by | Jul 29, 1990 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

I once knew a kid who sang so badly, my dog bit him. Poor animal couldn’t take it. Of course, a dog has very sensitive ears. So do humans, at least when it comes to the national anthem.

Which brings us to Roseanne Barr.

By now, everyone has heard Barr’s scratch-and-spit rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which she sang before a baseball game in San Diego. I won’t say it was bad. I will say it sounded like a cat being fed through a shredding machine. And that fans begged her to stop. They booed. They jeered. The fact that Barr seemed to enjoy all this, then finished it off by yanking her crotch and spitting, left them furious, not to mention wet.

The result, of course, was that her rendition was played by every radio station in the country the following morning, causing at least 318 highway accidents.

Someone — no doubt her manager, who smelled money slipping away — quickly called a press conference, in which Barr whined an apology. “I don’t sing too good,” she said. “What else do I have to say?”

Critics accused her of yet another publicity stunt. Even Barr’s fans questioned her judgment. This, of course, is a woman who swears like a longshoreman, fires everybody she works with, moons photographers, and has a tattoo. She also married a man who used to accept money from The National Enquirer in exchange for gossip about her. “He was all messed up on drugs and stuff when he did that,” she explained.

And then she married him.

Why would anyone question her judgment?

When they asked her about the scratch and spit, Barr said men do it all the time in baseball, so why couldn’t she? Personally, I have no doubt Roseanne can do most things men can do, and that includes using a urinal. But this anthem stuff is obviously a problem.

I have a solution: New lyrics. Personalize the anthems

Yes. New lyrics. If no-talent actors and actresses insist on singing the national anthem at sporting events in hopes that people will notice them before their 15 minutes of fame are up, well, why not provide special renditions, just for them?

For example, Roseanne could do a more accurate version of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Something like:

Oh say can you see

Any talent in me

While so proudly I wail

Like a mouse being stepped on

These broad stripes, aren’t they great?

They’re a size 38

I got ’em on sale

At a store next to K mart

And I love when men staaaaare

At my wide derrieeeeeere

Cause they know that I’m rich

Watch me spit, pttttttuuueee!

Oh say does my annoying

TV show still waaaaave,

O’er the land of the free

Hey, get me a *#$&! hot dog.

Now, would anyone object to that? Barr could sing in whatever key she wanted. She’d just be showing off in a loud and disgusting way, which is what she gets paid to do anyhow.

Wait. What about basketball games, where they sometimes sing “God Bless America”?

No problem for Roseanne . . .

God bless America

Land of ice cream

Get a gallon,

I’ll dive in

Oh, I love to be fat and obscene

Through the chocolate,

And the pecans

I go gobbling

Watch me burp

God bless America

Hey, fire that jerk.

And of course, for those rare occasions when they sing “America the Beautiful.” . . .

I’m beautiful

for tabloid news

There’s nothing I won’t do

I flash my butt,

I let them shoot

Then I turn around and sue

America, America

What a system, ain’t it great

I’m rich as hell,

So let ’em yell

Hey, pass that dinner plate!

See? End of controversy. And after a while, nobody would care that Barr can’t sing, anymore than they care that the Padres can’t play baseball.

Personally, I wish I still had my old dog, who would have shut Roseanne up in his own unique way. Then again, maybe not. There is, after all, a fundamental difference between the two creatures.

The dog had taste.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

Subscribe for bonus content and giveaways!