Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Why Change "O Canada" In English When the French Version Is So Much Less PC?

Proving that it is actually good for something, the Canadian Senate is stymying efforts to change the lyrics of "O Canada." The "offensive" line in question: "True patriot love in all thy son's command," which the more "progressive"-minded want to amend to "In all of us command" so as to be more "diverse" and "inclusive."

Some senators, however, are calling the proposed change "clunky and pedestrian"--which, indeed, it is. And Conservative Senator Michael MacDonald, who's from Nova Scotia, makes a good point when he asks why we're so intent on changing the English version of the anthem when the French lyrics are so much more incendiary and politically incorrect--and no one is insisting we modernize them:
The Cape Breton senator also takes issue with the bill because it only changes the English-language version of the national anthem, even though the French words would have a hard time getting the "social justice warrior seal of approval." 
"Why should one official version of the anthem be exempt from re-examination?" MacDonald said. "It is, without question, an ethnic French-Canadian, Catholic, nationalist battle hymn, certainly non-inclusive, yet I am not offended. It is just part of Canada's history in song."
FYI, here are the French lyrics, translated:

O Canada!
Land of our forefathers
your brow is wreathed with a glorious garland of flowers.
Because your arm can wield the sword,
it is ready to carry the cross.
your history is an epic
Of the most brilliant exploits.
your valour steeped in faith
Will protect our homes and our rights
Will protect our homes and our rights.

So you mean to say that no one is sweating what is essentially a French variation of "Onward Christian Soldiers" but we're going nuts about a single English "son's"?

C'est incroyable!

If we must tackle that supposedly pesky "son's," however, Senator MacDonald contends there's only one way to go:
"The proper and only acceptable pronoun substitution for the phrase 'All thy sons command' is 'All of our command,'" MacDonald said. "This is not opinion. This is fact.
Is it, though? To my ear, MacDonald's "fact" sounds every bit as as "clunky and pedestrian." If we must make a change (and I have yet to be convinced that we do), "As all of us command" sounds much better--and makes far more sense--than either "In all of us command" or "In all of our command."

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