May 20, 2013 - Eliza Doolittle Day

The mean old speech teacher made Eliza Doolittle do her vocal exercises again and again and again. And over again, again.

All this while treating her rather badly!

As she daydreams about taking revenge on her teacher, Doolittle dreams of a day when she will be famous, “proper and prim.” She imagines meeting the King; he is so charmed by her that he proclaims:

"Oh, Liza, old thing,
I want all of England your praises to sing.
Next week on the twentieth of May,
I proclaim Eliza Doolittle Day!”

This delightful revenge song is in the Broadway show and movie My Fair Lady. It's all about the transformation of a young cockney woman, who earns a grubby living by selling flowers, into a Lady with a capital “L.” The speech teacher is Professor Henry Higgins ('Enry 'Iggins, to Eliza Doolittle), and he does his transforming trick on the “flower girl” in order to win a bet with a colleague. The question that hangs over the movie is—Do these two fall for each other? And maybe even, do they live happily ever after?

Basically, today we celebrate a fictional character's daydream about something that would never, ever happen!

And celebrate we will!

  • It's a great day to watch the movie My Fair Lady.

  • Learn the whole song “Just You Wait.”

  • Do you think that the movie is sexist, according to our modern ideas? And what do you think about the way “upper class” and “lower class” people are depicted?

  • Elocution” is the study of formal speaking. What is the “proper” or “correct” pronunciation of a word in a world with many different accents?
Would it surprise you to hear that the “right” way to say something is supposed to be the way that the upper class pronounces things? In England, the upper-class English accent is called “the Queen's English.” The accent used by most American news broadcasters is called “General American.”

Of course, in reality there is no one “correct” accent or way of pronouncing words. No matter what 'Enry 'Iggins said, people with regional accents that are different from what are considered “standard” accents are not necessarily less intelligent, less educated, or less “cultured.”

Plan Ahead...

Check out my Pinterest boards of May holidays, historical events in May, and May birthdays.

Also on this date:

Flying Firsts Day

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