This is *not* a statement about anything else than what the title suggests, really.
I didn’t watch the Thanksgiving Day football game (not really a sports guy) but I clicked online over to CNN for a minute and saw that they had a story about Aretha Franklin singing the National Anthem. Since I often sing it, I thought I’d check it out! Of course one of the things at the top of the story was about the length of time she took (4:35) because production usually expects about 2:00 for that part, but hey, you’re not going to rush someone like Aretha. It’s Aretha Franklin. ARETHA Franklin, with an Aretha and a Franklin.
So I watched the performance and got pretty much what expected from a 74-year-old musical royalty that is Aretha Franklin, both in sound and style, given the song and situation. It sounded like Aretha Franklin. I clicked on the link that popped me over to a Twitter feed, and for a brief moment I was brutally – and unexpectedly – whisked away into the “other world” I’d escaped for the bulk of the day, as Thanksgiving in our has had been really wonderful….because I was dismayed at the vile and horrible remarks I was reading, NONE Of which I will even consider repeating here. Don’t care if you liked the performance or not. It’s Aretha Franklin, a legend who deserves not only RESPECT (pun intended; and if you don’t know why then look it up, young ‘uns) for her multiple places in history AND the fact that she was singing the National Anthem.
I still continued enjoying the day in my tryptophanian pre-dessert semi-coma, with Ed & the dogs & cat. But I’m now fully convinced that some social media is just a platform for people to express their dislikes and negativity that they have no other way to deal with or resolve on their own, so they wanna attempt to bring others down with them. They want to assume that because they don’t like it that YOU shouldn’t either. It may be immediately unpleasant or imperfect or not autotuned or not fall into the foolish “beauty standard” that we’ve been force-fed for so long now that anything else just deserves the vilest and unpleasant of words because of the ability to consider that less than that is disgusting. Well, I’m here to tell you, THAT is the big lie. For often the most beautiful things can lie there in that imperfection. Often times, perfection lies within the ones who were doing it first, the longest, the pioneers, the ones who paved the ways for all the Barbie dolls, the wannabes, the glitzy show-off’s who are dazzling with no substance behind them, who lick icing off a donut and say they hate their country and then once they’ve discovered they’ve actually been heard (or actually recorded) will do anything and everything grande to get your attention back because they realize they’ve ruined their careers…. but above all else, the rudeness I saw written behind the safety of a computer screen about one of our living legends of music and cultural icons who took their time to sing the National Anthem at one of our sporting events on a national holiday was completely disrespectful. If you actually watched the eyes and motions of the bulk of the athletes who were standing and the officers at full attention (none of whom were kneeling), they showed respect of all kind, whether they mentally “judged” the performance of Ms. Franklin, or not.
So for those so quick to judge the rendition or style, know that the woman you’re so willing to knock down was not only one of the most celebrated voices in all of recorded history across multiple genres, she was also the first woman ever inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame, and her voice has been referred to as a “National Treasure”. She is also a Grammy Lifetime Award recipient, a Kennedy Center Honoree, a National Medal of Arts winner, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner. Oh, and did I mention she is also in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame? I wonder how many that were knocking her performance of the National Anthem can include any of those awards in their repertoire?
The jump to criticism of “all things negative” is at an all-time high – and worse, the ability to do it in a matter of moments for all the world to see is too, including the need to have YOU jump on board.
Don’t fall victim to it, because there’s nothing to be gained from it and don’t attempt to talk those that do it out of it – it won’t do any good and it will only make YOU feel worse. Walk away from the computer or that page or just click the “X” in the top right corner of that tab or window and go about what you were doing that was making you happy. It’s just not worth it, and I think, I seriously think it’s what’s affected more of us than we realize.
Those are just negative people, and none of us need that.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program. I’m gonna go listen to “Freedom” by Aretha Franklin.