Nothing to see here. JRun along now.
September 18, 2004 7:36 AM   Subscribe

SHOW TUNES 1, FUNDAMENTALISTS 0 [thanks karmakaze]
posted by Pretty_Generic (53 comments total)
Heroism at the highest level. Thanks
posted by donfactor at 7:48 AM on September 18, 2004

Go Koaloha go!
posted by nthdegx at 7:55 AM on September 18, 2004

Best solution to unwanted religious harrassment I've heard yet.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:57 AM on September 18, 2004

Wow, another not-terribly-believable anecdote about some brave soul overcoming adversity by standing up to an abusive right-wing figure.

I live in the bible belt and I still can't think of a time I've heard an individual use the term "gay devil." Much less two, on the same subway ride.

Maybe his train ride occured on "National Attack the Gay Devils Day." Or maybe this tale is a bit fanciful. Yawn.
posted by mragreeable at 7:57 AM on September 18, 2004

Have you ever been to NYC or Chicago, mragreeable? I find nothing fanciful about this tale, on either end of it.
posted by psmealey at 7:59 AM on September 18, 2004

mragreeable, you have obviously never ridden the NYC subway. The "gay devil" label is bandied about quite a bit, especially from those who originate from the West Indies or Carribean islands. Perhaps it's a regional thing...

and oh yes, the person doing the singing was a woman. Just FYI.
posted by ltracey at 8:00 AM on September 18, 2004

"Or maybe this tale is a bit fanciful. Yawn."

When I take you out, tonight, with me,
Honey, here's the way it's goin' to be:
You will set behind a team of snow white horses,
In the slickest gig you ever see!

Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry
When I take you out in the surrey,
When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!
Watch that fringe and see how it flutters
When I drive them high steppin' strutters.
Nosey pokes'll peek thru' their shutters and their eyes will pop!
The wheels are yeller, the upholstery's brown,
The dashboard's genuine leather,
With isinglass curtains y' can roll right down,
In case there's a change in the weather.
Two bright sidelight's winkin' and blinkin',
Ain't no finer rig I'm a-thinkin'
You c'n keep your rig if you're thinkin' 'at I'd keer to swap
Fer that shiny, little surrey with the fringe on the top!
All the world'll fly in a flurry
When I take you out in the surrey,
When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!
When we hit that road, hell fer leather,
Cats and dogs'll dance in the heather,
Birds and frogs'll sing all together and the toads will hop!
The wind'll whistle as we rattle along,
The cows'll moo in the clover,
The river will ripple out a whispered song,
And whisper it over and over:
Don't you wisht y'd go on forever?
Don't you wisht y'd go on forever?
Don't you wisht y'd go on forever and ud never stop
In that shiny, little surrey with the fringe on the top!
I can see the stars gettin' blurry,
When we drive back home in the surrey,
Drivin' slowly home in the surrey with the fringe on top!
I can feel the day gettin' older,
Feel a sleepy head on my shoulder,
Noddin', droopin' close to my shoulder, till it falls kerplop!
The sun is swimmin' on the rim of a hill;
The moon is takin' a header,
And jist as I'm thinkin' all the earth is still,
A lark'll wake up in the medder.
Hush, you bird, my baby's a-sleepin'!
Maybe got a dream worth a-keepin'
Whoa! you team, and jist keep a-creepin' at a slow clip clop.
Don't you hurry with the surrey with the fringe on the top!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:01 AM on September 18, 2004

an abusive right-wing figure

I don't see anything in the story that suggests they're right-wing, just crazy. Part of the joy of living in New York is that our fundie wackjobs come in all creeds, colors, and political persuasions.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:03 AM on September 18, 2004

Well, if the New Yorkers say it's plausible, I retract my comments.

My company has an office in Manhattan, and I make the ride from Jamaica Station to Grand Central pretty frequently, but that's about as much exposure to the NYC subway as I get. Maybe that train's a bit more civil than average.
posted by mragreeable at 8:05 AM on September 18, 2004

I've always wanted to answer by speaking in tongues ("afdkaf dlknvkv dsfjadkf: God says we have a false prophacy situation in the first car, step away from the false prophet"), but I think show tunes are much better.

