Thursday, January 27, 2011

Anthem angst

The Wall Street Journal's Matt Moffett examines attempts to rewrite or replace national anthems in several countries, focusing on one man's effort to relieve Peru of its "epic downer of a national anthem" . . .

The Peruvian, Julio César Rivera Dávalos, deserves a note of commiseration from the folks who tried, without success, to find a replacement for James Bland's "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny/Virginia" as the state song.

From the Virginia experience, I've concluded that a successful anthem inhabits the sweet spot between a hymn and a drinking or athletic fight song. That space is pretty narrow, and it usually has eluded those who would compose and select anthems.