Please Rise Against Our National Anathema
What's that small print on the flag? [See below] 'STARTLINGLY FUNNY ABOUT HORRENDOUS SUBJECTS' -- Alex Phelps, Hartland, Vermont [see REVIEW below] 'Please Rise Against OUR NATIONAL ANATHEMA' is the Panthers' third album (the first was on vinyl in 1982) and their most hard-edged. Loosely framed as a quarter-century tribute broadcast on Radio Free Vermont - a community station under bureaucratic siege by the Federal Communications Commission, the album presents Panther pieces written as early as 1979 and as recently as June 2004, but all with current relevance. The Panthers are Vermont's oldest living comedy group, first working together in 1978. The following year they created their own show, The Panther Program, on Vermont Public Radio (VPR), which ran off and on through 1992, supported by grants from the Satellite Development Fund and (for eight years) the National Endowment for the Arts. During that time The Panther Program was honored more than any other VPR program, cited for excellence by the International Radio Festival of New York, the Writers Guild of America, and (three times) the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Without warning or explanation, VPR blacklisted the Panthers in 1992 and the blacklist remains in force to this day. The Panthers continued to perform on stage and other radio stations, supported by occasional grants from the Vermont Arts Council. During the past 26-plus years, close to a hundred performers have been Panthers for longer or shorter periods of time. Ruth Wallman, Kate Sandberg, Sandy Gartner, and Seth Chalmer are the relative newcomers on this album, while Paul Bogosian and Dick McCormack have been in and out of the company for a couple of decades, and Bill Boardman is the last participating founding member. Steve Osterlund has been our engineer since 1992. The company ranges in age from 20-something to 60-something. THAT SMALL PRINT ON THE FLAG -- Thus spake Dubya: 'I believe God wants me to run for President' 'I do not need to explain why I say things' 'Families is where our nation finds hope, where dreams take wing' 'I think war is a dangerous place' 'Lucky me, I hit the trifecta' 'This guy tried to kill my Dad' 'Saddam Hussein had a weapons program... dozen of weapons of mass-destruction-related program activities' 'I would never use God to promote foreign policy decisions' 'Every citizen needs to hear a voice' 'God told me to strike at Al Qaeda' 'I wish I knew the law' 'No President has ever done more for human rights than I have' 'I'm a warrior. I'm not very objective' 'Religion has been around a lot longer than Darwinism' 'I don't trust the federal government' 'Some people have too much freedom' 'Poor people aren't necessarily killers' 'I don't do nuance' 'I know what I believe... I believe what I believe is right' 'A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier'