Thursday, May 04, 2006

Can You Hum a Few Bars?

While I'm in full agreement that people who come to America should learn and sing our national anthem in English, Jacob Weisberg at Slate Magazine has a funny piece on the difficulty that even native born Americans have with our anthem's archaic and convoluted lyrics.

Here is a link to the piece.

Weisberg also shares info on some of the other unofficial and alternative national anthems floating around. My favorite is Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land."

There are a number of unofficial and alternative national anthems that would
present less of a challenge to Latino immigrants rallying around "Nuestro Himno" a cloying, Latin-pop interpretation of "The Star-Spangled Banner" (and no improvement, incidentally, on the patriotically minded Spanish translation "La Bandera De Las Estrellas," scored by Walter Damrosch and published in 1919). The perennial top candidates are the 1913 version of "America the Beautiful," which was written by a Wellesley English professor named Katharine Lee Bates; Irving Berlin's 1938 version of "God Bless America" which became patriotic theme music in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001; and Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," which was written in 1940 as a kind of hobo's answer to "God Bless America."

One thing: I have read of all the outrage over the flying of the Mexican flag (I'm guessing it was, there is no Hispanic flag that I know of). This really seems like racist drivel to me. Come on, I've seen the German, Italien, Polish and Greek flags, all being flown at Summerfest. I've seen them flown above restaurants, inside restaurants. I've seen them at churches, outside homes ... everywhere. Aren't these people Americans and how dare they fly the flag of another country?

This country is large enough (I 'm not referring to land mass) to accept these people and figure out an equitable solution to this issue without resorting to racist tactics (Right, Charlie?).

2 Swings of the bat:

James Wigderson said...

What is interesting to me is not so much that the national anthem gets sung occasionally in Spanish, but that the latest rendition was not true to Francis Scott Key, intentionally so due to an agenda hostile to the national interest. Otherwise, I could care less what language it's sung in as long as it is song with reverence. What's more offensive, it being sung in Spanish or it being sung by Roseanne Barr?

As far as the Mexican flag is concerned, to me it is less of an issue that it is flown than that it is being flown at rallies in support of illegal immigration. If the intent is to show a desire of movement towards full citizenship for these foreign nationals, then wouldn't it make sense if they were celebrating the heritage of the culture and country they wish to join?

Complicating matters, there are those within the illegal alien movement that are irredentist in their ideology, and actually advocate for the return of the south-western United States to Mexico. They are a small, radical minority to be sure, but they aren't repudiated by the rest of the marchers.

So you see why the propaganda has certainly struck a raw nerve, and may actually have caused a backlash against the cause of illegal immigrants.

Other Side said...

More offensive? Roseanne Barr!

I would agree that flying the Mexican flag during the protests was not the wisest of choices. Especially if gaining support for their cause from among the majority was a goal. As always, a few (and there were not that many flags) ruin it for the many in the eyes of the public.

It would be interesting to see a comparison of coverage by Fox News and the so-called MSM. Were the few Mexican flags flown highlighted by Fox and not by the MSM?

To be frank, both the liberal and conservative wings have their buttheads ... and we don't repudiate them enough. To ask the average joe to do so isn't fair.

I agree with you, though, that there has been a backlash. I wonder again if this hasn't been fueled by the not so fair and balanced Fox News and talk radio.