Thursday, July 20, 2006

One MAJOR pet peeve

I hate it when people mangle the United States' national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. Not as much out of patriotic devotion to my country and all it's symbols but more so out of the annoyance I feel when people just don't make the slightest extra effort to do something right. Now, I'm not talking about when performers feel it necessary to invent new interpretations of the anthem by adding unnecessary gospelesque American Idol flourishes in an attempt to make the song their own. That IS annoying but some people seem to enjoy it so whatever. But when they don't even bother to get the lyrics right, well, that's REALLY annoying. It's possible that because some of the phrasing is dated and esoteric that they don't understand what the song is actually about, but it is written in English, so it isn't that hard to figure out. Besides, I doubt these performers would lend their vocals to a love song they don't understand, so why should the anthem be any different?
But in the interest of trying to be helpful, let's dissect and translate the song and see if we can't further some understanding:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
"Hey, remember what we were looking at last night? You know, the flag? Did you happen to see it this morning?" Lots of people sing "AS the twilight...", not "AT the twilight...". Those people are stupid, because it blows everything out of context. If we're hailing something AT the twilight's last gleaming, that means we're acknowledging it as it's getting dark outside. If we're hailing something AS the twilight's last gleaming, that means we're not expecting there to be a morning. Suddenly, it's turned into a song about the end of the world as we know it.
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru 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.
Even though there was a major battle going on, with missles and mortars and artillery and shit, we could still see the brightly colored flag over the ramparts (whatever the hell those are). So even though they blew up almost everything else, they didn't get the flag, which is encouraging.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
So did you see the flag this morning? Obviously this is a rhetorical question because I just told you it's still there.

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