Praise The Lord & Pass The Ammunition

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Thu Dec 15 05:29:21 UTC 2005

sagehen wrote:
>  James A. Landau  asks:
> A couple of ADS-L members have said they don't like "God Bless America"
> that much.  I am curious whether they dislike the music, the words, the
> sentiments, or the contexts in which it is encountered.
> ~~~~~~~~
> In my case, I find it hard to disentangle these elements, but I can
> remember  when GBA was introduced by Kate Smith whose program we liked well
> enough to listen to pretty regularly.  Even though, as a kid I was
> well-imbued with patriotic war fervor, I still felt there was something
> rather embarassing about the tripey verse.  Like Larry, I preferred
> "America the Beautiful" to most of the other marches, songs & hymns of that
> ilk that we sang in school. GBA seemed a pale imitation of that.  It left
> out the people & any sense of community. The punch line (?),  " my home
> sweet home"   rang about as falsely as, say, "thank you for shopping at
> Kmart." "This land is your land, this land is my land" strikes me as miles
> better and more stirring. As for the tune, the bridge has a little pizzazz,
> but on the whole I find it boring & obvious.
> Alison

The song's OK, as songs like that go. But it's been coopted not just as
a patriotic song, but as a particular (jingoistic) *kind* of patriotic
song. And, what's worse, it's usurped "Take me out to the ballgame".

Alice Faber
faber at
Haskins Laboratories                                  tel: (203)
865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                                     fax (203)

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