6.25.2006

"Oh, Mickey, como estas? Como estas, me gustas mas" indeed

The recent recording of the National Anthem in Spanish has sparked a political debate – due in large part to the courageous efforts of the White House to spread awareness of both the recording and of a political debate about it – of a complexity not seen since the flag-burning debates of the early-90’s. A number of frequent questions and concerns have arisen, which I thought I might address.

Q: Is it really important that the anthem be sung in English?
A: Absolutely! While it’s true that the US has no official language it is widely accepted throughout the world that English is the “best” language because of its straight-forward rules, consistent grammar and spelling, and the fact that it is the newest language in the world, thus has not gotten clunky and, well, old.

Also, you can’t just change the language of a song! Remember the English version of Nena’s 1983 song 99 Luft Ballons? Wasn’t very good, was it? Should we change the words of Don Ho’s classic song to all English so it goes “'Merry Christmas' is Hawaii’s way of saying Merry Christmas to you”? It’d sound moronic! And let's not even get in to the abomination that was Toni Basil's Spanish version of Oh Mickey.

Perhaps most importantly though, there is the slippery-slope of translating songs; what’s next? Translating books? “Dubbing” movies? Translating religious texts? I shudder to think.

Q: Is our National Anthem really not about the American Revolution?
A: I think we can all agree that the Revolution was a fairly inconsequential skirmish, especially when put in the shadow of the cataclysmic apocalypse that was the War of 1812. Ask any schoolchild about it and he’ll rattle off the names of all those important people involved and talk about the thing, or things, that caused it. The Revolution may have forged the nation, the Civil War may have seen it cleaved and then blissfully reunited, but the War of 1812 showed us the most important lesson of all – that the thing that caused it should be avoided.

Q: Hey, what are ‘ramparts’ anyway?
A: It’s what you get in a gyro along with the feta cheese and tzatziki. Aaaaaaaahahahahaha! Get it? Get it? Hahahahahahahaha!

Q: Isn’t it a bit demeaning that our anthem is to the tune of a British drinking song?
A: Ram Parts?! Come on! Ram Parts! Hahahahahahaha…aha…ah, what do you know from funny.

Q: Isn’t this concern over a Spanish-language version representative of our paranoia at the Mexican influx and a shift in the proletariat power-base?
A: Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s that it is offensive for nebulous moral reasons, but also there is the issue of efficiency – we’re all going to have to learn the anthem in Mandarin in a few years, so a Spanish version is just a waste of energy.

Q: Hey, remember that joke about the near-sighted Mexican who goes to the ball game and thinks Americans are so kind because they all sing, “Jose, can you see?”? Why isn’t that enough for the Hispanic community?
A: Excellent question. It’s indicative of Mexican-Americans incredible greed and insensitivity toward a nation that has showed them nothing but compassion and nurturing.

Q: Did I see on the news that Bush is against the Spanish version but Laura Bush disagrees with him?
A: Of course not. You must have eaten too close to bed time and dreamt it. A terrible, terrible dream.

Q: I’ve always been trouble that our anthem is about war – the only anthem which is.
A: Oh, give me a break. For starters, that’s not a question. But whatever. Look, what should our anthem be about? Puppies? The ideals of Democracy? Ours being the first nation to be forged by philosophers instead of tyrants? Yawn. Sounds snobby. War’s a crowd-pleaser. Got oomph. Plus, if you want to be a pussy about it, what about the fact that it’s not about war? Technically, the song if about after a battle is over. Your argument is a fallacy! It’d be like saying that Away in A Manger is a song about labor-contractions and epidural. Is that what you’re saying? Because I find that appalling.

Q: Isn’t this whole “issue” another attempt to fabricate a simplistic controversy, one lacking in any nuance or options besides the “for” and “against” camps? Isn’t this just the latest in Karl Rove’s tricks to distract the populace from real, complex issues and from scrutiny of this disgraceful, failed administration?
A: Aaaand… we’re out of time.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Update, man! Seriously!

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the update??

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Où est la mise à jour, homme ?

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you ever going to update again?? I miss your witty blogs.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, when are you going to update? Never again? Please say that it isn't so.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think someone wants you to update. Can't quite be sure, though.

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maclymont, update, sir. Don't leave us hanging.

6:10 PM  

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