This seems to be becoming a thing on television news: newscasters inserting lyrics from songs they like into the context of their broadcasts while keeping poker-faced. The purpose is probably to get people like me to write about it, so congratulations, MSNBC’s Katy Tur and Politico’s Jake Sherman, you won. There have been charming examples of this viral-ready technique; at least, I really enjoyed the Atlanta newscasters who fired off their favorite Prodigy lines at one another, in tribute to the Mobb Deep legend, when talking about traffic patterns the day after his passing.
But Tur and Sherman–savvy, nationally-known–are clearly playing 420-dimensional chess and angling for that more sinister, Alex-Trebek-saying-yass-on-Jeopardy kind of YouTube attention, and in no way am I here for it. Also, they only do it with Phish lyrics, and as of Monday, they have done it on four different occasions in the past five months, as Jambase.com points out. They integrate their Trey, Mike, and Jon lyrics so subtly that it’s even possible they did it even more times and the Phish Redditors just weren’t watching that day.
Let’s unpack today’s example and see how these gambits are put together. Truly, the cosmic Phish-head communication between these two is manical–haunting, even. Sherman, seemingly unscripted, fires off the opening line from Phish’s career-long standard “Mike’s Song” when describing a protest outside of the Senate office. Then Tur, also a lunatic, chuckles almost coldly before firing off a more obtuse line from another Phish fan favorite, “Tube” (part of their “Tube trilogy”). What in the hell?
Here’s the exchange (my emphasis to highlight the quotations):
SHERMAN: “I don’t see it…it seems like they’re trapped in time and don’t know what to do when it comes to this legislation.”
TUR: “Or [low, knowing chuckle] feeling like it’s not so stupendous living th[at] tube.”
God. I’m not a categorical Phish hater, but, without even getting into the whole “they’re talking about the future of health-care” thing, this feels like a bad, dark thing to me. If you’re someone who scoffs before saying the phrase “studio Phish,” however, you might well be into it, and I guess that’s fine. Watch below around 2:30.