An Existential Controversy

In these times of universal angst and brouhaha, with the nation torn apart by endless raging controversies, I present a question of supreme significance to the future of humanity. It concerns the lyrics to a song from the early 1960s. Those lyrics, in part, are as follows:

Ooo, eee, ooo ah ah, ting, tang, walla walla bing bang, ooo eee.
Ooo ah ah ting tang walla walla bang bang.

Oh, so simple, you say. But there’s a problem with the penultimate syllable: is it bing or is it bang? I consulted a large group of experts on the topic and after searching their memories long and hard, they came down on both sides of the issue. Some were certain that the penultimate syllable is bing; others were adamant that it must be bang.

Both sides adduce compelling arguments to support their positions. The Bingers point out, quite rightly, that the syllable pair in the first verse is undeniably bing; therefore, symmetry demands that the same syllable used in the second verse. Yet the Bangers point out, equally rightly, that general principles of counterpoint require the second verse to contain bang as a kind of coda. They point to the conclusion of the final movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as an example of the serial use of this kind of violation of natural expectations, with powerful results. Even if the original authors used bing, a sophisticated musical aesthetic would force us to substitute bang.

This question has triggered a huge controversy on the Internet. The Bingers accuse the Bangers of using alternative facts, while the Bangers maintain that Bingers grab female genitalia. Lawsuits have been filed and several Congressmen have demanded a full investigation. 

The Trump Administration has leapt into the fray with both feet. In every public appearance, Mr. Trump insists that the correct syllable is bang. He has repeated it so often that most of his supporters now accept this as God-given truth. His Press Secretary has loudly insisted before the press that “It’s BANG — period!” His advisor Kellyanne Conway has appeared on multiple news programs explaining that Mr. Trump has a right to his “alternative hearing” of the song. And his chief of Staff, Reince Priebus, has declared on several Sunday news analysis programs that bang was the original intent of the songwriter, but was deliberately distorted by Democrats to confuse listeners. 

In his latest press conference, Mr. Trump argued vociferously with reporters who produced the original lyrics, insisting that the documents were faked and that the authors were, in any case, losers. He accused the press of lying repeatedly about the song and using it to undermine his Administration. He warned that reporters who continued this outrageous behavior would be sent to the newly built… at which point his Press Secretary interrupted the President and declared the press conference to be over.