Tonawanda News

Columns

February 6, 2014

KEPPELER: Beautiful ... in any language

Tonawanda News — You know, for the most part, I genuinely like people. I think they’re basically decent. I believe that even through our differences, we can find common ground ... and sometimes, our differences make us stronger.

But every once in a while, I see a news story that just has me wanting to go off on a lengthy, not-safe-around-the-kids rant, stomp around for a while while grumbling and then vanish into a cave somewhere in which the only people I encounter are those in books. And my family. I suppose I’ll let them in, maybe.

This week’s rant-worthy situation? The response to Coca-Cola’s ad Sunday during the Super Bowl.

Maybe you saw it, maybe you didn’t, but the basics are this: “America the Beautiful” sung over a montage of scenes from, well, America. It was gorgeous, the song was beautifully sung, and  it was maybe a tiny bit sappy and tear-inducing for those with a tendency to get sentimental about their country.

The problem? It wasn’t sung solely in English. It was also sung in Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, Hindi, Hebrew, Keres, Senegalese-French and Arabic -- in nine of the hundreds and hundreds of languages spoken right here in the United States of America.

It was a beautiful ad that promptly kicked up a whole lot of ugly.

“Speak English or go home,” said one commenter on the company’s Facebook page, according to USA Today.

On Twitter: “@CocaCola has America the Beautiful being sung in different languages in a #SuperBowl commercial? We speak ENGLISH here, IDIOTS.” 

Those are only two examples, of course. I even saw the backlash on my Facebook page, where I thought most of those I called “friend” were decent enough human beings to know better.

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