If one New York Daily News columnist had his way, “God Bless America” – often played during the seventh inning stretch at Major League Baseball games and other sporting events – would be no more. Gersh Kuntzman, ahead of the Fourth of July, penned a controversial column Friday morning, suggesting that all MLB squads should stop playing the “non-anthem” during their contests.
Kuntzman believes that the song is offensive in many ways – he notes that it embodies some of America’s worst things – self-righteousness, forced piety and earnest self-reverence. He also claims that more than 61% of baseball fans don’t want it played at games. Here’s more:
Even Irving Berlin, who wrote “God Bless America” in 1918, considered it so maudlin and depressing that he stuck it in a drawer. Twenty years later, as the world prepared for war, Kate Smith asked Berlin for a patriotic song for her radio show. He pulled out “God Bless America” and changed one lame line — “the gold fields up in Nome” — to an even lamer line — “oceans white with foam.” You know the rest: Smith’s version became as much a symbol of post-war patriotism as the flag, the space program and all the white people moving to the suburbs.
Kuntzman also called the idea of fans rising, removing their hats and placing them over their hearts “Mussolini-esque.”
Reaction to his column has been mixed. You can read it in its entirety over at the New York Daily News.