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Forums :: Blog World :: Bill Meltzer: On Kate Smith, History and Context
Author Message
Bill Meltzer
Editor
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Joined: 07.13.2006

Apr 22 @ 12:01 PM ET
Bill Meltzer: On Kate Smith, History and Context
jcragcrumple
Buffalo Sabres
Location: Gronborg's Beard, YT
Joined: 04.04.2016

Apr 22 @ 12:07 PM ET
Nice piece. Setting aside the song material in question, from an outsider's perspective, if we disowned the contributions of inventors/historical figures/artists because of their bad actions, we'd all be living in caves. People make mistakes, but it shouldn't completely erase the good, especially when viewed in a historical context as you said.
sabreadvocate1
Buffalo Sabres
Location: ON
Joined: 12.12.2006

Apr 22 @ 12:20 PM ET
Bill Meltzer: On Kate Smith, History and Context
- bmeltzer


I am not quite sure how to comment on this at all. I just thank God that I was born into a family where I was taught skin colour and ethnic backgound was a non-issue in any aspect. My parents grew up in the 1930s and 40s.
nastyflyergirl
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: this space for rent, PA
Joined: 09.19.2006

Apr 22 @ 12:28 PM ET
A++
gpark91
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Valrico, FL
Joined: 05.13.2009

Apr 22 @ 12:35 PM ET
Best piece you have ever written.
Blueraff3
Philadelphia Flyers
Joined: 11.21.2015

Apr 22 @ 12:43 PM ET
Very well said. While it is certainly well known, it must be said that you have a gift. History is a complex subject. Very thoughtful piece.
2Real
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: IT'S GRITTIN TIME, CA
Joined: 07.14.2007

Apr 22 @ 12:46 PM ET
Nice piece. Setting aside the song material in question, from an outsider's perspective, if we disowned the contributions of inventors/historical figures/artists because of their bad actions, we'd all be living in caves. People make mistakes, but it shouldn't completely erase the good, especially when viewed in a historical context as you said.
- jcragcrumple

we're not disowning kate smith we're just finding a better person to celebrate because times change
bmoreflyer
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Baltimore
Joined: 07.06.2017

Apr 22 @ 12:46 PM ET
Thank you Bill for this outstanding body of work.
Sublime55
Philadelphia Flyers
Joined: 07.24.2012

Apr 22 @ 12:54 PM ET
Great insight Bill. I think your take on the reasoning on why this is happening now is also spot-on. I recall the national attention over the Starbucks incident a year ago in Rittenhouse Square and the company’s response before all available information came out. Companies today in the social media age are more risk averse to public scrutiny than ever it seems.
MBFlyerfan
Season Ticket Holder
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Trump is your president for six more years, NJ
Joined: 03.17.2006

Apr 22 @ 1:06 PM ET
I thought the Kate Smith duet ran its course years ago and got annoyed every time the Flyers pulled it out of its dusty box. It is for that reason I think it should have been discontinued long ago.

The problem I have is that the Yankees, Flyers, the media, and more than a few posters in here used it to paint a woman as a racist. She had no way to defend herself, and to see her tarnished like that was in my opinion underhanded and cowardly. The way they covered that statue with a black sheet was shameful virtue signaling. I'm amazed they didn't use a white sheet.

I'm glad you brought up Paul Robeson. Because context was needed here, and those who jumped on the "She's a racist" bandwagon might actually give some thought to their opinions before they jump on the accusation train.

Context is so easy to manipulate these days, and more and more people allow themselves to be manipulated instead of getting the whole story.

I saw terms thrown around in here like whitesplaining the past few days. As if a persons skin color precludes them from having a valid opinion on something. Is that racism? Some would say it is. I say it's just lazy.










ForeverFlyer16
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Lou Nolan for Flyers Hall of Fame , NJ
Joined: 11.03.2006

Apr 22 @ 1:06 PM ET
Bill, much thanks for the information, facts, and well thought out opinion. As usual, you have not rushed to judge, but rather have analyzed researched facts and presented them in a manner that must be considered by all.

I find it a sad situation for the family of Kate Smith and the Flyers Fans, as well as the Flyers Organization... that IMO proceeded hastily and not allowed the facts to be put out before they cast aside the memory of s human as if she were nothing more than a 'good luck charm'.

