Sing the anthem right ... or else:

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1 BlueNinja04th Jan 2012 10:16:53 PM from Hiding in the corner , Relationship Status: I made a point to burn all of the photographs
Sailing the big blue sea
http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20111230/NEWS06/111230002
INDIANAPOLIS Oh, say can you . . . sing?

And, more importantly, can you sing it the "right" way — the way one Indiana lawmaker thinks the national anthem should be sung?

Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, has introduced a bill that would set specific "performance standards" for singing and playing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at any event sponsored by public schools and state universities.

The law also would cover private schools receiving state or local scholarship funds, including vouchers.

Performers would have to sign a contract agreeing to follow the guidelines. Musicians — whether amateur or professional — would be fined $25 if it were deemed they failed to meet the appropriate standards.

But just what is appropriate? Would Jimi Hendrix's electric version make the grade? Are Christina Aguilera's vocal gymnastics a fineable offense?

That's unclear. What is and what is not "acceptable," according to Becker's bill, would be determined by the State Department of Education, with input from the Commission for Higher Education.

Becker said she would expect the guidelines to require that the national anthem be sung with the usual lyrics to the traditional melody — "the way that we normally have it sung or heard throughout most of our state and our country."

Becker said she authored the bill after a constituent called her last spring upset about a school program in which the words of "The Star-Spangled Banner" were substituted or parodied in a way the caller found disrespectful. The senator said she herself had heard parody versions of the national anthem on television programs.

"Sometimes it's just done in a joking manner," she said, "but I don't think the national anthem is something we ought to be joking around with."

Becker stressed that her intent is to punish only those who make intentional changes — not those who can't carry a tune.

The bill calls for schools to maintain audio recordings of all performances for two years and develop a procedure for dealing with complaints if a musician is alleged to have strayed from the approved lyrical or melodic guidelines.

"I don't think it would be very difficult for schools," Becker said. "You could record it on a lot of cellphones or like a small recording device (or) a CD."

Emily Acklin, an Education Department spokeswoman, said the department was not consulted about the bill and officials had not seen the draft filed by Becker.

"We really can't comment," Acklin said, "until we've seen the bill and heard from the person who filed it."

Becker said she did not expect the bill to require many resources from the Department of Education.

Setting standards for the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in schools probably does not violate the Constitution, said David Orentlicher, a professor of constitutional law at Indiana University Robert H. Mc Kinney School of Law.

But while the bill may not raise constitutional issues, Kenneth Falk, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, said it does raise policy questions.

"I'm not quite sure why, from a public policy standpoint, the General Assembly wants to be involved in specifying how any song should be sung," he said. "I don't think it's going to help us with our math and science."

The bill came as a surprise to Julia Vaughn, the policy director of Common Cause Indiana, who confessed to "being totally unaware of any crisis in national anthem singing."

At least two other states have standards for how the national anthem should be sung — and not just in schools.

Massachusetts and Michigan both prohibit using "The Star-Spangled Banner" as dance music, an exit march or as part of a musical medley. Both states also ban adding "embellishment or addition in the way of national or other melodies." The law covers all public places, as well as theaters, movie theaters, restaurants and cafes.

In Michigan, where the law has been on the books since 1931, violators can be charged with a misdemeanor.

Florida law sets standards for the way people are supposed to act when the anthem is being performed.

Federal law also establishes a protocol for people listening to renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner," which became the national anthem in 1931. People in the audience are to face the flag and place their right hand over their heart. Those wearing hats are to remove them and hold them over their hearts. If no flag is present, the audience is supposed to face the singer.

Those guidelines, however, do not specifically address melodic or lyrical improvisations.

The anthem, with music adapted from a British drinking song that spans one and a half octaves, "is extremely difficult to sing," said Henry H. Leck, director of choral activities at Butler University and the founder and artistic director of the Indianapolis Children's Choir.

Leck didn't want to wade into the debate over whether government should set standards for performing the anthem, but he acknowledged he's not a fan of the growing trend of singers "trying to make it unique" through improvisations and embellishments.

"You wouldn't add stuff to the American flag," he said. "There are certain, basic symbols of our country that should remain dignified."

When the ICC performs the national anthem — it is a staple the group has sung at Colts and Pacers games, and will be performing Sunday for the inauguration of Mayor Greg Ballard — the young singers work from an arrangement written by Leck.

"It is very straightforward and dignified," he said, "and follows the notation and lyrics adopted in 1931."

The choir's traditional rendition, Leck said, is always a big hit.

"Invariably," he said, "people come up and say 'thank you' for performing it with dignity."
I'm curious how exactly these "standards" are going to be enforced. Of course, the bill still has to pass first. Part of me wonders if the state senator remembers that the melody used for the Star Spangled Banner was originally a drinking song, though it's obviously not escaped the journalist.

So, what are people's thoughts about the sacredness (for lack of a better word) revolving around a national anthem?
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2 AceofSpades4th Jan 2012 10:22:07 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Well, I don't really like parodying the national anthem, but far as I can tell it's actually a public property song. (I think all national anthems are, but I might be wrong?) And that this law is a pretty moronic waste of time. The song is open to parody and social commentary. That's part of our free speech. This is one of those ridiculous laws that gets passed and then everyone forgets because it's so fucking stupid.

Seriously, learn to get a thicker skin, people. So what if you're offended by how a song is played? It's called free speech.
[lol]

...

