May 28, 2003

Not infrequently, the theme song from Diff’rent Strokes gets stuck in my head. But somehow I always make a slight adjustment to the lyrics. When it comes to “it takes diff’rent strokes to move the world, yes, it does,” I generally find myself humming/thinking “it takes diff’rent strokes to rule the world, yes, it does.”

I’m not quite sure what this says about me but it can’t be good.

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17 Responses to Not infrequently, the theme song

  1. Jon says:

    Depends. Do you have a secret laboratory?

  2. thom says:

    I always thought it was “rule” the world. D’oh!

  3. JW says:

    Well, you couldn’t be a much worse world-ruler than the one we’ve got working out of Washington right now . . . .

  4. D.R. says:

    For one thing, I would be the one ruling the world, so I must have different strokes, if the song is to be believed.

    For another thing, I always thought the line “Along come two: they have nothing but their jeans” was “Along come two: they have nothing but the cheese.”

    “What does cheese have to do with it?” I wondered.

  5. Tin Man says:

    OK, I always thought it was “along come two, they got nothing but their genes.”

    I’m a nerd.

  6. Akasha says:

    I’m with Thom, I thought it was “rule” the world too. Didn’t even give it a second thought.. gah.

  7. D.R. says:

    Of course they had their genes, but they are clearly depicted in that scene as also having jeans. As genes are a given, and as the jeans could easily have been khakis or polyester disco pants, I feel as if this is the element significant enough to be incorporated into the anthem of world domination.

  8. Robert says:

    Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, may not be right for some. A man is born, he’s a man of means. Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.
    But they got, Diff’rent Strokes. It takes, Diff’rent Strokes. It takes, Diff’rent Strokes to move the world.

    Diff’rent Strokes… reminds me of a dateless Saturday night… *sigh*

  9. Tin Man says:

    Point taken, but isn’t “genes” more poignant in this case than “jeans”? They were two poor black kids who got adopted by a rich white man, and one of the show’s themes was the racial/class mixing. The two boys were taken into this new world, where they were in danger of having to give up everything they’d grown up with… and all they had left were their genes. I feel that the writers intended to use this subtle point to undermine the conventions of late-’70s/early-’80s America and knew that it would not be lost on the masses. I mean, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have a couple of silver spoons, right?

  10. The wonderful thing about a song is, of course, that it exists in time but not space; that is, whatever the authors of “It Takes Diff’rent Strokes” (one of whom, incidentally, is Alan Thicke, who played the father on Growing Pains) nintended, we can hear it as both “jeans” and “genes.”

    However, in the interests of full disclosure, here is a message from one TJ, who seems to know whereof he speaks, that comes down on one side and not the other.

  11. thom says:

    And so we have Jon Carroll’s columns on Mondegreens.

    As a young child, for example, I was convinced the song by Johnny Rivers was about a “Secret Asian Man,” and I always wondered how he managed to keep it a secret.

  12. Peter says:


  13. Tin Man says:

    Faustus, I read TJ’s message, and, well… OK, fine, if you guys want to deal in REALITY, I guess D.R. is right. Hmph.

  14. tim says:

    Okay, I just want to go on the record and reveal myself as the “Secret Asian Man”.

  15. D.R. says:

    I am always right, Tin Man. Perhaps you might have saved yourself a lot of anguish had you accepted that sooner. While I understand your genetic argument, I feel that Alan Thicke is incapable of that level of sophistication or subtlety.

  16. Akasha says:

    Oh God, Faustus.. your comments made me snarf my tea. Almost as funny as your posts..

    Secret Asian Man! hahaha

  17. D.R. says:

    There is an article in the latest issue of HOW (graphic design magazine) that is entitled “Secret Asian Man.” It is by a vaguely Asian-looking man who has shown up in advertisements for everything under the sun because he sold his image to a stock photography company a few years ago.

    I confess . . . I have used the image myself. He is handsome, if not a particularly eloquent writer.


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