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Saturday, June 01, 2013

WaPo | Why I sit out ‘God Bless America’

Stepping back, this also raises the question: Why do we all too frequently seek to invoke rituals that, in the end, undermine our common bonds? Not everyone in our nation or at the ballpark shares the same beliefs. From which god are we asking these blessings? What does the good secular humanist or atheist do during this song? Are we to assume that all deities will be in concert for those who believe in more than one?

Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: June 01, 2013 at 03:51 PM | 114 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: love-it-or-leave-it, nationals

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   1. Bhaakon Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:05 PM (#4457969)
What does the good secular humanist or atheist do during this song?


Nothing, because a good atheist treats it like any other song or artwork prominently featuring a fictional character. A bad atheist whines about it.
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:16 PM (#4457974)
a good atheist treats it like any other song or artwork prominently featuring a fictional character.

Yes, but they didn't start playing "A Boy Named Sue" or "Popeye the Sailor Man" because of 9/11, and strangers never yell at other strangers for not taking off their hats for those songs. And if they did play "Popeye," the police would let you walk whenever you chose to walk during it, even before the finitch.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:20 PM (#4457975)
Nothing, because a good atheist treats it like any other song or artwork prominently featuring a fictional character. A bad atheist whines about it.


Bingo. I'm an atheist and get upset with the other atheists of the world that act like the word god is a personal attack on their beliefs. I love Dawkins, but the man needs to take a chill pill.


I refuse to stand for this song, not because it invokes god, but because it's a crappy song. It's not the National Anthem or Marine Corps Hymn so it doesn't really rate me standing up or acknowledging it any more than a Justin Bieber song.
   4. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:20 PM (#4457976)
artwork

That's really stretching the definition of the term there.
   5. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:29 PM (#4457983)
What does the good secular humanist or atheist do during this song?


Nothing, because a good atheist treats it like any other song or artwork prominently featuring a fictional character. A bad atheist whines about it.


Sounds like something from the Atheist Highlights' Goofus and Gallant.
   6. Bhaakon Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4457984)
That's really stretching the definition of the term there.


I wasn't thinking of this song in particular. More of, say, the literal deus ex machina in a Greek play (although I might whine about it because it's lazy writing).

Yes, but they didn't start playing "A Boy Named Sue" or "Popeye the Sailor Man" because of 9/11, and strangers never yell at other strangers for not taking off their hats for those songs. And if they did play "Popeye," the police would let you walk whenever you chose to walk during it, even before the finitch.


It seems like your problem is more with the patriotic than the religious aspect.
   7. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:35 PM (#4457986)
It seems like your problem is more with the patriotic than the religious aspect.

I think his problem is people who conflate being religious and being patriotic.
   8. smileyy Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4457988)
My problem is that its a crap patriotic song.

TSSB, the first stanza, anyway, is 10x the song, and 1000x more appropriate after 9/11.
   9. bobm Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:42 PM (#4457989)
FTFA:

I am a Methodist minister and a Washington Nationals fan. I was there on Opening Day in 2005 at old RFK Stadium, and I try my best to plan my summer around Nats home games. I have only one issue with the ballpark experience, and it’s not with the beer prices. It’s with “God Bless America.” [...] I don’t want to come off as anti-American if I remain seated. I stand for the “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the acknowledgment of returning soldiers, and for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” [...]

More important, though, I’m concerned that this is a myopic way to exercise faith. I imagine that the God I believe in isn’t interested in dispensing special nationalistic blessings. (Or, perhaps more to the point, blessings for our bullpen, error-free fielding and sufficient run support.) [...]

At a ballgame, where most of us have come to root for the Nats, it just doesn’t fit. We shouldn’t make a grand assumption that we’re all of one belief. The one thing that we do, in fact, have in common is the love of baseball. It’s a powerful, communal thing when we cheer together — even if we’re cheering for opposite teams. Yes, this even applies to Phillies fans.
   10. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:51 PM (#4457997)

My problem is that its a crap patriotic song.

TSSB, the first stanza, anyway, is 10x the song, and 1000x more appropriate after 9/11.


This, especially the flatulently bombastic Kate Smith version that plays in the middle of the 7th inning of every game at NYS ...
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 01, 2013 at 08:51 PM (#4457998)
At a ballgame, where most of us have come to root for the Nats, it just doesn’t fit.

Well I think it's fair to say that most people don't have a problem with it. If most of the stadium refused to stand, or even a large minority, or there were fights every time they played the song, teams would probably do something different.
   12. Loren F. Posted: June 01, 2013 at 09:09 PM (#4458006)
I think the writer feels that for him, the song does not fit the occasion.

