Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Press One for English

Press One for English by Ron and Kay Rivoli of the Rivoli Revue was brought to my attention and I found it struck a chord with me (pun intended, folks). I researched the song that has generated nearly nine million hits on YouTube and found that there were some who found the song racist and offensive. I had to listen again because I didn't hear anything that I would have construed as racist or offensive. Nope. Nothing there. In fact, the song and video are an obviously a tongue-in-cheek look at an issue many U.S. citizens find challenging in our country today. I looked up the lyrics so I could be sure I wasn't missing something and found them to be inoffensive and not anti-immigration at all. Then I reread the articles claiming the song was racist and anti-immigration and noted that they were filled with false lyrics that never even appear in the song. An example quote, "'If you don’t speak English, go home. If you don’t speak English, you’re not welcome here. If you don’t speak English, get back on the boat and go where you came from,' White cringed as he remembered the words." Mr. White seems to be "remembering" words that are not in the song or even alluded to in the performance. Worse yet, were the admissions that the complainers had not even heard the song personally but had heard it was offensive thus were condemning it themselves in the press. How asinine is that? In fact, the video gives credit to those who legally immigrated to the United States and took the courage and responsibility of integrating into society instead of trying to make over the U.S. in the image of the very country they no longer wanted to live in.

Here are the lyrics so judge for yourselves and let me know your thoughts:

Press One for English
Hey, I can't read that sign out there
Please tell me what's it say
We have to have subtitles
In five languages these days
Now we don't ask too much
To share this land of liberties
But if it's not too much to ask
Could you please speak English


English is my language
It's the language of this land
And every sign that's posted here
I should understand
I do not live in China, Mexico
No foreign place
And English is the language
Of these United States

Now I'll speak very clear for you
So there'll be no mistake
My family fought and died
Protecting freedoms in these states
Now we all welcome those who come
But when you reach our shores
Folks you should speak our language
Not the one you spoke before

(Repeat chorus)

Now I'm proud of this country
And this great Democracy
And I believe an open door
Should be our policy
But for these opportunities
We'd simply ask you this
Hey you're the one who chose to come
Now choose to speak English

(Repeat chorus)

I do not live in China, Mexico,
No foreign place
And English is the language
Of these United States

Now here's one thing I question
And try to understand
Hey why must I press one for English
When it's the language of this land

(Repeat chorus)

I do not live in China, Mexico,
No foreign place
And English is the language
Of these United States


Rev. Hatter said...

You have to listen to the song backwards to hear those lyrics.J/K

If someone is looking for racism they will find it in just about anything. For example, look at the "baa,baa black sheep" if you don't already know it(http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/b001.html). Now look for racism, See what I mean?

Bonez said...

Hey Hatter! I agree, people will find whatever they are on a witch hunt for and crucify the innocent in their ignorance. The "political correctness" movement that cuts off U.S. Citizens' proverbial balls sickens me, at times, and make more of us sheep than eagles.

Mrs. Hall said...

I don't really care about the song.

But, the argument that immigrants should learn English, while not novel or new, is one I support.

But, that is not going to happen. For so many reasons, it just ain't gonna happen.

Language barriers will always be a part of life in this country. I have all sorts of patients who don't speak English. But it is amazing how fast kindness translates. I get my job done every time.

My daughter, being white, will be the minority in her new school. Which is fine, I enjoy this. Go diversity. But I know that this will inhibit her ability to make new friends. After all, she doesn't speak Spanish and the other kids don't speak English. Go diversity indeed.

But, we will be moving soon so that solves that. That is until we move again. Let's hope for more English speakers. Or at least broken English.

Go engrish!


Mrs. Hall

Bonez said...

Hey there, Mrs. Hall. I don't necessarily like the song or musical style myself. In fact, I honestly shun anything that remotely smacks of Country and Western music. This video was brought to my attention through one of those "Pro-American" spam e-mails that I usually delete but once I researched the "controversy" I had to have my say. I don't agree that someone has to learn English to immigrate to the United States, but I don't think the U.S. should spend the time and money to accommodate languages other than English in official government business and documentation. Doing so only encourages the immigrants to not integrate into the culture and society they are allegedly joining. It is quite frustrating to attempt to do business at the grocery store or any other place and have the employee look at you blankly and mutter that they don't understand or speak English. It is also frustrating to see my tax money go to teach English as a second language and then be told there isn't enough money left in the school budget to teach my child how to speak Spanish, or French, or German, or whatever... thus furthering the multi-lingual chasm. Also, my real point of this post was to point out the misinformation that the song is anti-immigration and racist. It is not either and those who have "unjustly" branded it as such without even listening to it or reading the lyrics are doing themselves and the public a disservice.

Mrs. Hall said...

I haven't actually listened to the song.

But I agree with you what you said up there.

Except the country music statement.

I am a sucker for steel guitars and fiddles.


Mrs. Hall

Bonez said...

ah, C&W has been a sore point with me since I grew up with it waking me up at six a.m. every morning when I was a child and until I left home. The old "Brother Hal Show" which was the redneckiest twangiest tabaccie-chawin' son of a bucks you ever heard out of Little Rock, Arkansas. Yee HAW, Mo' Fo'! Old time Country and Western that made me grind my teeth in agony... primarily because it was coming from the clock radio of my hateful and abusive step-father... ah, but that's another story for another post, I guess. Steel guitars are kinda cool, though.