RED Herring!  

Color-Based Warning System Threatens RED's Namesake

By Jamie Gadette

“Someday we’ll find it/ The rainbow connection/ The lovers, the dreamers, and me!”
—The Muppets

Nearly one year after National Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge’s unveiling of the terror color code—a threat advisory system based on five shades with varying correlates of fear—citizens across the country continue to align their perception of personal safety with the proposed color of the day. In an unfortunate coincidence, red, a color intricately bound to the University of Utah school image, translates on the chart to a severe risk of terrorist activity.

So far, suggested replacements include teal, fuchsia and the predicted victor, whitey.

In response to the potentially harmful link, concerned administrators, along with various aspiring Associated Students of the University of Utah administrators, have announced a “Harmless Color Project.”

The contest will contribute to the ongoing quest to safeguard U.S. citizens by preventing the attachment of negative connotations of terror upon anyone affiliated with the university.

Severing the school’s connection to evil entails the replacement of the university’s traditionally accepted hell-raising pigment with a more pleasing, amiable hue.

Dennis Maher, newly appointed President of the University Committee to Protect and Distract (UCPD), was requested to resolve the situation. Maher, who is also responsible for keeping campus protests safely out of sight, found motivation in the desire to make the somewhat painful process of tossing out a piece of nostalgia light and celebratory. The struggle to formulate appropriate structural revision culminated during a commercial break.

“So I’m sitting in my living room, watching reruns and racking my brain for a solution, when that little white cartoon rabbit jumps on screen hawking his crap cereal,” he says. “The rabbit’s going on and on about Banana-Berry, the latest addition to the breakfast’s sugary morsels, and I’m just about to shoot out my telly when it hits me—if all these snot-faced kids can feel like they played a part in revamping a national product, we should be able to instill a similar delusion in our own student body.”

Maher’s insight was bolstered upon the observation of additional color contests by M&M’s (who replaced their tan candies first with blue, then purple) and Crayola (a company that only recently broke with tradition by inviting the public to broaden the limited spectrum of the crayon’s eight-box form).

Administrators, thrilled with the results of Maher’s mental labor, appropriated funds from the R.O.T.C. to transform his lofty goals into reality.

Students are requested to offer their input in the form of e-mail entries, which will be received at the project’s official Web site whatyoudon’tknowwon’ So far, suggested replacements include teal, fuchsia and the predicted victor, whitey. Mauve, velvet, rojo, tulip and maroon were rejected on the basis of their close connection to the existing offensive standard (although proponents of maroon claimed it was really more of a brown and should therefore be taken seriously). One other entry, polka-dots, was tossed as it reminded contest organizers of a cluster of deadly anthrax spores.

“We don’t know what kinds of crazy ideas certain colors might elicit,” Maher says. “You can never be too safe.”

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