And while I agree with your point, Clapper, I also suspect a lot of the fans (maybe not a majority but a notable segment) don't "seem" to have a problem with the song because they: a) feel obligated to stand, or b) they don't feel like expending the energy at that moment to be non-conformist and, frequently, face the belligerent scolding of some fat guy with a beer, or c) they just don't give this sort of thing much thought. I would bet that elimination of God Bless America at baseball games would inspire very little protest.
   13. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 01, 2013 at 09:18 PM (#4458012)
I would bet that elimination of God Bless America at baseball games would inspire very little protest.

Possibly, but my point was that you could say the same about continuing it.
   14. GGIAS (aka Poster Nutbag) Posted: June 01, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4458019)
So, can't we just eliminate it under the "pace of the game" clause?
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:03 PM (#4458048)
What does the good secular humanist or atheist do during this song?


Nothing, because a good atheist treats it like any other song or artwork prominently featuring a fictional character. A bad atheist whines about it.

Absolutely. There's a certain species of human being that specializes in making mountains out of molehills, and God Bless America has got to be the tiniest molehill imaginable. Compared to all the other ####### music they blast you with from the time you enter the ballpark until the time you leave, GBA is practically a relief.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4458056)
I'm kind of neutral on GBA as a song, but feel there's no need for a second patriotic ditty at the ballgame.

OTOH, I'd love to see our National Anthem changed to something that more than 1 out of 635,232 people can actually sing.

   17. Sleepy was just looking for porta potties Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:14 PM (#4458060)
TSSB, the first stanza, anyway, is 10x the song, and 1000x more appropriate after 9/11.


I'd much rather hear them play the fourth stanza of TSSB than GBA. Much more appropriate after 9/11, as well.
   18. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:19 PM (#4458063)
I'm kind of neutral on GBA as a song, but feel there's no need for a second patriotic ditty at the ballgame.

Probably not, but there's really no need for any kind of amplified noise between innings.

OTOH, I'd love to see our National Anthem changed to something that more than 1 out of 635,232 people can actually sing.

Try La Marseillaise, or even better, the most beautiful national anthem in the world.
   19. Cblau Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:23 PM (#4458073)
What I have a problem with is the pledge of allegiance. Why do they have kids say it every day at school? Why do my city's councilmen and mayor recite it before every meeting? There's no expiration date on it, so you only need to say it once, until you renounce it.
   20. GregD Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:23 PM (#4458075)
I'd much rather hear them play the fourth stanza of TSSB than GBA. Much more appropriate after 9/11, as well.
Don't sleep on stanza five! Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., baby!
   21. Bhaakon Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:25 PM (#4458078)

What I have a problem with is the pledge of allegiance. Why do they have kids say it every day at school? Why do my city's councilmen and mayor recite it before every meeting? There's no expiration date on it, so you only need to say it once, until you renounce it.


Because flags have a short memory.
   22. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4458080)
the most beautiful national anthem in the world.


Try again, red diaper baby boy ...
   23. Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4458081)
What I have a problem with is the pledge of allegiance. Why do they have kids say it every day at school?


heh... I used to sit that one out starting in junior high school.

moronic crap.
   24. valuearbitrageur Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:27 PM (#4458084)
Imagine how many problems we could solve by singing "Allah bless America" every game. Terrorists would immediately be forced to stop attacking us, except for the Christian ones of course.
   25. Booey Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4458091)
What I have a problem with is the pledge of allegiance. Why do they have kids say it every day at school?

heh... I used to sit that one out starting in junior high school.


They still made your classes say it in junior high? They didn't have us do it past elementary school.
   26. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:38 PM (#4458093)
the most beautiful national anthem in the world.

Try again, red diaper baby boy ...


Oh, please. That was the current Russian anthem I linked to. The Soviet Union croaked 22 years ago, but their anthem was so beautiful that the Russians decided to keep it, and for good reason.

As for Jimi Hendrix (or Marvin Gaye, or Jose Feliciano, etc.) I'll take any good military band's non-vocal version of the SSB, or Robert Merrill's if you want a vocal version. I suppose that makes me a red diaper fascist, but whatever.
   27. Miserable, Non-Binary Candy is all we deserve CoB Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4458095)
As for Jimi Hendrix (or Marvin Gaye, or Jose Feliciano, etc.) I'll take any good military band's non-vocal version of the SSB, or Robert Merrill's if you want a vocal version. I suppose that makes me a red diaper fascist, but whatever.


Nah, just means you have no taste, to go along with no sense ...

