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Plucking Out The Eyes Of Texas

People have lost their damn minds. From the Texas Tribune:

More:

OK, wait a minute. If you don’t get your way, that doesn’t mean that your “opinions don’t matter.” It may simply mean that you made your case, and it wasn’t persuasive. This is childish. More:

Here is background on the song and the controversy: a university-commissioned report. The song was written to poke gentle fun of an early twentieth century president of the university, who used to say all the time, “The eyes of Texas are upon you.” It was debuted at a minstrel show in 1903 — a fact the report rightly says is regrettable, while noting that minstrel shows were a popular form of entertainment at the time. Here are the full lyrics:

I once did know a President,
Away down South, in Texas.
And, always, everywhere he went,
He saw the eyes of Texas.
The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
All the live long day.
The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
You can not get away.
Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn
The Eyes of Texas are upon you
‘Till Gabriel blows his horn.
Sing me a song of Prexy,
Of days long since gone by.
Again I seem to great him
And hear his kind reply.
Smiles of gracious welcome
Before my memory rise,
Again I hear him say to me,
“Remember Texas’ Eyes.”

The part of the song I know (because my wife is an alumna of UT, and she and the kids would sing the song every time we would drive back to Texas from Louisiana, and cross the border) is:

The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
You can not get away.
Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn
The Eyes of Texas are upon you
‘Till Gabriel blows his horn.

I didn’t know the complete lyrics till just now. This song is totally innocent! The earlier claim that the song has some sort of connection to Robert E. Lee has been debunked. The entire controversy is because its first performance was in a minstrel show. The students, alumni, and backers of the University of Texas have been singing this song for over a century, and nobody noticed that it was problematic until recently?! This is a manufactured controversy if ever there was one. More from the Texas Tribune story:

What kind of enfragilated souls find themselves traumatized by a song whose lyrics refer not to slavery or anything offensive, but which was first performed by students in a minstrel show during Theodore Roosevelt administration? Ridiculous and psychotic — a form of religious fanaticism. This therapeutic totalitarianism, under which we are commanded to cast all our history into the dustbin, including beloved cultural artifacts like a university fight song, if it strikes a privileged victim group as offensive, has to end.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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