Monday, February 7, 2011

It Was All About Ms. Aguilera

Let’s face it. July 4th really isn’t America’s day to shine, at least not beyond our borders. July 4th is our homeland celebration, but when it comes time to show the world why the U.S.A. is a big deal, that honor is reserved for Super Bowl Sunday. It was claimed that Sunday’s game was seen by one billion people, which means that 850 million foreign TV viewers were watching. America does three things in a bigger way, and better than any other nation on earth— self-congratulatory patriotism, television advertising, and good old rugged, smash-mouth football (not to be confused with soccer), and Super Bowl Sunday showcased all three of these core competencies. And then, just to show the world that we have a sense of humor, we selected— to lead us in singing our Nation Anthem— a “vocalist” who looked like a Barbi doll, but who didn’t know the lyrics or the melody to the Star Spangled Banner. Francis Scott Key’s musical composition was evidently viewed as merely a guideline for individual interpretation by Christina Aguilera.

There was an even more patriotic time in America’s past, during and after World War II, when a singer named Kate Smith routinely sang God Bless America and The Star Spangled Banner. She knew all the lyrics, and she hit every note with perfection. She always made the song be “about America.” Christina Aguilera made Sunday’s performance of our National Anthem be all about her. It didn’t work out all that well.

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