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Friday, April 19, 2019

New York Yankees beclown themselves

Rudyard Kipling lived in New York City in the early 20th century. He considered the abject poverty of the Bowery worse than Bombay. He was "impressed and moved by the Jews," who were very patriotic and optimistic.

Which leads me to the story of Israel Beilin, who was born in Imperial Russia before his parents hauled him and their seven other children to America. All he remembered of his five years as a Russian was the cossacks burning down their house in the middle of the night.

His education ended when he was 8. He hit the streets and hawked the Evening Journal newspaper. Once a crane knocked him into the river. They barely got him out, but he still clutched the five pennies he earned that day.

Later, he sang songs on the streets for pennies. He had it good when a restaurant in Chinatown hired him as a singing waiter. He made up parodies of popular songs.

Finally he wrote the song, "Marie from Sunny Italy," and pocketed a whopping 33 cents in royalties.

They also misspelled his name.

But he was patriotic and optimistic. Four years later, he wrote a song that became an international hit (and later the title of a movie starring Don Ameche). His song kicked off the ragtime music fad.

The hits kept coming. By age 30, he was a millionaire.

The Army drafted him for the Great War. They assigned him to Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York, where he entertained the troops by writing a musical review, "Yip Yip Yaphank." He wrote one song that didn't quite fit the musical. He set it aside.

For 20 years.

Then came Hitler.

Irving Berlin -- the name changed to match the spelling error earlier -- dusted his old song off, turned it into a hymn, and had Kate Smith debut the song, "God Bless America."

Of the 1,500 songs he wrote -- including  "Alexander's Ragtime Band", "Easter Parade", "Puttin' on the Ritz", "Cheek to Cheek", "White Christmas", "Happy Holiday", "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)", and "There's No Business Like Show Business" -- this was his favorite song.

Which brings me to New York Yankees.

The Washington Times reported, "The New York Yankees‘ anti-racism efforts have extended to pulling from their seventh-inning stretch a famous recording of the legendary Kate Smith singing 'God Bless America.'

"Not because anyone has complained that the song is racist, but because Smith recorded other racially-insensitive standards from and during the Jim Crow era. The Yankees pulled Smith’s 'God Bless America' from the rotation at the start of the season, but the New York Daily News reported the reason Thursday — 'the Yankees were made aware of Smith’s history of potential racism.'"

Tell me again, how many black players did the Yankees have in 1938?

Will the team surrender its world titles when it was as Jim Crow as the buses were in Birmingham, Alabama?

One of Smith's early hits was "That's Why Darkies Were Born."

Its lyrics included:
Someone had to pick the corn,
Someone had to slave and be able to sing,
That's why darkies were born.
Someone had to laugh at trouble,
Though he was tired and worn,
Had to be contented with any old thing,
That's why darkies were born.
You know who else sang it and had a hit?

Paul Robeson.

Maybe we should banish him, too.

You cannot change history, but you can make a fool of yourself.

UPDATE: The Philadelphia Flyers are morons, too.


  1. Racism was an excuse, anti-patriotism was the reason.

  2. Pretty sad. The elder Steinbrenner bought the Yankees from CBS for 10 million. They are worth 2+billion today. He said once he would hire Hitler to play left field if he thought it would fill seats. He marched every year in the Steuben day German heiritage parade bedside his friend Rudy Giulliani all the way up 5th Ave on foot.
    Locally he was known as the Boss. He took no prisoners.
    His son apparently is just another PC Scion like the Murdoch brothers, sporting laurel earned by the father. This stupid move signals that The Yankee empire is now officially over. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  3. I'm so old, I remember when Alice in Wonderland was considered fiction. Huh.

  4. Irving kidded that he was nervous touring Occupied Germany in 1945, on account of anything called “Berlin” got divided into four parts.

  5. The only professional aports league that has not been infected with this SJW nonsense in the National Hockey League
    This is the league that, after the murder of 5 police officers in Dallas, had a team host a moving memorial to the officers while the NFL barred the Cowboys from wearing anything in memory of the officers.

    As a fan of the NY Islanders however, I don't mind what they did; she was the Flyers good luck charm on 1975 when the Flyers beat the Isles in a 7 game Stanley Cup semi-final.

  6. It’s an excuse to remove God Bless America because New York isn’t much of an American city these days, any who has been there recently knows what I mean.

  7. Before long, everything created before 2008 (the coming of Sotero) will be banned or boycotted.

  8. I bet a careful search of the NY Yankee’s history would reveal lots of things worse than anything Kate Smith is accused of. The Bambino’s off-field exploits were legendary.

  9. The old Yanks were deeply in the American League slo-mo with black players. Name a prominent black Yankee before Elston Howard. Now name a prominent black Yankee other than Elston Howard until 1967. There aren't any.

  10. Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color barrier in 1947 as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The NYY didn't put a black man on their roster until 1955.

  11. Oh How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning

  12. Mr. Surber,

    I am the same Anon from a few weeks back who engaged you on Jerome Kern's Swingtime.

    This clip I saw in That's Entertainment had lyrics so unfamiliar to me that it got me to wondering what the actual original lyrics were:

    I looked it up (in books at a library) a few dozen years ago, and the original is almost scrubbed from the web:

    On the one hand, the lyrics are racist as hell. On the other hand, they resonated over thirty years ago when I looked them up and still resonate to this day. That said, remove the racial element, and the lyrics still ring true about anyone of any color or creed, anywhere putting on airs.

    I respond only because I was a little kid living in Champaign, Illinois, when Professor William Warfield (Showboat 1951, and husband to Leontyne Price) came to U of I to teach and eventually . He was the anti-Robeson. Robeson was a filthy communist piece of shit.

    1. Robeson indeed was a communist. He also was a civil rights leader, a lawyer, a football player, and an actor and singer. He sang "Old Man River" in "Show Boat," which was remarkable in that it had a mixed cast at the time. My point is the song I cited for its time was not racist. Darkies was an improvement upon the N-word. And Robeson substituted it for the N-word in plays.

      The original "Putting on the Ritz" lyrics got Taco in trouble in the 1980s. Berlin had long abandoned the Harlem references.

      Applying the standards of the time is the best way to handle the past.

    2. Thank you for the comment. You know your stuff.

  13. Good grief! That covered-up statue looks like they're trying to turn Kate Smith into a Burka Babe!

    1. Good grief! You changed the photo! My comment makes no sense now (to those who didn't see the earlier picture)!

    2. Didn't mean to undercit you. Justthought this was a better one becaus ethat old photo made Kate Smith look like a Burka Babe.

      Seriously, I did not see your comment. I apologize.