In this highly amusing “personal service announcement” shot sometime during the 1980s in the smoky kitchen of a greasy spoon somewhere, Laurie Anderson praises the lack of nationalistic bombast in our national anthem and describes “Yankee Doodle” as a “surrealist masterpiece.” The clip can be found on her Collected Videos, released in 1990. Unfortunately, it’s available in VHS format only.
Anderson is a national treasure—I can’t think of anyone else delivering a disquisition this thoughtful, original, whimsical, vivid, and bizarre (in the loveliest sense). As it happens, I agree with her on both counts. We’ve heard an awful lot of national anthems during the World Cup, and “The Star-Spangled Banner” is one of the finest out there; of course, “Yankee Doodle” is delightfully silly.
Happy Fourth of July everyone!