So there was a fooferaw in the press after the service for Rev Clementa Pinckney at which Barack Obama sang a few staves of Amazing Grace.
I don’t give a shit about what the white conservative pressgong said; they all lick rich naughty bits for baubles and won’t leave a lasting mark on human affairs. I was much more interested in what the black & activist voices said on my twitter feed, being spoken in what are individual and human voices.
A lot of them were mildly approving, but a bunch of them said, “It should have been “Lift every voice and sing” instead of pandering to sensitive whites with Amazing Grace”, which as a song, in memetic terms, has long ago gone beyond parody and flown up its own semiotically charged ass.
Now, being a Unitarian… Marcy I hope you’re reading this, because it should give you a chuckle…the first thing I do, ten days later, but I did follow up, is go to the internet and check the U*U hymnal and make sure the damned song is in there. O committee of U*U musicians, what hath thou wrought???? yup, it’s there, and my easily clenched shamey bits relax somewhat. Good work folks!
Then I go unto the internet, o weary ones, and read the lyrics. Because that’s how we DO.
Then I go to youtube and randomly pick a rendition with lyrics.
It wasn’t until the second time through on the lyrics that I realized that the words native land appear in the last verse.
SETTLER COLONIALISM enshrined in a black hymn.
Yar. Arg har. Bleeble bleeble.
Okay, so first off I’m giving Barry a hall pass, the ****er’s unsingable, so he picked Amazing Grace as being a sound compromise in an emotionally and politically volatile public event. I got no problem with that.
Second I’m thinking wow I’m going to filk that. A better tune is coming, but the lyrics, except for the last verse which is where the song makes a right turn from social justice into God this and God that and God on every line, are OUTSTANDING. I mean it. Read the lyrics and tell me what you think.
It is now two in the morning. It’s possible I’m cool enough to sleep.
side note, ever see that using U*U as a short form for Unitarian Universalism makes our symbol look like you’re mooning someone and showing your asshole? I couldn’t love Unitarianism more now if I tried.