22 November 2009

We shouldn't wonder why Americans are so awful at financial planning (and, not unrelatedly, marriage)...

...when in one of the greatest American musicals, Oklahoma, audiences are treated to such brilliant financial minds as Curly, Will, Jud, and Ali, all of whom handle money with the brains of one of the ears of corn growin' as high as an elephant's eye in "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning."

Curly and Jud engage in a bidding war, each willing to dispose of his entire life's savings or tools-of-his-trade (i.e., future earnings potential) for a lunch.

Will meanwhile can't hold on to $50 to save his l(w)ife, and Ali, well, considering he actually runs a business, is quite the poor entrepreneur.

We'll overlook the fact that all these financial transactions are thinly veiled attempts to buy and sell women because that would lead us to a discussion of the Goodspeed Opera House's production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the educational packet for which includes worksheets for middle- and high-schoolers in language arts, history, and culture.

I can hear the post-performance class now:

"Teacher, what's a 'procurer'?"

"What I want to be when I grow up: a 'courtesan'!"

"Our band's finally got a name -- 'The House of Lycus'!"

Now, those are solid and measurable educational outcomes.

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