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The National Anthem and Yankee Doodle

July 4, 2012

Let’s watch Laurie Anderson explain the merits of the National Anthem and its B-side, “Yankee Doodle”:

 

Let’s look at the “Yankee Doodle” lyrics:

Yankee Doodle went to town,
Riding on a pony;
He stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it macaroni

The term “macaroni” refers to a hair style current in 18th century Britain.  Here is an exhibit from Yale on the hairstyle.  Here are some macaronis: 

paintress of maccaroni

427px-Philip_Dawe,_The_Macaroni._A_Real_Character_at_the_Late_Masquerade_(1773)

What-is-This-my-Son-Tom-1774

Thank goodness Yankee Doodle just stuck a feather in his hat rather than visiting the hair salon.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2012 8:47 am

    Anderson is spot on, isn’t she, making that final comment of hers about understanding the art world! Thanks for sharing the paintings here and the understanding of macaroni. Curiously, some wikipedian (writing about Ephraim Williams, one of the original inspirations for an early variant of the song “Yankee Doodle”) ends the encyclopedia entry with this unexplained line:

    There are no known portraits of Ephraim Williams.

    Perhaps this Ephraim Williams wore a macaroni, but why wouldn’t anyone paint him?

    Here are those lyrics:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephraim_Williams#Legacy

  2. July 8, 2012 3:37 pm

    Kurk: I agree, Laurie Anderson does have a special sort of genius, and it is even more effective in the video, with that twinkle in her eye!

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