James Dobson: The Musical

Just beat it

I found this song over on the WFMU blog. It’s a top ten hit from 1948, starring Arthur Godfrey. Here’s part of what they write about it:

The subject matter (and, yes, I realized the 1948 version of what’s acceptable differs from the 2009 version) is bad enough. The song extols the virtue of beating the living hell out of your daughter when she disobeys you. Family values, I guess. What pushes it over the edge into unmitigated nightmarish sadism is the glee and jauntiness the beating engenders. Right off the bat, Arthur Godfrey chuckles disturbingly as the scene is painted with a girl lying on the floor trying to fend off blows. That and the HILARIOUS slapstick suggesting that Arthur Godfrey is not screwing around here. There will be welts and bruises.

So here it is. “Enjoy” it!

You need a Flash plug-in to hear this!

This is the world that the fundies of today pine for. This is the world they want to take us back to. This song illustrates what they consider to be proper and moral parenting.

If you think I’m joking, may I remind you of how James Dobson treats his dogs and his children.

13 Responses to “James Dobson: The Musical”

  1. dvsrat Says:

    This is creepy. Even considering that attitudes toward parenting have changed since 1948 this contains a sadistic tone that is just unbearable. I’m sure that there were some people in ’48 who had the same gut reaction to that song that I did. Years ago the attitude that a physical punishment was necessary to “teach the kid a lesson” was widely accepted. This song suggests a sadistic, relentless, brutality that is for the primary purpose of providing a perverse pleasure for the perpetrator.

    The only song by Arthur Godfrey that I knew of before this one is, I’m a Lonely Little Petunia in an Onion Patch. I knew it because my parents had it in their collection of old 78s. I hated that one too, because it’s a stupid song, but this one is fucking creepy.

  2. Parrotlover77 Says:

    This is absolutely awful. It’s hard to imagine this was only 60 years ago.

  3. Another Steve Says:

    Even back in the 60’s it was acceptable for nuns (aka the brides of christ) to beat the ever loving crap out of a kid with a ruler or pointer in class in front of all the other kids.

    In my case, sister used a wooden architects scale. On one occasion, I thought she had broken my hand. What a bitch.

    If that sort of discipline didn’t get your attention, the principal had an oak paddle with holes in it to raise welts on the backside of his victim. The handle on that paddle was suitable for a two handed swing so he could get the most out of each hit.

  4. dvsrat Says:

    I was one of Mrs. Morris’ subjects. I was in third grade. Mrs. Morris was about an inch taller than the average third grader. She was probably, (more-or-less) 573 years old. She carried the yard-stick everywhere she went. So she could whack you with it.

    If you have to use the bathroom she would give you three minutes to do so. She set a timer. For three minutes. And if I (or any any other student) was not sitting in that seat when the timer rang —

    [stage directions]

    MRS. MORRIS: “You are late, now hold out your hands so I can smack you with the ruler.”

    ME: {make a face that says “OH Shit!!”}

    [End stage directions]

    Sometimes Mrs. Morris would just go psycho and demand that all the kids stand in a line and hold your hands out so she could whack them all with a ruler, on the palms of our hands, one-by-one.

    I’m 44 years old. When I was in the third grade Mrs. Morris was 573 years old (give-or-take)– The school that she taught in was torn down in 1980 and an office building is in it’s former place. I no longer live in the same city. I wonder if Mrs. Morris is still alive. Odds are “slim” — yeah right.

    Hey — actually — true story, my kindergarten teacher is alive and well. My parents spoke with her recently.

    OK, ok, I got totally off-track. Back to the song.

    That song is so violent, creepy, sadistic, cruel, misogynistic, and so vile that it needs to be looked at. This song is based on actual events. Imagine that.

  5. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Ron, is that illustration legit, or did someone make it up deliberately to discredit fundies or child abusers (not that that would be a bad thing)?

  6. bunkie Says:

    I don’t think creepy covers this song. Sad, horrifying is closer. It angers me because I know that this was the belief of many back in that time and is still now. “What will the neighbors think?” was always the concern. And “Spare the Rod, Spoil the child” was something all fundies believed in and still do.

    Fortunately, my folks were not into that part of the deal (the rod) even though they grew up in that era. HOWEVER, my uncle, a minister, was. And my sisters and I lived with him and his family when I was young (my mom was in the hospital very ill at the time). We got hit for everything. My sister even had a bladder issue (one that ultimately required very expensive medication to resolve), and she got blamed and walloped HARD for something that was out of her control. I never really forgave them for that.

    “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. It’s in the bible and they followed it.

    The song makes me angry…and very sad.

  7. Ron Britton Says:


    The illustration is for parody purposes. It’s sad that there was any doubt.

  8. Brian Says:

    Without naming names, I know of a few people who would not only get a chuckle from this terrifying clip but would also nod their heads in agreement to it. You will not find it surprising to learn that they all call themselves Christians. It makes me wish there really was a Hell for people like this to go to.

  9. Megan Says:

    I’m familiar with this fellow! From this lovely tune…

  10. Bacopa Says:

    Maybe the travelling salesman is a nice guy who had consensual, mutually satisfying sex that respected her inexperience and virginity.

    O Noes!!! Worst outcome EVAR! Girl actally wanted to have good sex and got it. We must Beets hur 2wice az hard.

  11. OtherRob Says:

    I just listened to the clip. I knew that attitudes were different back then, but…wow… You said this was a hit song?

  12. Phil Says:

    Jebus, don’t you people recognize parody??? This was from the 40’s! It certainly is out of place for 21st century tastes, but in no way, shape or form does it endorse the actions of the ignorant, intolerant family members. It’s making fun of those people!

  13. Ron Britton Says:

    That’s possible, but there is so much attitude change between then and now that it’s impossible to tell. It’s obviously a novelty song, but from this distance, we can’t tell how it was intended.