Saturday, November 10, 2007

O Canada - Politically Correct?

Thursday our school held our annual Remembrance Day assembly, and somehow I was troubled with the lyrics of our national anthem... among other things (thank you to my Grade 11 class for allowing me to vent my random tangents, but our class is a great forum for discussion). I don't know why something I hear daily can normally go unnoticed, or how much I want to get into this yet again (because I then went so far as finding politically correct versions online before class Friday to "find some closure" on my issues with the national anthem). I think for now I might just leave it at sharing a spoof I found; even though I find much of it absurd, I seriously have a bone of contention with a couple parts.

A politically correct national anthem for Canada

Our National Anthem is very offensive to everyone. It must be changed! We have identified 13 separate offenses in the National Anthem, as follows:

1. "our home and native land" - Some people are not originally from here, therefore not native. Also some people, such as servicemen and Canadian foreign diplomats do not have their home here either. They should be very offended.
2. "thy sons" - We know all about the ire these words raise with our "daughters"!
3. "glowing hearts" - This is offensive to the many Canadians with non-glowing organs.
4. "we see thee rise" - This is obviously an attack on those who live closer to sea level. The phrase was originally included because of demand from the leaders of Upper Canada. Their distaste was directed to those in Lower Canada. Quebec, therefore, should feel especially alienated by this phrase.
5. "the true north" - This offends scientists and navigators who rely more heavily on "magnetic" north.
6. "strong" - Now, talk about a jibe directed toward the most helpless of society. This is a malicious attack on the sick, children, and other Canadians who otherwise don't get off the couch enough to become "strong".
7. "free" - This phrase is very offensive to Canadian prisoners.
8. "and wide" - Persons of substantial girth should unite against the use of this word.
9. "God keep our land" - This is offensive to atheists, spiritualists and those who follow religions which are not monotheistic. I am certain they are not ready to give the land to "God", and certainly not to "keep"!
10. "glorious" - People from less glorious cities and regions might prefer "economically competitive" or "industrialized".
11. "and free" - There it is again!
12. "we stand" - Many Canadians are physically unable to stand. They should not be made to feel less Canadian because of this.
13. "on guard for thee" - Those not working in the military or other security-oriented positions (such as mall cops) are made to feel second class citizens because they are not actively fulfilling their duty of protecting Canada. Just to add insult to injury, we sing this line twice.

Our Proposed Alternative: Given that the national anthem is so offensive to so many, we should formulate a National Anthem without lyrics, perhaps replacing words with whistling or hand actions. Before this is done, hand-free Canadians who cannot whistle should be thoroughly consulted about their sensitivities (perhaps an alternative "eye-blinking" or "breathing" sequence could be introduced in place of hand actions).

Alternately, we could translate the National Anthem into a language that nobody speaks (perhaps Latin or Esperanto). Is it possible to offend someone when they don't understand what they are saying? To satisfy the Latin Scholars and those of the Bahai faith, an alternative might be developing a distinctly Canadian language. Some of the adjectives introduced by the Teletubbies children's television show could be just what we need to inspire the nation. What could Tinky-winky ever do to offend?

Finally, a more cost-effective solution would be to sing the words "O Canada" over and over again to the same music. It might be a bit choppy though:

O Canada! O Ca-na-na-na-da
O Ca-nada O Ca-na-na-na-da
O Canada
O Canada
O Ca-na-na-na-da
O Canada O Canada,
O Ca-na-na-na-da O Ca-nada,
O Ca-nada O Canada,
O Ca-na-na-na-da O Canada,
O Ca-na-na-na-da

Anyhow, thanks again to my students for allowing me the chance to get things off my chest - you're great at engaging in quality discussion and letting me laugh (I was seriously worried the baby might pop out in some of my giggling fits, though), and putting up with my random thoughts. Should any of you have found this (stalkers!!), I hope you know it's students like you that make me love my job! Looking forward to our video anouncement (no, seriously, I'll let it rest!)...

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