Yesterday afternoon, eCapitol reporter Graham Lee Brewer released a story revealing that Gov. Mary Fallin did not renew former Gov. Brad Henry’s executive order recognizing The Flaming Lips‘ song “Do You Realize??” as the official Oklahoma Rock Song when she took office in 2011.
We heard a rumor about this last month and, unfortunately, Brewer’s report confirms it.
Since the Oklahoma Rock Song was signed into law by Gov. Brad Henry by Executive Order, it made the song designation seemingly temporary. Each Governor is given a choice to continue or terminate previous Executive Orders at the beginning of their term.
Pursuant to Title 75 O.S., Section 256, Executive Orders of previous gubernatorial administrations shall terminate ninety (90) calendar days following the inauguration of the next governor unless otherwise terminated or continued during that time by Executive Order.
Gov. Fallin’s Media Director Alex Weintz told eCapitol that in Fallin’s first three months her administration was trying to focus on their priorities, and the state rock song simply wasn’t one of them.
There was no press release mentioning Gov. Fallin had terminated this Executive Order when it happened in 2011, so kudos to Brewer for discovering this. Weintz was unable to provide a list of other Executive Orders Gov. Fallin did not approve and told eCapitol that the governor has no plans to replace the song at this time.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised the Governor didn’t renew the executive order It’s sad to hear that all of that hard work was done away with by Gov. Fallin.” - Rep. Joe Dorman
“I believe that most people think the Flaming Lips are great representatives for the state, and we believe we are. We love Oklahoma. We live here. We do a lot for Oklahoma. It would be disappointing if this honor went away, but it’s always going to be in people’s heads, I think, the state rock song, whether it’s officially mandated or not.” - Scott Booker, manager of the Flaming Lips
“It seems like if anyone’s concerned about it, it’s an artificial controversy. I would say it will always be the state’s rock and roll song, whether a lawyer tells you that there is a technically active executive order to that affect or not. Now, if she declares a new executive order that declares a different rock song, then you’ve got a conversation to have.”- Senator David Holt
To recap, the State Legislature adopted HCR1047 in 2008, specifying the voting process for the official Oklahoma State Rock and Roll Song. A competition was conducted to select the song, with Oklahomans nominating 454 songs. State agencies then nominated an expert panel (myself included) to narrow the list to 10 entries. Then, by an online vote, 21,061 votes were cast, with 10,738 (nearly 51%) voting in favor of “Do you Realize??” by the Flaming Lips from their 2002 album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
In March 2009, Senate Joint Resolution 24 sailed through the state Senate by a vote of 46-0. The Flaming Lips were in attendance for the vote and received a warm welcome from state legislators.
After the vote, band members took pictures with a steady stream of state legislators for at least an hour. Although it received no mention the day of, some state legislators later feigned shock that Flaming Lips bassist Michael Ivins wore a red t-shirt with a yellow sickle and hammer underneath a blazer.
That t-shirt, along with the band’s “reputation for using obscene language”, were used as reasons for the Oklahoma House of Representatives rejecting Resolution SJR24 in April 2009. The resolution actually won a majority of the votes (48-39), but failed to get the minimum of 51. Fourteen Representatives of the 101-member House were absent for the vote.
“Many of the same Republicans who voted against this resolution were excited just a few months ago to have their picture taken with the band, and requested signed copies of the picture.” - Rep. Joe Dorman in 2009
The Lost Ogle soon featured photos of three glory-hogging, hypocritical, spineless Republican representatives that posed for pictures with the band (next to the commie and the potty-mouth) in early March, then turned around and voted against the song in late April.
All hope seemed lost until Gov. Brad Henry swooped in a few hours later, recognized the band as “proud ambassadors of their home state”, and announced he would sign an Executive Order making “Do You Realize??” the official rock song of Oklahoma.
“These naysayers who want to talk about me saying (profanities) and Michael wearing this T-shirt, everybody can see through how silly this stuff is. I figured that no matter what happened, people would come to our rescue. People would have a reason to really fight for us and say, ‘No, this isn’t what Oklahoma is all about.’ … And I think the governor is very cool, how he’s come to our rescue.” - Wayne Coyne in 2009
If only Coyne had known Gov. Fallin had removed the Executive Order when he visited the Governor’s mansion on March 21 of this year for Christina Fallin’s birthday party. I’m sure that would have made his encounter with Gov. Fallin (pictured at top) much more interesting.