|A woman in a headscarf in a soda commercial |
with people singing "America The Beautiful"
in another language. Horrors!
Why not have people sing "America The Beautiful" in different languages?
It would be throwback to that famous early 1970s Coke commercial when a diverse group of people crooning on a hillside wanted to "teach the world to sing in perfect harmony."
So off Coca-Cola went and did their multilingual "America The Beautiful" ad to run during the Superbowl
America is full of different kinds of people. Many of them are immigrants who brought their own cultures, own habits here, to mix into that proverbial melting pot and continue the centuries long tradition of changing and strengthening the country.
The different but unifying takes on "America The Beautiful" would tie that nicely together, no?
Not in this age of ugly "discourse"
The extreme right wing went ballistic with the ad. I've got a classic example.
Over at a site called Breitbart, we had this, written by some bonehead named Michael Patrick Leahy:
"Executives at Coca Cola thought it would be a good idea to run a 60-second Superbowl ad featuring children singing "America The Beautiful," a deeply Christian patriotic anthem whose theme is unity -in several foreign languages. The ad also prominently features a gay couple....
....The lyrics of the song, written in 1893 by Wellesley College Professor Katherine Lee Bates, ask God to grant America 'brotherhood from sea to shining sea.'
As far as executives at Coca Cola are concerned, however, the United States of America is no longer a nation ruled by the Constitution and American traditions in which English is the language of government. It is not a nation governed in the Anglo-American tradition of liberty. It is instead a nation governed by some all inclusive multi-cultural synthesis of the various forms of government in the world, as expressed by the multiple languages used in the Superbowl ad."
Whew! I don't know where to start with his little editorial. Generally I wouldn't, because fighting with a skunk gets you all stinky, but I'll give it a whirl with this clown Michael Patrick Leahy.
OK, the song has a Christian influence, with its reference to God and all. But since when is Christianity limited to English speakers? A Christian churchgoer in, say, El Salvador who only speaks Spanish isn't really a Christian? Huh?
Leahy mentions the gay couple in the ad. Um, gay people live here, and most of them seem to love America and think America is beautiful. (I'm one of them!) So, the problem is????
"America The Beautiful" was indeed written by Katherine Lee Bates. Not that it matters at all, but she was gay. Just sayin.
How is singing "America the Beautiful" in other languages unconstitutional? I don't even see a mention of "America the Beautiful" in the Constitution. Or any requirement to speak English, for that matter.
How is the ad not unifying? They're people of different backgrounds coming together as one unit to sing the praises of America. Leahy, you're confusing me!
Leahy also says English is the language of our government. True enough. But I don't believe the people in the Coca-Cola ad were government employees singing on behalf of the government. They were singing on behalf of Coca Cola, to help them sell more soda. Capitalism! What's wrong with that? Isn't capitalism part of the American tradition too?
How do the people in the Coca-Cola ad violate our sense of liberty? They were free to sing the song and they do. We are free to like or dislike the ad. Liberty!
How is this ad making the United States governed by some sort of synthesis of other governments in the world? I can't find any suggested in the ad that our government should change.
And I don't think our government changed to something weird and foreign because a bunch of people were singing in different languages during a commercial break from a football game.
I'm picking on this Leahy character but judging from social media in the past couple of days, there are a lot of people at least as dumb as he is.
Look, xenophobia has been a strain running through America ever since it started. Every generation of people who immigrated here who spoke different languages were despised by a minority of people. And most immigrants who came here spoke various languages, and as they settled in, most of them t switched to English, or at least their offspring did.
So the bleatings of Leahy, all those Twitter trolls who agree with him and their ilk are nothing new. I'm amused by the sense of victimhood here, though. All those damn foreigners changing America. As if that hasn't been the case for more than 200 years. Oh well.
I also know people like me and reporters bringing up the "debate" over this Coke ad are overhyping it. I know that most people, including a large proportion of conservatives either like the ad or don't give a damn about it either way.
And yes, I'm feeding the trolls by bringing all this up. But I still think a great way to use the American tradition of free speech (enshrined in the Constitution!) is to use free speech to mock and ridicule people who use their right to free speech to say dumb, damaging things.
That way, maybe we can move on to things that matter, rather than scream and holler for weeks on end about a pleasant but inconsequential television ad for soda pop.
Besides, all the outraged right wingers who are threatening to boycott Coca-Cola because of the ad are stirring up a lot of interest in the soft drink giant, so they're probably selling more Coke than ever before.
Here's the ad if you haven't seen it. Below the ad is a video from Brenda Wood, an anchorwoman from WXIA in Atlanta. You have to watch/listen to her commentary. It's such a great takedown of the bigots.