Yesterday was not a good day for the mainstream media. The Robert Mueller report left journalists associated with outlets like CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times reeling for a hook that would redeem them of their cosmically false reporting on whether President Trump colluded with Russia to manipulate the results of the 2016 election.
New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman has been at the forefront of speculative “reporting” dating back to before Trump won the White House. In recent reporting, she took the opportunity to use Rep. Ilhan Omar’s anti-Semitic comments to call Trump a racist, and of course she had her own personal truth about Russian collusion before the release of the Mueller report concluded there was none. Haberman has certainly been known to bend the news to make the president and his supporters look as evil as possible, even in the absence of evidence.
On Thursday, as press gathered at the White House to eventually hear the news that Mueller had not only swung and missed at proving any Russian collusion, but also came up empty on evidence of obstruction, Haberman had an especially interesting take regarding the White House music selection.
Does…anyone at that White House understand the significance of that song? https://t.co/IK9h8fOwNj
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 18, 2019
“Edelweiss” is original to the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, “The Sound of Music,” and dates back to 1959. More recently, a version of “Edelweiss” was used by the Amazon series, “The Man in the High Castle.”
The series, based on a novel by Phillip K. Dick, takes place in an alternate version of the United States in the 1960s. In the show’s version, the Axis powers won World War II and have split up the United States as German states and Japanese states.
So the version of “Edelweiss” used by the series is meant to sound creepy and uncomfortable. Those unfamiliar with the origins of the song might even think it was supposed to sound like a German folk song now being sung in a zombie-like chorus in the fictionally occupied United States.
Based on Haberman’s tweet, I have to assume she watches “The Man in the High Castle.” While the Amazon series created its own version of the song that guts its emotional sentiment and original purpose, “Edelweiss” was written for “The Sound of Music” as a tear-jerking tribute to Captain von Trapp’s homeland of Austria.
In the musical, based on a true story, the von Trapps are forced to flee their homeland following the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany. The captain was no fascist, and while he loved Austria and its beautiful, pillowy, alpine flowers greeting him every morning, he knew he must escape to preserve his integrity and protect his family.
In “The Sound of Music,” Captain von Trapp singing “Edelweiss” is one of the most emotional musical numbers of the entire film. He attempts to softly strum a guitar and deliver the lyrics to a small crowd but becomes overwhelmed with emotion when he reaches the line “bless my homeland forever.” His family joins him on stage to help him finish. That night, they flee Nazi persecutors who are trying to recruit the captain into the Nazi war effort.
The namesake flower of the song is also associated with anti-Nazi Austrian Resistance groups, like the “Edelweiss Pirates,” which was comprised mainly of children and teens. Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, both Jewish and fiercely anti-Nazi, wrote the song at a later point in the musical production because they felt Captain von Trapp’s patriotism needed to be underscored.
While the White House band likely played “Edelweiss” because it is a beloved showtune penned by legendary American songwriters, the love and patriotism that was written into it make it the perfect song for the White House. Perhaps Haberman believes “Edelweiss” in the modern world is a symbol of a fictional television takeover by Nazis. But the reality, however inconvenient to her narrative, is that because of the sacrifice of so many we still live in the land of freedom without threat of Nazi persecution.
Bless my homeland forever.