It was with great joy I read a tweet from my favorite rapper, El-P, regarding him and Killer Mike — the two form Run the Jewels — declining a National Football League request to use their song “Legend Has It” during this year’s Super Bowl.
El-P writes, “NFL been trash. they asked for the rights to play legend has it in the stadium during the superbowl. we said no because fuck them. they operate like they’re an indispensable public utility. they aren’t. they are gone with the flip of a channel. fuuuuuuck you.”
Last week’s news that the NFL will fine teams if players don’t stand for the national anthem is lame for numerous reasons. Sure, the NFL is a private organization and can do what it wants, but censoring and fining mostly black players — who make the team owners millions upon millions of dollars — seems like something Americans will be collectively cringing about in 20 years (and good, decent folk cringing about right now). Not to mention many of these players will suffer terrible injuries and brain damage for the privilege.
The decision panders to a relatively small group of jerky people who think they are better than everyone else because they want to stand up for two minutes and listen to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I for one am cool with doing away with the national anthem because it, like saying “thoughts and prayers” on Facebook following a mass shooting, allows people to feel superior while not really doing anything.
The same goes for the Pledge of Allegiance. I pay my taxes. I’m allegianced as hell. In any case, this is America. You shouldn’t have to stand up if you don’t want to.
Back to the national anthem. It’s dated, and the guy who wrote it, Francis Scott Key, was a slave owner. (As a lawyer, he sometimes represented slaves, according to the Baltimore Sun, but let’s not muddy the waters. Anyway, he also represented slave owners.)
Aside from being written by a slave owner and containing a passage bashing on slaves who fought against the United States, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is also a bitch to sing. As a journalist who has covered way too many Labor Day festivals, city council meetings, sporting events and other goings-on that begin with the song, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some teenage girl fail to hit the high note on “rockets red glare.” It can be ear-shattering and makes one ponder how this girl made it this far with no one telling her she can’t sing. It’s sad, really.
So I propose we change the national anthem to “Kick Out the Jams” by MC5. There are no high notes, and I love the thought of sweet-faced teens who can’t sing yelling out, “Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!” at high school softball games.
In my perfect America, you can stand, you jump up and dance, you can take a knee, or you can stay seated and yell out, “‘Kick Out the Jams’ sucks!” It’s all good, baby.