Friday, February 09, 2007

I really don't like posting twice in one night, especially when it's a Friday and I reveal the extent to which I lack a social life. But I came across the Blender list of the 50 worst things to happen to music. And there are several major problems with it. First, who writes for Blender? Where do they assume they have the credibility to determine what are the 50 worst things to happen to music. And while they included lists that reduce music to little more than a series of lists at 22 and attempted to appreciate the irony, they did not include Blender magazine.

But my real problem with the list resides with their choice at number three. It is America's national anthem. Here is what the mental giants at Blender had to say about it:

3. “The Star-spangled banner”
Here’s an idea: Let’s have the theme song for the world’s biggest and most diverse democracy be: 1) boring; 2) violently militaristic; and 3) next to impossible to sing. Not enough? OK, now let’s bring in Roseanne Barr to perform. She’s too busy? Get me William Hung!

I have made it a point to stay away from any form of political commentary on this site. Every moron with a blog seems to have all of the answers to all of the pressing issues of local, state and national import, so this moron has decided to leave politics out of this blog. But now I think I'm straying into a dangerous area, but I do so with my eyes open and if I offend, I aplologize in advance.

Having offered that disclaimer, I must now address their folly. First, I didn't realize that the degree of difficulty was paramount in selecting a national anthem. And in that vein, the Star Spangled Banner is set to the tune of a British drinking society's theme song. Maybe that's an admission of our society's literary debasement that an 18th century drinking melody is now too difficult for the pop stars of today to gasp out at a sporting event.

I imagine that if time travel were possible, and some intrepid time voyager brought this article to Francis Scott Key's attention, he surely would endeavor to make this song more interesting to the geniuses over at Blender. I understand most people find national anthems to be agonizingly interesting. For my part, I find it hard to get through any day where I don't read the lyrics of O Canada at least three times and give it a listen at least twice.

And finally, there is the idea that the Star Spangled Banner is violently militaristic. The original title of the composition is The Defense of Fort McHenry. So the song celebrates American troops protecting an American fort which in turn protected an American harbor. How militaristic can you get? Apparently the people who write for Blender think the British had a proprietary right to the city of Baltimore. Otherwise there is no way America could be in the wrong defending its sovereign territory against a foreign power and then celebrating said defense in a national anthem.

Just so the intellectual titans at Blender realize, the French national anthem was originally entitled the Marching Song of the Rhine Army. So we don't have market cornered on barbaric, militaristic national anthems. And it might be nice, once in a while, to remember that America was once a nation of something more than bloggers, couch potatoes, stock brokers, lawyers and yoga instructors. Then again, the nation that gave the world dog yoga and the crissandwich doesn't deserve the Star Spangled Banner.

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