[edit]
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4458097)
They still made your classes say it in junior high? They didn't have us do it past elementary school.


We recited the pledge every day through high school. Carlton Huff, in 11th grade, decided to start sitting it out. The rest of us responded with a collective "Holy ####, you can do that?"

   29. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:42 PM (#4458098)
What I have a problem with is the pledge of allegiance. Why do they have kids say it every day at school?


heh... I used to sit that one out starting in junior high school.

moronic crap.


Good thing BTF wasn't around when they added "under God" to the pledge. That thread might have set a record that PETCO could only dream of.
   30. Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4458099)
They still made your classes say it in junior high? They didn't have us do it past elementary school.


well, junior high for me was 1968... elementary school was all Catholicy... a good education but we learned math by counting angels and instead of the Pledge of Allegiance we had Confirmation aka Soldiers of Christ.
   31. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 01, 2013 at 10:48 PM (#4458102)
It's also lucky that few of you had to go through daily Bible recitations at the start of each day, which was a standard practice in every public school through the early 60's. When it was our turn to recite, we'd have our choice of selections, and for us non-believers it was always---always---the 117th Psalm, which is something like 30 words long. We were in and out in a New York minute.
   32. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 01, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4458112)
. . . the most beautiful national anthem in the world.

Mais non.
   33. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: June 01, 2013 at 11:09 PM (#4458117)
Aw, geez, not this sh!t again!

I can imagine the process that got this article into the Washington Post:

"Boss! I wanna write an article about this guy who won't stand up for 'God Bless America'!"
"Who gives a crap? It's just a jingoistic song that makes it easier to go to war and stuff! And if someone says 'God bless America, they're insinuating that America is better than other countries, and we know that's not true!"
"But...this guy's a minister!"
"You mean..."
"Yep! One of them Jesus freaks is turning on their own...!"
(Grabs phone) "Stop the presses! New front page...!"
   34. PerroX Posted: June 01, 2013 at 11:09 PM (#4458119)
Civil religious displays bother me, religious religious displays rarely. The God of War is quite popular these days.
   35. Lassus Posted: June 01, 2013 at 11:13 PM (#4458123)
I'm the first socialist communist peacenik anti-establishment your-mob-is-lame type to sit out patriotic displays, and even speak out against them, jingoistic or not; but I have to say this particular battle on this particular battleground is not even worth my fight or my time. Or anyone's, IMO, but I suppose that's up to them.
   36. winnipegwhip Posted: June 01, 2013 at 11:15 PM (#4458126)
Since the Flyers no longer play in The Spectrum this song isn't needed at sporting events.

   37. Jose is an Absurd Sultan Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:28 AM (#4458152)
I like the song God Bless America but I find it silly to use it in the 7th inning. To me "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" is a wonderfully American thing. I think the ordinary day to day stuff is exactly what we should be celebrating. I noted this on Memorial Day but by using GBA so incessantly we've devalued it (or whatever song one would prefer). There is nothing special about it being performed now.
   38. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4458153)
Late in a game, I'll take almost any excuse to stretch my legs. I'd stand if they played "Me So Horny" during the 7th inning.
   39. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:43 AM (#4458154)
Late in a game, I'll take almost any excuse to stretch my legs. I'd stand if they played "Me So Horny" during the 7th inning.

legs??
   40. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:52 AM (#4458160)
As a Christian, mixing nationalism with religion is a bit uncomfortable. Our God is universal, not a national or tribal god. That said "God Bless America" isn't particularly bothersome to me. The pledge of allegiance, on the other hand, is about as obvious a violation of the Second Commandment as they come.
   41. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:55 AM (#4458161)
Late in a game, I'll take almost any excuse to stretch my legs.


Well then, how about some government approved calisthenics?

(No worry about GBA up here in Toronto!)
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: June 02, 2013 at 01:11 AM (#4458164)
The pledge of allegiance, on the other hand, is about as obvious a violation of the Second Commandment as they come.


I'll have you know you can take my oath to a piece of cloth, later amended to include the presence of a diety, when you pry it from my cold dead hand (placed patriotically over my heart).
   43. Marsh511 Posted: June 02, 2013 at 01:56 AM (#4458168)
Our country, more than any other in the world, obsesses on symbolism, whether it's actions (like standing for the anthem, removing your cap, etc.) or other declarations (supporting a business or not based on some political or societal view they hold - like eating at Chick Fil-A or not). Why not just ACT yourself, instead of always trying to SHOW everyone what you believe?
   44. Greg K Posted: June 02, 2013 at 05:12 AM (#4458180)
By far the worst thing about this thread is I just caught myself singing "God Bless America" to myself. I'm going to have to have another shower to wash that off.

