Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Swing Low, Sweet Oval Ball

Via email, Mrs. Werbenmanjensen provides context to some cultural commentary downstairs:
Coming into the last match of the 1988 season, against Ireland at Twickenham, England had lost 15 of their previous 23 matches in the Five Nations
Championship. The Twickenham crowd had only seen one solitary England try in the previous two years and at half time against Ireland they were 0-3 down. However during the second half England scored six tries to give them a 35-3 win. Three of the tries came in quick succession from Chris Oti, a black player making his Twickenham debut. A group from the Benedictine school Douai started to sing a rugby club favourite - the gospel hymn Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - in honour of their new hero, large sections of the crowd joined in. The song is still regularly sung at matches by supporters. There is also a series of gestures that accompany the song, one of which is sexual.

The England national rugby union team returned from the 2003 World Cup triumph in Australia on a plane dubbed 'Sweet Chariot'

(Note: I don't know where this comes from, so if somebody wants me to give them a citation, please ask politely in comments.)

Still, the idea of English public school toffs singling a spiritual made famous by African-American slaves strikes me as a bit absurd.

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3 Comments:

Blogger oldest kid said...

I guess that makes a little more sense, but it's still weird.

3:31 AM  
Blogger MKOK said...

I dunno. It is wierd, but if they
like it, I say let 'em

3:49 PM  
Blogger joy suzanne said...

I found your blog post because I've been searching for evidence that other people (not just me) find the singing of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" to be in questionable taste. I wrote about it on my own blog. I'm an American living in France and haven't been exposed to rugby until this year. When I heard the Brits singing this song, I was really offended.

There's surprising little in terms of public objection out there on the Internet, by the way. I have to believe that something like that would NEVER pass in the US. Political correctness and all that.

1:24 PM  

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