I haven't commented on Christina Aguilera's mistake in singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl until now because I didn't find it relevant. She didn't intend to mess up the words like Steven Tyler did at the Indy 500 a few years ago...she just had a brain lapse. Anybody who has ever spoken or sung in public has experienced that. And when you start to screw up, your mind goes blank even more. What is actually amazing to me is how well she was able to recover and go on with the song without stopping.
I didn't think this needed to be addressed because most fair minded folks could tell from her contrite apology afterwards that it was an accident, and that she was pretty embarrassed about it.
Evidently Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri thought it not only deserved to be addressed, but the anthem deserved to be trashed. Yes, you read that right. Petri didn't trash Aguilera for her mistake. She trashed the Star-Spangled Banner itself.
Behold the ignorance:
The only original part of the song, the lyrics, are even worse.... Not only is this terrible, dated and irrevocably attached to an oddly specific incident that Francis Scott Key suffered through during the War of 1812 -- it is a question. When we sing this anthem, we are asking whoever is listening if our flag is still waving.
This is, how do I put it, ABSURD? TERRIBLE? EMBARRASSINGLY INCOMPETENT-SOUNDING? ALL OF THE ABOVE?
I'd say it's pretty apparent that Ms. Petri has never actually read through the entirety of the anthem, including the remaining verses. If she had, and was capable of scrounging up even a modicum of patriotic spirit, she would recognize why Key's poem became so immensely popular. She would also recognize that the "question" element is actually understood today as a rhetorical one.
When we sing the words, they are meant to inspire us to ask ourselves anew whether through all the haze and fog of the daily tragedies, the bombs of conflict and the explosions of calamity we can still see the red, white and blue glimmering as a beacon of hope. The words may have been written during the War of 1812, but their meaning is just as significant in our present day. That's why most Americans love the anthem and are moved every time its played - whether at the Olympics, state events, or yes, even football games.
That Petri can't grasp this only indicates the true "embarrassingly incompetent-sounding" words weren't Francis Scott Key's...but rather her own.
Petri's literary garbage was printed on the Washington Post's website February 7, and then reprinted in the hard copy edition of the paper as an op-ed on February 8.
What does that mean? It means that while Aguilera does not deserve scorn for her mistake, Petri and the Post deserve it tenfold. What an embarrassment to the author this drivel is, and what a sad commentary on the literary standards of the Washington Post that they can't find anything better to print.