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SOME PEOPLE WANT TO CHANGE THE AMERICAN NATIONAL ANTHEM BECAUSE THE AUTHOR OF ITS WORDS, FRANCIS SCOTT KEY, WAS A SLAVEHOLDER

Added: Monday, June 29th 2020 at 9:19am by chuckman
 
 
 

John Chuckman

 

SOME PEOPLE WANT TO CHANGE THE AMERICAN NATIONAL ANTHEM BECAUSE THE AUTHOR OF ITS WORDS, FRANCIS SCOTT KEY, WAS A SLAVEHOLDER – THERE ARE OTHER GOOD REASONS FOR DUMPING THE ANTHEM, INCLUDING THE FACT FEW CAN EVEN SING IT, MANY OF ITS WORDS ARE VERBAL KITSCH, AND THE TUNE COMES FROM AN OLD ENGLISH DRINKING SONG – LINK TO A NASTY AMERICAN CONTROVERSY OVER A SPANISH VERSION OF THE ANTHEM SOME YEARS AGO

EXPANSION OF COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN YOUR DESTINATION NOW

 

“Outrage as activists and journalists say the Star Spangled Banner should no longer be the National Anthem because it was written by slave owner Francis Scott Key”

“The lyrics come from Key’s 1814 poem Defence of Fort M'Henry”

 

Calling Key's words a "poem" is stretching things a bit.

It is a kind of patriotic verbal kitsch.

Histrionic and almost silly in places.

Although, considering what the United States has become, a song about a fort and bombs bursting in the air seems fitting.

And as to the music the words are set to, it is an old English gentlemen’s club drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven."

Few can even sing it, with its operatic flourishes. And how often have guest singers at public events blown this anthem?

By the way, when I was a young boy in grade school, we sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” rather than “The Star Spangled Banner.” It is set to the tune of Britain’s ‘God Save the Queen.” It has some over-the-top words too, such as “Land of the Pilgrims’ pride,” referring to the extremely intolerant and murderous Puritans who were running from genuine hatreds they had incited in Europe and killed many Indigenous people as they settled into America, but it is quieter and people can manage to sing it.

 

NOTE

Here is an interesting and revealing anecdote about the American anthem having been translated into Spanish some years ago and enjoying some popularity in the United States in that form. It includes a Francis Scott Key descendant making himself especially odious:

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2009/06/04/oh-say-can-you-see-xenophobia-in-a-land-of-immigrants/

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