Fuss Over Lyrics

Recently there was a fuss over the lyrics to our national anthem, O Canada, in the media. The song was brought into the limelight given that it was played and sung so much during the Olympics. Apparently it was thought that the line, “In all thy sons command” was excluding women. As far as I can tell this was just a smoke screen to get people up in arms about something other than what the government was doing or not doing … and when they were done whatever it was, the government dropped it.

For what it’s worth, I’ve never felt a pang of heartache, or even so much as a mild twinge, at being excluded in a song from feeling true patriot love due to a lack of a Y chromosome. My opinion? Sing it in French. Problem eliminated. Unless you have a problem with religious references, in which case there’s God in the English version, and carrying the cross in the French.

With O Canada being heard so frequently during the Olympics, Cameron of course latched onto it. He’s starting to sing with recognizable tune, and starting to pick up on words. Starting.

O Canada! Our home and native land!

(he’s got that much right)

Too pastry love! In all …

in all…

in aaaallll that you do.

O Canada! We stand on guard for tree.

O Canada! We stand on guard for tree.


One response to “Fuss Over Lyrics

  1. Interesting solution.
    I totally disagree with you, but interesting solution.

    I guess the real question is how much does vocabulary control thought? And by singing an Anthem that excludes women as well as positions “God” as an authority figure, are we reinforcing social structures that give power to men and to Christians?

    There are two sociolinguistic views about the relationship between language and gender. One perspective is that gender differences in language are just a reflection of the way our society works. The second view takes this further, claiming that language not only mirrors society, but also is a primary means of creating and preserving that society.

    When this second perspective is considered, attitudes regarding how people should talk and how they view their own place in society are formed by language, and will continue to be reinforced unless the language is consciously altered.

    I strongly believe that we need to change the words to our anthem, to better reflect our attitudes and values. Our current anthem makes women invisible and indicates that we have an official religion.

    It would be easy. Same tune, just “All of us command” and “Please keep our land”

    Easy peasy and a more appropriate song. One of the things that makes me proudest to be Canadian is the fact that we don’t cling to tradition for traditions sake. If something doesn’t work anymore, we change it. That anthem doesn’t work anymore.

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