Why not just ACT yourself, instead of always trying to SHOW everyone what you believe?

This, on the other hand, seems like it could be a fascinating discussion to me. I don't think it's precisely what you're getting at, but the politics of gesture and self-presentation I find endlessly interesting. Teasing out the differences between the "actual" self and the "performed" self is a fun (and possibly impossible) exercise!
   45. Morty Causa Posted: June 02, 2013 at 05:49 AM (#4458181)
Written by Berlin twenty years earlier, he filed it away until 1938, when Kate Smith's manager asked Berlin if he had a patriotic song Smith might sing to mark the 20th anniversary of Armistice Day. It was "a simple plea for divine protection in a dark time—a plangent anthem in just 40 words," writes Corliss. It quickly became the second National Anthem after America entered World War II and over the decades has earned millions for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, to whom Berlin assigned all royalties.[16][19] The phrase "God Bless America" was taken from Berlin's mother:

While he was growing up on the Lower East Side, she would say "God bless America" often, to indicate that, without America, her family would have had no place to go.[24] The Economist magazine wrote that by writing "God Bless America", Berlin was "producing a deep-felt paean to the country that had given him what he would have said was everything. It is a melody that still makes his fellow countrymen want to stand up and place their hands over their hearts."[25]


As an aside:

Berlin supported the presidential candidacy of General Dwight Eisenhower, and his song "I Like Ike" featured prominently in the Eisenhower campaign. In his later years he also became more conservative in his views on music. According to his daughter, "He was consumed by patriotism." He often said, "I owe all my success to my adopted country" and once rejected his lawyers' advice to invest in tax shelters, insisting, "I want to pay taxes. I love this country."[29]:80

From the wiki entry on Irving Berlin.
   46. CrosbyBird Posted: June 02, 2013 at 06:04 AM (#4458183)
Nothing, because a good atheist treats it like any other song or artwork prominently featuring a fictional character. A bad atheist whines about it.

This is ridiculous. There's a lot of context with regards to God Bless America that matters, particularly to those without faith. God Bless America isn't some random song that happens to mention God.

God Bless America conflates patriotism with religiosity. As a patriotic atheist, I am uncomfortable with that idea, particularly since there are many people in this country that think that my non-belief prevents me from being moral or a good American. It's a song that doesn't represent me, where America The Beautiful or the national anthem does.

I also think that using a religious song as a response to an religiously-motivated attack perpetuates the idea that there's "our God, that blesses America" and "your misguided version of God, that hates us." As someone who thinks that belief is the primary motivating force behind most conflicts in the world, I'm not in favor of following up one display of religion with another.

It's also a really bad song. The lyrics are forced ("white with foam" is really terrible) and the musical emphasis is in silly places.

Finally, I think there should only be one song played during the 7th inning stretch, and that's "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." Everything else is really just overkill and adds a long delay right when the game is getting into some of the most delicious tension.

Even with that, when God Bless America is played, I sit silently in my seat. I don't tell other people not to stand up or sing along. I don't complain to the people around me. The only serious problem I have with God Bless America is that there are people who don't respect my right to opt out of participating, whatever my reasons may be.
   47. Flynn Posted: June 02, 2013 at 06:25 AM (#4458184)
Sorry frogs and commies, but Wales has you beat.

Why not just ACT yourself, instead of always trying to SHOW everyone what you believe?


Because acting your beliefs is hard. You might have to invest time or real money into it. Standing up for a song, bragging on Facebook about how you'll never visit Chick-Fil-A again or sticking a yellow ribbon on your car (which Bill Maher pointed out, is literally the least you can do) is much easier. Basically it's a symptom of a country that's lazy.

By the way, Morty's quote from Wikipedia made me look at Irving Berlin's page. It's still a hacktastic song, but he sounded like a rather admirable human being.
   48. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 02, 2013 at 07:57 AM (#4458188)
What I have a problem with is the pledge of allegiance. Why do they have kids say it every day at school? Why do my city's councilmen and mayor recite it before every meeting? There's no expiration date on it, so you only need to say it once, until you renounce it.

That's how I feel about wedding vows. Redoing them seems like taking a mulligan, like an admission of cheating. "I kind of meant it the first time around but now I REALLY mean it." Of course my wife doesn't agree with my impeccable logic.
   49. Colonel Samuel B. Sternwheeler Posted: June 02, 2013 at 08:24 AM (#4458193)
I don't mind standing for GBA, since it's just part of the seventh inning stretch by now. But I refuse to take my hat off. It's not the National Anthem.

