Friday, July 28, 2006

Forms and Observances.

Let me open this monologue with an illustratory tale: Once upon a time, my ex (an Atlanta native) and I attended the laser show at Stone Mountain with a couple of yankee transplantee friends. At the highlight of the show the strains of Dixie waft through the humid air of a Georgia summer night. We both dutifully rose, but my reverie was disturbed by the sound of my ex-schmoopie digging his toe into the ribs of his still-placidly-seated counterpart and hissing "Stand up, God damn you! They're playing Dixie!"

Anyhow, reactionary that I am, I'm really big on forms and observances; those mindless customs we perform to show that we are part of the tribe. I stand for Dixie, as well as the Star Spangled Banner and the "Hallelujah Chorus" of Handel's Messiah* (bet you didn't know you were supposed to stand up for that one, did you? Ya bunch of visigoths...) Why do we do this? Well, because we just do, that's why.

Recently on Glock Talk, there was a thread on whether or not ladies should remove their hats during the playing of the National Anthem. A couple of troglodytes displayed their burgeoning patriotism, alongside their complete lack of knowledge of the Flag Code, by opining that Yes, we Should. This was followed by people attempting to delve into the whys and wherefores of this custom, from quoting its origin in religious shows of respect (True: A man doffs his cap to show humility, while a woman keeps her head covered,) to quoting some fruity fashion nabob who stated that it was purely functional and related to the elaborate headgear worn by women of a bygone era, and that a woman wearing a unisex ball cap should remove it. (I've got news for you, Pointdexter: If I quickly doff my "simple unisex ball cap" for the National Anthem, my ponytail holder is going to put out the eye of someone three rows back. If the cap was a fitted one, it will be accompanied in its trajectory by a bobby pin or two.)

The real reason that we, in the present day, remove our headgear if we are non-uniformed males (they salute) or leave it on if we are women is this: Because That's Just The Way It Is Done. If you can't wrap your head around that, then don't try and come over all conservative-like on me, because you're just making things up as you go, ya hippie.



(*: Tradition holds that at the premier of Handel's Messiah, King George II was so moved by the "Hallelujah Chorus" that he stood up. Of course, everyone else present stood because the king was standing. Thus, we stand when it is performed to this day. Whether the tale is true or not makes no nevermind; we stand up because that is what civilized people do when the "Hallelujah Chorus" is performed.)

16 comments:

Visigoth Hippie said...

The way I heard it was that George suffered from gout, and after sitting for so long through the entire thing, finally stood up because he was in too much pain to continue sitting.

(BTW, I do think that Handel's Messiah is a stunning achievement in music, but I'd remain seated just because I'm so damned contrarian.)

ColtCCO said...

Heinlein could have written your last few paragraphs about manners, politeness, and how we behave in polite adult company, excepting the bobby pins.

That's a compliment.

ColtCCO

ysvlpv

Zendo Deb said...

Maybe that explains why I hate the "Hallehujah Chorus." All that standing...

Lizard said...

Does anyone even WEAR hats anymore?

In the 1950s, it seems, the sun was so strong that if a man went outside hatless, he would die a horrible screaming death within minutes. Thanks to pollution, though, the terrible rays of the sun have been blunted, so it is now safe to wander bare-headed.

I never learned hat etiquette, as I grew up in the post-hat era.

Mushy said...

Now that's a good read.

Anonymous said...

Because of my perception of what "Dixie" stands for ( a war to continue the enslavement of human beings ) I would never show any respect for the playing of that song under any circumstances.

Mushy said...

The respect is paid to those that died working for their government's policy, whether they believed it or not. Same as today, many young soldiers don't particularly believe in Bush's policies, but they go because America asked them to. They get the respect, not the gov't!

Jeffro said...

The "women wearing caps" issue was a hot one in Nascar circles last month when several bloggers noticed DeLana Harvick wearing a crew cap during the anthem. The consensus was that since it wasn't a formal hat, it needed to be doffed.

Personally, I'm more upset with people who don't hold their hand over their heart during the anthem.

Gewehr98 said...

I'll stand, remove my hat, and place my hand over my heart when the National Anthem is being played. Just a few months ago I would've stood at attention and saluted the flag while that same song was being played.

But you can try to kick my posterior all you want to get me to stand for "Dixie", I'll tell the kicker to piss up a rope. Johnny Reb can stand all he wants, but the song symbolizes nothing but a defunct separatist government that failed to me. No loyalty, and no skin off my nose.

That's not saying I haven't learned proper Southern manners in my 10 years of being a transplanted Yankee Cracker. I will be one of the first to stand, lighter proudly aloft, when the first notes of Skynyrd's "Freebird" or "Sweet Home Alabama" touch my ears.

homebru said...

In the past, gentlemen were expected to remove hats when indoors or under a cover such as a front porch. Most especially, hats were NOT WORN while dining.

These rules are still in effect for some of us. Others, who ignore them, are simply regarded as uncivilized bufoons.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Because of my perception of what "Dixie" stands for ( a war to continue the enslavement of human beings ) I would never show any respect for the playing of that song under any circumstances.

11:14 AM, July 29, 2006"

Are you a troll or just poorly read?

Anonymous said...

The first "anonymous", above, can stick it. That particular govt. action was about taxation and people control. Lincoln said he would have INSTITUTED slavery to get the masses to back his "war". I could go on, but I won't.

Tracy

Unix-Jedi said...

Sorry, no standing during Dixie.

And this from a Born-in-Atlanta, raised in Columbia,S.C. Southerner. Ask pdb about the accent.

You stand for the National Anthem. Which is the "Star Spangled Banner". Not "God Bless America".

I sit during God Bless America, and would during Dixie. I stand for the Star Spangled Banner. (Or if there's another country's anthem being played, out of respect.)

phlegmfatale said...

I went to that laser show at Stone Mountain- but it's been more than half my life ago and I don't remember standing or not standing there. It's totally yobbish for people to nitpick women in caps. If I'm in a hat and must remove it, trust me when I say it will be a very involved affair that will be much more distracting and disruptive to the folk around me than actually keeping my fashionable headgear on would have been. People who obsess over changing protocol regarding women's headgear clearly need to give the day's news a more sober read.

Larry said...

Yow, I've lived in Pensacola, Memphis and Dallas and never heard of, let alone ever saw, people standing for Dixie, notwithstanding all the pseudo-Confederate claptrap I heard from some friends.

The day I'd stand for "Dixie" would be the same day my pseudo-Confederate friends would stand for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".

Windy Wilson said...

I thought the hat business did not include women, mainly because it would muss their hairdos. Even today, I remove my had coming indoors and while eating, except if I'm eating with the sun beating down on me the hat stays on. I'm not a complete Aspie about the rule (just as I button the bottom button when I wear a vest (waistcoat for those of the scepter'd isle). I'm not King Edward VII, and I don't have appendicitis necessitating wraps covering my abdomen).

It must be remembered that Lincoln asked for "Dixie" to be played at his second inauguration. I realized some time ago that you couldn't believe what Lincoln said; he was a railroad lawyer and a very canny appellate lawyer, and didn't have the advantage of the post WW2 imperial presidency, so he had to find legal basis for his deeds which might not be as immediate in force and effect as they might had he believed that he could do whatever he wanted because he won the election and was therefore President, wielding executive orders like royal decrees.