Brainiac On Banjo #105: The Fat Lady No Longer Sings [UPDATED]

This past Monday, Dallas Mavericks maverick owner Mark Cuban decided to enact a policy he committed do a year ago: he stopped playing the American national anthem before home games. Evidently, since that moment nobody’s dick has fallen off.

Of course, Cuban’s obvious communist affiliations came to light a few years ago when he supported athletes who took a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner. Funny how that works: had he implemented the decision to shit-can Francis Scott Key at that time, the loony-right might have promoted him as a proto-Proud Boogaloo Boy.

There’s a phrase in common usage: “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” If you are unfamiliar with its roots, well, it’s not about body shaming. It refers to Brünnhilde’s aria that ends Richard Wagner’s 15-hour long opera Der Ring des Nibelungen. Generally speaking, a woman of rather large dimensions is cast as the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, although the true culturally elite more likely recognize the part as played by Bugs Bunny in Warner Bros’ 1957 masterpiece “What’s Opera Doc?” Bugs is neither a female soprano nor of rather large proportions.

A bit closer to the point, in some circles the phrase can refer to the singer who came out at the end of various British entertainments to close out the show with “God Save The Queen.” More recently, Monty Python replaced this with a slide that urges those who attended their live performance to “piss off.”

Which is what Mark Cuban did. What the hell does the playing of the national anthem have to do with the playing of professional sports? Why is that considered patriotic? It’s a gathering of temporarily gifted athletes who have signed indentured servant agreements with insanely rich people who conflate team ownership with the size of their respective penises.

Hmmm. Wait. Maybe that is the American Way after all.

After Cuban performed his act of sacrilege, NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the Associated Press “Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run their pregame operations as they see fit.” I would not want to play against Mr. Frank in a game of Dodgeball.

Nonetheless, some said Cuban’s move “disrespected the nation.” I beg to differ. I believe the opposite is true. Do we play The Star-Spangled Banner when firefighters show up to battle a four-alarmer? Not usually. Podcaster Ben Shapiro asked if they would play the Chinese national anthem instead, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is as dumb as shit.

As traditions go, this one is rather recent. It started at the first game of the 1918 World Series in Chicago when the Cubs were playing the Boston Red Sox, who, of course, won the series. World War I, then known by the oxymoron the Great War, was raging in Europe and the Wrigley Field band played the tune during the 7th inning stretch. However, that didn’t really didn’t become a “thing” for several more decades, right after World War II ended when the NFL decided war and football were, at the very least, kissing cousins and thus worthy of the tune.

Nonetheless, players in most sports were not mandated to be on the field during the playing of the national anthem until 2009. And within a decade, that mandate became a “thing” as well.

The Star-Spangled Banner is a tune most Americans do not have the vocal chops to sing. It is creatively divisive. So, again I ask, what the hell does mandatory and not heartfelt patriotism have to do with professional sports? Trust me: the final two words of our anthem are not “Play Ball!”

Look it up.

Many will dismiss Mark Cuban’s action as the product of a businessperson turned wacky television celebrity. I wonder how many of those people have a different opinion of that other businessperson turned wacky television celebrity, that bastard our Representatives keep on impeaching.

I strongly suspect Cuban does not know the lyrics to The March of the Volunteers. That’s what the Chinese national anthem is called. Mark’s not playing that one in Dallas, either.

UPDATE (2:15 THURSDAY): According to NPR: 

“The NBA says every team — including the Dallas Mavericks — must play the national anthem in their arenas, after news emerged that team owner Mark Cuban had ordered the Mavericks to discontinue the long-held practice.

“‘With NBA teams now in the process of welcoming fans back into their arenas, all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” said NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass in a statement on Wednesday.

‘After the NBA issued its stance, a Mavericks representative told NPR, “The anthem will play before tonight’s game.”

According to the writer: The NBA need to take a knee and get real before they mandate “Tomorrow Belongs To Me.”