Saturday, September 06, 2003

Blogger was farked again last night... "Hey, Bill... watch out for that wire -- damn! We really oughta move that outlet... The whole system's what?"

This was what I wrote late last night:

The Star-Spangled Blog.

I listened to "The Star-Spangled Banner" sung live at Alexian Field at the opening of a baseball game this evening, as I was walking by, on my way home from the train station. It was many years into adulthood before I really appreciated the National Anthem, probably because I -- like everyone -- heard it every day in elementary school. Overexposure, I think, isn't good for a stirring patriotic tune.

Even now, I would say that hearing it no more than a few times a year would be about right. This would keep it special, which, if it's going to be the National Anthem, it ought to be.

I never believed the simple-minded criticism of the song, voiced most loudly about 30 years ago, that it's a war song, and thus unfit for peace-loving people, etc. Of course it does describe an event in the War of 1812, but -- unless you read the bloody third stanza of the poem, which no one ever does -- it doesn't glorify war so much as independence. Anyone who knew the poem when it was new would have surely acknowledged that war was a melancholy necessity in attaining that goal.

A more sophisticated argument would take on the song for buttressing nationalism and the ills inflicted on the world by the nation-state. Entirely too sophisticated, that line of thinking. To which I would say -- bah, take it back to the college debating society.

Other people say they don't like it because the tune was originally an English drinking song. Are they kidding? That adds humanity to the song. It wasn't written by committee or by a tunesmith in the pay of an autocrat. It was invented by free-born, English-speaking drunks.


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