I was listening to “Anything Goes” earlier today (as I mentioned yesterday, I’m a big fan of the standards, particularly if written by Cole Porter), and was reminded how the lyrics make me laugh.
Written for the song’s namesake musical in 1934, Porter’s song bemoans how casual American life has become.
In olden days, a glimpse of stockings
Was looked on as something shocking
Now, heaven knows
Sound familiar? And this was 1934. The “anything goes” of the song was hardly the anything goes of the 1960s or – heaven forbid – today. Even authors were all crass by the 1930s, apparently:
Good authors too, who once knew better words
Now only use four-letter words
And the men? Ha! They were hardly real men at all.
When most guys today
That women prize today
Are just silly gigolos
It struck me as funny (as it has every time I’ve listened to it over the past 20 years or so) because all these complaints seem to be the same as those that we hear and make today. To listen to the MRAs today, men have lost their masculinity, but apparently this isn’t the first time they’ve lost it.
Our clothing is slutty, our books are crass, and our dudes are lame. Said every generation ever about every generation that comes behind them.
Sadly, no one’s written an ode to that as eloquently as Cole Porter.