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May 18

#Problematic! Drilling Down “The Street Where You Live”

In this latest—and first—installment of #Problematic! we analyze the #troubling #patterns followed by #potentialsuitor Freddy in “My Fair Lady,” and not a moment too soon.

“I have often walked down this street before,” says Freddy in “My Fair Lady,” the 1964 Warner Bros. musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion.” Many people feel that Eliza should have married kind, romantic, smitten Freddy rather than returning to exploitative, vain, and verbally abusive Prof. Higgins. But facts are facts, folks, and we need to remember that Freddy didn’t need to say “before” if he’d already said “often.” Perhaps Eliza sensed this and reasoned that a man who speaks redundancies would lack precision elsewhere.

“I have often walked down this street,” Freddy could have said. “But the pavement always seemed to meet my feet.” BOOM. MARRIAGE.

Or: “I have often idled by this curb anon/Just to passover your bitter herb, LeBron.” Or: “I have ofttimes lingered on this thoroughfare/I’ve got goiters sorry if that is an overshare.” Or: “The restraining writ doesn’t limit me/From asking you to throw a big old rim at me.”

Eliza Doolittle is but a pawn in colonializing Prof. Henry Higgins’s patriarchal game of improving the cockney unwashed of his area, and on a dare, no less. Her father, Alfred, hilariously sells her into a blank check of undefined servitude to Higgins as hapless, besotted, persevering, and menacing Freddy stalks Eliza through the streets of London, ultimately rejected as his capitalism isn’t as big as the Professor’s. #Problematic!

Jeremy Brett’s singing was dubbed by Bill Shirley (Just as Audrey Hepburn’s voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon) and, in the movie version at least, he doesn’t get the girl. But he does get cocaine, as Brett went on to play Sherlock Holmes in a number of movies.

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