Oh, the shark babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it, ah, out of sight
Ya know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billiows start to spread
Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there's never, never a trace of red
–Bobby Darin version
Everyone loves "Mack the Knife," but few know the story of the song. The song was written for The Threepenny Opera Die Dreigroschenoper by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill in Berlin 1928. The song itself took digs at the corruption of the German government while also portraying the bad guy as someone who also has admirable qualities. Theater critic Brooks Atkinson said The Threepenny Opera turns accepted values of the good life upside down and went on to say of Mack the Knife, "you want to hate and fear him, but you can't help but like him a little bit." Some critics compare Mack to the bad guys in the Godfather, the Wire and the Sopranos.
Soulful Sounds and Insincerity
President Obama has been doing a lot of singing, and he actually sounds good, very soulful and connected. It's a good way to campaign to the young and hip crowd, and before November I'll look for one hip-hop duet, one country and western duet, and a ballad sung in Spanish. There is one song I bet our Commander in Chief would crush on karaoke—Mack the Knife. In some ways it would be the perfect tune based on the insincerity of so many proposals that are just Trojan Horses that either loot businesses, banks or hard working Americans in the name of stealth bailouts for states and funding for community groups.
"You want to hate and fear him, but you can't help but like him a little bit"
Yesterday we got headlines that the Obama administration was looking to cut corporate taxes to 28% from 35%. This sounds amazing and anything but anti-business, except when you look at the fine print. The proposal cuts out loopholes and other tax breaks so it's what they call revenue neutral. In other words, the government wouldn't lose money from American corporations. On the contrary, over a 10 year period Uncle Sam would take in $250.0 billion more in taxes. The plan is a waste of time and serves more as a campaign document than something that moves the nation in the right direction. The big target here is that giant pot of corporate money sitting offshore.
Now d'ja hear ‘bout Louie Miller? He disappeared, babe
After drawin' out all his hard-earned cash
And now MacHeath spends just like a sailor
Could it be our boy's done somethin' rash?