[lol][lol][lol]

Edit: Seriously. This shit is comedy gold.

edited 4th Jan '12 10:24:26 PM by DrunkGirlfriend

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4 Flyboy4th Jan 2012 10:30:52 PM from the United States
Decemberist
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
5 TheBatPencil4th Jan 2012 10:41:35 PM from Glasgow, Scotland , Relationship Status: I'm just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin' love
Who thinks this shit up?
And let us pray that come it may (As come it will for a' that)
Long Live the King
I'm perfectly okay with Christina Aguilera's "vocal gymnastics" during a performance of the National Anthem...

I'm not okay with Christina Aguilera forgetting the lyrics during a performance of the National Anthem(as she did in last year's Superbowl)...

I'd honestly be on-board with a fine to people who do the latter(at government sponsored events and the like)... Sadly, I don't think that the latter is the primary focus of this bill...
7 tclittle4th Jan 2012 11:49:54 PM from Somewhere Down in Texas
Professional Forum Ninja
I would personally like it if they introduced a constitutional amendment requiring people to get certfied if they wish to sing the national anthem at a major sporting event.

Although the certification could be different at each level, such as if you're singing at a televised game you need to go somewhere to get certified, while if its at a primary school level you just need the certification of higher ups, such as the principal of the vice principal.

Although, some people might think its overkill and the government is taking over our lives and forcing us how to sing one song.

/shrug
8 Enkufka5th Jan 2012 12:03:35 AM from Bay of White fish
Wandering Student ಠ_ಠ
One of these days, a senator is going to surprise me.

This isn't it. [lol]
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9 Barkey5th Jan 2012 12:38:39 AM from Bunker 051 , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Wow, this is what our lawmakers are busy working on while the country is under threat?

It's just the goddamn anthem, who gives a shit.
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@Barkey: Sen. Becker obviously gives a shit. tongue
"I don't know how I do it. I'm like the Mr. Bean of sex." -Drunkscriblerian
11 Barkey5th Jan 2012 12:45:56 AM from Bunker 051 , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
War Profiteer
Obviously. If she really gave a shit about what that anthem represents she'd get her ass out of that congressional seat and let someone who wants to actually work take over.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
12 Flyboy5th Jan 2012 03:57:29 AM from the United States
Decemberist
Well, I care, honestly, but it's so obvously a First Amendment issue I can't comprehend why she'd bother...
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
People should be free to parody or forget then anthem and not be fined.

There are planty of consequences for doing so already anyways.

And to be fair to people who have trouble singing it the Star-Spangled is fairly difficult and complex ( and in my opinion very beutfiful) at least for a national anthem. Its also a hard song to sing.

edited 5th Jan '12 5:09:47 AM by Baff

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14 Polarstern5th Jan 2012 05:14:04 AM from United States , Relationship Status: 700 wives and 300 concubines
There are many other countries who have strict laws governing the anthem. Some are more enforced than others.

But I have to agree with Barkley. Of all the problems in our world, they want to deal with regulating the anthem?

I thought Gavin De Graw was disrespectful when he sang the national anthem sitting down on a stool. But I'm not going to start advocating him to be fined or ultimately arrested for something so asinine.
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15 Nohbody5th Jan 2012 05:41:13 AM from Somewhere in Dixie , Relationship Status: Mu
Just zis guy
Something like this could've been used like two decades ago when Rosanne Barr massacred the song. tongue

(no, not serious)
I want Kat's glasses!
This sounds like an "I know it when I see hear it" law.
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Pro-Freedom Fanatic
Congresscritters sure do hate the First Amendment...

edited 5th Jan '12 6:42:31 AM by SavageHeathen

You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
18 johnnyfog5th Jan 2012 08:15:44 AM from the Zocalo , Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Actual Wrestling Legend
I once had a keyboarding professor named Mrs. Levy — big huge scary old woman — who stopped in mid-tirade to spit fireballs over some recital of the national anthem she heard at a concert. I don't remember what it was about it that offended her, but she was literally spraying saliva as she roared "The anthem should be performed PROPERLY."
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19 Flyboy5th Jan 2012 08:23:25 AM from the United States
Decemberist
It damn well should be performed properly, but we can't legislate that...
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
20 Balmung5th Jan 2012 08:28:38 AM from A shiny new Linux install , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
That doesn't protect it from parody, though. Parody is protected speech after all.

More to the point, we have bigger concerns than people mangling the national anthem and no reason to "protect it".
21 AceofSpades5th Jan 2012 09:03:33 AM from The Wild Blue Yonder , Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
All's I can say is that trying to implement something like this is only going to encourage people to do it more where they might not have cared before. This kind of situation just invites all sorts of mockery. It's also a waste of time she could be doing something useful with.
22 Joesolo7th Jan 2012 11:01:39 AM from Wouldn't you like to know... , Relationship Status: watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ
Indiana Solo
I don't think there needs to be a law, but their needs to be standards. I really hate how some of the people stretch out words weird, fuck with pitches, ect. It's just disrespectful. Not as bad as what the cheerleaders from my school did(they messed with the words on purpose and ended with "and the home of the bombers", (our team). they were booed off the field.) but still.

edited 7th Jan '12 11:01:47 AM by Joesolo

Pro-Freedom Fanatic
Why standards? The anthem of the US government should be as subject to satire and mockery as anything else.
You exist because we allow it and you will end because we demand it.
24 Flyboy7th Jan 2012 12:16:18 PM from the United States
Decemberist
I'm sad now, because I heard the best live rendition of the anthem in my entire life yesterday, and it's quite... contrasting...
"Shit, our candidate is a psychopath. Better replace him with Newt Gingrich."
While I admitably come from a country with a lot fewer patriots than America, (England) this seems a bit of a bad way to deal with what might be an issue. If it's being done disrespectfully, yes, it's bad, but if it's an accident or in good intentions, I don't see why not to let it be altered.

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