Bill, you have again displayed why you are greatly respected in the business as well as your loyal followers. Thanks once again.
mollen
Season Ticket Holder
Joined: 06.08.2013

Apr 22 @ 1:09 PM ET
Bill, I would like to suggest that you submit this wonderfully written post to the Inquirer and the NYTimes.
ForeverFlyer16
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Lou Nolan for Flyers Hall of Fame , NJ
Joined: 11.03.2006

Apr 22 @ 1:10 PM ET
I thought the Kate Smith duet ran its course years ago and got annoyed every time the Flyers pulled it out of its dusty box. It is for that reason I think it should have been discontinued long ago.

The problem I have is that the Yankees, Flyers, the media, and more than a few posters in here used it to paint a woman as a racist. She had no way to defend herself, and to see her tarnished like that was in my opinion underhanded and cowardly. The way they covered that statue with a black sheet was shameful virtue signaling. I'm amazed they didn't use a white sheet.

I'm glad you brought up Paul Robeson. Because context was needed here, and those who jumped on the "She's a racist" bandwagon might actually give some thought to their opinions before they jump on the accusation train.

Context is so easy to manipulate these days, and more and more people allow themselves to be manipulated instead of getting the whole story.

I saw terms thrown around in here like whitesplaining the past few days. As if a persons skin color precludes them from having a valid opinion on something. Is that racism? Some would say it is. I say it's just lazy.

- MBFlyerfan


Very well stated.
Joe Nardone
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Medicine Hat
Joined: 07.05.2018

Apr 22 @ 1:15 PM ET
If the Flyers or their owner, Comcast are now going to play morality police then why do they allow certain "acts" to play in their arena?

100% of the acts that play in that building have no racial overtones?

R Kelly's tape of him molesting an underage girl has been out for many many years. Long before he was on stage in Phila in. Lady Gaga and Jay Z also collaborated with R Kelly. Why are they not guilty by association. Why are they allowed to play Wells Fargo.

Previous drug dealer, Meek Mill has racist lyrics and he sings about raping women. Why did the Sixers owner plead for his release, fly him to a Sixers game that night and then have a Meek Mill night. Why is that ok?

Why do they display Wells Fargo on their building considering Wells was fined in the hundreds of millions of dollars because of their minority loan practices? Why does NBC owned by Comcast sell advertising to Wells Fargo?

Someone, somewhere answer the above before we even begin to discuss a Kate Smith song from 80 years ago.
2Real
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: IT'S GRITTIN TIME, CA
Joined: 07.14.2007

Apr 22 @ 1:17 PM ET
If the Flyers or their owner, Comcast are now going to play morality police then why do they allow certain "acts" to play in their arena?

100% of the acts that play in that building have no racial overtones?

R Kelly's tape of him molesting an underage girl has been out for many many years. Long before he was on stage in Phila in. Lady Gaga and Jay Z also collaborated with R Kelly. Why are they not guilty by association. Why are they allowed to play Wells Fargo.

Previous drug dealer, Meek Mill has racist lyrics and he sings about raping women. Why did the Sixers owner plead for his release, fly him to a Sixers game that night and then have a Meek Mill night. Why is that ok?

Why do they display Wells Fargo on their building considering Wells was fined in the hundreds of millions of dollars because of their minority loan practices? Why does NBC owned by Comcast sell advertising to Wells Fargo?

Someone, somewhere answer the above before we even begin to discuss a Kate Smith song from 80 years ago.

- Joe Nardone

something is not like the other
Levit8
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Joined: 07.24.2015

Apr 22 @ 1:18 PM ET
we're not disowning kate smith we're just finding a better person to celebrate because times change
- 2Real


Define "better". Is it someone tall and blonde with blue eyes?
wbon22
Season Ticket Holder
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ
Joined: 02.21.2008

Apr 22 @ 1:21 PM ET
Bill,
That was a great article. I was hoping that you would have something to say about this issue because I frankly figured what you had to say would not be reactionary but would be measured.

