For some reason, I was reminded by Jake DeSantis’s already-famous “Dear AIG, I Quit!” op-ed, and even more by some of the online expressions of sympathy, of a song lyric I once read in The Complete Lyrics of Cole Porter. This was a song Porter wrote for a musical in 1930; in the song, a trio of wealthy people laments that everyone is worried about how the Depression is affecting the poor, and no one cares about the sacrifces the rich have made. The song was cut before the Broadway opening, but Porter later re-worked parts of it into the hit song “Well, Did You Evah!”
I receive every morning
A request or a warning
That I help out some fund for the poor.
I admit that big cities
Have to have such committees,
And they’re all very worthy, I’m sure.
But why don’t they start saying pray’rs
For poor millionaires?
Have you heard that Mrs. Burr
Has had to fire her pet masseur?
And you can believe me, baby, that was some rub.
Have you heard that Billy Boozey
Has given up his favorite floozy
And even stopped shooting craps at the Raquet Club?
Have you heard that Mrs. Pennell
Has auctioned off her kennel
And all that she has left is one bitch?
Oh, darling Mr. Hoover,
Won’t you be a sport and please maneuver
To find a way to help the poor rich.
Have you heard that Mrs. Beale
Has lost so much in Hard-Boiled Steel
She can’t afford to keep a yacht of her own?
Have you heard the Charlie Skinners,
Who always give enormous dinners,
Are so hard up that they have to dine all alone?
Have you heard that Mrs. Baker
Can’t pay her French dressmaker
And fit to wear just hasn’t a single stitch?
Oh, mighty Lord above us,
If you’re not too occupied to love us,
Then try and find a way to help the poor rich.