Sunday, November 15, 2009


No one remembers happy lovers. “Happily ever after” simply means stirring the oatmeal and doing the laundry, and that sort of scenario is uninteresting. Romeo and Juliet, Casablanca’s Rick and Ilsa, Antony and Cleopatra, Lancelot and Guinevere, all are famous lovers whose stories end tragically. James Cameron’s Titanic is the biggest grossing film of all time—and it’s not because it’s just another disaster film. Without the tragic love story, and the obstacle of the class barrier that in large part creates it, you have another Poseidon Adventure. As Lysander observes in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Ay me! For aught that I could ever read,/Could ever hear by tale or history,/The course of true love never did run smooth.” The greatest obstacle to love is death, but one of the most prevalent obstacles is that of class—even in America, where we’re not supposed to care about such things.

Songs About The Class Barrier:
Phil Collins – Like China
Billy Joel – Only the Good Die Young
Dickey Lee – Patches
Gene Pitney – Princess In Rags
Johnny Rivers – The Poor Side of Town
Sonny & Cher – Baby Don’t Go
George Strait – Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Conway Twitty – Tight Fightin’ Jeans
The 4 Seasons – Rag Doll
The 4 Seasons – Dawn (Go Away)
Charlie Walker – Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Hank Williams, Jr. – This Ain’t Dallas
Mark Wills – Jacob’s Ladder
Faron Young – Country Girl

Required Reading:
Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse
Denis de Rougemont, Love in the Western World

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