The song I really really can't stand is "God Bless the USA" which is just utter hack work.
   50. Greg K Posted: June 02, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4458198)
Sorry frogs and commies, but Wales has you beat.

Not the anthem, but I like this Welsh rugby song:

We don't wanna be,
Your enemy,
But when we're on the field,
It's red, white and green,

Got beat by the Irish,
Got beat by the Scots,
The French had a struggle,
But you're the one we want,

As long as we beat the English,
As long as we beat the English,
As long as we beat the English, we don't care
   51. Flynn Posted: June 02, 2013 at 09:00 AM (#4458199)
I and a lot of other Welsh rugby fans hate that song. It's kind of like the Red Sox saying we don't mind if we finish in last place as long as we sweep the Yankees. That's not why you play the game.
   52. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 02, 2013 at 09:10 AM (#4458202)
. . . the most beautiful national anthem in the world.

Mais non.


That's a close second, but unless it's led by Paul Henreid and accompanied by futile counter-singing by Conrad Veidt and his Stormtrooper Chorus, it can't beat the Russkies.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

Berlin supported the presidential candidacy of General Dwight Eisenhower, and his song "I Like Ike" featured prominently in the Eisenhower campaign. In his later years he also became more conservative in his views on music. According to his daughter, "He was consumed by patriotism." He often said, "I owe all my success to my adopted country" and once rejected his lawyers' advice to invest in tax shelters, insisting, "I want to pay taxes. I love this country."[29]:80


That quote alone elevates Irving Berlin above 99% of the people who call themselves "conservatives".
   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 02, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4458205)
I and a lot of other Welsh rugby fans hate that song. It's kind of like the Red Sox saying we don't mind if we finish in last place as long as we sweep the Yankees. That's not why you play the game.

You're lucky you don't listen to Washington sports talk radio during Dallas Week, when the Redskins are entering it with about a 3 and 9 record.
   54. Morty Causa Posted: June 02, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4458214)
Berlin's biography goes far toward excusing his "excessive" patriotism. When he was about four or five in Russia, a posse of Cossacks burned every house in his village. It was his only memory of Russia--standing on a hillside. He and his family fled, finally reaching their destination, New York (all laugh). They lived in the tenements when the tenements of New York, according to Rudyard Kipling, were worse than those of Calcutta. He didn't just live there, he often slept on the tenement steps, sometimes under the steps. As a little boy hawking newspapers on the Lower East Side he was knocked into the river and almost drowned because he wouldn't open his hand to grab the lifeline thrown him--if he did that he'd lose the few pennies he was clenching. He had dropped out of school when he was eight, and when he was about 13, looking upon himself as a burden to the family, he struck out on his own. His ambition was to be a singing waiter in a saloon. He achieved that and a little more. In fact, you can say he did all right for someone who born in abject poverty undoubtedly had a low IQ. In sum, he just might have had a different take on what America meant to him and what he owed his adopted country.
   55. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4458222)
That quote alone elevates Irving Berlin above 99% of the people who call themselves "conservatives".

The biggest group of tax cheats in America are federal government employees, about 90% of whom are Obama-worshipping red diaper doper babies.
   56. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4458224)
Sorry frogs and commies, but Wales has you beat.

I'll see your Wales, and raise you a Scotland,

And that's not even Scotland's best national anthem.
   57. McCoy Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4458225)
The list includes White House and Congressional staffers and current and former active-duty and reserve members of the military.

Hmmmm. . . .who was in the White House and had majority control of both houses in 2007 and 2008? Which way does the majority of the military lean?

Over half the the money owed from delinquent Federal employees comes from retired military and civilian employees. Yep, that is group that is overwhelmingly Democratic.
   58. ntr RdP Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4458228)
I only stand for GBA when it is sung live and in person by Kate Smith.

That "live" part might be a little difficult these days.
   59. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4458234)
The list includes White House and Congressional staffers and current and former active-duty and reserve members of the military.

Hmmmm. . . .who was in the White House and had majority control of both houses in 2007 and 2008? Which way does the majority of the military lean?


Remember, kids: everything bad is the Republicans fault! Always!

I only stand for GBA when it is sung live and in person by Kate Smith.

Here you go.
   60. McCoy Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:29 AM (#4458237)
As opposed to 90% of government workers are "Obama-worshipping red diaper doper babies"? Do you have to disagree with me so much to the point that you side with Joey B out of reflex?
   61. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4458240)
Naah. If anyone does anything bad, it's automatically 30% the victim's fault. So the tax cheats should only have to pay 70% of what they owe, right?

