In her aptly-titled ComPost blog yesterday, Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri defended pop star Christina Aguilera's botched rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner before Super Bowl XLV.
"She didn't botch the national anthem. Francis Scott Key did," Petri explained, griping that:
The only original part of the song, the lyrics, are even worse.... Not only is this terrible, dated and irrevocably attached to an oddly specific incident that Francis Scott Key suffered through during the War of 1812 -- it is a question. When we sing this anthem, we are asking whoever is listening if our flag is still waving.
This is, how do I put it, ABSURD? TERRIBLE? EMBARRASSINGLY INCOMPETENT-SOUNDING? ALL OF THE ABOVE?
One would think a newspaper humorist would understand the concept of a rhetorical question, but apparently the notion is foreign to Petri, as well as perhaps to the paper's editors as Petri's February 7 post was dutifully reprinted on the op-ed page of the February 8 print edition.