I have several friends who are irate that the Flyers "dropped Kate" as they say. I explained to them that once the Yankees did, and the press that brought, it was only a matter of time. That doesn't make it right, that doesn't make it good, it just makes it a fact.

I personally don't agree with the decision, but I understand it. I also understand that being born a white man in the mid 1960's there is a lot that I will never understand when it comes to being a person of color in this country. I just wish more people took the time to understand that, as you say, history is messy instead of jumping in and finding out that the pool is not deep enough.
2Real
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: IT'S GRITTIN TIME, CA
Joined: 07.14.2007

Apr 22 @ 1:23 PM ET
Define "better". Is it someone tall and blonde with blue eyes?
- Levit8

that's for the flyers/comcast to define not me
rlalli720
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Levittown, PA
Joined: 12.02.2013

Apr 22 @ 1:30 PM ET
I totally agree that this is your best article that I have read.
I believe things like this are getting out of hand.
PLindbergh31
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Company Stogeville, NJ
Joined: 02.01.2008

Apr 22 @ 1:43 PM ET
I've lost 7 people in my life I was very close with to cancer. Seeing loved ones suffer and die right in front of you to that disease is one of the toughest things in life. About 3 months ago I was visiting my Mother in the hospital, while walking to her room I had to go through the pediatrics area. As I was walking down the hallway I saw a very young boy walking towards me, no more than 6 years old. He had no hair, and was clutching a teddy bear. He looked so scared. I had to go inside the bathroom and compose myself before I got to my Mom's room. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Reason I'm bringing this up is, when Clarke uttered that sentence "it's not our fault Roger got cancer" That was one of the most thoughtless, insensitive, dumb things I've ever heard anyone say. I know this offended a lot of people at the time.
What did the Flyers do about it?
2Real
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: IT'S GRITTIN TIME, CA
Joined: 07.14.2007

Apr 22 @ 1:49 PM ET
I've lost 7 people in my life I was very close with to cancer. Seeing loved ones suffer and die right in front of you to that disease is one of the toughest things in life. About 3 months ago I was visiting my Mother in the hospital, while walking to her room I had to go through the pediatrics area. As I was walking down the hallway I saw a very young boy walking towards me, no more than 6 years old. He had no hair, and was clutching a teddy bear. He looked so scared. I had to go inside the bathroom and compose myself before I got to my Mom's room. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Reason I'm bringing this up is, when Clarke uttered that sentence "it's not our fault Roger got cancer" That was one of the most thoughtless, insensitive, dumb things I've ever heard anyone say. I know this offended a lot of people at the time.
What did the Flyers do about it?

- PLindbergh31

Gave us Holmgren and Ronny Hextall as GM
hammarby31
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: i'm wearing 79 cater hart jerseys at the same time, NM
Joined: 01.02.2007

Apr 22 @ 2:21 PM ET
insightful and well-written, as always, bill. as one with a history degree myself, i certainly appreciate your perspective.

if anything bothers me about this, it’s the swiftness which ownership reacted/decided, while i understand it given the context with respect to the yankees and corporate culture.

personally, i wish they retired this long ago, in any form, whether solo or duet with lauren hart, so i have no upset surrounding the decision to move on, regardless of the reason. it doesn’t diminish what kate and the song meant to the flyers at that time.

i’ll take it one step further and say i’d prefer that anthems no longer be performed before any pro sporting event. i’ve felt that way for a long time, yet i don’t think that will happen anytime soon, if ever.

RIP, kate.
Hokeeguy9
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Joined: 06.25.2012

Apr 22 @ 2:32 PM ET
You just solidified your position as the best writer in sports!! Well thought, and well written. Bravo Bill!!!👍
landros 2
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: Centre of universe
Joined: 02.07.2007

Apr 22 @ 2:37 PM ET
great points Bill. The world has changed and continues to evolve. By holding people from the past accountable by todays standards is indeed a slippery slope.
2Real
Philadelphia Flyers
Location: IT'S GRITTIN TIME, CA
Joined: 07.14.2007

Apr 22 @ 2:43 PM ET
great points Bill. The world has changed and continues to evolve. By holding people from the past accountable by todays standards is indeed a slippery slope.
- landros 2

they're not attacking kate smith they're just removing a statue
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