And I'm not "siding with Joey B"; I'm merely pointing out your foolishness. (It's starting to look like a full-time job.)
   62. McCoy Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4458243)
Who's being the troll now?

My foolishness? Saying the majority of retired people lean right is foolish? Joey B made a stupid and silly statement. I rebutted that statement with some reasonable statements. But I'm being foolish? I think you're showing us all who is being foolish here.

Thank god you're here to tell us all who I really am. Otherwise nobody would have been capable of making up their own mind.
   63. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4458250)
That quote alone elevates Irving Berlin above 99% of the people who call themselves "conservatives".

The biggest group of tax cheats in America are federal government employees, about 90% of whom are Obama-worshipping red diaper doper babies.


Total amount of taxes owed by delinquent federal employees in 2008, according to Joey's link: $3 billion

Total tax 2008 shortfall due to underreporting and other forms of tax evasion by all Americans: $450 - $500 billion

That'd pay for a lot of fresh diapers to replace Joey's brown-stained Pampers. Not that little Joey doesn't have enough BS in him to run through the whole $500 billion in a few short weeks.
   64. McCoy Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4458255)
deleted.
   65. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 02, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4458258)
This, on the other hand, seems like it could be a fascinating discussion to me. I don't think it's precisely what you're getting at, but the politics of gesture and self-presentation I find endlessly interesting. Teasing out the differences between the "actual" self and the "performed" self is a fun (and possibly impossible) exercise!


There is no distinction. The performed self is the only self. Anything else is mere theory and spin.
   66. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 02, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4458260)
Thank god you're here to tell us all who I really am. Otherwise nobody would have been capable of making up their own mind.


We need to get Dan involved to do some deep linguistic forensics of your writing style if we're going to determine who you really are.
   67. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: June 02, 2013 at 11:05 AM (#4458262)
It's also a really bad song. The lyrics are forced ("white with foam" is really terrible) and the musical emphasis is in silly places.


Quoted for truth. It is a terrible song.

Also posting to express my disappointment it took all the way to post 55 for the thread to devolve into yet another political pissing match. I put my money on post 30.
   68. Downtown Bookie Posted: June 02, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4458263)
In the category of best national anthem, I give you:

Nutopian International Anthem

DB
   69. . Posted: June 02, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4458265)
It is no exaggeration to note that new Yankee Stadium as the Kate Smith version of GBA crackles away is one of the most aesthetically displeasing scenes imaginable. It's creepy, discomfiting, and horrifyingly gross on a number of levels.

   70. ntr RdP Posted: June 02, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4458269)
A recording is not "live" as conventionally meant. So YouTube does not count. You'll need to exhume her body and even then I doubt any amount of CPR would get her to sing.
   71. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 02, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4458272)
National anthems are all about Freedonia.

#46 covers much of my feelings on the subject. The last thing those scumbags did on this earth while aiming for the Twin Towers (et al) was to scream about how God was leading them to glory. Saying "nuh-uh, God roots for America, pal" ennobles that shit, it doesn't refute it. The terrorists reduced themselves to crumbs almost a dozen years ago, and we're still debating them in the key of F major.

However, "God Bless America" is not a terrible song. You try writing one sometime that's almost entirely three- and four-syllable lines and includes internal rhymes. It's a neat little construction.
   72. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 02, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4458278)
Saying "nuh-uh, God roots for America, pal" ennobles that ####, it doesn't refute it.


The phrase "God bless America" is a request, not a declarative statement.
   73. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: June 02, 2013 at 11:59 AM (#4458285)
deleted.

Finally, a sensible comment!
   74. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4458288)
The phrase "God bless America" is a request, not a declarative statement.

Because the "God Bless America" stadium experience is all about meekness and humility. "Take me out to the ballgame" is also a request, and yet context has made it otherwise.
   75. McCoy Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4458290)
Finally, a sensible comment!

I thought you had better things to do.
   76. BDC Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:06 PM (#4458291)
new Yankee Stadium as the Kate Smith version of GBA crackles away is one of the most aesthetically displeasing scenes imaginable

I reckon I'm going to experience it week after next, so it's a good thing I'm braced for it :)

And it's odd, because the Kate Smith recording used to knock 'em dead at the Spectrum before Flyers games back in the '70s. Sometimes Kate herself would show up to sing it. Great stuff, but it was a different era in lots of ways.

