words - 13 pages Thoughts on a Possible Rational Reconstruction of the Method of "Rational Reconstruction" ABSTRACT: Rational reconstructions standardly operate so as to transform a given problematic philosophical scientific account-particularly of a terminological, methodological or theoretical entity-into a similar, but more precise, consistent interpretation. This method occupies a central position in the practice of analytic philosophy. Nevertheless, we

Thoughts on the 3rd Meditation and the argument for the existence of God

1092 words - 4 pages come from, and since they are coming from outside of us, are they coming from God? Questioning this, how does Descartes even know if the ideas he speaks of are adventitious at all? How does Descartes know if these thoughts are clear and distinct perceptions as he wrote earlier?Another clear argument Descartes makes in the Third Meditation is that no effect can be greater than the cause of it. This is another bold statement from Descartes like "I

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest – Some Thoughts on The Movie

942 words - 4 pages One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Some thoughts on the movieIn the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest, we see many aspects of human nature being analysed. The character McMurphy, [played by Jack Nickolson,] who was admitted into a mental institution for medical testing after having been convicted of statutory rape is an interesting character that reveals to us the nature of the human mind. It is obvious that McMurphy was only faking and he

About the Ancient Egyptian Religion and personal thoughts on how it compares to our lives today.

888 words - 4 pages the bad, having their tombs created, their bodies preserved and even burying their most prized worldly possessions such as chariots, plates, food, and even cats with their bodies.My thoughts and ideas on the Egyptians are very few and fairly simple. To me they were a great and knowledgeable people, rich in culture, ideas, and religion. Their beliefs and ideas about life and death are like no other culture I have encountered and greatly parallel my

Thoughts on THE GIFT

1339 words - 5 pages The short story The Gift has many layers with in itself on different topics.  The topics of discrimination, feminism, friendship, tradition, and power all can be seen in this story. Many literary devices can be seen in the story also.  Such as: theme, metaphor, tone and symbol. This story unlike most as that I couldn't predict what was going to happen that made the girls leave the school.  Just as it says in the beginning

Thoughts on the RALI Exercise.

638 words - 3 pages When I first printed the course information, I glanced over the RALI briefly. I did a few in my head as I skimmed through, just to see if I was right. After I read the required readings, I believe I had more right on instinct than from the information in the two chapters. However, as I mentioned in the other post, I do search too hard. When I was skimming through the questions, I was not really stopping to think about what the question was

My Thoughts On The Issue

553 words - 2 pages found himself inescapably exploited by white society at the turn of the 19th century. With the enactment of Jim Crow and "separate but equal" laws, their new world ruthlessly resembled the old one.         At the same time, two diverging philosophies emerged which sought to educate blacks on why their initial progress dissipated, and how they could permanently regain it. At the Atlanta Exposition, Booker T. Washington delivered an address to

Thoughts on the defintion of integrity

570 words - 2 pages The definition of integrity according to Webster's Dictionary is, 'a rigid adherence to a code of behavior.' There are though many ways to look at a persons integrity. A person with integrity possesses many qualities. Three of these qualities are honesty, the ability to follow a moral code, and loyalty to yourself and your beliefs.In The Crucible, a prime example of a person with integrity is Elizabeth Proctor. Elizabeth shows her personal

Plato's Thoughts on Poetry from The Republic

1580 words - 6 pages society because men are susceptible to being deceived by these imitators, and are unable to distinguish between what appears as the truth and what actually is the truth.Plato further expounds on this point by declaring that many stories are not imitations of reality but rather outright fallacies. If contemporary poetry were held to Plato's standards, the film industry would indubitably go out of business. The recent blockbuster The Wolf of Wall

Culture and media. Thoughts on pop. culture in the U.S.

4276 words - 17 pages "culturalimperialism." The popularity of a work like Jurassic Park was identified as a"threat" to others' "national identity." Strict programming quotas wereenacted to prevent U.S.-made TV shows from overwhelming foreign primetime.Meanwhile, scholars such as Herbert Schiller had worked out theoriesexplaining how the American political empire was founded on its expandingcommunications empire, and critics such as Ariel Dorfman were busypublicizing

Similar Essays

My Thoughts On The Outsiders Essay

949 words - 4 pages My Thoughts on "The Outsiders" Tariq West Who are the outsiders? The outsiders are people who live on the fringes of society. They have different social and cultural preferences than the insiders such as their long hair. The insiders are society's core within one city. They are the more economically privileged of the two groups and have more common and accepted customs. The outsiders who are less economically privileged live on the fringes of

Thoughts On The Color, Blue Essay

743 words - 3 pages Thoughts on the Color, Blue During the time when polytheistic religions were widely practiced in Europe, colors represented ideas associated with the paranormal and the spiritual. In many cases, the color blue represented safety and protection. It was believed that if someone wore or carried something blue, the bearer would be protected from evil spirits. Over time, as patriarchal societies formed, the welfare of the male child took

The Scarlet Letter By:Hawthorne Symbolisms, Thoughts On The Book, Characters.

1752 words - 7 pages bad person. The class activities, lectures and such did help me learn to view things in a different light. Working with a group and discussing papers we had written or talking about the book, helped me to be able to listen to others' ideas, and helped to widen my views of things that I never really thought of before. In class discussions, my view of everything widened and it helped for me to start thinking in a different way from what I had normally done before. Reading other people`s thoughts on the book, from the handouts was interesting, it was nice to see sometimes that I shared the same opinions as other people.

What The Governemnt On 1984 Did To Control Winston's Thoughts.

1217 words - 5 pages people, and it is what the Party wants to achieve: to control their thoughts, actions, beliefs, workings, and everything else. Thus the Party believes that the only way to have real power is to get both sides of it. In the eyes of the Party the struggle for matter has been won, while the struggle for control of the mind has just begun. Everything throughout the book is based on a reoccurring concept of power, which the ruling Party defines