Whitney Houston and Korean Misunderstanding of the U.S.
No, This Isn’t A Sob Story From a Fan
You can read eulogies and condolences elsewhere. There is zero doubt that Ms Houston was uniquely talented. No lip-syncing, just her belting it out as purely as anyone can remember. It is not only the tone, but it is also the power of her voice: you cannot teach that, it is bestowed upon you. We can pontificate about demons or this or that. Nah. My favorite clip is above, and it reminded me of a misunderstanding that many native Koreans had, and may still have, about the U.S. Usually, this blog is devoted to pointing out aspects about life/society in Korea. But this time, the Whitney Houston tragedy reminded me of something different.
The U.S. May Seem Like An Unpatriotic Nation: Wrong
You can easily surf the web, and it may seem that all you see is a nation of infighting. By and large, that is the case. That is the privilege of a nation that is not threatened militarily by its neighbors. However, even the notion of actual threats to American national security is another matter entirely. Sometimes, it takes just a few moments to see that. As the world mourns the passing of Whitney Houston, we can see this version of The Star Spangled Banner, which was performed at the Super Bowl at the onset of the Persian Gulf War. It was eight years ago, and this single performance still burns in the memory of many. Americans do support their own in the time of need, and it does unequivocally support its armed forces, despite what you read on The Drudge Report or Politico.com.
Put another way: if you are not an American citizen, can you remember any single rendition of your national anthem? There is little doubt that not every nation has a person that was as talented as Whitney Houston. Nevertheless, last night, this clip instantly appeared on many social media outlets among her many career highlights.
If you watch the clip, it took place at a tenuous time in America, and this performance lifted up the nation at the time. You can hear the response from the crowd; it heard a special, special performance from a special talent. And it knew it.
Thank you, Ms Houston, and rest in peace.