Stephen Colbert was angry Monday night, taking the side of his fellow conservatives in their rantings and ravings about the sacrilege Coke had done the song "America The Beautiful" by allowing it to be sung in "foreign talk" in their Super Bowl ad, not to mention the abomination of adding a gay couple to "gay up" the iconic inspirational tune. As Huffington Post noted Feb. 4, he climbed on his high horse (which, amazingly enough, stands to just the right height where the comedian can sit comfortably behind his "Colbert Report" desk) and satirically slammed extreme conservatives and homophobes alike by rubbing their noses in their own ignorance.
The commercial highlighted children singing lines from "America The Beautiful" in various languages. This, of course, set extreme conservatives off. Scorn and contempt were heaped upon Coca-Cola and the ad itself, a nativist theme predominating and demanding that Coke understand that "America The Beautiful" was an American song and should only be performed in English. Huffington Post listed a set of Twitter posts where users were apparently promoting the idea that there's no such thing as diversity in America -- which was the theme of the ad.
Stephen Colbert admitted in "Coca-Cola's Diverse 'America The Beautiful' Ad" he'd never seen the ad, so when "Jimmy" played the video for him, he was outraged (as much as his faux conservatism would let him be), and his outrage ranneth over.
"They were singing 'America the Beautiful' in foreign talk!" he yelled. "I mean come on! Only English can give that song its certain je ne sais quoi. And folks, and the last thing I want to be is a prima donna here, but I am full of schadenfreude over this!"
Colbert then went after ex-congressman (from Florida) Allen West, reading his blog post, "'It started rather patriotically with words of 'America The Beautiful.' Then the words went from English to languages I didn't recognize."
Really? As Colbert quickly pointed out, two of those languages were Spanish and Arabic. Given West's military tour in Iraq as a soldier and representing a part of Florida that has a heavy Hispanic population, well...
As Colbert put it: "How is he supposed to recognize Spanish and Arabic?"
The Emmy-winning comedian then went after Breitbart.ca's Michael Leahy, who sympathized with his fellow enraged and outraged conservative by saying, “The company used such an iconic song, one often sung in churches on the 4th of July that represents the old 'E Pluribus Unum' view of how American society is integrated, to push multiculturalism down our throats.”
Even Colbert nearly broke character and laughed at the rampant ignorance exhibited by Leahy in less than 40 words. But he controlled himself and went on: "Yes, the old E Pluribus Unum. That's Latin for speaka the English. And Leahy points out it's not enough that they sang 'a deeply Christian patriotic anthem whose theme is unity – in several foreign languages... the ad also prominently features a gay couple.'"
And so the anger quickly switched tracks -- from multiculturalists to homosexuals. "For Pete's sake, since when are gays allowed to gay up America the beautiful?" Colbert wanted to know. "I mean, if the woman who wrote the song, Katharine Lee Bates saw this ad, she would be disgusted, and so would have life partner Katharine Coman, with whom she lived for 25 years, in then what was referred to as “a Boston Marriage.”
Yes, that is correct. The person that penned "America The Beautiful" was a lesbian.
Sometimes it takes a little satire to see the ridiculousness of a position. In this case, however, said ridiculousness was apparent. What Colbert's brilliant satire did, though, was highlight the ignorance used as a foundation for the outrage. Hate it that gays were in the commercial? A gay person wrote the song. Hate that "America The Beautiful" was sung in a bunch of non-American languages? English, that language that gives American its unique American-ness, is a polyglottal construct of enormous proportions -- and is the predominant language in five countries.
Seems like a few people need to read a book or two, starting with a basic American history text and concentrating on the parts where peoples from various nations immigrated and settled the land for centuries. Then take a look at a dictionary. Before noting the etymologies of many of the words, take a look at the meaning of the word "symbolism" and then watch the Coke Super Bowl ad one more time.
If it's still not making much sense, you might want to look up the words "intolerant" and "xenophobia" and "idiot" before looking into a mirror...