Like it or not, the Swiss are in the news again. And I know what you are thinking: Winter Olympics already? It may come as a shock to many of my American readers, but I have it on good authority that some nations exist and do stuff even when the Olympics are not going on. The Swiss are a perfect example.
Last week Switzerland announced a contest through which they will choose a new national anthem to replace their current “Swiss Psalm,” which in turn replaced the English tune, “God Save the Queen” in 1961 because they eventually realized that 1) they were not English; and b) they didn’t even have a queen.
Besides making its listeners really sleepy, the problem with “Swiss Psalm” is evidently that it is a psalm. It includes such “outdated” and “old-fashioned” notions that God dwells among them and provides joy, bliss, and hope. With a new anthem, officials would like to exclude references to this so-called “God” and instead emphasize specifically Swiss values like “democracy and solidarity”—that is, solidarity excepting with those who happen to believe that God dwells among them and provides joy, bliss, and hope.
The prize for the winning entry is 10,000 Swiss francs, which—given today’s exchange rate—is roughly a gazillion dollars. Being the father of a soon-to-be-college-bound offspring as well as a dilapidated home-owner, I could use an extra gazillion dollars, and so I have decided to compose an entry for said Euro-contest. What have I got to lose other than my already waning self-respect and maybe a couple of Swiss friends?
Having the musical aptitude of a 1970s AT&T dial tone, my first decision was to choose a tune—a tune that would appropriately fit the growing affluence and increasing pagan-ness of Swiss culture. My first thought was a simple modification of the very over-played and over-heard Gotye tune, i.e.,“God is just somebody that I used to know…”
but it would no doubt cause everyone to mute all future skiing gold-medal presentations, which is the primary purpose for even having a national anthem in the first place: to rub it in during the Olympics.
Since Les Mis is all the rage right now, I considered a number of tunes from this lengthy and buxom musical. A couple were ruled out however, due to the unpleasant reminder of bald Anne Hathaway’s rather unflattering and somewhat repellent nasal-drip close-ups.
I did conTIMplate this idea:
“Master of the banks… The wealthiest of men… Selling army knives For euros and yen.”
Admittedly catchy, but…a bit too upbeat. When you’re on the podium you want tear-jerking, not toe-tapping. Anthems should be just that: an anthem. Something borne of war and suffering and overcoming adversity—not exactly simple criteria when bearing in mind Swiss history. This is why I have settled on the tune of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” It exclaims pride and majesty and will definitely show those crazy Austrians who is boss on the slopes.
So here it is. Tell me what you think. (If you need a reminder of the tune, click for the original version via the magic of YouTube.)
Do You Hear the Singing Swiss? Do you hear the singing Swiss? Not to be confused with Sweden— We are the alphorn-blowing people Who wear green led-er-ho-sen! Our low crime rates we affirm Prob’ly ‘cuz we all own a gun, And in cost-of-living terms We are number one! Will you eat our choc-o-late? Or our cheese that is full of holes? We’ll make you a nice watch; Your banking secrets won’t be told! —Where Roger of tennis And Ursula Andress call home! Do you hear the singing Swiss? Singing a song of neutral men? We are tol-erant of all people Except the in-tol-erant! Principles for which to die Are things that we will not condone. When tyran-ny is drawing nigh Just leave us alone! We will yodel in the Alps As part of cosmic accidents. Though we disbelieve the Pope We will guard him in stripe-y pants! —We’re a nation Of skiing sensations next to France! Do you hear the singing Swiss? Singing a song of God-less men? It is the music of a people Who’re util-i-tar-ian! When the power of the state Defines our morals by decree Our deterministic fate’s Rela-tiv-ity!
Dear Swiss Anthem Officials,
Please remit my payment in the form of 50,000 cronkites.