Songs I kinda think I shouldn’t like, but do…

Today over at WRSA I saw a clip of that scene in Casa Blanca where, to drown out a bunch of evil vicious singing Nazis, the band and all the patrons of Rick’s Café Américain break out into La Marseillaise.

And that got me to thinking about the song, which is one of those things that always get me right in the liberté, égalité, fraternité muscle, even though I’m not remotely French.

Makes me want to rush right out with my musket, form regiments and slaughter me some Prussians sans culottes, y’know? And I don’t even particularly dislike Prussians*. I’ve always felt kinda like I’m betraying some principle every time I get a tear in my eye over it, since somehow the poor thing managed to become a sort of commie anthem, and I’m pretty sure I’m not remotely commie, either – I even heard it in China once. But I still like it.

Another example of this is Ave Maria, which is just damned near the most beautiful song I ever heard and I’d be surprised to learn I’ve had any Catholic ancestors since my Irish ones swam across the pond. And even if I were Catholic I’d probably still feel a little squeamish about Mariolotry, which (sorry, my Catholic friends) makes no sense at all in the context of Christianity.

But still…wow…

Guess I just ain’t got no philosophical purity. After I betray the revolution and set myself up as President-for-Life, I’ll have myself shot.

*This could possibly have to do with my never having met one. Pre-1947 I’m sure they were properly despicable, one and all. Even the little baby ones.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to Songs I kinda think I shouldn’t like, but do…

  1. Claire says:

    This is another example of you and I thinking so scarily alike. I have exactly the same reaction to La Marseillaise, despite it being a national anthem and despite it having horrifying lyrics.

    It’s be best damned national anthem in the universe; nothing else comes close.

    Ave Maria gets to me, too. Different way, but same irrational gut response.

    The one that really, really irks me, though, is the Allegri Miserere, especially the amazing Tallis Scholars version ( It’s one of the most freaking beautiful pieces of music I’ve ever heard, and it bugs the heck out of me that the lyrics (translated extremely loosely from the Latin) are something like, “OMG, I’m such a worthless little worm, I’m below the level of slime. I barely qualify as a particularly sickening gut virus. Despite all that, please don’t wipe me out, God.”

    Here’s another beauty. But at least this has sensible lyrics: “beware the armed man!”

  2. Brass says:

    Catholics don’t worship Mary. They ask her to pray for them, but they don’t worship her. St. Paul asked Christians to intercede for each other by prayer. Why can’t they ask Mary to intercede for them? Afore I call you out fer bein’ one o’ them liberals and claim to get all “offended,” I’d like to hear your definition of “worship,” and point to specific actions on the part of Catholics that you think entail the “worship” of Mary, a mere creature of God, greatest creature of God though she be.

    Miserere Mei is essentially Psalm 51.

    If you want an Ave Maria that will really knock your socks off, try Gabriel Faure’s version. This one is sung way too fast. It should be sung this fast, but by a better choir.

    Neither of them do it justice.

  3. Joel says:

    Brass, I’m not even gonna pause before running away from that question. 8^P

    I didn’t use the word “worship,” or “cult,” or nothin’ of the sort. Wouldn’t insult your intelligence by suggesting I have no opinion, since clearly I do. But if you run into anything less important than my opinion of that subject this week, you’re having a slow week.

  4. Brass says:


    But you did use the term “Mariolatry.” Something’s obviously got to be a bur under your saddle, no matter how slightly it irritates you, to want to go and use a term like that.

    You ain’t going to offend me if you voice some legitimate concerns about what you perceive to be the idolization of Mary. Unsubstantiated snipes, well, those can tend toward being a mite irksome, but still certainly nothing that should mar our cyber-kinship.

  5. First time I heard Nina Hagen perform Ave Maria I was ‘blown away’. Listening to her can be an uncomfortable experience – but her ability to belt it out really comes in handy on this classic. (I don’t have vid capacity on this PC – but a web search suggests there’s vid of her doing the song available…)

To the stake with the heretic!