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“Next time we’ll just pick our own cotton”

He could slide the “wog” word past his Hollywood audience in 1972 but in 2018 Randy Newman’s got some ‘splaining to do ’bout all that monkey business.

In America you’ll get food to eat
Won’t have to run through the jungle
And scuff up your feet
You’ll just sing about Jesus and drink wine all day
It’s great to be an American

Ain’t no lions or tigers, ain’t no mamba snake
Just the sweet watermelon and the buckwheat cake
Ev’rybody is as happy as a man can be
Climb aboard, little wog, sail away with me

Sail away, sail away
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay
Sail away, sail away
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay

In America every man is free
To take care of his home and his family
You’ll be as happy as a monkey in a monkey tree
You’re all gonna be an American

Sail away, sail away
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay
Sail away, sail away
We will cross the mighty ocean into Charleston Bay

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • bob sykes June 8, 2018, 4:24 AM

    WOG = worthy oriental gentleman.

    Originally referring to Hindus in the Raj. “Worthy oriental gentleman” was imposed by the East India Company on its employees who used racial slurs when talking about native Indians. The Company’s employees contracted the phrase and applied it generally, as in

    “The WOGs begin at Calais.”

    Similar to WOPs = without papers.

  • ghostsniper June 8, 2018, 4:44 AM

    Life was a little kinder, softer, considerate, back in 1972.
    My HS graduation was that year.
    Unlike the razor sharp jagged broken glass edges all over the place now.

    “Feelings, nothing more than feelings….”

  • Punditarian June 8, 2018, 5:25 AM

    I’m sorry, Bob, but those are false ex-post-facto etymologies. The term “wop” is a representation in English of the Neapolitan word “guappo” meaning a worthless ruffian (and may in term come from the Spanish, “guapo” meaning handsome). “Wog” is obscure but may come from “golliwog,” a blackface ragdoll in a series of popular English children’s books (1895-1909).

  • Jack June 8, 2018, 7:05 AM

    I’m not aware of the origin of the term “wog” but I do know that the Brits used it to refer to blacks back in the day when they ruled British East Africa, now known as Kenya. The term was widely used from the earliest days so it may well in fact have its origin in India. Since we aren’t supposed to use the N word any longer we can always use Wog. Here’s a brief discussion.

    For other uses, see WOG (disambiguation).
    Wog is a slang word in the idiom of Australian English and British English. In the UK, it is usually employed as an ethnic or racial slur, and considered derogatory and offensive. In Australia, it may be used as a slur, but to some extent has been reclaimed and is used as a self-descriptor.

    In British English, “wog” is an offensive racial slur usually applied to Black, Middle Eastern, South Asian or Southeast Asian peoples. In Australian English, “wog” is a term used as a racial slur mostly for people from Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region in general, including the Mediterranean region of the Middle East (i.e., the Eastern Mediterranean or the Levant and North Africa) as well as Eastern Europe.

  • WiscoDave June 8, 2018, 7:33 AM
  • BillH June 8, 2018, 7:36 AM

    I thought wog came from pollywog, to describe people with a grinning, bug eyed frog face, like Nancy Pelosi for instance.

  • tim June 8, 2018, 8:26 AM

    Putting aside the “wog” meaning for a sec, the song just plain sucks. It’s lyrically adolescently simplistic, plus he can’t “sing”, and I use that worth loosely, worth crap. He can’t even fake it like someone with a less than perfect voice but makes it work anyways like Neal Young, for example.

    I hope the orchestra got double time pay for the effort into attempting to make that horrible tripe into something that resembles music.

    “Won’t have to run through the jungle”
    “Just the sweet watermelon and the buckwheat cake”
    “You’ll be as happy as a monkey in a monkey tree”

    Yes…what in the world was he referring to…hmmmm…

  • Punditarian June 8, 2018, 8:30 AM

    If you look up Florence Kay Upton’s “golliwog” (1895) in the Google, and look over the Images, you will see where the term “wog” comes from.

  • Dan Patterson June 8, 2018, 8:40 AM

    I suspect this tune was meant as irony, like “Short People”, instead of direct commentary. Or more likely a slam at America because after all, celebrity bullshit artists are gonna celebrity bullshit.
    And young Tim is exactly on point with his critique.

  • Rob De Witt June 8, 2018, 10:02 AM

    All the post-modern exegesis of things like “Sail Away” merely exposes the infection of leftist hatethink that invaded our public school system in the ’80s. If you don’t get it, it’s because you’re a braindead Cultural Marxist, whoever you may vote for.

    It’s satire, you morons (look it up.)

    Furthermore, when I’ve sung it in public, especially in places like Berkeley and Sebastopol, the crowd sings along. Always.

  • Punditarian June 8, 2018, 12:14 PM

    Thank you Mr De Witt. I agree that the song is clearly a satire; the object of the satire, the person who is being mocked, is the persona (the “voice”) who is singing the song, not the persona to whom the song is being sung.

  • tim June 8, 2018, 12:24 PM

    Actually I was approaching it through eisegesis, as in a subjective, non-analytical interpretation. ‘Cause I could really give a shit about this song, that I’ve never heard before and hopefully will never hear again, nor about the talentless Randy fuckwad Newman.

    Only a moron would take him, or his music, too seriously (or memorize the lyrics).

    Besides, the sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day and it’s Friday in America. Late.

  • Rob De Witt June 8, 2018, 12:35 PM

    Young tim,

    “Eisegesis is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text. This is commonly referred to as reading into the text.”

    Or in other words, the exact opposite of what you claim. In other other words, it’s the argument of Michel Foucault and the other Critical Theorists (Marxists) who obviously make up your “education.” I can’t help noticing that your lack of experience re Randy Newman and this particular song (haven’t heard Rednecks either, have you?) causes you no embarrassment regarding spewing your uninformed opinion in a room full of adults – which is something else you were taught to do by the Marxists in grade school.

  • Dan Patterson June 8, 2018, 2:42 PM

    Told ya.

  • Nunnya Bidnez, jr June 9, 2018, 2:05 PM

    Just another day when Randy forgot to wear his dentures.

    and no, I’m not making that up.

  • Steve in Greensboro June 9, 2018, 6:29 PM

    As Ali said when asked him impressions of Africa at the time of the Kinshasa fight, “I’m glad my great-grandad got on that boat.”

  • ghostsniper June 10, 2018, 2:26 PM

    “Just another day when Randy forgot to wear his dentures.”

    Howdya know that, did he give ya a gummer?