All musical instruments have a natural key, in which there are no sharps or flats. The piano is tuned to the key of A minor, which is also the key of C major, because to play the scale in C major or A minor means there are no sharps or flats (for the non-musical), you don’t have to play any black keys to play the scale.
An instrument’s natural key depends on how large (long) it is and what it’s made of. Playing the C major scale doesn’t sound or play the same on a piano or a flute (considered the C major instruments) as it does on a clarinet, trumpet, or tuba. If all the instruments were to play “America, the Beautiful” in their own key (or language), you’d create some dreadful, incomprehensible sound like a 40 car smash-up on the highway.
So an arranger decides what key the song – in this case, America, the Beautiful – the C major instruments are going to perform in. The song is transposed (translated) into the proper key for C instruments (meaning they’ll have a number of flats to remember to use when they’re playing), and from there, transposed for the other instruments. It might just happen that some of the instruments will luck out and not have to play any sharps or flats. But everyone in the orchestra adjusts. Professionals, in order to get into the club, have to memorize every major and minor key when they audition.
In Coca Cola’s Super Bowl 48 ad, no one adjusts. Every singer gets their own solo, not in musical keys but in language. What you get is an incomprehensible and to Americans, insulting salute to “multicultural diversity.” So much for “one nation, under God.” Instead of diversity, there is division. There’s no harmony; only harshness. Their former culture comes first, then they think they’re American.
America is about leaving the past behind and looking to the future. America is about embracing one language whose structure allows for the introduction and assimilation of foreign words into a new language that everyone can learn, speak, and write. Not many languages can do that. English is basically, non-gender based. Some of its nouns initially were: fireman, policeman, salesman. Those words were “transposed” into gender-neutral activities: fire fighter, police officer, salesperson. Other words have remained divided by the gender gap: actor and actress, waiter and waitress.
Yet other words were changed completely when they couldn’t be altered by activity: steward and stewardess became flight attendant. Why waitresses remained waitresses and waiters remained waiters but stewards and stewardesses became flight attendants is one of those mysteries of the English language and political correctness.
No one cares how a person dresses, as long as they’re not dressed for the beach or the bedroom (as long as you can see their heads, but not their backsides). But to refuse to speak English is a sign that you really aren’t a true American. You still cling to the “old country,” its old ways and its old politics. To become American is to make a choice, a sacrifice. My German great-grandparents did. They understood they were in a new country, a new world, and they needed to learn to speak the language of that new world.
Although difficult to learn, because it’s so different in structure from the traditional European languages, and decidedly different from the Asian languages, once you learn it you discover how adaptable, how accommodating, and how accepting it is of “foreign” influences. English is the most tolerant language on the planet. That’s why millions of people all over the world who want to be successful learn English. Statistically, more people speak Chinese and Indian as a native tongue. But India has some 27 or 28 different dialects and Chinese is not easily written in its native style.
Only in America can you be “gung-ho” about the marching band playing “The Stars and Stripes” forever double-“forte” [Italian for “loud”], its “glockenspiel” (a German instrument) ringing and its tuba oom-pahing, as they march down Bartholdi Avenue (Bartholdi – the French creator of the Statue of Liberty) and then get on the bus to play again in Pequannock (an American Indian name for “river near the strawberry fields”).
A century and a half ago, resident Americans watched in dismay as Irish and Italians immigrants came to America’s shores in search of new lives. The residents were suspicious and angry. They regarded the former as lazy drunks and the latter as shiftless, violent thieves. As many Help Wanted columns were devoted to employment ads discriminating against Irish and Italians as there were against Blacks, right up until the 1964 Civil Rights Act. I can still remember them.
German immigrants had a better reception because they were considered industrious, orderly, and thrifty. None of the groups, however, arrived on America’s shores expecting a hand-out. Having no other choice, they took the menial jobs (bricklayers, construction workers, seamstresses, cooks) and worked hard for a better life. They learned English as best they could and made absolutely sure that their children did. Schoolchildren were expected to assimilate or be left behind.
Maybe it was because the journey here, by boat, was both longer and more expensive. Immigrants took a great risk to come here in search of freedom. Today, it’s an easy matter to buy a cheap airline ticket, get through customs and head straight for the nearest welfare office. So what if you have to wait in a long line? It beats working long hours.
Thanks to the chain immigration that began with Johnson’s Great Society, the incoming immigrant will find the ethnic community of his choice already established. The signs are all conveniently written in his or language and no one speaks English better than the new arrival, if they speak it at all. Why should they?
Community organizers are on hand to make sure they don’t assimilate, that they don’t unite with native-born or naturalized citizens. Isolated and poor, they’re in a perfect condition to be “helped” by the bureaucracy, who are in turn helped by their disaffection which leads to their voting Democrat when the time comes.
That is why Americans are upset about Coca-Cola’s latest advertising campaign. Back in 1971, Coke introduced a campaign, “Buy the World a Coke” with its famous jingle sung by a hippie band called “The New Seekers.” “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” The multiracial singers were on an Italian hilltop holding bottles of Coke with labels in different languages. So, okay, Coke wanted to go international. No real problem there, except for the Muslims, who branded their own, Islamic cola.
Coke may want to teach the world to sing. But it’s not Coke’s job to teach the world that it can walk all over America, eliminate its language, subsume its culture with values alien to the notion of freedom, divide its people, and rob it of its strength, its ambition, its self-reliance, and its prosperity.