The Gist: national anthems with Alex Marshall and gun control.

So Proudly We Flail: Why America’s National Anthem Is Impossible To Sing

So Proudly We Flail: Why America’s National Anthem Is Impossible To Sing

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
Oct. 5 2015 7:48 PM

O Say Can You Shut The Hell Up

Our national anthem started as a posh English drinking song to show off your octave-and-a-half range.

Why is our national anthem so impossible to sing?

Photo by United States Navy Band/Flickr

Listen to Episode 350 of Slate’s The Gist:


On The Gist, Mike explains why a Reduced-Fat Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich won’t be bringing him back to Starbucks for a while. Then Alex Marshall responds to The Gist calling him “Sir Twiddle Twaddle” in a previous episode and explains why he thinks Americans dislike our national anthem. He’s the author of Republic or Death!: Travels in Search of National Anthems. For The Spiel, how to make the case for stricter gun laws.

Today’s sponsors:, where you can buy and print official U.S. postage right from your desk using your own computer and printer. Use the promo code THEGIST to get a no-risk trial and a $110 bonus offer.

And by The Message, a new podcast series from GE Podcast Theater

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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.