We can now add another entry to a disturbingly long list of embarrassing performances of the National Anthem before an American sporting event: http://www.tmz.com/2012/01/22/steven-tyler-national-anthem-video/
Aerosmith frontman and American Idol "judge" Steven Tyler is the latest to take a rallying point for patriots (small p) and to turn it into a sonic assault on fans.
What makes me laugh about the reaction to this latest debacle is that people were surprised that Steven Tyler couldn't sing. Has anyone ever listened to an Aerosmith song? Why do you think he fronts a 70's rock band that plays the guitars at 500-decibles?
This won't sit well with the jingoistic crowd, but I think it might be time to take a break from performing the National Anthem before sporting events. The tradition started in periods of war (WWI and WWII)--when patriotic fervor was at its highest--and when people both knew the words and could sing them. There was no need to "promote" the stars of whatever shows are on the network broadcasting the game or a singer with a new album or single. And does anyone really feel comfortable singing the song in a smaller venue, like a girls varsity basketball game with 25 people in the stands?
So let's take a break from the National Anthem at sporting events for awhile. Maybe if we go a couple of years of just having warmups, the coin-flip and the start of the game--people will start saying "I really miss singing the National Anthem--I wish they would bring that back"--and them teams (and more importantly TV networks) will bring back tasteful, in-tune presentations of the song.
EXCEPTIONS!!--Two teams are allowed to continue the pre-game anthem tradition: The Chicago Blackhawks, the originators of the "The Roar" and home of the greatest National Anthem performance in history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvpxVE_kQXg I'm ready to hit someone everytime I hear that--and the Philadelphia Flyers, who still use Kate Smith singing God Bless America: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=kate+smith+god+bless+america+flyers&mid=828FF19E3BAF654B39CE828FF19E3BAF654B39CE&view=detail&FORM=VIRE5
Now, THAT is how you honor America.