DailyNews- Now, don’t get me wrong: When Major League Baseball ordered all teams to play the patriotic jingle after 9/11, I didn’t immediately object. Standing with my fellow fans, as one, and singing a paean to our country provided catharsis, comfort and shared heartache.
But it wasn’t long before heartache became headache. The Yankees still play it at every game, but most teams, like my beloved Mets, play “God Bless America” only on Sundays or holidays. But even that’s too much.
Part of my outrage stems from ponderous Mussolini-esque introduction of the song, when fans are asked to rise, remove their caps and place them over their hearts.
Reality check, friends: “God Bless America” is not the National Anthem. The only songs Americans should stand for are “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Here Comes the Bride.”
Even Irving Berlin, who wrote “God Bless America” in 1918, considered it so maudlin and depressing that he stuck it in a drawer. Twenty years later, as the world prepared for war, Kate Smith asked Berlin for a patriotic song for her radio show. He pulled out “God Bless America” and changed one lame line — “the gold fields up in Nome” — to an even lamer line — “oceans white with foam.” You know the rest: Smith’s version became as much a symbol of post-war patriotism as the flag, the space program and all the white people moving to the suburbs.
The song still embodies great things about America, but also our worst things: self-righteousness, forced piety, earnest self-reverence, foam.
Rise? Remove our caps? Where are we, the Soviet Union?!? How can we stand for the singing of a song whose primary purpose is blessing the country we hold as close to our hearts as the hats we are manipulated into taking off as it plays? Disgraceful. How could we be so self righteous on 4th of July weekend when everyone and their mother is wearing some variation of an American flag draped all over their body? Fuck standing together on a day that celebrates our independence. I'm sitting with Gersh Kuntzman - the man with the most appropriate last name of ALL TIME - to fight against a patriotic ballad that embraces our fellowship as a nation by placing proverbial shackles on our right to be disloyal dickheads if we so choose. Someone better let the Yankees - and all other Major League clubs - know that they won't be forcing their country-wide pride on me. No sir. When it comes to songs I am tired of hearing 'God Bless America' has pretty much left everything by Flo Rida withering in the All-American dust on Route 66, and I think I'll just walk from here because I am tired of being on this fascist bandwagon of freedom that should of ran out of gas months after 9/11. This is my new running mate now. He's a hootin', hollerin' good time and he's never done a damn thing at the urging of the masses for no other reason to follow some sort of societal code...