In a recent conversation in which we talked a bit about slang terms for women's genitalia, I was reminded of the story of the Snatch Song. It was told to me by an old theatre professor, Gary Gardner, who specialized in playwriting and musicals, and I will now share it with you.

There is an old musical, The Fantasticks, which has a song about a kidnapping, but inexplicably, instead of using the word "kidnap," they use "rape." It was written in the 1940s, I think, but that is still bizarre. It's otherwise nauseatingly wholesome.

Gary was asked to come critique a rehearsal of this musical, which was done at a Catholic boys' school, before it opened. There he discovered that, feeling that the word "rape" was too risque, even used in a non-sexual context, the director, who was a monk, has substituted the word "snatch."

Twelve-year-old boys are singing:

A pretty snatch!
A literary snatch!
An obvious open schoolboy snatch!

Gary told me that the most embarassing moment of his entire life was taking a monk into the men's room and explaining to him what snatch meant.

From: [identity profile]

The Fantasticks was actually writen in 1960, and though their intention was obviously "rape" in the sense of "The Rape of the Lock", it's...problematic, yeah.

Gary told me that the most embarassing moment of his entire life was taking a monk into the men's room and explaining to him what snatch meant.

Oh, good lord. (So to speak.) The last time I saw it, they'd started substituting "abduction", which doesn't scan perfectly all the time, but now that I see what the alternatives are...

From: [identity profile]

Oh my.

Though, if they'd wanted to preserve some hinky overtones while maintaining a cover innocence, it would have been a perfect choice of words.

From: [identity profile]

When I was in Denver I had a friend who was a producer in a company that made audiobooks. They had a stable of readers, mostly retired poeple, who read the books, and she said it was always the sweetest little old ladies who ended up reading the books with the most explicit sex scenes. And she said it was terribly embarrassing to have to correct their pronunciation.

From: [identity profile]

Apparently "rape" comes from words meaning "carried away" which is where you get things like "rapt" and "enraptured", so using rape to refer to kidnapping seems entirely logical in my mind...doesn't make it less weird, of course.

From: [identity profile]

There are lots of old artistic uses of rape meaning carried away / kidnapped, like "The Rape of the Sabine Women", a painting where men on horseback are grabbing women. Now, I expect later on the usual modern meaning of "rape" would also occur, but the title itself and actual actions depicted are the kidnapping.

From: [identity profile]

If I ever want to intentionally torpedo an online dating profile, now I know one way to do it: "Must have a literary ....".
chomiji: A cartoon image of chomiji, who is holding a coffee mug and a book and wearing kitty-cat ears (Default)

From: [personal profile] chomiji

>> An obvious open schoolboy snatch! <<

There's an idea I could have done without ... !   XD

(Speaking of which, Joni Mitchell's "Raised on Robbery" and Carrie Newcomer's "I Fly" both seem to use "groceries" as slang for either, err snatch or perhaps all of a woman's more interesting bits: in the former, the line is "I'm a pretty good cook / I'm sittin' on my groceries ... " and in the latter, about a woman working as a stripper, the line is "I'm just paradin' my groceries." Has anybody else run into this before? Does anyone know any history behind it?)

ext_12512: Hinoe from Natsume Yuujinchou, elegant and smirky (Saiyuki Gojyo obscenity)

From: [identity profile]

I think that may go back to classic 1920s/30s blues slang and double entendres -- raunchy-blues queen Lucille Bogan, for instance, did a song called "Groceries on the Shelf" where a whorehouse is imagined as a famous Southern grocery chain, with the girls and their goods as the groceries for sale.

(Now, if only someone could have had that sort of talk with Browning before the publication of Pippa Passes!)
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

From: [personal profile] kate_nepveu

Steven Wright:

"We had a dog with two vaginas.

We called her Snatches."

(the crowd laughs and groans in equal measure)
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

From: [personal profile] oyceter

Bwahahahaha! Speaking of which, I forgot to tell you in chat that I learned the equivalent to the snatch song -- the scrotum song! I have forgotten the lyrics, but Google brings up this!

And also, no snatch song would be complete without a link to the snatchel.

From: [identity profile]

A spectacular snatch! With costumes ordered from the East!

I am going to have this alteration in my head forever now.

From: [identity profile]

I think I just exploded my sinuses. Or maybe my brain. Maybe both.
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))

From: [personal profile] ewein2412

you know the Parents in The Fantasticks (who arrange the kidnapping) object to the word rape, and the bandit tells them...

"Excuse me, the attempted rape. Now I know you prefer abduction, but the proper word is rape. It's short and businesslike."

And then he launches into his song. So in context it is not as off-the-wall bewildering to have a song about it.

That said, your story just made me laugh my head off.

From: [identity profile]

I remember seeing a college production of The Fantasticks. They had an insert in the program half-defending, half-apologizing for the use of the word "rape".

From: [identity profile]

When our high school did the show, we actually had El Gallo stop the show and read a dictionary definition of "rape", so as to reassure everyone. Fortunately, with his character, it (sort of) worked.

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