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The Liberal Arts Degree Waltz

from Fun Singles in Your Area by Marian Call



A character piece that simply demanded to be written -- inspired by Tom Lehrer, Victor Borge, Anna Russell, and other vintage musical comedy greats. If you figure out what 1950's musical revue this song wandered out of, and how I can write the rest of it, do get in touch.


If there had been Twitter when I was sixteen,
through retweets and research I might have foreseen
a dual major in Classics and art history,
though enriching and inspiring, would pauperize me.

We who sought knowledge for knowledge's sake,
who swooned over Tolstoy and Brontë and Blake,
who argued philosophy into the night --
there's a tune we all know, and it haunts us like so:

The liberal arts degree waltz
The melody thrills and appalls.
Our passionate quest for intellectual readiness
led straight through the quagmire of crippling indebtedness.
The liberal arts degree waltz
The freelancing rate falls and falls.
What makes life worth living except to examine it?
No matter our earnings portfolios inanimate.
We're romantics at heart, we can't help it, so dam-n it!
The liberal arts degree waltz.

Once music was science and math was an art,
once language and history were critical parts
of the studies of businessmen and politicians.
Have you wondered of late whether something is missin'?

Who needs sources or footnotes or logic or ethics
in a world of philosophies measured in metrics --
The clickthrough, the pageview, engagement and "likes"?
You can make people click, but that don't make it right.

The liberal arts degree waltz
Collections redoubles their calls.
We'll have to go rattle our crowdfunding cups,
and pray that our rich Uncle Arthur re-ups.
The liberal arts degree waltz
One payment away from default.
I thought my prospects were brighter than listicle writer --

I'm not unduly panicky over modern insanity,
But, foregoing profanity, OH, the humanities!
The liberal arts degree waltz


from Fun Singles in Your Area, released July 1, 2015
Written and performed by Marian Call
Piano by Paul Pew
Recorded, edited, & mixed by Marian Call in Austin, TX




Marian Call Alaska

Marian Call has things to say. She sounds a little like Ingrid Michaelson meets They Might Be Giants & Regina Spektor for bourbon & laughs, which sounds improbable, but give it a try. She hails from Alaska and tours North America and Europe, and she lives on Twitter. Her songs are quirky, sharp, surprising confections in every genre full of rich dark carmelized sugar, savor, & spice. ... more

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