Monday, February 7, 2011
Oh Say, Can't You See?
Football is such a quintessentially American game. Really. What could say more about who "we" are than a bunch of burly men going after what they want using brute force and gritty determination? The spheroid is held tight and carried close by a well-padded man running for a goal, while his teammates strive to guard and protect him.
If there's any single event that hollers "USA!" it's The Superbowl. People everywhere tune in to their TVs to catch the game. Families, from very young to very old, will actually sit together and watch it. Snacks and beverages are planned around it with more thought than what goes into a Thanksgiving dinner. People actually gather for this event. Yesterday, I decided I wanted to be part of that collective. At the very least, I thought, I'll be able to be part of all the banter on Monday.
The announcer said, "After this commercial break, next up is our National Anthem." I thought, "Yay! Here we go!" I was hyped and ready. The commercial ended and the announcer made the comment that the game was being dedicated to the men and women of the US Armed Forces. "Wonderful!" I thought, "What a beautiful gesture."
Alas, my enthusiasm was dashed with a big bucket of icy cold water. To sing our national anthem we had a pop star who royally screwed up the lyrics, nevermind that she seemed to feel that shout-singing would add more meaning to them. Was she drugged? Who knows. Perhaps her tight suit made it impossible to breathe, or her stiletto come-fuck-me heels had her at a high enough altitude that she was oxygen deprived, or all that heavy make-up and hair product sent toxins racing through her blood stream, any or all of which left her without the mental capacity to appropriately sing our nation's anthem. That was bad enough.
But wait. That wasn't all. As the camera panned the two teams during the singing of the anthem, not a single player stood with his hand over his heart. Hardly any of the players stood at attention, and in fact, many seemed to see it as an appropriate time to do a little "get your game on" warm up - jumping up and down, flexing, making rock star gestures, etc. The Packers, the Steelers, their coaches, owners, and sponsors should be ashamed.
All of this occurred before the beginning of a game that was dedicated to the honor of our armed forces, the people who keep our country safe, and who do so, often, at great cost. All of this occurred while American families everywhere were tuned in and watching, and probably a few non-Americans across the globe.
I must have missed the memo. You know, the one that reads, "During the playing and/or singing of the USA's National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, it is no longer necessary for Americans to stand at attention. Further, putting your right hand over your heart and saluting our country's flag during the aforementioned song is just not required at all. In fact, feel free to do whatever you please while the anthem is being played. It just ain't a big deal any more."
I was raised that when our National Anthem plays, you stop what you're doing, face the flag, take your hat (or helmet!) off, stand at attention, and place your right hand over your heart. You don't have to sing along - it's a tough melody to sing - but you do have to be completely respectful.
So, to see such disregard shown for the American flag and for the American National Anthem by well-paid entertainers and atheletes who, let's face it, need Americans... well. I was pissed. I'm still pissed off today. Yesterday I was pissed off enough to turn the game off before it even started. I won't tune into a football game again. I won't be buying doritos or pepsi or, gosh... even a mercedes.
Is anyone out there listening? 'Cause I do know the words, and I'll proudly stand and sing alone if I have to.
The Star Spangled Banner
by, Francis Scott Key
Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming.
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Posted by Barb Black at 10:56:00 AM