10 March 2008

r.i.p. kitty genovese

i heard that the man that murdered kitty genovese in kew gardens over 40 years ago is up for probation. she's the woman that inspired the first verse in this phil ochs song--as she was being murdered, dozens of neighbors heard, but no one acted to help her. sad--our society can be so insular, selfish and harmful.

Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends
By Phil Ochs

Look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed
They've dragged her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends.

Riding down the highway, yes, my back is getting stiff
Thirteen cars are piled up, they're hanging on a cliff.
Maybe we should pull them back with our towing chain
But we gotta move and we might get sued and it looks like it's gonna rain
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends.

Sweating in the ghetto with the colored and the poor
The rats have joined the babies who are sleeping on the floor
Now wouldn't it be a riot if they really blew their tops?
But they got too much already and besides we got the cops
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends.

Oh there's a dirty paper using sex to make a sale
The Supreme Court was so upset, they sent him off to jail.
Maybe we should help the fiend and take away his fine.
But we're busy reading Playboy and the Sunday New York Times
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Smoking marihuana is more fun than drinking beer,
But a friend of ours was captured and they gave him thirty years
Maybe we should raise our voices, ask somebody why
But demonstrations are a drag, besides we're much too high
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

Oh look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed
They've dragged her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

[ Additional verse, 1974]

Down in Santiago where they took away our mines
We cut off all their money so they robbed the storehouse blind
Now maybe we should ask some questions, maybe shed a tear
But I bet you a copper penny, it cannot happen here
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends

2 comments:

Peter said...

It's interesting that the incident is now often explained in the context of the effects groups have on individual action (e.g. the film The Human Behavior Experiments). However, all the people had to do in this case was pick up the phone (someone eventually did, although too late). Ochs was shocked when he heard about it, and rightfully so.

V said...

I remember hearing about this case often. It is a terrible thing. Sometimes, you don't know if what you're hearing is real, but it's still worth picking up a phone and finding out. Or walking over. Or calling out.

When N and I first got together, we were at my old apartment, and there was this inebriated couple in the park, arguing, and N went over to make sure that the woman, who was crying, was OK. He's someone who does something when he's confronted with it. Just one of the reasons I'm with him.