September 6, 2012

My Thoughts on the NFL Season Opener National Anthem

Queen Latifah August 5, 2012
NBC Screenshot
While I'm not really a professional football fan, I did manage to see the beginning of the NFL season kickoff last night while eating dinner out with the Mrs.

Two things struck me as odd and I've had mixed feelings about them.

The first was Queen Latifah's rendition of our National Anthem.  I know she's gotten a mixed reaction concerning her performance and my feelings have nothing to do with how well she sang, which I think the bulk of the bad reactions are on about.  For me, it is how she sang the Star Spangled Banner.

I thought her voice was great and she did a bang-up job.....but, and this is a big one for me, she did not sing the Star Spangled Banner, she sang most of the first stanza and added some words (really just a repeat of the last line) at the end.  While I get artistic licence and expression, I don't think that our National Anthem should have that much artistic wiggle-room.  Part of the issue for me is that I liked her performance, which should make it OK, but that is the rub......it is only OK because of my judgement call.  I don't have any more a right to approve such an alteration of the Star Spangled Banner as she had to alter it.

Those that dismiss her performance simply because they don't like her singing....they can stuff it.

My second issue went hand-in-hand with Queen Latifah's performance.  If you watch the video you'll see that there are a bunch of servicemen in the background holding a huge American Flag off the ground.  My first reaction was positive because.....hey, a flag....but also because I knew that all those folks were getting to see the game for free in exchange for wearing their Class A uniforms (I know they don't call it that anymore) and a few minutes of work.  I hope they got good seats.  This was all fine and good until they showed a shot of the arena from overhead.  I wish I could find a screenshot.

IT WASN'T A US FLAG!!!

Instead of a proper flag, the servicemen were holding onto a giant piece of cloth made up of stars and stripes like a traditional flag, but this cloth was in the shape of the continental US.  The song was barely cut up, but this flag was positively butchered!  This felt so wrong to me on so many levels.  I was actually a bit pissed off at seeing this.  Seriously, who in their right mind thought this was a good idea?

I think whomever was responsible should go ahead and pay up their taxes for the year, have their citizenship stripped and be made to re-apply.  Make them sit through the classes and learn a little respect for the Flag and what it stands for.  I can understand a mistake like placing the flag on the wrong side of the room or doing an inexperienced job folding it up, but to hack it into the shape of the Continental US?  That is just inexcusable....an EPIC FAIL if I have ever seen one.

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