Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Because, 'Merica!

Wow! The things that people will get upset about never cease to amaze me... During the Super Bowl, one commercial stood out as being the most controversial by far. Go ahead and watch it and witness the horror... Oh, the horror! Be warned, you may want to make sure you don't have any small children in the room.

Are you okay? I think I may be scared for life... Maybe I should go see a counselor before it's too late to recover from this outrageous advert.

But seriously now. It was a Coca-Cola TV spot that consisted of America the Beautiful sung in various languages whilst showing beautiful footage of America, as well as Americans of various cultures. Please tell me what's so wrong with that? As benign as this spot is, it has some quite upset.

Many are outraged that America the Beautiful would be sung in anything other language than English. One of the youtube comments read:
I do object -- strongly and in no uncertain terms --"America The Beautiful" being sung in any other language than English. The song was written in English with the intent it was to be sung in English
So what if it was written in English? The Beatles wrote their songs in English with the intent of sing them in English. So what about the fact that they recorded and performed versions of some of their songs in German? Do the songs suddenly have a different meaning when sung in another language?

And while we are speaking about intentions. America the Beautiful was written by Katharine Lee Bates. She was a lifelong republican until left the party due to the Republican party's opposition to the US's participation in the League of Nations (the forerunner of the United Nations). So if we want want to value the creator's wishes that much, it's fairly easy to suppose that Bates would have quite enjoyed Coke's version of the song.

What about the fact that most English words are derived from either Latin or Greek? Should we toss out any words that are rooted in older tongues? Many Americans also swear by the Bible. Well, it was written in other languages first and later translated into English. Since it was written in, and was intended to be read by those that can read those languages I suppose that America's Christians should now just toss out the Bible (and all other texts that have been translated)?

There are also those of the camp that 'This is America, and we speak American here'. I can only hope that was supposed to be a joke. But there where plenty commentators claiming that this commercial is somehow an offense to America.  How exactly?

I will agree that I'm not a fan of companies going out of their way to design packing in multiple languages on the same box. But I don't have any problem with this commercial. To me, this commercial illustrates the melting pot of cultures that America is. True, English is the primary language, but it is not the official language. In fact, America doesn't have an official language. What more, our original motto was Latin. E Pluribus Unum... Out of Many, One. Rather fitting when you look at this Coke commercial.

I have read comments from several people vowing to never drink a Coke again because of this commercial. Sorry, but unless you're a Native American, you're of a culture that immigrated to America and laid down roots here.

 I may only speak English and thusly prefer it when the products I buy be labeled so that I can read it. Additionally, I'm far from fond of when someone comes and starts asking me questions in Spanish (or any other language) and is upset that I don't speak their language.

Sadly, text speak seems to becoming more and more prevalent
among my fellow Americans. Sorry, but if you aren't going to
even try to spell correctly, I feel you've forfeited the right to
But how can a song being sung in English as well as other languages be so angering? I don't know Japanese, yet I find the music of Ayumi Hamasaki to to beautiful. Am I doing something wrong?

So, I have zero issues with Coca-Cola's ad. Sure, it contained other languages in addition to English. But it was still a nice advert. And I'm usually not a fan of the ads that try to be inspirational or feel good. So if you are upset about this commercial I can only assume you're of the sort that also complain that American English is somehow more correct than English in England. You know, the place where English originated...

Why can't we all just sit back and enjoy a nice song and stop bitching about transitions into other languages that were still recognizably the same song. And hey, at least Coke made sure the 'God' line of the song was in English. Can you imagine the shit-storm there would have been in that wasn't in English?

-Brain Hulk

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