   77. BDC Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4458293)
Oh, and while on the subject of songs and nationalism, I highly recommend a documentary about Estonia, called The Singing Revolution. A fascinating example of the political power of music and symbolism.
   78. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4458299)
Because the "God Bless America" stadium experience is all about meekness and humility.


You can hate on your fellow ballpark patrons all you want, but I wouldn't blame the song that they're misinterpreting.
   79. Dudefella Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4458305)
Meh. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is by far the best patriotic song that we have. Beats GBA and TSSB by a country mile. This Land Is Your Land is a close second.
   80. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: June 02, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4458317)
Not the anthem, but I like this Welsh rugby song:

We don't wanna be,
Your enemy,


I liked Days of the New's cover of that one.
   81. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 02, 2013 at 01:06 PM (#4458328)
Meh. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is by far the best patriotic song that we have. Beats GBA and TSSB by a country mile. This Land Is Your Land is a close second.

I'm partial to the The Stars and Stripes Forever and Semper Fidelis

Columbia the Gem of the Ocean ain't half-bad, but the language is pretty archaic.
   82. Greg K Posted: June 02, 2013 at 01:07 PM (#4458329)
There is no distinction. The performed self is the only self. Anything else is mere theory and spin.

What do you think I meant by "fun"?
   83. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 02, 2013 at 01:09 PM (#4458332)

Not the anthem, but I like this Welsh rugby song:


C'mon, Men of Harlech puts that to shame.
   84. cardsfanboy Posted: June 02, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4458333)
Meh. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is by far the best patriotic song that we have. Beats GBA and TSSB by a country mile. This Land Is Your Land is a close second.


I'll give you the first, but no way in hell is This Land is your land anywhere in the neighborhood of being a good patriotic song. It's on par with GBA and America the Beautiful in boringness, uninspiring and just plain non-emotion evoking. A patriotic song should inspire or at least create a sense of pride... This Land is your land might create pride for a travel agent, but that is about it.

Give me Neil Diamond's America over that Woody Guthrie song, everyday of the week.

I'm partial to the The Stars and Stripes Forever and Semper Fidelis


Now there is a guy showing some taste.
   85. Greg K Posted: June 02, 2013 at 01:20 PM (#4458338)
America does have some nice songs about itself, I'll give you guys that.

Canada doesn't seem to fair as well. There's the anthem of course, the Travellers' version of "This Land Is Your Land" (which has to be docked patriotism points for being an alternate version to someone else's patriotic song). Sam Roberts' "The Canadian Dream". (with the jaunty chorus of "S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-M is here to stay, S-O-C-I-A-L-I-S-M is the only way"). I suppose Stan Rogers or Stompin' Tom Connors must have some patriotic ditties in their catalogues.

It doesn't quite work in this context, but I've always liked Joel Plaskett's "True Patriot Love" as an interesting way to blend heart-break and Canadian-American relations into one song.
   86. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 02, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4458368)
Canada doesn't seem to fair as well. There's the anthem of course, the Travellers' version of "This Land Is Your Land" (which has to be docked patriotism points for being an alternate version to someone else's patriotic song).

O' Canada! is a pretty great anthem. It's just a notch behind the French, German and Polish anthems, which are the tops in my book.

And, My Country 'Tis of Thee dominates the category of bad alternative version of someone else's song. You just can't use the Anthem of the country you rebelled against as your own patriotic song.
   87. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 02, 2013 at 02:28 PM (#4458383)
C'mon, Men of Harlech puts that to shame.

About 40 years after I graduated, I discovered that that was what my high school song stole the melody from.
   88. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 02, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4458401)
About 40 years after I graduated, I discovered that that was what my high school song stole the melody from.

It's an awesome song.

One of my Alma Maters uses the tune of Deutschland, Deutschland, or the Kaiserlied, if you prefer to hearken back to Haydn.

I was pretty shocked when I first heard it coming from the chapel as I was walking past.
   89. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: June 02, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4458485)
It's also lucky that few of you had to go through daily Bible recitations at the start of each day, which was a standard practice in every public school through the early 60's. When it was our turn to recite, we'd have our choice of selections, and for us non-believers it was always---always---the 117th Psalm, which is something like 30 words long. We were in and out in a New York minute.
Aww, man, you should've gone for Ecclesiastes 3:19-22:
For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that a man should enjoy his work, for that is his lot; who can bring him to see what will be after him?
   90. Howie Menckel Posted: June 02, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4458545)
"the Kate Smith recording used to knock 'em dead at the Spectrum before Flyers games back in the '70s. Sometimes Kate herself would show up to sing it."

the best part was that the team that appropriated it had the league's dirtiest player in Bobby Clarke, the most egregious diver of all time in Bill Barber, and a collection of street thugs in hockey skates known as "the Broad Street Bullies."