I don't think I have the moxy to pull off either, but it will cheer me in the future to think of this.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 8:09 AM on September 18, 2004

Yeah, who's on the train and who's bothering you varies from line to line. When I'm on the E or F to and from Queens, I'll see a lot of people selling batteries and toys. They aren't obnoxious at all. Once or twice I've seen wannabe subway entertainers there, but not so often.

The 1/9 gets a lot of panhandlers, and there's one group of really annoying gits who sing (loudly and poorly) gospel.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:10 AM on September 18, 2004

Yeah, these folks exist in Chicago, too, although they're not quite as bad as the folks described here. Usually the only place I see them is on the south branch of the Red Line, and usually they aren't so much trying to preach as they are trying to raise money for their churches/halfway houses/whatever (or at least that's what they say.) They go through their spiel, they walk the length of the car and try to collect donations, then they move to the next car.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:25 AM on September 18, 2004

Gay Devils.
posted by iamck at 8:35 AM on September 18, 2004

There's one guy in particular in Chicago, that I was thinking of. He stands in front of the Old Navy store with a Radio Shack mic and speaker set at State and Washington, and shouts epithets at all comers. If you look a bit punk rock, he'll call you a heathen or pagan, and if you look, in his opinion, gay, he will call you a gay devil or sodomite. A million laughs for sure.
posted by psmealey at 8:37 AM on September 18, 2004

Cue Petula Clark:

Don't preach on the subway, darlin',
Go stand in the pouring ra-a-a-a-in...

posted by stonerose at 8:46 AM on September 18, 2004

Gay Devils.
Um. Thanks iamck, that was... troubling.
posted by mmahaffie at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2004

Great way to start my day. Thanks for the chuckle. Now if only I (and mr-crash and stonerose) had been there to sing along.
(And from my favorite show:)
Don't talk of stars Burning above; If you're in love,
Show me! Tell me no dreams
Filled with desire. If you're on fire,
Show me! ...
Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme!
Don't waste my time, Show me!
Don't talk of June, Don't talk of fall!
Don't talk at all! Show me!
Never do I ever want to hear another word.
There isn't one I haven't heard.
Here we are together in what ought to be a dream;
Say one more word and I'll scream!
Haven't your arms Hungered for mine?
Please don't 'expl'ine,' Show me! Show me!
Don't wait until wrinkles and lines
Pop out all over my brow,
Show me now!

posted by NorthernLite at 9:00 AM on September 18, 2004

Wow. That Jack Chick tract just about made me throw up.
posted by jeremy at 9:02 AM on September 18, 2004

I once had a guy on a subway train ranting about the New Order and how it must be stopped. I had a lot of fun arguing with him, to the horror of my friends, about how he was nuts, Bizarre Love Triangle is a phenomenal song, and then started singing Blue Monday to him.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:04 AM on September 18, 2004 [3 favorites]

THIS is why I have to move back to NYC!
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:10 AM on September 18, 2004

Heh. This beats any of the Snopes glurge stories, so good for this guy.

iamck: wow. That's... just.... wow.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:13 AM on September 18, 2004

There's a guy on my bus here (London) who does this every night of the week. Even less fun on a London bus than a train, as you've got absolutely nowhere to move. I was considering punting him off the back of the bus as we go round a tight corner, but maybe showtunes are the answer?
posted by influx at 9:26 AM on September 18, 2004

Man, this is great. Thanks, PG. (It almost makes up for your JRunning the OED.)

The most obnoxious panhandler I ever saw on the subway was the "Martian music" guy, who played horrible screechy sax music until people shelled out enough for him to shut up. I wish Koaloha had taken him on. (Actually, the guy could play perfectly well when he felt like it, so he might just have started accompanying. Win-win!)
posted by languagehat at 9:49 AM on September 18, 2004

Wow, psmealey, I work right by there and see that guy all the time. He has an odd habit of jerking the mic up and down.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:21 AM on September 18, 2004

interesting how that jack chick tract skipped the part where lot offers his daughters to the sodomites, isn't it? ... i don't know about new york, but i used to see preachers of all sorts of religious and political persuasions in san francisco ... i not only find the story believable, but somewhat tame ...
posted by pyramid termite at 10:28 AM on September 18, 2004

Be careful. Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar are chock full of show tunes too....
posted by konolia at 10:31 AM on September 18, 2004

Actually, just about anything that results in showtunes being sung in public is probably a net negative - even if it does get rid of annoying preacher types.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:35 AM on September 18, 2004

So, every Chick tract is online? Cool!
posted by mwhybark at 11:30 AM on September 18, 2004

I wish I'd been there!

posted by AccordionGuy at 11:46 AM on September 18, 2004

Gay Devils is definitely going to be the name of my next softball team.
posted by kamikazegopher at 11:54 AM on September 18, 2004

There's one guy in particular in Chicago, that I was thinking of. He stands in front of the Old Navy store with a Radio Shack mic and speaker set at State and Washington, and shouts epithets at all comers.

