Another example of too much political correctness

Okay, so last night I was watching American Idol. I don’t regularly watch it, but I don’t control the remote at my friend’s house. Anyway, they showed the Idols (is that what they call them now?) in the studio performing “Proud to be an American” by Lee Greenwood.

I love this song. In fact, it’s probably my favorite patriotic tune. That’s probably why this bothered me so much.

They were singing the refrain:

“The ones”? The lyrics say “and I won’t forget the men who died.” Why can’t they sing the song the way it was written?

Before you flame the hell out of me, I am fully aware of the fact that there are women in the military in large numbers, much larger than there used to be. I like that. I think anyone who wants to join the military and help protect this country should be commended. But can’t we sing the song the way the artist wrote it? Do we have to de-genderize everything?

The sad thing is that it was probably easier to just change the words than to deal with all the protest letters and phone calls from people who thought that Fox had forgotten that there are women in the military.

I think it’s sad as hell that we have to make our patriotism politically correct.

I think it’s even sadder that you think that our patriotism must be mired in 1956. No offense, but music, language and social norms change over time. While Lee Greenwood may have intended to solely salute male servicemembers or not, the people that performed the song last night intended to salute both male and female servicemembers.

It’s not politically correct. It’s just correct.

It’s neither. That song SUCKS.

How does it decrease your enjoyment to hear the word “ones” in place of the word “men”? When the song was written, only men were in the military. Now men and women are in the military. To update a song to make sure you accurately honor everyone who risks their life for the U.S. seems more important than keeping lyrics set in stone for eternity.

It bothers me as a musician. I wouldn’t like the idea of someone changing one of my songs to “fix” it.

It’s a good song, though a bit heavy-handed in its jingoism.

But given the amount of spin that we’re getting from Fox News and CNN, and the protest-stifling comments from John Ashcroft, and that Oregon bill proposing to treat protesters as terrorists, I really have to question the “…at least I know I’m free” line…

so do you object to mungo Jerry’s song “in the summertime” lyrics being changed from “have a drink, have a drive, go out and see what you can find”?

Look, it still salutes the service men and women who died for your country, and if they words were changed with Lee Greenwoods permission, then its fine.

Says a lot when your list of complaints gets down to “they changed a gender-specific word into a more appropriate word! No fair! Worst. Change. EVAR!!!11!!!111”

The song was written in the early 1980’s, probably around 1983, as it received it’s biggest popularity in 1984 at the height of Reagan’s Presidency.

And I’m pretty sure there were women in the military back in 1984. Some of them had even attained officer rank.

What some call “political correctness” is just plain old thoughtfulness. Which is more important – to leave that one word as it was originally or to honor all of those in the military who have given their lives? Language does affect our thinking. Although I have been against the war, I support all the troops.

It is not unusual for songs to have different versions. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lee Greenwood changed it himself to reflect the reality.

Giraffe said:

To the best of my knowledge, women have been in the military since at least WWII. Maybe a lot longer. But until recent years they weren’t allowed to fly combat missions or participate in combat at all. They still are not supposed to be on the front lines. That doesn’t mean that they have remained in “safe” positions obviously. The sacrifice of their lives should be honored too. If only the men are acknowledged, I would be a little less proud to be an American.

Lord Ashtar, if the song had referred only to “white men” when it was written, do you think it should still be that way?

Well, Person of Royalty Ashtar, when someone fucks with one of your songs, without your permission, then you have every right to bitch.

Boy, this brings up memories. When I hear that song I think of the featured stripper at Club Ed in Pittsburgh doing a patriotic themed show which included David Lee Roth’s “Yankee Rose” and “Proud to be an American.” Those beautiful red white and blue pasties and panties made me proud to be an American that night.

There is a difference between political correctness and simple politeness. Changing “men” to “ones” seems more polite than PC. I didn’t notice, though, because the song itself activates my gag reflex. Not the basic idea behind the song. Just the song. Nobody’s written a patriotic song yet besides the national anthem that doesn’t make me ill.

That’s probably another thread in itself.

I regard this in the same way that I regard the swapping of “king” for “queen” (and vice versa) in “God Save The [Monarch]”. ie: pretty fucking weird and irrelevant if you don’t bother to adapt it.

Haven’t heard the above song, but from those few lyrics quoted, it sound like has the potential to be just as fucking dirge like and glurgey as God Save the Q/K.

What about love songs? Am I allowed to change the gender to be appropriate to the one I’m singing to?

The song “Old Man River” will now be known as “Senior Person Watercourse”.

First of all, that’s a godawful song.

Secondly, the song was meant to be a salute to the troops overseas right now, many of which are women.

Personally, it doesn’t bother me a bit that they changed one word so as not to exclude the genuine herosim of someone like Jessica Lynch.

Did I mention that that song SUCKS, btw?

Not exactly. It’s the little changes in the name of political correctness that I don’t like. This is just one example. If enough little changes are made, then one day you look back and don’t recognize the original.

I’m with you, Lord Ashtar. This P.C. crap has gone way to far. It is correct English usage to use the masculine form for the general case. Much as it was in Latin. To start changing every single word so that it does not offend is ridiculous.

It reminds me of the crap that has happened with the Alma Mater for my university. The third verse was changed from:

As we stood at boyhood’s gate
Shapeless in the hands of fate
Thou didst mold us Dear Old State
Into men, into men

As we stood at childhood’s gate
Shapeless in the hands of fate
Thou didst mold us Dear Old State
Dear Old State, Dear Old State
And yet, they keep the line “written by…” and the original author’s name there.

So now, when they play this at football games (and graduations) every just sings the line “We don’t know the goddamn words” over and over except for the third verse when they’re silent. Of course this is an old tradition now, and I wonder how many current students know why it’s done.