The banning of the prize-winning graphic novel, "Maus" by a Tennessee school board has this song stuck in my head.
January 30, 2022

Since a Tennessee school board banned the book "Maus," I've had this song in my head from The Fantasticks.

Why? Because reaction to this dangerous, absurd school board action of banning a prize-winning graphic novel that teaches older grade students about the horrors of the Holocaust has been massive. The book was sold out on Amazon for a time, and celebrities are buying up copies to distribute to non-school libraries so that it's available for children to read.

You want a kid to do something? Tell them they can't.

And that's what this song is about.

The premise of the world's longest-running show on off-Broadway (I saw it multiple times in that tiny off-Broadway theater-in-the-square, the Sullivan Street Playhouse) is that two fathers who are neighbors want their kids to marry. To pull this off, they build a wall between their properties and gin up a fake feud, and forbid the children from seeing one another. Sure enough, the kids fall in love.

Jerry Orbach originated the role of El Gallo, but in this 1964 movie version, we have Ricardo Montablán gracing the screen. The iconic stars, Bert Lahr and Stanley Holloway play the fathers, and it's the most delightful song to have dancing around in my head. It's almost as pleasant a consequence of that horrible, regressive action on the part of the Tennessee school board as is the the knowledge that kids are grabbing up the banned book wherever they can.

Here's the full hour of The Fantasticks, if you'd like to see Montablán in tights play guitar and sing.


Here's your Sunday morning line-up:

CBS “Face the Nation”: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) … House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) … Victoria Nuland … Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova … Scott Gottlieb.

CNN “State of the Union”: Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) … New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu. Panel: David Urban, Alyssa Farah Griffin, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Stephanie Cutter.

ABC “This Week”: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) … Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) … U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Panel: Chris Christie, Donna Brazile, Donna Shalala and Reihan Salam.

NBC “Meet the Press”: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) … Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) … Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. Panel: Stephen Hayes, Carol Lee and Claire McCaskill.

FOX “Fox News Sunday,” guest-anchored by Dana Perino: Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) … John Kirby. Panel: Doug Heye, Jacqui Heinrich and Harold Ford Jr.

MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) … Nina Turner … Gloria Avent-Kindred … Karol Mason … Chasten Buttigieg … Ruth Marcus … Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

CNN “Inside Politics”:Panel: Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Hans Nichols, Jackie Kucinich, Manu Raju and Joan Biskupic.

Tell the truth. Did you watch that second video to see Ricardo Montablán?

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