[Marxism] A guide to G.B. Shaw on home video

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 23 12:33:50 MDT 2009

Andrew Pollack wrote:
> Louis wrote:
> "A first-rate musical titled 'My Fair Lady' was based on Shaw's play
> but I doubt that it could do justice to the brilliant dissection of
> class society in the original."
> I'd be curious on others' take on this. Louis, does your phrase "I
> doubt that it could," as opposed to "it doesn't," mean you haven't
> seen "My Fair Lady"?
> I've never seen "Pygmalion," (and thanks for the link, Louis!) but I
> read it years ago. My vague recollection is that the dialogue isn't
> that different from the movie (including the great excerpt in Louis's
> post), but it's been decades.

There's *nothing* like this in "Pygmalion":

"I've grown accustomed to her face! She almost makes the day begin! I've 
grown accustomed to the tune that she whistles night and noon. Her 
smiles, her frowns, her ups, her downs, are second nature to me now, 
like breathing out and breathing in... I was serenely independent and 
content before we met! Surely I could always be that way again... And 
yet... I've grown accustomed to her looks, accustomed to her voice, 
accustomed... to her... face."

In fact Higgins is vicious to Liza Dolittle until the very last moments 
of the play:

"It's all you'll get until you stop being a common idiot. If youre going 
to be a lady, you'll have to give up feeling neglected if the men you 
know don't spend half their time snivelling over you and the other half 
giving you black eyes. If you cant stand the coldness of my sort of 
life, and the strain of it, go back to the gutter. Work til you are more 
a brute than a human being; and then cuddle and squabble and drink til 
you fall asleep. Oh, it's a fine life, the life of the gutter. It's 
real: it's warm: it's violent: you can feel it through the thickest 
skin: you can taste it and smell it without any training or any work. 
Not like Science and Literature and Classical Music and Philosophy and 
Art. You find me cold, unfeeling, selfish, don't you? Very well: be off 
with you to the sort of people you like. Marry some sentimental hog or 
other with lots of money, and a thick pair of lips to kiss you with and 
a thick pair of boots to kick you with. If you cant appreciate what 
you've got, you'd better get what you can appreciate."

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