Songs We Feel With

July 17 1998 3:30 AM

Songs We Feel With

They can make us wonder if our emotions are really our own.

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Knowing your emotions are shaped by songs you heard 50 years ago is a little troubling. It makes you wonder whether your emotions are really yours or whether they are really Irving Berlin's set down with music to make a buck. It makes you wonder who is the real you. As my Aunt Gertrude used to say about Oakland, there's no there there; and maybe there's no real you in your emotions either.

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But I don't believe that. When I say, "I've got the sun in the morning and the moon at night," there's a big dose of Ethel Merman but also some of me.

Herbert Stein, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He is a member of the board of contributors at the Wall Street Journal.

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