Monday, December 14, 2015

"Hark? The herald angels sing?": An assertive Christmas favorite recast, updated, in uptalk

Image boldly proclaiming a pre-uptalk message
Sometimes I hear a public radio interview with someone chosen for their knowledge of a particular subject, and it's a little unsettling when they exhibit a recent tendency to end declarative sentences as if they were questions.  The voice rises, and they go on to the next sentence or clause, concluding that one the same way. "Uptalk" makes the talker seem as if he or she is seeking approval as the discourse progresses. I'm sure you've heard this too?

So, in this season when boldly assertive hymns and carols are belted out in churches and elsewhere, I wondered if it would reflect widespread skepticism about the Christmas message to recast such a beloved declaration as "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" in uptalk.

Along the way, I thought other contemporary speech habits, including slang and in-vogue colloquialisms, would make suitable partners for uptalk. Stylistic consistency is important. (If you sing what follows, uptalk will be harder to convey without the addition of a higher note at the end of each phrase. Experiment as you will? We can all be fluent in uptalk? Merry Christmas?)

Hark? The herald angels sing?
When did this become a thing?
God got hip to stuff we’re into?
(Trigger warning: that means sin, too?)

See how he impacts our lives,
Calling husbands, children, wives,
Same sex partners, cis and trans?
All are Jesus’ hugest fans?

Hark? The herald angels sing?
When did this become a thing?

We’re like, Jesus, fix this mess —
You duh man for awesomeness?
He’s like, I can’t do it totes —
Here’s the music, play the notes?

Do the work and I’ll just chill?
If you mess up, that’s God’s will?
Now I’m diapered in a stable,
Grown, I’ll eat at the cool kids’ table?

Hark? The herald angels sing?
When did this become a thing?

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