Saturday, March 24, 2012

the mother of anthem gaffes (part 2)

This is a followup to yesterday's post about how the wrong anthem was played at a shooting competition in Kuwait when Kazakhstan won the gold.

The story has spread now, and I've seen it in a bunch of places, with lots of commentary. What I find interesting is the number of people who express shock that this could happen. One person wondered why they played the whole anthem instead of stopping it immediately.

For my part, I can easily see how this happened. First of all, the explanation that I read said that officials (or techies, whatever) went to the internet to get the anthem. That kind of makes sense. In this day and age, I can see the people running the show searching the intertubes for all the anthems. If there are 38 countries competing, they download 38 files, and are prepared for whoever wins. It's a lot cheaper to do that than to record all the anthems or to have a live band present to play anthems as needed.

Now, remember. This was Kuwait. An Arabic-speaking country. Kazakhstan's national anthem is in Kazakh. The parody that got played is in English. It seems reasonable that a general internet search would turn up the fake anthem more readilly than the real one -- a result of pop culture having such a large footprint on the intertubes. It's hard to verify that after the fact, since this incident has clearly affected what shows up if you do a Google search for "Kazakhstan national anthem" or such. Also, it seems reasonable that whoever was downloading and saving all the anthems isn't fluent in English or Kazakh, and so didn't recognize that this wasn't the real thing. The fake anthem certainly sounds like a real national anthem (if you can't understand the words).

So someone searched for the Kazakh national anthem, found this, and -- having no reason to expect such a fake -- assumed it was real.

I assume the reason it wasn't stopped is that the Kazakhs had enough grace not to interrupt the ceremony, so nobody in a position to stop it in midplay realized there was a mistake until afterwards.

I'll note that, according to an article in The Sun, this isn;t the first problem that has come up concerning Kazakhstan's anthem:
The music gaffe was the second to hit Kazakhstan's sports stars this month. Ricky Martin's 1999 No 1 hit Livin' La Vida Loca was played instead of the country's official anthem called "My Kazakhstan" at a skiing event on their own soil weeks earlier.
I find it a lot harder to understand how that happened.

No comments:

Post a Comment