Tuesday, 1 July 2008

standing on guard for thee

On Canada Day, although it's not really mine, I can belt out O Canada with the best of them. As a Commonwealth anthem goes, though, it's astonishingly straightforward and short. I started wondering who might win the face-off of musical self-love among O Canada, God Defend New Zealand, and Advance Australia Fair. And here are my findings.

Bilingual?
Canada: Oui
NZ: Ae, bro
Australia: Yeah, right!

Long?
Canada: One verse is seriously all they could think of?
NZ: 5 verses
Australia: Your standard 5 again.

Mention of God?
Canada: Yes
NZ: Yes
Australia: Nope

Militaristic bombast?
Canada: We stand on guard for thee. Twice.
NZ: Apparently, “peace, not war, shall be our boast”. Encouraging.
Australia: Not until about verse four, when the ‘foreign foes’ arrive.

Sexism?
Canada: True patriot love only required from ‘all thy sons’.
NZ: Men of every creed and race. No gurlz allowd.
Australia: I almost *died of shock*, because it’s not in there until verse five, when the ‘sons’ arrive.

Geographical attributes
Canada: Vague at best. The True North is about as specific as it gets, see also knowing where you are on a map.
NZ: The mountains are ‘freedom’s ramparts’.
Australia: Do you want a list? Jeez, Australia. Calm down. Yes, you’re physically amazing. We get it.

Shameless self-promotion
Canada: ‘Glorious and free!!’
NZ: ‘Our country’s spotless name.’ And insufferable smugness.
Australia: ‘for we are young and free’, and better at cricket than you, so there.

Sorry, what?
Canada: Actually, without the necessity to fill five verses, this is pretty straightforward.
NZ: ‘Guide her in the nation’s van’?? Can someone check if I’ve got this wrong? What on earth?
Australia: ‘Rousing to arms like sires of yore’. I'd like to see that.

The irony
Canada: ‘We stand on guard for thee’, except on the world’s longest undefended border with XXXthat dangerous clownXXX our bestest friend.
NZ: ‘Make our praises heard afar.’ ‘Crown her with immortal fame’. Oh, NZ. Don’t you know how much of the world thinks you’re just a bit of Australia?
Australia: It says of Britain: “with all her faults we love her still”. Until the next referendum, that is.

Inexplicably, what it doesn’t mention
Canada: Hockey, double-doubles, and winter eight months a year.
NZ: Number 8 wire, L&P, and ‘sweet as, bro!’
Australia: The black stump, a thousand poisonous things that *keel you*, and, fortunately, Kevin Bloody Wilson (no link. I just can't).

The tears prick my eyelids when…
Canada: With glowing hearts we see thee rise, our True North strong and free.
NZ: Honestly? It’s too passive for that. It’s all up to God. The Canucks are ‘standing on guard’, the Aussies are ‘toiling’ with ‘courage’. Come on, NZ. Make an effort.
Australia: In joyful strains then let us sing…

Happy Canada Day. Keep your stick on the ice, eh?

9 comments:

cuileann said...

I would feel ditzy writing "LOL," but I actually am laughing out loud. Brilliant analysis, thank you.

Karen said...

AWESOME! I love it! You do make me happy Ambs.

Amber said...

Welcome, or given your linguistic theme, wilkommen and tena koe! Good to have you drop by. Happy Canada day.

Amber said...

Oh hey Kar! Happy CD! Get that old man of yours barbecuing at once!

Pants said...

Sorry...have been awol.

I would like to see how many of us would actually 'stand on guard for thee' if the issue came up. We have a vair high passivist ratio, and also low self esteem. I have a feeling recent immigrants would stand up and the rest of us would grumble about how we can't even make decent movies, etc, so what's the point. Then someone would bomb a Tim Hortons and all hell would break loose.

Amber said...

Pants, you're back! Hurrah. Now, I'll distract the invading hordes while you secure the doughnut supply.

bigsister said...

About to become dual-citizen with America - please supply analysis of UK vs US anthems so I know whether I should 'frustrate' some 'knavish tricks' or concentrate on the war on terror with 'bombs bursting in air'. Does the UK anthem with the 'Dr. Seuss Learn to Read' prize for using the fewest words/repeating the most. New word for this anthem QUEEN.
Do all these other countries have better rabble rousing 'people's anthems' - see Land of Hope and Glory, America the Beautiful/God Bless America

Amber said...

As Bruce Woodley put it:

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come.
We'll share a dream
And sing with one voice:
I Am, You Are, We Are...Able to Conjugate Verbs.

Allen B said...

I'm sorry. I know Amber could not bring herself to leave a Kevin Bloody Wilson link, but this man is so rude that you really must hear it to believe it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsqJAjU8log