The Michigan Daily
Monday, November 27, 1989 "
Once again, there's a movement
afoot in Congress to change the na-
tional anthem. At present, of course,
the national anthem is the "Star-
Spangled Banner," a paean to the
fundamental virtues that this country
was founded upon (i.e., blowing up
The problem with the current an-
them is that it spans a range of ap-
proximately 750 octaves, ranging
from several notes above middle "C"
well into the infrared spectra, so the
average person cannot sing all the
notes of the anthem without the aid
of either a Vocoder or a strategically-
So a group of legislators periodi-
cally pushes to change the anthem to
a less challengipg piece, like the
Emergency Broadcast System signal,
because if there's one thing that
America's all about, by God, it's
that any shmuck in the country
should be able to do anything, even
- or should I say especially - if
he or she is completely untalented.
In this sense, Ronald Reagan was
the greatest president America ever
Nowhere is this American value
more apparent than in the recent rise
of "Do It Yourself News." TV sta-
tions across the country have been
soliciting contributions from view-
ers lucky enough to videotape news
events such as tornadoes or plane
crashes, in some cases even offering
money for footage. This practice has
helped to ease the burden of over-
worked TV journalists, many of
whom in the past have had to have
had to cancel entire fitting sessions
with their tailors because they actu-
ally had to go out and cover some
pesky news event themselves.
Well, some stations (WDIV in
Detroit for one) have upped the ante
lately by establishing special phone
numbers for people to call in news
from their own cellular car phones.
Go on, folks, feel free to creep by
those multi-car crashes - remem-
ber, you're not gawking, you're per-
forming a public service!
If the trend continues, TV news
anchors will need be nothing more
than a sort of switchboard operator,
segueing between reports from Joe
and Jane America. In the spirit of in-
fotainment, I'm making you privy
to a screening of, not the actual
thing, but a lifelike dramatization of
the Do It Yourself Newscast:
"Good evening, I'm Biff Incisors
with tonight's news. For tonight's
lead story, let's switch over to Flem
Gangrene of Springfield, Missouri,
with a video of the DC-10 crash
there earlier today. Flem?"
"OK, well, right here's my boy
Jesse's softball game, which I was
tapin' when the plane come down.
Jesse's the one in center field there,
with his fingers in his mouth. They
was just switchin' sides for the third
inning when all these pieces of
metal started fallin' on the field.
"Now here I cut to where we
drove out to the interstate to have us
a look at the crash site. Here's me
holding the gold Timex quartz job
that I got off this arm I found out in
the field... OK, and then here the
tape goes blank, which is where one
of the state troopers committed a vi-
olent act of press censorship on me
when I was tryin' to get a shot of
Jesse posing with the severed head of
one of the crash victims."
"Any word on the number killed,
"God damn it, I forgot to check. I
think I can get about $150 for the
"In other news tonight, let's
check in with Gracie and Merv Hig-
gins of International Falls, Min-
nesota, with a news analysis on the
recent events in Eastern Europe."
"Thanks, Biff. Here's some
footage we shot last summer when
our church group went on a tour of
Europe. Here's Gracie by the Berlin
Wall, which of course the Germans
have torn down now -"
"Excuse me, but isn't that the
"You ever been to Europe, Biff?"
"Well, no, but -"
"And this is the Great Tower of
by Jim Poniewozik
Communism, which was torn down
just last week when -"
"That's the Eiffel Tower, Merv.
That's in Paris."
"He's right, Merv. Remember,
that's the restaurant where you al-
most ate a snail."
"Aw, hell. Well, my point is,
these people in Eastern Europe -"
"France is in Western Europe."
"West of what? Anyway, the
point is that we think these people
in Eastern or Western Europe or
whatever are really just folks like
you and me, although their waiters
are a little rude. But that don't mean
we've got to start doin' this metric
"Thanks, folks. Now for the daily
Weather Poll. We called 2,000 cellu-
lar car phone owners to ask them
what the weather was in their part of
the country. The results indicate a 57
percent chance of partial sunshine
with heavy winds, a 29 percent
chance of snow, and a 14 percent
chance that abortion should remain
legal in cases of rape and incest. Be
sure to bundle up!
"Finally, we have a late-breaking
report in from Edna McCheese, call-
ing from her cellular phone in
"Hi. Um, I don't know if this is
important, but I was listening to the
news on the radio, and it seems
someone calling from their car
phone in Washington says Congress
not only voted to change the na-
tional anthem today, but they also
changed the national motto from E
pluribus unun to, um...
"Well, I couldn't make out the
words, but apparently, it's Latin for
Hemingway, Morrison, Rushdie, Kingston,
Steinbeck, Jong, Janowitz, Dante,
Garcia Marquez, Groening, Woodward
Se.uss, Milton, Didion, Berra, Walker, Dick
Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Jung, Hawking
Sc'nembechler, Waterson, Proust, Joyce.
Do any of these names mean anything to you?
Call Daily Arts at
763-0379 and ask for Mark.
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