Thursday, July 03, 2008

When anthems clash

Trouble in Denver, where the invited national anthem singing guest for John Hickenlooper's mayoral "State of the City" address chose to play an unexpected round of One Song To The Tune Of Another:

"The city asked Rene Marie to sing the national anthem at (Tuesday's) State of the City event. She agreed to do so. We expected her to sing the national anthem, and she deceived us," the mayor told reporters at a press conference in front of the City and County Building.

"Her actions show a certain lack of understanding for how strongly our community feels about patriotic symbols and traditions, and certainly overshadowed a day of great importance to our city," Hickenlooper said.

Marie's anthem choice immediately triggered public outrage.

Marie sang the first verse of James Weldon Johnson's Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, also known as the Black National Anthem, but adapted those lyrics to the tune of The Star-Spangled Banner.

She also upset people in Denver by refusing to allow the Platform Blocking Move on the Denver Light Rail adaptation of Mornington Crecent.

Hickenlooper had, to be fair, at first taken a hands-off, 'hey, this is art, this is freedom, what's the problem?' approach, before discovering that swing voters didn't share that view; then, he changed his mind:
[I]n a tradition-laden civic ceremony that included a law enforcement color guard presenting our flags and the Pledge of Allegiance - making a personal substitution for the national anthem was not an option. We asked for The Star-Spangled Banner and that's what we expected," he said.

"We will do whatever it takes to ensure that a situation like this never occurs again, even if I have to sing the national anthem myself," Hickenlooper added. "If people feel the city of Denver or the mayor has in any way disrespected them, I'm happy to apologize."

Yeah - can you imagine turning up to find out what's happening with the taxes and laws of the city, and there not being a song about exploding bombs and red rockets flying through the air to start it off with? How can you concentrate on the fiscal state of the place without a bit of singalongaslaughter first, eh?

How does Hickenlooper intend to ensure that "this never happens again", though? His suggested idea - of him singing - has already got civil liberties protesters up in arms on the basis of the constitution barring cruel and unusual punishments.
Amongst those who felt slighted was the Dawn's Early Light, which told USA Today it was especially annoyed as "it doesn't seem much to ask, that people sing about me, what with me rolling out of bed first thing every day. And the hand on the heart thing - that's cute, isn't it?"

Twilight's Last Gleaming was unavailable for comment.


1 comment:

James said...

Surely there's a very simple solution to stop this happening again? Two words: Swanee Kazoo.

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