Jalopnik — Thirty-four years ago, at the launch of Ted Turner's Cable News Network, the founder made a grandiose and specific promise about his newly created round-the-clock operation. "Barring satellite problems, we won't be signing off until the world ends," Turner declared. And in anticipation, he prepared a final video segment for the apocalypse:
"We'll be on, and we will cover the end of the world, live, and that will be our last event. We'll play the National Anthem only one time, on the first of June [the day CNN launched], and when the end of the world comes, we'll play 'Nearer My God To Thee' before we sign off."
So here's the deal: as I started writing this blog, I was out on this video. I don't know what I thought would be airing on CNN as the world was drawing to its final close, but I thought it would be a bit more than a 1980 U.S. Army Band rendition of "Nearer My God to Thee" like this was the end of Titanic. After all, a song about dying seems a bit on the nose for the final broadcast in history.
But then I listened to the song as I was writing and I did a 180-degree turn on this one. It's actually quite calming and comforting. As weird as it sounds, I can actually see why that would be the choice for everyone to hear as we await our impending doom.
My only problem with it now is the rendition. This should be updated every 15 years or so. You can barely even tell what song they're playing in that grainy video and I can go on YouTube right now and find 10 better versions.
So I'm actually in on "Nearer My God to Thee" as we're all about to die. All I ask is that one of CNN's contributors airs some government secrets we all want to know so I can go split screen and get some forbidden knowledge as the world ends.
And here is a much better version of that song (no disrespect to the troops from 40 years ago):