Good heavens. Is that man still there?! Either that, or it's his twin--there was an identical street preacher with the identical set-up in the identical location when I was living in Chicago (left in '98). I much preferred the Hyde Park gospel lady, who at least had a good singing voice.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:33 PM on September 18, 2004

Goddamn I miss New York.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:49 PM on September 18, 2004

Heh... was just singing that track from Jesus Christ Superstar to myself... For the good of the nation / This Jesus must die (must die, must die, this Jesus must die)
posted by RylandDotNet at 3:07 PM on September 18, 2004

Wow, another not-terribly-believable anecdote about some brave soul overcoming adversity by standing up to an abusive right-wing figure.

*clears throat, grabs mic from diva mr_crash_davis*

DON'T tell me not to live, just sit and shudder
Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter
DON'T bring around a cloud to rain on my parade!

...and thanks for the fresh ideas, konolia! It'd be even more on point to give the jazz hands treatment to "I Don't Know How to Love Him."
posted by melissa may at 3:09 PM on September 18, 2004

thomas j, it's him - I've lived here since 1985, and that guy been harranguing State Street as long as I've been here... I say we get the MeFi Chicago Gay-Friendly Devil Chorus together and go sing "I've Got a Crush On You, Sweetie Pie" to him...
posted by JollyWanker at 3:10 PM on September 18, 2004

Now I get it, Now I get it!! I had to sleep on it, but now I get it, Crash: "There's only two things that come out of Oklahoma."
posted by planetkyoto at 3:21 PM on September 18, 2004

That was a fabulous, fabulous story. I just reposted it to a Broadway forum I lurk on.

(But as one of the comments on her site said, the only thing more perfect would have been if she had sung "the Trolley Song" by Judy Garland, given that they were on a subway.)

Thank you, Pretty_Generic!
posted by Asparagirl at 4:19 PM on September 18, 2004

I think it's time we all brushed up our repetoire of show tunes. I only know the first few lines of those-- though I could manage every word of South Pacific, Camelot, and The Sound of Music....

That Jack Chick tract damn near ruined my day. I feel like committing some sodomy right now to cheer myself up.
posted by jokeefe at 5:55 PM on September 18, 2004

My crazy preacher lady story:

In Edmonton about two decades ago there were a couple streetcorner preacher women. Poorly dressed, obviously living on welfare support, none too bright, physical signs of mental retardation. They'd stand and blither endless nonsense: really, it was a lot of word-association lunacy. Individual words and phrases made sense; most sentences did not; and there was never a real thesis to their speech.

Anyway, turns out in the end that they were being "sheparded" by some old coot. In exchange for their welfare money he provided a room and spiritual guidance, with instructions on where to witness and what to blither.

He also fucked them, and then sent them off for abortions when they got pregnant.

It was all very sad.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:24 PM on September 18, 2004

Drat! The Old Navy street preacher has never called me out for anything. I'll have to try harder.

I go to school nearby so JollyWanker, Outlawyr, I'm ready to join the chorus. Although you'll have to tell me what you want to sing so I can learn it in advance. I don't know very many show tunes.
posted by jennyb at 6:46 PM on September 18, 2004

Great story! I love it when people speak up, and its even better when its funny! Just getting in an argument with these weirdos would go nowhere (most likely), but SHOWTUNES - awesome.
posted by fillsthepews at 6:56 PM on September 18, 2004

I too found the "gay devils" thing a bit hard to believe, but if you New Yorkers say it happens, I'll take your word for it.
The showtunes idea was great.

One time on the Bloor subway I saw an elderly woman with straggling gray hair and with slips of paper containing Bible verses safety pinned all over her coat leap to her feet and start haranguing us all. She exhorted us all to leave out ways of sin and women to stop wearing short skirts and tempting the men. (Item: I was the only woman in sight wearing a short skirt.) I crossed my legs and buried my nose in a school textbook. I noticed everyone was either enjoying her speech or politely ignoring her, in much the same way one pretends not to notice when someone passes wind.
posted by orange swan at 7:00 PM on September 18, 2004

Show: "Bells are Ringing"
Set: NY Subway
Song: Hello!

