from December 15, 2003
Many columns ago I announced my intention of running for President of the U. S. of A. as the candidate of the Dead Rights Party.
Queried about the main plank in my platform, I replied, “A Mount Rushmore for every deceased American.” The number of e-mails I have received from qualified members of this group has been astounding, putting to rest the cavalier assumption that the dead have ceased to care about their country. The percentage of those whose heart was stirred by this slogan was overwhelming, if by that word we mean one hundred percent approval. (In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that several thousand respondents posed practical questions, such as how many mountains are available for such a project. I have referred these questions to my friend and colleague, Miles na Gopaleen, Jr.)
In this holiday season, I deem it appropriate to make promises, especially concerning matters of which I can confidently claim to know a thing or two. Thus, this column will be devoted to matters of art—specifically music, and more specifically holiday music.
If elected, I vow to issue a diktat preventing the printing, singing, and sometimes even the humming, of certain “Christmas carols.”
For example, “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” will be completely proscribed for its Francophile leanings and the exclusion of any reference to a male torch-bearer. “Jingle Bells” will be allowed only under the condition that the carolers have as their mode of transportation an actual one-horse sleigh, which must, of course, be operating in a snowy clime. Singers of “The Little Drummer Boy” will be prosecuted if they do not include among their number at least one but no more than one drummer boy; moreover, the boy must not exceed five feet in height and weigh no more than one hundred pounds. The drum must have been purchased in the year of its beating and must not exceed 24 inches in circumference. Under no conditions will “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” be sung, though it may be hummed if the humming does not lead to a child’s asking to hear the words. “Rudolf, etc.” will be completely excised from the classical canon of acceptable carols.
In addition, no record album or single may contain a song sung by a crooner who antedates Bing Crosby; under no circumstances shall he be referred to as “Der Bingle.” NPR will refrain from playing songs not performed by either the Robert Shaw Chorale, the Vienna Choir Boys, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Nor will any public television corporation be allowed to broadcast the ragged old standard, “O Holy Night,” as sung by Luciano Pavarotti in a Montreal cathedral on Christmas Eve.
Though this list is far from complete, it is a fair indication of the policies the Dead Rights Party will, if elected, promulgate.