July 4th, 2007


let freedom thud

If you flat out asked me if I consider myself a patriot, I'd have some trouble answering you. Certainly if I love anything about this country it tends to be in terms of the abstract ideals it was founded under; the current execution, not so much. But I have to confess I was surprised at the vehemence of my reaction to the background music at Walgreens this afternoon.

My first thought was "Hymns? They're playing hymns now? WTF?" because I was surrounded by a somewhat pedestrian SATB arrangement of My Country, 'Tis of Thee. Statistically speaking, the most common prior context for same was the church services of my youth. A moment later I recalled the calendar time-frame currently being occupied, and i thought "Aha, no, Patriotic Music." With a touch of dismissal, I figured it was probably one of a few sprinkled into to the usual soft-rock mix, and that it had caught my attention due to the stark contrast - of singing style, if naught else.

So I continued collecting the items on my shopping list, only to be rousted out of my semi-reverie by lyrics I swear said "we worship blood and glory". The tune was familiar, but mostly from items of parody/pastiche; I caught the chorus of something about "the Army goes rolling along". Some research indicates I misheard the lyrics or missed the segue from a previous song, as The Army Goes Rolling Along is apparently the official Army Song, though nowhere in the lyrics I found was it so unabashedly bloodthirsty. It was all the stranger to hear because it was that same SATB chorus, with the warbling of sopranos.

Maybe it was hymns; the Marines have a hymn. Everybody else seems to have songs - the Navy's Anchors Aweigh is apparently just a song, for all its over-familiarity to me as the hijacked tune to my navy town high school's fight song. [Great grief and pains, further down the wikipedia article they cite the bloody thing! Aaah, there's no escape!!] It was definitely meant to be 4th of July music, Independence Day music, and my main response was "ew".

I don't find them qualitatively distasteful - musically they seem a bit drab, but they were originally meant to be sung together rather than performed to be listened to, making their simplicity a virtue. The lyrics hang together, certainly. But the sentiment leaves me cold, and wondering if there isn't a better way to deal with problems then sending large angry men out to poke them with pointed sticks, tarantara.

I know where that puts me with the "If'n yer not with us, yer agin' us" crowd, and I suppose that is why I find myself with the urge to look around nervously after admitting such is the darkness of my heart. I suppose I'll again have to take refuge in my long-sought curmudgeon-hood. And I find fireworks are like automobiles - fine, fine things in the hands of those that know how to use and appreciate them, but far too often wielded by unthinking incompetents, to the detriment of all concerned.

SFM/EMP all-access nights

Just a reminder that the Science Fiction Museum and the Experience Music Project participate in the First Thursday festivities each month by offering free admission from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the occasion. More information available at 206-770-2700.

That would be tomorrow, which I point out as even migratory federal holidays tend to be remembered as celebrated on Mondays, what with that being the 'observed' day when the holiday falls on the weekend as well as when it falls naturally on the day itself. But today is Glorious Wednesday, and 4 being smaller than 7 it transpires that tomorrow is the First Thursday of July, to be greeted with artistic fanfare, gallery walks, gratis entry to museums, and the occasional canape. Watch out for the pigs.