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Face the music

The US Code, Title 36,301 stipulates that if there is no flag present when the National Anthem is played, "all present should face toward the music".

Is this the same direction as pointing towards the future or facing up to the facts?

I find it really strange that there is a law that says what you do when the Anthem is played. In the UK we don't really play it very often, perhaps so as not to wear it out. But in the US, any minor sporting event or distribution of prizes seems to warrant an appeal to national pride. I suppose this explains why they love their country and we barely recognise ours.

I did stand with everyone else at the baseball last year, it seemed rude not to, but I didn't "stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart" although most did. It seemed unnaturally militaristic. But least now I know why they did it. It's the LAW!


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 27th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC)
If it's being played in surround sound, should we just spin?
Jan. 27th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC)
I like the idea of thousands of Americans spinning around at the start of a baseball game. If the spinning was slow enough, it might be dignified.
Jan. 27th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)
I like the idea that slow spinning could impart dignity. I may well try it the next time that I'm in a situation where dignity seems to be absent.
Jan. 27th, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)
We have a 'country'?
Jan. 27th, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's that thing that if it's on its side, it looks a bit like an elephant's trunk.
Jan. 27th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
Well, they are more nationalistic and militaristic than us. That's the culture they're brought up in. The risk is that it can lead to thinking you're better than everyone else, which can have unfortunate consequences - see the foreign policy of recent years.
Jan. 27th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
If we hadn't saved your butts in WWII you'd all be speaking German and participating in a collective European market sharing the same currency.

Hey! Don't make me come over there and invade you!
Jan. 27th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
Also, in the UK the display of national flags at political events has been illegal since the 1970s. Callaghan's government introduced the legislation to stop the National Front doing it.

Jan. 27th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
They have to pledge allegiance at school every morning too, I should think a bit of anthem-facing is light relief after that.
Jan. 27th, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
I had a cousin who didn't like to say the pledge because of the witches in it: "for witches stand."
Jan. 27th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
Reminds me of the famous Croatian tennis player, Goran Even_he's_a_witch.
Jan. 27th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)
"Face the music" = "Accept your fate." At least in 1930s gangster movies.

You forgot that you also have to take off your cap. And praise Allah you didn't decide to sit that out. I've seen people in wheelchairs struggle to stand up for the National Anthem. I've never seen someone who wasn't obviously crippled not stand up, but I'm pretty sure I don't want to be nearby when they would attempt that experiment.

Back in the mid-80s I was friends with an English exchanged student at Louisiana State University, and he frequently commented on how we seemed to take that far more seriously then they did in the UK. And then we took him to a Texas A&M game and he was horrified.
Jan. 27th, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
Face the music's probably a mid 19th century expression, but it's still current round these parts.

I did ponder whether I should stand or not, after all I owe no allegiance to that flag, nor to any other really - I was a cub scout so did promise to do my duty to the Queen but I formally left without joining the scouts so that promise no longer applies.

So it was really down to the extent to which my hosts, in the wider context, might be offended. I seem to recall some American saying that they salute no other flag, but I wasn't sure that defence would work.

Edited at 2009-01-27 03:01 pm (UTC)
Jan. 27th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
Ah, but in El Paso only the Anglos bother -- when we went to their 4th July streetfest around 2/3 of the audience carried on with whatever they were doing, rather than assuming the position.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )