Woody Guthrie and the 2012 Mets

You can find a lot of stuff on YouTube but I found out this morning you cannot find Glenn Close singing the National Anthem. I want to write about “The Star Spangled Banner” today and this, I thought, was a good way to do this on a Mets-themed blog. Close has sung the anthem at Mets games more than once and the best thing about her rendition is that she sings it quickly.

I hate the National Anthem.

How many times do you listen to your favorite song in a given year? I doubt it’s over 50 times. Now, I’m sure there are songs that you might listen to more than 50 times in a given year, most likely some new song that you just can’t hear often enough. But the novelty wears off and the song you listened to 100 times the year it came out you probably don’t play more than 10 times the following year.

If you’re a sports fan, you hear the National Anthem played before every single contest. When you count up how many games I attend for work, then add in the ones I go to for fun plus the ones that I catch on TV, I hear the anthem somewhere around 250 times a year. That would be painful enough if it was just one year. But it’s the same awful song, year after year after year.

And to make it worse, you can’t criticize it or people will look at you like you have two heads. I tell people I don’t like the song “YMCA” and some people will call me a killjoy and others will agree with me but nobody questions my sanity. Whenever I tell people that I wish they would stop playing the National Anthem before every sporting event, those same people act like I’m burning the flag.

Kelly Clarkson will sing the anthem today for the Super Bowl. Vegas has set the over/under line at 1:34 for the performance. This may be the one thing that even gambling can’t improve. I mean, do we really “win” if the song goes over? It’s hard to blame the performer for stretching out his/her moment in the sun before a giant crowd of people. But the sooner these singers realize that they’re not Marvin Gaye, the better off we’ll all be.

The song is too long, it’s tough to sing, it has war as its backdrop and it features music from an old British pub tune. And it stinks. I mean, really, c’mon does anyone really like the song on its own merits, not just because it’s associated with our country?

Every now and then you’ll hear people call for “God Bless America” to be our country’s anthem. In the past I might have been willing to go along with this idea just to get rid of the one we have now. But it’s been co-opted by the Yankees and as far as I’m concerned, they can keep it.

For my money, our anthem should be Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” It has all of the same type of imagery as GBA. It even mentions a steeple, which should please the Religious Right. But it’s inclusive, it acknowledges that individuals struggle in our country and it promotes a sense of togetherness among the people that is missing in the other songs, I believe. And everyone can sing it.

Plus it fits in well with the 2012 Mets. There’s going to be a struggle and a championship may well take a miracle. But we’re in this together. Now that’s something worth hearing before every game.

5 comments for “Woody Guthrie and the 2012 Mets

  1. February 5, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I’ve had the very same thought. Plus: the song has a certain appeal to the 99%. Sorry to bring politics in it, but with Woody it can’t really be helped.

  2. SteveP
    February 5, 2012 at 8:47 am

    My proposal for the new national anthem is the Isley Brothers version of “Shout.” http://youtu.be/VL9xOLpwI0I

  3. February 5, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Considering the social stratification that is inherent in the design of Citi Field, it’s tough to ask Mets fans to adopt a democratic anthem like “This Land is Your Land.” Considering what we’ve been through in recent years, “Born in the U.S.A.” might be a better fit.

  4. jerseymet
    February 5, 2012 at 11:23 am

    It is my understanding that prior to World War Two the anthem was only sung on special occasions. Our great ceremony may be deminished by overuse.

  5. Brian Joura
    February 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    From Wikipedia:

    In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that “The Star-Spangled Banner” be played at military and other appropriate occasions. Although the playing of the song two years later during the seventh-inning stretch of the 1918 World Series is often noted as the first instance that the anthem was played at a baseball game, evidence shows that the “Star-Spangled Banner” was performed as early as 1897 at opening day ceremonies in Philadelphia and then more regularly at the Polo Grounds in New York City beginning in 1898. However, the tradition of performing the national anthem before every baseball game began in World War II.[9]

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