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The Anthem

February 12, 2011

The only thing I care about this Super Bowl XLV was whether Christina Aguilera can pull off 6 seconds holding the last word (“brave” by the way) of the anthem.  Amongst all the creative bets Americans can think of on that night’s game,  that was one of them (the over/under was 6 seconds), and how long her performance would be. The performance itself was clocked at 1 minute 54 seconds by some, while others had it at exactly 1 minute 56 seconds

But what made the news the following day was that she sang that “O’er the ramparts..” part wrong!  Instead she goes something like:

“What we so proudly we watched, at the twilight’s last reaming…”

I remember singing my own anthem wrong everyday.  It was not in a language I am familiar with.  Sure the teachers went over it very thoroughly, but, you know, as a kid, one rare sings the anthem “to the nines”.  Most non Malay classmates of mine sang it somewhat wrong anyway.  But singing it wrong over a stadium of audience, that will get me in hot soup.  Much like Namewee when he had his own version of Malaysia’s “Negaraku”.  And Namewee didn’t even do it live at the stadium, he did it on YouTube to make a point.

In America, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a non traditional way usually was lauded.  It’s their “rights of expression and individuality.”  Except for a black teenager in Martinsville. Someone complained to the principal that her tune was “unrecognizable”.  It drew questions about whether the complaints and directive were racially motivated.

Who is worse?  The high school girl, Shai Warfield-Cross?  Or Christina Aguilera?  You be the judge.


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