Friday, October 1, 2021

O Canada (Oh America)

Two countries (and two videos) for the price of one!

Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — eventual selves to advise them and haunt them after they've become grups and/or I'm deleted. Reading via monitor/tablet is recommended for maximum enjoyment.  

Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, or grups may result in an intersectional triggering. Intended for H. sapiens who are — in the words of the late, great bon vivant and polymath, Professor Y. Bear — "Smarter (and cooler) than the av-er-age bear." 

Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlereader  

"I personally think our national anthem is not patriotic enough. There is another poem by Dwijendralal Ray called 'Dhono Dhanne Pushpe Bhora,' which is more soul-stirring as a national anthem." -Victor Banerjee

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

I was reminded that we have upstairs neighbors (so to speak), the Canadians, from the minimal and brief coverage given to the recent reelection of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.   

O Canada, I'm embarrassed to say that my knowledge of any and all things Canadian is as scant as the scant news coverage given to Canada here in the states. 


Dana, what are you doing?

{Ever notice how some words almost cry out to be mindlessly and rapidly repeated till they become a noise?}

Of course, it's a phenomenon called semantic satiation, a phrase coined by Leon Jacobovits James in his 1962 doctoral dissertation at McGill University in Canada. 

{       }

Ever notice how often people say, "I should look that up?" Well, I often actually do. 

{       } 

And believe it or not, Justin Trudeau graduated from McGill University in 1994, and, I visited the Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum in Niagra Falls, Canada — in 1994. 


Right? Anyways, the news stories reminded me that I've always wanted to know more about Canada other than the fact our upstairs neighbors are normally very quiet, unlike our downstairs neighbors, who are busy devolving into a narco-state.

Good news for junkies impacted by the crackdown on big pharma though, literally tons of opioids, fentanyl, and other drugs are crossing the border these days. Not to mention a plentiful supply of cheap, unskilled labor to fuel our economy.  

I've always wondered why Canada's national anthem is called O Canada, not Oh Canada. I've failed to find why, but I did find out that Canada didn't officially have a national anthem till 1980. 

Not only that, the tune was written by an American Civil War veteran, and the original lyrics were written, in French, by a judge from Quebec. The song was supposed to be Quebec's national anthem.

Thirty years later the lyrics were "translated" into English by another judge. He played fast and loose with the words and rendered them in such a way as to reflect his political and spiritual beliefs.

Nowadays, there's a third version, a bilingual one that's officially endorsed by the Canadian government. I got all this information from a website devoted to "Canadiana" that's quite interesting. 

The article includes an eye-opening video. I learned, or rather was reminded as I'm old, that Canada was caught up in violence triggered by identity politics back in 1968, the year Mr. Trudeau's father became prime minister.  

Some of our normally quiet and reserved neighbors were fighting, figuratively and literally, over identity politics and were singing two different national anthems long before we Citizens of the Republic were.

{What are you talking about?} 

Whoopi and Billy, of course.

Go a googlin' and enter the names of two of our leading public intellectuals thusly: Whoopi Goldberg v. Bill Maher (or vice-versa). You will receive no shortage of hits that are variations of a theme.

Bill Maher fires back...
Bill Maher hits back...
Bill Maher slams back...
Bill Maher slaps back...

At Whoopie Goldberg. 

{Bill Maher is abusing a black woman?}

Nah, they're just having a virtual spat — that is to say, verbally arguing without having to be in the same room — over the fact the NFL is playing two national anthems these days.

{Really? Why? And what...} 

Look it up. One for white people, one for black people. 

It's a tempest in a teapot. Celebrities, an organization of millionaires owned by gazillionaires, social media, and the purple press jockeying for an appropriate political position — and the pursuit of profits. 

When I'm king I shall impose a royal compromise. Henceforth, America's national anthem will be America the Beautiful. 

The lyrics were written by a highly accomplished woman, Katharine Lee Bates, the tune by a rather ordinary man, Samuel A. Ward.   

Ms. Bates was a professor of English literature and wrote one of the first college textbooks on American literature. She may have been a lesbian. She definitely was a " activist interested in the struggles of women, workers, people of color, tenement residents, immigrants, and poor people" according to Wikipedia.

{But she was white!}

About 70% of NFL players are black. Do you know of any white football fans/people that care? 

Speakin' of googlin', I googled America the Beautiful and the first hit was a video of Ray Charles — singing America the Beautiful


Gasp! Begone from my largish head philistine!

{Nope-nope-nope, I checked out the lyrics, too many God references. Clearly another case of systemic theism.}

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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