Dean Clough

October 25, 2021

Portico Darwin: This Is Called Anthem

Greetings on a Monday from the high desert of northern New Mexico.  Santa Fe is . . . gorgeous.  Everyone in town, certainly including us, is saddened by the Alec Baldwin accident, but it's time to move on.  RIP Halyna Hutchins.


If you watch "Real Time" with Bill Maher, you'll recognize this rant from a few weeks ago. 

Like Bill, I've noticed a trend I'd like to see nipped in the bud.  That is the playing of the so-called "Black National Anthem", "Lift Every Voice and Sing", along with America's National Anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", before certain events.

Before going further, it's time for a reminder about nuance and the fact that two things can be true at once.   

The first thing that's true:  I am a complete believer in this story of Black America.  That being, they were kidnapped in their native lands beginning around 1619 and tortured into building America for free over the course of 250 years.  Our Constitution has carve-outs that excluded Black Americans as citizens.  The Civil War kept the country together but did nothing to end the terrorism against freed slaves and their descendants.  The 1960's brought the beginning of the end, but we're not there yet, in terms of Black Americans and wealth and justice equality.  For what it's worth, I've read a bunch of material on this subject, including the entire 1619 Project, and right now and as I've mentioned, Isabel Wilkerson's indispensable "Caste". 

My takeaway from all of it is that there should be no debate about race in America and how Black Americans have been denied, at every turn, things that White Americans (especially White American Men) assume as their birth right.  Remember, most Black Americans want nothing more than what the rest of us get.  Ask one.

But that does not mean we need two National Anthems, and that's the nuance.  That's because I'd like to be one country.  Not Red.  Not Blue.  Not Black.  Not Transgender.  Not Male.  Not White.  Frankly, I see an identification like "LGBTQIA+" as regression, not progression.

Being a strong, new America together is what we need.  Identity politics out, equal treatment of everyone in, but with no special treatment for anyone, either:  rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight, trans, whatever.  Just equal.

And that brings me back to "Lift Every Voice and Sing".  What a great, moving, and beautiful song!  In fact, I think it's a great idea to have that particular song be our single National Anthem. 

(Indeed, that could be the first act of the USA Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  I fully support a commission that would objectively document in a scholarly and transparent manner our genocide of the indigenous peoples of North America pre-1900, as well as Black African chattel slavery in America and its later legacy.  For the record, I am not in favor of reparations.)

Because if we indoctrinate and make "correct" the playing of two National Anthems, won't another disfavored group want their song sung too?  Black Americans and their ancestors have suffered uniquely, but I doubt being a transgender American in a lot of places is a picnic.  But I don't want a separate LGBT anthem, either. 

The reality is that our National Anthem can be any song, but it must only be one song.  I believe that's the point of a "national anthem"? 

An anthem for a nation of equals, one already - and conveniently - called the United States of America.

Future villa houseboy Byron Browne IV paid homage to another reader in introducing us to some other ideas for West Coast statuary.

"Speaking of statues in SF, Hunter Deuce invited us to a lecture at the BarbCo office in West Portal.  The speaker gave a history of Western San Francisco.  I really enjoyed the section where he talked about a plan by Daniel Burnham (architect who designed the 'White City' in Chicago).  What a shame his plan was never implemented!  It included a massive 4,000 acre park stretching from Twin Peaks to Lake Merced.  His vision included an Athenaeum on Twin Peaks (instead we get ugly communication towers) including a 'colossal' statue to serve as the West Coast version of the Statue of Liberty. 
Notably the statue would face west.  At the time I think it was designed to celebrate America's Manifest Destiny, expansionism, and a not-too-subtle hint at America’s imperialistic desires, but in today’s world it could be interpreted as a celebration of innovation and progressiveness. 

Here’s a link to an article with an overview of his 'Plan For San Francisco'.  Note the design concept for the Outer Sunset with diagonal avenues with central meeting spaces…. why are we stuck with tract homes and not this!  (OK, maybe it would have created traffic nightmares 😉). 

Daniel Burnham's Plan for SF"

He wasn't done.  The budding historian came through with more awesome historic eye candy.  

"By the way, I reached out to the SF Archivist and he shared this link to the actual report by Daniel Burnham.  You have to scroll through some blank pages, but if you start around page #29/200 you can start to find some interesting thoughts on San Francisco and cities in general from a master urban architect back at the turn of the century and right before the earthquake.  I especially thought the section titled, 'General Theory of the City' on #33/200 would resonate with your idea of 'World Cities'.

Daniel Burnham on Cities"

You rock.  Thanks, buddy, and the PV villa looks beyond Diamond Certified.  Safe travels to you and Ms. Lederhosen.

And thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.

LOL are you serious?  Of course, it is Rush and "Fly By Night".  "And this is called 'Anthem'", in a vintage live performance that shows why Rush was Rush.   Don't miss the video.

For the record, I get that the Rush song "Anthem" refers to the Ayn Rand novella of the same name, and not a type of song nor about a national song.  I don't care - we're talking about Neil Peart's first album.


About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.