Botched National Flood-Myth Song

In case you weren’t one of the hundreds of millions watching, you must have heard by now that Christina Aguilera muffed the words of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl® last night. As someone who likes to think he is capable of singing a little bit–or is at least married to a voice teacher–listening to the performance of the national anthem at a sporting event is almost like watching figure skating: I wince all the way through, just knowing that something will go wrong.

Let’s be honest: "The Star-Spangled Banner" is a tough song to sing. The vocal range required to do the song justice is quite wide, and it’s usually performed a capella, which is an unforgiving style–no instruments to cover up a mistake.

I also wince partly because of the religious overtones of the song. Performed at a sporting event–It is part of the liturgy of hero-worship, the imperial American cult of individualism. Maybe we could call it a "creation-myth song": a poem of origins that gives a people collective identity.

Or, since F.S. Key’s poem was written during the War of 1812, perhaps it would be more appropriately called a "flood-myth song," a myth of new creation, a rematch of the ethnogonic struggle.

About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, transplanted to Pennsylvania...lived and taught in Eastern Europe for six years…Old Testament professor, ordained minister, occasional liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s