Hell O Hello there! Please to! Meet You! It's a pleasure and a priveledge!
Glad to! Know you! How are you, Hello!

Lets have a party and pour out the wine!
Always fair weather when we're singing
(rest 2 3-beat measures)
Hello, hello there! ...

Works very well on subway cars. Dance around the poles.

The show itself is 100% pure CORN
posted by Goofyy at 2:43 AM on September 19, 2004


[ ] YES! [ ] NO

posted by kaibutsu at 4:33 AM on September 19, 2004

My sister is an evangelical minister/missionary. I've probably mentioned that before. Anyway, thinking about conversations she and I have had concerning how she's evangelized, and just knowing her POV in general, I'm struck by how utterly unlike her method is the behavior of the fundies in this anecdote.

At the risk of putting words in my sister's mouth, I'd guess her view on their behavior would be "how can they possibly imagine they are going to persuade someone to be a Christian by behaving that way?" Because, you see, her point of view is that evangelizing is about reaching out to other people, about being effective and successful at it. Because that's the point, isn't it?

And that makes me wonder: what is the point for these sorts of people? And perhaps it's cynical of me, but I can't help but think that for them, it's not about the people they are evangelizing to, it's about themselves.

Which, you know, I think illustrates a general vice of human nature found wherever people are ostentatiously being virtuous and trying to, supposedly, "make the world better". It's a lie. It's not about other people or the world, it's about them and their narcissism or self-involvement or insecurities or displaced anger or whatever.

Okay, I return you to your originally scheduled program.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:33 AM on September 19, 2004

That's the best comment of yours I've ever read, EB.
posted by orange swan at 6:04 AM on September 19, 2004

This could be the start of a succesful meme...Thanks P_G.

And thanks EB. Good points well made. For some believers, proselytising is a duty: success is apparently not measured in souls saved, but hours preached.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:34 AM on September 19, 2004

These are good points, but I think it's unfair to characterize the "fundies in this anecdote" as run-of-the-mill fundies. These are clearly marginal characters that are more than a little off their rockers, and I don't think were intended to stand in as stereotypes of well-intentioned evangelicals.

Further off topic, I came across the following link, which is an excerpt from Daniel A. Helminiak's What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality. It seemed appropriate to put up something in reply to Jack Chick's vicious tract on homosexuality. I'm no theologian myself, but Helminiak's reading of Genesis 19 seems to me a much more reasonable interpretation than Chick's.
posted by psmealey at 9:56 AM on September 19, 2004

stand in as stereotypes of well-intentioned be represenative of all
posted by psmealey at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2004

Of course it's about them. It's exactly like the JWs. You don't witness to get converts: you witness because it scores you brownie points with god.

Which is why it's best to be politely succinct with JWs, BTW. If you go apeshit on them, they score more points, which is exactly what they want.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:01 AM on September 19, 2004

He mentions this a bit in the article, but one element that should be stressed is that this lady (if it's the same person I've seen and I think it is) is very, very, very loud.
posted by milovoo at 3:07 PM on September 19, 2004

A friend who was on the other end of the subway car when this incident occurred says that this version has been simplified and embellished somewhat. For example, the friend notes that much of the real controversy and discussion didn't erupt until preacher number one had already left the car while the train was still in Brooklyn. At that point there was much vocal reaction to comments by show tune woman (not heard by my source) in which she apparently questioned why Christians had to be so anti-gay.

My source left the train before peacher number two arrived, but I personally question the chances that one could run into two preachers using the term 'gay devils' on the same subway ride.

But show tunes were in fact sung.
posted by davidfg at 9:15 PM on September 19, 2004

I was always wondered about the JW's, dont they belive in a super specific, low, number of people that get to be "saved," like 100,143 or something like that?
So I always thought that the conversion teams are sortof defeating themselves, for everyperson they convert, it is a greater chance that they themselves will get left out of heaven. Or is like a pyramid scheme? And if they convert X number of people then they get to go, and if the people under them convert X, it also boosts their stats? (but then what happens to the bottom?)
posted by Iax at 10:08 PM on September 19, 2004

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