"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Friday, April 28, 2006

¿Jose can you sí?

Contra a good deal of the right-wing blogosphere, I kinda like the idea of singing the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish. Our national anthem is a poem made to stir a patriot's blood to sacrifice and struggle on behalf of a symbol that stands for noble idea. There is real merit in making that idea more accessible to anyone, especially someone who has voluntarily left his homeland to come here.

It is my understanding that the version of the anthem currently in circulation omits the whiny chant about mean laws and is just a straight-up Spanish translation. In fact, the translation seems to be the one composed by Francis Haffkine Snow. It was commissioned by the U.S. Bureau of Education. In 1919. And is freely available, as you can see, from that noted nest of subversion, the Library of Congress.

National Review's Mark Krikorian can, as usual, be relied upon for a non-sequitur quote:


Would the French accept people singing the La Marseillaise in English as a sign of French patriotism? Of course not.

After four years of Freedom Fries and Chilean reds, "the French wouldn't put up with this" is a rhetorical loser. Go out and find me an English speaker who is interested in singing La Marseillaise in any language. In fact, find me someone outside France who doesn't snigger at the phrase French patriotism. Let Nuestro Himno do the work of instructing its audience in the language they understand.

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

I've been trying to find some good in all this, but the best I can do right now is keep my powder dry and see what happens on May Day.

Certainly this anthem thing, besides simply being a cynical attempt to cash in, should not be a matter of great concern and your benevolent view of it is the best way to go.