Mudcat Café message #301297 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #24468   Message #301297
Posted By: rabbitrunning
20-Sep-00 - 09:12 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Mrs Stein Don't Rent to Gypsies Any More
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dosn't rent to gypsys
I know the thread has crept elsewhere, but I'd like to come back to whether or not we should post lyrics. As a librarian, I spend a lot of my day answering questions, and I go through a process called "the reference interview" a lot because the question that gets asked is frequently not the question that needs answering. If you go back through this thread, you'll see that Mythhunter said the song was "haunting" her. She/he wanted the lyrics as a kind of an exorcism, and in a later post she said that she didn't think the song was a good one, just that it was one that she needed to see the words to. If someone who knew the song had posted the lyrics right away, this thread might have died right then. A person who didn't want to post them publicly could have said so why here and let us know that they were sending the words to Mythhunter via PM and again, the thread could have gone peacefully to oblivion.

InOBU's first post was made on the basis of nothing more than the title of the song, and Joe, quite properly, said that the title was insufficient information to base a discussion on, and asked for the lyrics. (I'm not denigrating InOBU's reaction; we do hit back when we think we're about to be kicked.) Joe knows, though, through a broad level of experience, that titles are deceptive. It is not unusual for a song title to seem to send one message and the song itself to send another.

In any case, at that point, Mythhunter's question was still unanswered. We had found the names of two performers who did the song, but we didn't know the words.

Think how much different this thread would have gone if we had gotten the lyrics earlier. We would have been asking "Well, how old _is_ this bit of trash?" and helping InOBU document a solid example of anti-Roma bias to use when he was working on the issue. We could have been discussing what it is about the tune or the performance that makes the song "haunt" someone for six years. We might even have been talking about the stereotype "Mrs. Stein" represents and whether or not there are earlier versions of the song where it's "Mrs. McDonald" and she leaves by train. But the discussion would have been based on the song.

Once the discussion got heated and general, posting the lyrics became MORE important, not less so. The value of the forum for people who need song lyrics lies in the answers that they get, but once a discussion is going, newcomers need a quick way to look at what's being discussed.

And McGrath, if I were interested in the Horst Wessel song, I'd settle for a blicky or what you gave us -- which search engine to use. I'd probably be looking for it for a teenager who was doing a research paper on how Hate Groups twist things to serve their own ends, but that might not come through in the question.