That Diss Song Known as ‘Yankee Doodle’Breaking News
tags: Fourth of July, Yankee Doodle
The Fourth of July is upon us, so it’s time once again to sing what is arguably our most baffling national ditty, “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Maybe you’ve noticed: Some of the lyrics seem like the work of a prankster on acid. Who else could have conceived a vignette as bizarre as a man riding a pony into town, then sticking a feather in his cap that, for unknown reasons, he insists on calling “macaroni”?
The answer is not George M. Cohan, who wrote the ecstatically patriotic verses of “The Yankee Doodle Boy” for the 1904 musical “Little Johnny Jones.” He lifted the feather-and-cap lines from a song called, simply, “Yankee Doodle,” which was popularized by British troops during the Revolutionary War. And whoever composed these words — history is inconclusive — didn’t intend a jesting, surreal tribute to the colonists. Quite the opposite. The song is an insult.
It’s not just any insult, either. With “Yankee Doodle,” the Redcoats were delivering the most puerile, schoolyard insult in the schoolyard insult book. They were suggesting that American soldiers were gay.
Gay and bumbling, actually.
comments powered by Disqus
- Mark Twain Claimed He Got His Pen Name From a Riverboat Captain
- The story of the slave trade’s last survivor
- UFO Toy Discontinued for Teaching Kids That Nazis Could Travel in Space
- Psychologists say memorials to lynching victims help their African-American descendants
- Posters, Banners, Boarding Passes: Museums Try to Get a Head Start on History
- Daniel Pipes predicts chaos in the Middle East as countries turn away from fossil fuels
- Stanley Fish says historians are deluded in thinking their training gives them special insights in politics that should be passed on to students (and others)
- Guest historian this week: Paul Krugman, the economist!
- US Senator (and historian) Ben Sasse has denounced the policy of separating children from parents at the border
- Randall Stephens predicts most evangelicals will probably fail to come to grips with Trump’s cynical manipulations, his divisive, culture-war grandstanding, his philandering, and his lying