TO: O. Leo Leahy, Drama Teacher
FROM: Political Correctness Committee, Nunzio Saccamano High School
This memo concerns your field trip to take students in our Dramatics Club to see the Broadway musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." We understand the students are very excited to see Daniel Radcliffe (who played Harry Potter in all those movies) in the starring role, although some were disappointed that he isn't running around naked as he did in "Equus" a couple of years ago.
As we all know, this musical is a relic of the "Mad Men" era of the early 1960s: The business world and America in general have evolved quite a bit since this show was first on Broadway.
We have examined the songs in this musical and we are concerned about some of the lyrics, which you may need to use as "teachable moments." This memo contains some guidance for you in explaining this show to your students and answering the questions they no doubt will raise. As always, you ignore our suggestions at your peril.
"The Company Way": A very disturbing song. The character who sings it -- a corporate "lifer" -- suggests that the key to success in corporate America is to go along with everything the company suggests, however ridiculous. As you know, we believe strongly in teaching our students to question authority whenever possible, especially when it wears a business suit. You will need to explain how this was a very misinformed, pre-enlightenment outlook that no longer applies in today's America.
You will also need to warn your students about the final lyric of the song, where the character sings, "Whoever the company fires, I will still be here." Many of our students have one or both parents who have been downsized from corporate jobs, and they may be traumatized by this message. If necessary, the services of our school psychologist are available to you.
"A Secretary Is Not a Toy": We understand you have already tried to explain to our students what a secretary was -- we admire your explanation that she (and sometimes he) was a human being who did everything the iPad does today. We approve this song, as it conveys a strong, positive message against sexual harassment in the workplace...
"Been a Long Day": ... a message which unfortunately is contradicted in this song, by which a young executive invites his secretary out to dinner. You will need to point out very clearly that this sort of behavior just isn't tolerated in today's business environment, even though when you work 24/7 in an office, your co-workers are the only people you know well enough to date.
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