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To the editors:
It comes as a great surprise to hear that the Harvard Marching Band is changing its image since toning down one’s humor requires there to be humor in the first place (News, “Band Tones Down It Humor,” Oct. 17). It’s as if one was told that Miracle Whip is coming out with a new, less intense flavor.
A reason for the problem can be seen from what the band’s script-writer, Courtney A. Roberts ’03, told The Crimson: “Part of the difficulty of being in my position is that you’re trying to play to an audience who has so many different interests—There are people who are going to absolutely love it if I bash Northeastern, but there are going to be people who are also very offended by it. The key is to make the show less vicious but not less edgy.” Putting aside the fact that by using the word “edgy” she sounds like a Doritos spokesperson, her wish to appeal to the lowest common denominator is a surefire comedy-killer.
It’s no accident that the Columbia University Marching Band, which goes out of its way to épater les bourgeois (and just about everyone else, lumpenproles included), has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and was named one of the 101 essential things in New York City by Time Out: New York magazine. Harvard’s band, by contrast, has long been known for its soporific quality—the marching bland, if you will.
Justin B. Shubow
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Oct. 17, 2002
The writer is a former drum major of the Columbia University Marching Band.
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