Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Eternal Tension

. . . between Art and Craft. Suppose a decent idea comes: I work it up while it's fresh, then check it against the sheet music. The error I most often find is that I've added pick-up syllables in places where the composer was silent. What to do? Re-work the line until it fits the music as written? Or keep the first expression of the thought as is, since it's probably funnier and more natural than anything written later in cold blood? Do I sacrifice everything, come what might, for the sake of having my say, or stay up for half the night to re-write and re-write, till I've written the humor away? As Wodehouse says, the whole thing is very moot.

Which brings us to today's little offering. The thought came along on Thursday afternoon, and the song itself kept me occupied Friday morning, while I was driving that stultifyingly boring stretch of I-95 that runs the length of Connecticut--all 111 miles of the damned thing. It's to the tune of Cole Porter's I've Got You Under My Skin, the picks-up to which I know like the back of my hand. Simply put, the middles of the lines don't have 'em: under my skin, deep in the heart of me, not to begin. Nevertheless, I could think of no way to avoid putting 'em into my lines. I justify this apparent sloppiness by telling myself that I've consciously done it. Does that make a difference, though? I dunno.

Now, the song:

Ann Coulter
Gets under your skin:
She cold-cocks
Liberal piety;
The sacredest cows
Of modern society--
Like buzz words.
And media spin.

The Left Wing
Used to be in:
Their journalist cronies would write
Each editorial;
Their line was deceptively slick
And faux professorial,
But truth-wise,
Boy! was it thin.

When Coulter arose to expose their cant,
They did not know how to respond;
And here's what annoyed 'em more than her partisan slant:
She was willowy, witty and blonde!

And you know that her fans
Just sit there and grin.
Somehow, it's criminal.
(Or is it subliminal?)
Well, the bell is rung;
Simply bite your tongue
And thank God
She isn't a twin--
Or she'd reeeeeelly
Get under your skin!

Lyric © 2006 Nathaniel DesH. Petrikov

Now, really: how can one edit out Gets in the second line, without destroying the whole song? The rule simply must be broken, this time.


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