Steely Dan: The Royal Scam Meaning
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The Royal Scam Lyrics
anonymous Jun 4th, 6:50am report
It took a while but I figured the PR I migrations of the late 40s and early 50s
I went to the Peppermint Lounge when it was big in late 1961. The crowds were lined up for blocks. My buddy and I had just turned 18, the legal age for drinking in NYC. We shared a table with 2 young nurses from King's County Gen. Hospital in Queens. They were kids, just like us making the scene. Both were Latinas, probably the children of PRs who immigrated. They were lovely and friendly.
The following year I decided to major in Spanish Literature and have lived in Latin America and grown to love those nations and their people.
Those girls at the PL were no different than us. Children of immigrants who I bet saved a lot of lives.
anonymous Jun 8th, 2019 6:24am report
This song is about the wave of Puerto Ricans (Saint John = San Juan) who immigrated to NYC to escape poverty on their own island because they've heard all the stories about the streets here figuratively being paved with gold. When they get here, they find it it's not trivial to prosper, and have to settle for sleeping in small, overcrowded tenements with two dozen of their countrymen. Their presence sets them at odds with the dominant, established minority, the blacks, who consider the low-rent portions of the city to be their exclusive territory. They also find themselves to be ill-suited for the northern climate, and too vulnerable to the attractions of drug addiction. They write the family back home to tell them how well everything is going for them, describing either a phony job or a dead-end welfare job. In this manner, America scams the immigrant into immigrating, and the immigrant scams the folks back home with stories of success.
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