Alibi V.19 No.26 • July 1-7, 2010 

Aural Fixation

Yankee Doodle Dandy,” perhaps the sassiest of all classic patriotic American tunes, is thought to have been written in mid-18th-century Europe, possibly during the Seven Years’ War. Though its exact origin is unclear, the song was a British invention and was used to deride American Colonists and their ragtag army. The most recognizable verse (there are nearly 200) is not seen in this sheet music: “Yankee Doodle went to town / Upon a little pony / Stuck a feather in his cap / And called it Macaroni"—nonsense on the surface, this verse is actually a snobby insult to pastoral Colonial fashion (a Macaroni was a traveled, upper-class European who wore extravagant wigs). In the American tradition of taking things that don’t belong to us, “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was reclaimed by the disheveled patriots and became a source of Colonial pride. And, as we all know, in the end the garishly dressed Americans defeated the pretentious and dimwitted red coats whose flamboyant uniforms made them easy targets. U.S.A.! (Jessica Cassyle Carr)