Yes, we’ve seen this before, when Luke Bryan wrote some National Anthem notes on his hand at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game. Well it appears that this has now become a thing—either writing the notes to the Star Spangled Banner on your hand, or hiring people who inconceivably can’t remember the words to the most well-known song after “Happy Birthday” to sing it to massive crowds, at important events, during significant times.
But apparently we are supposed to forgive Wynonna Judd for this because she was so up front about it. She showed her hand (so to speak) to a photographer Thursday night (8-29) after singing the Anthem at the Vanderbilt game against Ole Miss in Nashville, as if this would somehow atone all sins. When local Nashville newspaper The Tennessean posted a blog about Wynonna’s hand writing, characterizing her left paw as a “cheat sheet,” the country diva chided back through her Twitter channel, saying:
Cheat sheet my country butt!!!!!!! I will NEVER allow myself to EVER forget the words to such an important song. #CliffNotes
Aside from disregarding the well-recognized rules of the AP manual of style by including no less than 7 exclamation points and using ALL CAPS instead of italics to convey emphasis, Wynonna’s excuse might be one of the biggest displays of absurdity ever uttered in the English language.
So apparently Wynonna would NEVER allow herself to EVER forget the words…..but she did, or she was worried she would, so she needed to write them on her hand. And yeah, screw you Tennessean for characterizing it as a “cheat sheet” when it should clearly be called “Cliff Notes,” but I’m have a tough time finding much contrast between the two terms.
The reason we admire musical artists is because they do things that we are unable to do. And when they increasingly can’t remember the words to a song most 2nd graders would be held out of recess for not remembering, it speaks deeply to cultural reduction. Wynonna Judd has an amazingly powerful voice, and did a wonderful job singing the Anthem. But using cheat sheets and teleprompters is akin to Auto-tune and stereoids. It is taking an advantage.
We’re all human and we all make mistakes, and in some respects it is smart to make sure we mitigate those mistakes by being prepared. But the reason songs can move us so deeply is because we believe they are being sung from the heart of the performer. Because as we all know, the heart never forgets.