Presentation on theme: "ENGL1101 - Summary N(O) Canada by Stephen Marche pp. 272-273 Becoming and Active Reader By Eric Henderson."— Presentation transcript:
ENGL1101 - Summary N(O) Canada by Stephen Marche pp. 272-273 Becoming and Active Reader By Eric Henderson.
In his article “N(O) Canada!” published in The Walrus in 2010, Stephen Marche argues that the Canadian national anthem should be completely changed. He refers back to an earlier incident in which the Conservative government suggested that one line of the national anthem should be changed in order to correct its gender bias. Marche expresses disappointment that the Canadian people were not open to the change. “Face it,” he argues “‘O Canada’ is the worst song you sing or hear on a regular basis” (272).
Marche goes on to explain that the national anthem contains other inappropriate lines as well as the sexist line “True patriot love in all thy sons command” that the Conservative government wanted to change. He points out that the French version refers to the sword and the Cross. In the English version, the religious content is even more significant. This means that Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, and atheists cannot honestly sing the national anthem. He admits that he lives in one of the most multicultural cities in Canada – Toronto – but in that city “that’s practically everyone [he] know[s]” who cannot sing the national anthem. He points out that 100,000 people watch Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi and most of those people are unlikely to be able to sing the Christian Canadian anthem. He states that “our national anthem was written for a nation that no longer exists” (272).
Marche recognizes that it is difficult to change a national anthem but feels it is important for Canada to do so to be more inclusive of the different religions, cultures, and genders that make up Canada today. He points out that the last note of “O Canada” is so difficult to sing that people often end up laughing at that point. This is not appropriate for serious occasions such as military burials when the anthem is sung.
Marche suggests two alternatives: revising “The Maple Leaf Forever” or putting words to Hockey Night in Canada’s ex-theme song. He quotes a verse of “The Maple Leaf Forever,” which acted as an “unofficial anthem” for English Canada up until the 1930s, and argues that its themes are more appropriate to contemporary Canada (273). The musical quality of “The Maple Leaf Forever” is superior, Marche argues, to “O Canada.” However, he does admit that we would have to leave out the whole of the first verse.
Finally, Marche makes a joking suggestion that we put the words “Let’s all get along” to the ex-theme song of the famous Canadian television programme Hockey Night in Canada (273). This alternative, Marche suggests, would express a “simple message that is Canadian to the core” (273). It would certainly make a dramatic and short national anthem.
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