Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.
Today we’re going to study a song called Y.M.C.A. And I think is a very interesting song to study because it can be read in a couple of different ways.
Y.M.C.A. came out in 1978. And it’s by an American band called Village People.
You’ve probably heard this song. It’s pretty common to hear in bars in New Zealand and many other countries I’m sure ... and everyone does the little dance.
When I was a teenager, I never really thought about what it meant ... and then I found out YMCA stands for Young Men’s Christian Association and I thought ... that’s a bit weird, why is there a song about, like a Christian club. Then the other day I was listening to an interview with a guy who wrote a book about the history of homosexuality in New Zealand or something and they were talking about the YMCA, so I decided to look it up.
YMCA is a Christian organization. Wikipedia says it’s a world-wide movement of more than 45 million members. I don’t think it’s very popular in New Zealand though , because I’ve never seen any YMCA places.
As for the song, Wikipedia it says: Taking the song at face value, its lyrics extol the virtues of the Young Men's Christian Association.
And that’s pretty much all it says. But I found some really good articles on this site.
This is what it says about the YMCA: By the early twentieth century, YMCAs had become popular havens for men who sought sex with other men.
Then in 1919 there were a few scandals which:
... prompted the leaders of the YMCA to enact strict rules against homosexuals. Suspicion of homosexuality or the solicitation of homosexual activity became grounds for immediate eviction. However, many of the desk clerks charged with enforcement were gay men who worked at the YMCA because they liked the gay-friendly environment. These men looked the other way as homosexual behavior abounded.
Later on it says:
The 1940s through the 1960s witnessed the heyday of cruising at the YMCA. As the YMCA became associated in the public mind with virility, it attracted muscle men and lovers of muscle men. Members of the armed services and the working class were pulled into the YMCA by outreach programs that unintentionally also brought men who desired soldiers, sailors, and construction workers.
Another article about the Village People says that the Village People’s primary appeal was clearly a gay male audience but it also crossed over into mainstream pop.
And this is very interesting: Because the general public was largely unaware of the meanings and suggestiveness of the lyrics and costumes associated with the group, the gay audience not only enjoyed the music on its own terms, but also relished the irony of a mainstream audience unknowingly embracing subculture values and images.
That’s quite funny when you think about people that might be homophobic singing along to that song.
So, if you’ve never thought about the lyrics or what they mean before, go and read the song and you’ll see that you can take two different means from the lyrics.
Here’s a few lines:
They have everything for you men to enjoy,
You can hang out with all the boys ...
That could mean that the YMCA is a great place to go out and hang out with men. Or it could mean that the YMCA is a great place to go and have sex with other men.
Kia Ora, in Stick News today the president of Russia wants Russia to an internet domain name in the Cyrillic script. He says raising the importance of Russian as a language is his personal priority as president.
The Cyrillic alphabet is a family of alphabets that is used for many languages, including Russian.
Recently, Reuters reported the president of Russia said that defending Russian was a matter of national pride.
He said a Cyrillic domain name would be a key part of raising the importance of Russian as a language.
“We must do everything we can to make sure that we achieve in the future a Cyrillic internet domain name.”
Reuters says: the president has been keen to portray himself as an internet-savvy head of state: he has publicly used his mobile telephone to connect to the internet and says he surfs online every morning for news.
Russia now has two domain name suffixes in the Latin script.
Now they want another suffix in the Cyrillic script.
And that was Stick News for Friday the 13th of June.
Word of the Day
Today’s word is heyday.
the time when sb/sth had most power or success, or was most popular
I did a search for heyday and I found quite a few companies called heyday.
Heyday skateboarding, records, footwear, fashion, entertainment, books, games...
And here’s an example from a page introducing theatres in California.
The shell of the Golden Gate Theatre on Whittier Boulevard only hints at what this theatre was like in its heyday.
Why don’t tigers eat clowns?
Because they taste funny.
conversations with sarah
There’s a Japanese version
Have you heard of the song YMCA?
Yeah. There’s a Japanese version.
Oh really? With Japanese lyrics?
Yeah. Sousa, Y M Shi A ...
Do they do the dance too?
Mistake: I pronounced Cyrillic wrong the first time I said it. After I said that I looked it up again and noticed that the stress is supposed to be on the second syllable.
Today's intro is pretty long ... sorry, I got a bit carried away.
Show 762 Friday 13 June
The Daily English Show