Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sing of Good Things Not Bad

Front page piece in yesterday's WSJ on how difficult it can be to change a national anthem:

In the era when politicians are ever more conscious of the national brand and more sensitive to political correctness, debates over national anthems have simmered from Canada to Nepal. But would-be reformers often find it's an arduous battle making nations change their tunes—no matter how archaic or depressing the songs may be.

Canada's government, seeking to promote equal rights for women, said last March it was considering a gender-neutral substitute for the "O Canada" lyric that goes, "true patriot love in all thy sons command." Hostility from people who like the existing version of the anthem was so great that the idea was dropped in two days. "We offered to hear from Canadians on this issue and they have already spoken loud and clear," said a government spokesman.

Good to hear that common sense prevailed in the Great White North. Other than hockey, I can't think of too many things that are more notable about Canada than the country's top notch anthem. Don't go messing around with what is truly one of the best national songs in the world.

On the other hand, I really can't blame the good people of Peru for thinking they may need a more uplifting beginning to their national anthem whose opening verse is:

For a long time the oppressed Peruvian

Dragged the ominous chain;

Condemned to cruel servitude

He moaned for a long time in silence.

But as soon as the sacred cry of

"Freedom!" was heard on the coasts,

He shook off the indolence of slavery,

He raised his humiliated neck

Can't really picture the crowd roaring along to those spirit crushing lyrics before a pivotal soccer match in Lima like fans in Chicago do to the Star Spangled Banner.