Thursday, April 25, 2019

Don't Kiss Me, Kate

She's little known to today's generation, but there was a time when Kate Smith was considered the ant's pants. She had popular records and radio and TV shows, and she has been revered as some sort of good luck charm for the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team and the New York Yankees, a baseball team located in a large northeastern city.

Kate recorded the best-known version of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," and that record was the one played at the hockey and baseball games mentioned..until now.

Here is the statement from Philly:
“The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with ‘God Bless America,’ as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation. But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes.”
Flyers team president Paul Holmgren added this: “The NHL principle ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ is at the heart of everything the Flyers stand for. As a result, we cannot stand idle while material from another era gets in the way of who we are today.”

It was only recently that the imbroglio began. First the Yankees acted on reports that Kate sand racist songs in the 1930s, and then the Flyers said they were down with putting her out as well. They covered a statue of her outside their arena with black cloth, and then removed the statue altogether over the weekend past.

Image result for kate smith
Kate Smith with Babe Ruth
Smith died in 1986 and is therefore not available to be questioned as to whether she harbors racist inclination.

The Yankees' statement on the matter is remarkably similar to that of the Flyers:

“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” said a team statement. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

And I am not about to type out for mass consumption the idiotic titles and lyrics of the songs she sang that are considered offensive. Trust me, they are awful, and even worse than "Dixie" and old Civil War songs like that.

Some of them would make David Allen Coe blush, I tell you.

So, no, I'm not looking to start another discussion on this, so please spare me the indignant replies either way. As is true of anything that causes people discomfort, this is not up for a vote among Yankees fans (and you know who you are!) and Flyers fan to see if the majority wants to hear the song again.

What has come out about Kate Smith puts her in a negative light, and her image and her voice are gone from the games.

Now. Let's see if it was the "Songbird Of The South," as they used to call her, or the song itself that y'all love so much in the Bronx and on Broad Street.

Let's get Michael Buble to cut it and see if people want to hear that.

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