Last night, a couple of friends and I went to an art opening and one of the pictures showed rows upon rows of big houses. This made me think of the song "Little Boxes" which I've heard a lot lately because I'm watching the TV show Weeds on DVD. So I said so.
One of my companions quoted Tom Lehrer and said Little Boxes was the "most sanctimonious song ever written."
I didn't say this, but what I wanted to say was, "It's almost the Quaker anthem."
The lyrics seem quaint until you hear that all the people who build houses out in the suburbs all come out "just the same." It is derisive and sanctimonious.
More than once I've been at a Quaker sing and someone suggests Little Boxes. Smiles spread through the room like The Wave at the Metrodome and we sing loudly and look around as if we were saying to each other, "What in the world are those people thinking, why would they choose to march in lock-step with each other in the suburbs." And unspoken, because we'd never say such a thing, "Idiots."
The irony is that a similar song could be written about us. It would talk about our non-profit jobs and our service work and our organic gardens and our MA or MS or PhD degrees.
And our sanctimony.
On another note, I gave a workshop this morning on Quakers and social class for fifteen willing adults. (And I think it went well. More on this later?) At the end, I handed out copies of an article I referenced before by Betsy Leondar-Wright.
This afternoon, my partner Liz was on Facebook and said, "Hey, Jeanne? That article you handed out, is it by someone named Betsy Leondar-Wright?"
Yeah, it is.
Turns out, Liz was really good friends with Betsy's sister growing up.
It's a teeny, tiny little world on Facebook!