No joke: LA Times writer says replace ‘Star Spangled Banner’ with ‘Lean On Me’

by WorldTribune Staff, July 16, 2020

It is time to replace the “Star Spangled Banner” as the U.S. national anthem, a cancel culture maven wrote for the Los Angeles Times.

The replacement for Francis Scott Key’s anthem written in 1814?

Whitney Houston set the bar for singing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ at sporting events with her rendition at Super Bowl XXV in 1991 in Tampa.

That would be “Lean On Me”, written by Bill Withers in 1972, according to the (yes, it is serious) July 14 article in the LA Times written by Jody Rosen.

The “Star-Spangled Banner” is problematic because Francis Scott Key was a slaveholder, Rosen noted.

But that’s not the only reason: “Its lyrics are ornate and Anglophile, with syntax that frustrates the efforts of normal human Americans to follow along — to deduce who or what, exactly, is gleaming and streaming,” Rosen wrote.

And, Rosen contends, the “Star Spangled Banner” is “charmless and difficult to sing, which meanders through wan melodic passages en route to a big climactic cry … that defeats 99 percent of vocalists who attempt it.” (Some observers noted that Rosen made this assertion after listening to the rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Roseanne Barr and not Whitney Houston.)

Rosen concludes that the current national anthem is “not an especially American song.”

The writer (again, in all seriousness) goes on to list reasons why other songs that have been proposed as national anthem alternatives are “problematic.”

• John Lennon’s “Imagine” — too British and written by a rich guy.
• “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — “out of step with the 21st century, with a prim melody redolent of Victorian light opera and a lyric sheet full of antiquated poesy.”
• “God Bless America” — “its uncomplicated patriotism … doesn’t wash in 2020.”
• “This Land Is Your Land” — “Guthrie’s song has its own blind spots: to indigenous Americans, the refrain ‘This land belongs to you and me’ may sound less like an egalitarian vision than a settler-colonialist manifesto.”

“Nope, none of these songs will do,” we’re told by Rosen, who writes: “At a moment when the United States is in the grip of multiple crises — convulsed by debates over racism and injustice, ravaged by a pandemic, with a crumbling economy and a faltering democracy — the very idea of a national anthem, a hymn to the glory of country, feels like a crude relic, another monument that may warrant tearing down.”

And, keeping in mind, with a straight face, everything that was written before, the new anthem has to be “Lean On Me”.

Breitbart’s John Nolte noted: “Yes, by all means, like everything else the Left touches in America, let’s dumb down the national anthem into something easy to perform and so simplistic no one need to think about what it means.”

Which is not a rebuke of “Lean on Me”, Nolte wrote, which is “a perfectly lovely song that has nothing to do with country or pride in country.”

Rosen makes the case for the pop hit, a wedding and romantic comedy staple, as the new anthem for our new normal, writing:

“If the point of a national anthem is to provide … a reminder in music and words of the ideas and values that this place is supposed to stand for, you could do worse than ‘Lean on Me.’ ‘You just call on me brother, when you need a hand / We all need somebody to lean on / I just might have a problem that you’ll understand / We all need somebody to lean on.’

“When you bolster that sentiment, as Withers does, with some handclaps and a funky bassline, the words ring even truer. It’s a message you could build something on, a pretty solid foundation for a decent society. It can bear the load.”

Nolte responded to that sentiment: “Yeah, handclaps… That’s what the National Anthem is missing: handclaps and a funky bassline.”

Nolte then suggested some alternatives:

• Why not “Don’t Worry, Be Happy?”
• Or ABBA’s “Dancing Queen?”
• Would anyone dare kneel during “Walking on Sunshine” or “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” or “My Heart Will Go On?”

Nolte continued: “And now we come to the real problem with ‘Lean on Me’… Bill Withers, who died in March at age 81, is — wait for it, wait for it — problematic. Domestic violence accusation. Yep… So that kills the whole ‘Lean on Me’ idea.

“Yep, all we’re asking for with ‘Lean on Me’ is another round of canceling. Yep, all the work involved in tearing down statues, this time of Bill Withers, would eventually have to be repeated…”

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