God Bless America, indeed, lol

   91. Greg K Posted: June 02, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4458551)
the best part was that the team that appropriated it had the league's dirtiest player in Bobby Clarke, the most egregious diver of all time in Bill Barber, and a collection of street thugs in hockey skates known as "the Broad Street Bullies."

God Bless America, indeed, lol

Though since those two guys weren't American it can kind of work. "God bless America...but not these hooligans!"
   92. CrosbyBird Posted: June 02, 2013 at 05:47 PM (#4458589)
This is the best national anthem. About six people will know what this is.
   93. McCoy Posted: June 02, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4458597)
played it
   94. CrosbyBird Posted: June 02, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4458603)
I'll give you the first, but no way in hell is This Land is your land anywhere in the neighborhood of being a good patriotic song. It's on par with GBA and America the Beautiful in boringness, uninspiring and just plain non-emotion evoking. A patriotic song should inspire or at least create a sense of pride... This Land is your land might create pride for a travel agent, but that is about it.

If you think This Land Is Your Land is a patriotic song, or lacking emotional content, you're leaving off the most important fourth and sixth verses:


As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?


I also wasn't a huge fan of America the Beautiful until I heard the Ray Charles version. I think you've got to give Stars and Stripes Forever some props too.

And of course, the theme song from Team America: World Police.
   95. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 02, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4458622)
My favorite patriotic song.

The Albion Band - Ragged Heroes
   96. Dudefella Posted: June 02, 2013 at 06:57 PM (#4458632)
Crosby: Those verses are precisely why I think it's a patriotic song.
   97. Steve Treder Posted: June 02, 2013 at 06:57 PM (#4458633)
God Bless America is a dud of a song in every way. I'm a huge Irving Berlin fan, but this one is Irving at his corny worst. I make no audible comment or anything like that about it when it's ritually played at baseball games (because it just isn't that important an issue), but everything about the song and this ridiculous 7th inning tradition is silly. Take Me Out to the Ball Game is all the musical accompaniment 7th inning stretch needs, has ever needed, and ever will need.

America the Beautiful cleans GBA's clock without breaking a sweat. The Stars and Stripes Forever stands proudly and impeccably at AtB's side. And both great songs graciously and sincerely call This Land is Your Land up to the front of the stage to share it as an equal.
   98. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: June 02, 2013 at 07:01 PM (#4458636)
More important, though, I’m concerned that this is a myopic way to exercise faith. I imagine that the God I believe in isn’t interested in dispensing special nationalistic blessings. (Or, perhaps more to the point, blessings for our bullpen, error-free fielding and sufficient run support.) [...]

At a ballgame, where most of us have come to root for the Nats, it just doesn’t fit. We shouldn’t make a grand assumption that we’re all of one belief. The one thing that we do, in fact, have in common is the love of baseball. It’s a powerful, communal thing when we cheer together — even if we’re cheering for opposite teams. Yes, this even applies to Phillies fans.


What's unfortunate is that the above actually has to be explained.

I know it's not polite to say so, but there are many agnostic and atheists who understand that beliefs, particularly in the more conventional gods, are scarcely veiled forms of insanity. We've made a nightly ritual of the Theater of Absurd--having police enforce the appearance of fealty during the singing of the theme song to Caspar the Friendly Ghost.


I'm the first socialist communist peacenik anti-establishment your-mob-is-lame type to sit out patriotic displays, and even speak out against them, jingoistic or not; but I have to say this particular battle on this particular battleground is not even worth my fight or my time. Or anyone's, IMO, but I suppose that's up to them.


You're hardly the only one to assert this, but it doesn't make sense to me. The writer is explaining an action; an action that strikes me as entirely reasonable. Quite simply he doesn't want to do something he's expected to do, and on occasion will be reviled for not doing. So, he tells us why he behaves as he does.

He's not being silly about it. He's not doing something as clearly demented as boycotting ball games in order to protest a plainly foolish ritual.

It was worth your time to post why this wouldn't be worth your time--why isn't it worth a couple of hours of the writer's time to explain himself?

In any case, if the writer's article emboldens a few more people, which in turn emboldens a few more... that's in part how we move past silly rituals, conformity, and superstition, and towards reason.

   99. spike Posted: June 02, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4458683)
Men of Harlech puts that to shame\

Loved it as a kid in this flick.
   100. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: June 02, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4458695)
Patriotism, like all tribal emotionalisms, is essentially stupid.
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