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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » In all thy... persons... command?

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Author Topic: In all thy... persons... command?
Dzuunmod
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Canadians probably get the subject.

These are the official English lyrics to our national anthem, O Canada:

O Canada
Our home and native land
True patriot love in all thy sons’ command!
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
Thy true north strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
we stand on guard for thee!

God keep our land, glorious and free
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

Right now, they're under attack, sort of. Some (largely feminist) groups are lobbying to have the lyric about "in all thy sons command..." changed to something that's gender neutral. They're suggesting, for one, "in all our lives command...".

I think this is an effort that will lead to nothing good. I appreciate what they're doing, but there's just so much in the anthem that's bound to offend others who take it as seriously as these people.

The reference to "home and native land" is outdated, as so many Canadians are now not native to this country, and atheists like me surely don't want any references to God in there.

The whole thing just seems silly to me.

Rex Murphy wrote a wonderful tongue-in-cheek piece on all of this for the Globe yesterday, for which the URL is too long to post.

quote:
The problem with O Canada, as every Canadian knows, is that it's riddled with sexism, one thick ungraceful stew of testosterone set to music. No wonder they love it at hockey games. It must intimidate the Swedes. It's clearly time we got off the debate over health care, the sorry state of our armed forces, Quebec, the farm crisis, people living on the streets, Prairie drought and eastern fog, and turned to what really agitates the Canadian citizenry -- gender bias in the national sing-along.

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"...we're all thinking the same thing/let's not settle for satisfaction/we are women and men of action/let's stop clapping let's start doing/a dream for the teens and in-betweens and twenties yet unseen"
-Braid


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Milke
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I believe the words have already been changed multiple times already, and though I don't greatly care about this either way, I see little harm in it.
Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bobolink
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We should probably do what the Germans did when it became clear that the first verse of the Deutchlandlied became problematic. They adopted the second verse.

If Canada adopted the second verse of "O Canada" we would be singing:

Oh, Canada, Where pines and maples grow
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow
How dear to us thy broad domain
From east to western sea
Thou land of hope for all who toil
Thou True North, strong and free
God keep our land, glorius and free
O Canada, we stand aon guard for thee.

Notice nobody ever complains about the French lyrics which are strongly Roman Catholic.

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We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

- Albert Einstein

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 08-05-2001).]


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Beppie
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I don't know, I have read things about how gender specific language can affect the way people think about things, and "all our sons command" does pretty clearly exclude the "daughters". Furthermore, the suggested change "in all our lives command" also allows room for people who don't fit into either male or female genders.
Posts: 2710 | From: Australia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LilBlueSmurf
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I was going to post something like this, but it slipped my mind. Lots of times.

I was talking about this w/ my grandmother yesterday, actually. It's easy for me to say "go ahead, change it" b/c it's only been my national anthem for 17 years. While that's all Nan (my grandmother hehe) has known for her 68 years.

Personally, i feel that they're going overboard. This anthem is anything but new ... and as has been said many times before at these boards, it's easy to take a good thing too far. I'm all for speaking up for womens rights, but i don't believe in changing a part of our history b/c of one word. It seems silly.

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~ Anonymous

In a Smurf's world ...


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DC_WillowFan
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Yeah, I also wanted to post something like it, but I guess I forgot.

Personnaly, this anthem for me has been something I totally love. Although I didn't even knew what it said, it sounded right.

And I guess it still does. Why would we change it ? And as smurf said, for some people, they've known it for many many years. I think it should remain intact, as part of what we keep from long ago.

David

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Juice
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wow, im such an idiot! i've known our national anthem for years, but never actually saw the lyrics, i just learned it from hearing them. and i've always thought it was "suns" not "son's"! haha, i gues my version dosentreally make any sense... but it is gender nuetral!
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Celtic Daisy
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quote:
Originally posted by Juice:
and i've always thought it was "suns" not "son's"! haha, i gues my version dosentreally make any sense... but it is gender nuetral!

Hahaha, i thought that was really funny.

I really don't think it's such a big deal. It would cost a lot of money to change in the long run and i don't think it's worth it. I'm used to our anthem like that, and i like it that way. I'm not offeneded that it says "sons", i never even noticed until this thing came up.

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Rizzo
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As Milke said, the words to the anthem have been changed before, in order to get rid of a few too many "stand on guard"s. Hence, I don't think changing the words is such a big problem. Actually, I rather like the second verse you posted, Bobolink. It's a little more concrete, mentioning the land's features. I think that's a source of pride for a lot of Canadians, even if they live in cities. Still have to get rid of the "God" though!
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PixieDust
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I dunno...you said the they wanted the English translation changed. I know nothing about French, but I do believe French is a dirivative of Latin...as well as Spanish. Now what I do know is when ever you are referring to a group of people...if they are all female, you would refer to them in the feminine form "ellas", but if a male is in that group, doesn't matter if he is out numbered by females, they are referred to in the masculine form "ellos"....same type of thing with daughters and sons...if they were talking about everyone it would be in the masculine, no matter whether daughters were included. Maybe it's the same with French. So where does the problem lie? The translation, or the language it was translated from? I am not putting down the language, but it's what I know from 3 years of Spanish.
~Shandi

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"We are the normal"-Johny Rznick


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Milke
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French has the same gender-plural issues, PixieDust, but I'm pretty sure the French version is hardly an exact translation anyway (actually, I think it's noticeably different), so that's not goin to be the only problem.
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lemming
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Well, if I'm remembering my Latin correctly, *all* of our Romance languages are masculine-skewed. "Defer to the masculine" not only in instances such as PixieDust referenced, but when talking about a hypothetical or an abstract. We do this in English, too.

I guess I'm on the side of traditionalism. It really doesn't bother me much when someone references deferring to "him" or "his," as it's simply been the proper way to do it, grammatically, for a long, long time. And it stands out as artificial when someone does change to "her" or "hers," (fellow nerds take note of the newer D&D manuals).

A more pressing issue would be the noninclusivity of religious references in national anthems, but again, that's the way these songs were written and should, in my opinion, remain.

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~lemming, Scarleteen Advocate

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"Aiyiyi, I'm your little butterfly/Green, black, and blue make the colors in the sky..." --Smile.DK, "Butterfly"


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Bobolink
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The history of "O Canada" can be found here:
http://www.pch.gc.ca/ceremonial-symb/english/emb_anthem.html

It should be noted that the English lyrics are an adaptation of the original French poem written in 1880 by Quebec Judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier and set to music that year by Quebec composer Calixa Lavallée.

The complete English and French lyrics can be found here:
http://home.istar.ca/~awright/O_CANADA.HTM

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We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

- Albert Einstein


Posts: 3442 | From: Stirling, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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