When most of us criticise a beer or a top footie team ("it/they was/were shite"), We're not normally required to point to our premiership football sucesses, or to our award winning beverages. We can say such-and-such a popular music artist is rubbish, and come up with a list of objections to the material, performance and person, without having to "top" the "charts" ourselves. We're entitled to our opinions, we're entitled to hold forth on them, and you're entitled to ignore us utterly.
That geezer Voltaire once wrote "The best is the enemy of the good." - OK, he wrote "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien." , but it wasn't his fault that he was French, so we won't hold that against him. And of course if we're waiting for the perfect
And here we are, the bit where I carp at the choice of music. Now, I know that cost and rights constraints have to be really important in a job like this. But, really, that selection out of Holst? I actually like this bit of music, but it's terminally besmirched by being the basis of the tune "Thaxted", to which "I Vow to Thee, My Country" was often sung. Let's all refresh our memories with the words of the first verse:
I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
Of course, this was written in 1908, when nationalistic fervour, and for that matter, senseless sacrifice and unquestioning obedience, was suitable matter for popular song. Ten years later, Owen wrote:
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Fifty years after that, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote (and Edwin Starr made famous):
War (Huh) What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. (Good God, Y'all).Here, if you're interested.