Tom Lehrer cytaty

Tom Lehrer Fotografia
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Tom Lehrer

Data urodzenia: 9. Kwiecień 1928

Reklama

Thomas Andrew Lehrer is a retired American musician, singer-songwriter, satirist, and mathematician. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater. He is best known for the pithy, humorous songs he recorded in the 1950s and 1960s.

Lehrer’s work often parodies popular song forms, though he usually creates original melodies when doing so. A notable exception is "The Elements", where he sets the names of the chemical elements to the tune of the Major-General's song from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Lehrer's early work typically dealt with non-topical subject matter and was noted for its black humor in songs such as "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park". In the 1960s, he produced a number of songs dealing with social and political issues of the day, particularly when he wrote for the U.S. version of the television show That Was the Week That Was. Despite their topical subjects and references, the popularity of these songs has endured; Lehrer quoted a friend's explanation: "Always predict the worst and you'll be hailed as a prophet."

In the early 1970s, he mostly retired from public performances to devote his time to teaching mathematics and music theatre at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Cytaty Tom Lehrer

„I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more frequently these days, in books and plays and movies, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love: husbands and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays and so on, and in real life, I might add, spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up. Afterword to "Alma"

„I think my target was not so much evil, but benign stupidity people doing stupid things without realising or, instead, thinking they were doing good.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: You can make fun with Saddam Hussein jokes … but you can't make fun of, say, the concentration camps. I think my target was not so much evil, but benign stupidity people doing stupid things without realising or, instead, thinking they were doing good.

Reklama

„Irreverence is easy — what's hard is wit.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: Alas, irreverence has been subsumed by mere grossness, at least in the so-called mass media. What we have now — to quote myself at my most pretentious — is a nimiety of scurrility with a concomitant exiguity of taste. For example, the freedom (hooray!) to say almost anything you want on television about society's problems has been co-opted (alas!) by the freedom to talk instead about flatulence, orgasms, genitalia, masturbation, etc., etc., and to replace real comment with pop-culture references and so-called "adult" language. Irreverence is easy — what's hard is wit. On the current state of satire, in Rhino Records online chat (17 June 1997)

„Irreverence is easy, but what is hard is wit.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: One of the problems I see with these comics on television, particularly cable television, is, since you can say anything in terms of sex and scatological references and so on, therefore, you should do it. So they all limit themselves to these subjects and this vocabulary. My objection is that it is a lack of articulateness … Irreverence is easy, but what is hard is wit. Wit is what these comedians lack.

„Things are much more complicated.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: Things are much more complicated. Feminism versus pornography, for example. There are a lot of feminists who think it is bad, but others think it's good. I have become, you might call it mature — I would call it senile — and I can see both sides. But you can't write a satirical song with 'but on the other hand' in it, or 'however'. It's got to be one-sided.

„As long as you're billed as a comedian, I guess you can say anything.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: I remember when Richard Pryor said something about how in South Africa, all the black people should pick up guns and kill all the white people, and they went right on with the interview, and nobody stopped him on that. "Oh good old Richard, what a card." As long as you're billed as a comedian, I guess you can say anything.

„I don't understand poetry. We studied it in high school and college, but they never told us why it was good.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: I don't appreciate poetry--I don't mind admitting that now, I don't understand poetry. We studied it in high school and college, but they never told us why it was good. I got A's on all the exams--"Hail to thee blithe spirit, bird thou never wert"-- what the hell does that mean? I have no idea.

„I'm not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them. … And that's not funny.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: I'm not tempted to write a song about George W. Bush. I couldn't figure out what sort of song I would write. That's the problem: I don't want to satirise George Bush and his puppeteers, I want to vaporise them. … And that's not funny. … OK, well, if I say that, I might get a shock laugh, but it's not really satire.

Reklama

„It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: Last December 13th, there appeared in the newspapers the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary it has ever been my pleasure to read. It was that of a lady named Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel, who had, in her lifetime, managed to acquire as lovers practically all of the top creative men in central Europe. And, among these lovers, who were listed in the obituary, by the way, which is what made it so interesting, there were three whom she went so far as to marry: One of the leading composers of the day, Gustav Mahler, composer of "Das Lied von der Erde" and other light classics, one of the leading architects, Walter Gropius, of the "Bauhaus" school of design, and one of the leading writers, Franz Werfel, author of the "Song of Bernadette" and other masterpieces. It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years. Introduction to "Alma"

„I don't like people to get the idea that I have to do this for a living. I mean, it isn't as though I had to do this, you know, I could be making, oh, 3000 dollars a year just teaching.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: I always like to make explicit the fact that before I went off not too long ago to fight in the trenches, I was a mathematician by profession. I don't like people to get the idea that I have to do this for a living. I mean, it isn't as though I had to do this, you know, I could be making, oh, 3000 dollars a year just teaching. Intro to "Lobachevsky"

„No one is more dangerous than someone who thinks he has "The Truth". To be an atheist is almost as arrogant as to be a fundamentalist.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: No one is more dangerous than someone who thinks he has "The Truth". To be an atheist is almost as arrogant as to be a fundamentalist. But then again, I can get pretty arrogant. Responding to a question on whether he considered himself an atheist or an agnostic, in an [http://web.archive.org/web/20061027073138/http://www.celebatheists.com/index.php?title=Tom_Lehrer interview at celebathiests.com (June 1996)]

„Last December 13th, there appeared in the newspapers the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary it has ever been my pleasure to read.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: Last December 13th, there appeared in the newspapers the juiciest, spiciest, raciest obituary it has ever been my pleasure to read. It was that of a lady named Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel, who had, in her lifetime, managed to acquire as lovers practically all of the top creative men in central Europe. And, among these lovers, who were listed in the obituary, by the way, which is what made it so interesting, there were three whom she went so far as to marry: One of the leading composers of the day, Gustav Mahler, composer of "Das Lied von der Erde" and other light classics, one of the leading architects, Walter Gropius, of the "Bauhaus" school of design, and one of the leading writers, Franz Werfel, author of the "Song of Bernadette" and other masterpieces. It's people like that who make you realize how little you've accomplished. It is a sobering thought, for example, that when Mozart was my age, he had been dead for two years. Introduction to "Alma"

Reklama

„I have become, you might call it mature — I would call it senile — and I can see both sides. But you can't write a satirical song with 'but on the other hand' in it, or 'however'. It's got to be one-sided.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: Things are much more complicated. Feminism versus pornography, for example. There are a lot of feminists who think it is bad, but others think it's good. I have become, you might call it mature — I would call it senile — and I can see both sides. But you can't write a satirical song with 'but on the other hand' in it, or 'however'. It's got to be one-sided.

„Alas, irreverence has been subsumed by mere grossness, at least in the so-called mass media.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: Alas, irreverence has been subsumed by mere grossness, at least in the so-called mass media. What we have now — to quote myself at my most pretentious — is a nimiety of scurrility with a concomitant exiguity of taste. For example, the freedom (hooray!) to say almost anything you want on television about society's problems has been co-opted (alas!) by the freedom to talk instead about flatulence, orgasms, genitalia, masturbation, etc., etc., and to replace real comment with pop-culture references and so-called "adult" language. Irreverence is easy — what's hard is wit. On the current state of satire, in Rhino Records online chat (17 June 1997)

„I would like to state at this time that I am not now and have never been... a member of the Boy Scouts of America.“

— Tom Lehrer
Context: I would like to state at this time that I am not now and have never been... a member of the Boy Scouts of America. Their motto is, as you know, "Be Prepared!" and that is the name of this song. Introduction to "Be Prepared"

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