Dramatis Personae: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – (AOC); Nancy Pelosi (NP); Al Gore – (AG); Narrator who looks and sounds like Rod Serling – (NRS); Barack Obama – (BO); Michelle Obama – (MO);
Scene 1- Unknown Office building; 8 pm Mid-July
A narrator, who looks and sounds a hell of a lot like Rod Serling circa 1961, is standing in front of a map of the United States
NRS – Tonight’s cautionary tale is most unusual and requires that we imagine the following. Here behind me is a map of the United States. But what if suddenly it disappeared (whole map goes dark except one point of light) and all that was left was a tiny dot called Washington D.C.? Now imagine that within this tiny world there was no longer radio, television, the internet, telephones, gas engines or even electricity. And assume that the only thing that farmers were allowed to grow was vegetables. No beef, pork, chicken or fish. And finally imagine that even wishing for any of these things was now a death sentence executed by a monster. If you can imagine all that you’ve just entered the Bizarro Zone (well I couldn’t use the real name).
Scene 2 – A ramshackle farm building with peeling paint and a wooden porch with a porch swing with an old haggard woman fanning herself with a piece of paper.
NRS – And here is the lair of the monster, a farmhouse with all the misery of pre-industrial life on display. Over there in the swing on the porch is Aunt Nancy Pelosi, she once had the most influence over the monster but one time she hinted that maybe eliminating all private jets wouldn’t be a “good thing” and she was reduced to the cracked-brain non-gavel wielding hag you see before you.
NP – Hey not so much of the hag thing. I just got another facelift and I’m a damn good-looking babe, you male chauvinist pig.
NRS – As I was saying, the monster does not like to be contradicted. Oh, and I’ve forgotten to introduce the monster. She’s a bug-eyed petulant millennial Latina from the Bronx who can’t even spell climatology but don’t be fooled. There’s a nasty mean streak behind that googly eyed expression and what passes for a brain is completely in charge of her surroundings. Meet Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or as she’s known to her fawning minions A-oh-see. (swift view change to show AOC trying to get something unstuck from between her horse teeth with her pinky nail, then noticing the camera and glaring in a cross-eyed scowl.
Scene 3 – Same farmhouse from the viewpoint facing the road. An overweight man (Al Gore) on a delivery bicycle is straining along the driveway to the house. On the ground in front of the house A-oh-see is playing in the dust. He pulls up in front of her.
AG – Hi, there A-oh-see. My it’s good to see you today. Whatcha doing there? Whatever it is it’s sure good, but I was just wondering what you were doing there.
AOC – I was figuring out how many white men it takes to pull a wagon for ten women of color in the next Cinco de Mayo parade.
AG – Oh, that’s a real good thing. Why I never knew so much good figuring going on as you sure can do.
AOC – Yeah, go away now, you’re starting to make me mad.
(Gore quickly scurries away toward the house. He carries some boxes into the kitchen and addresses Michelle Obama who is shucking corn in the sink)
AG – Hello Mrs. Obama, it’s certainly a good day today and we all just love A-oh-see so much, that’s right, she was out there figuring and figuring and it was just great.
MO – Hello Al. Yeah, it’s certainly a great day all right and we’re real happy here, we are.
AG – I brought you some things for the party tonight. I’ve got corn flour and whole wheat flour and baking soda.
MO – Have you got any white flour for the cake?
AG – Oh, we don’t have any more of that. Not since A-oh-see explained to us just how evil white is. No, we don’t want none of that, we don’t. I mean we used to think it was useful but it’s real good that A-oh-see set us straight on that. Well not straight, we don’t say straight no more we don’t, no sir, I mean no ma’am, Ma’am.
MO – Yeah, it’s funny how you forget how things used to be when you could just say something without being afraid.
AG – Oh, it’s good that you said that but I don’t think you mean it because it’s much better now that we don’t say anything that A-oh-see says is bad. It’s real, good.
MO – That’s right, it’s real, good. But last week when she was denouncing honey because it was stolen from bees, she got so excited from screaming that her eyes were extra bulged out and I thought maybe her blood pressure might be reaching maybe five hundred or something, mumble, mumble, mumble…
(Al Gore looking panicky and grabbing his box and heading for the door)
AG – I better be getting on, but can you let A-oh-see know that I got her corn flour that she likes so much? Can you tell her it was me who got it specially for her?
MO – I sure will Al. But don’t worry she hates you much less than most other white men.
Scene 4 – Same farmhouse, upstairs where Barack Obama is putting on his tie for the party. He looks in the mirror and sees A-oh-see staring at him in her friendliest cross-eyed frown.
BO – Oh, hi there, A-oh-see. It’s good that you were standing behind so quiet like.
AOC – None of the other congress persons came to play with me today. I wanted congress persons to play with today.
BO – Yes, it’s good that you wanted them to come but last time you denounced Debbie Wasserman Schultz to the Congressional Black Caucus as a Zionist collaborator and they shaved her head and painted it red. Folks were awful upset about that.
AOC – But I want to play with other congress persons.
BO – Tell you what, we’ll invite some of the rinos. They’ll be so grateful just for being asked that they’ll come even if you do denounce them. they’re used to it anyway. Anyway, A-oh-see everybody loves you. You’re everybody’s favorite.
AOC – But I remember one time that somebody thought bad things about me. I can’t remember who it was. Who was that?
BO – Oh, that was Joe Crowley, after you beat him in the primary. He said you weren’t qualified. But don’t worry, Michelle had the FBI and the IRS defenestrate him so he won’t bother you anymore.
AOC – That’s right Joe Crowley, he was a bad white man, a very bad white man. I hate anybody who doesn’t do what I want.
BO – But everybody loves you A-oh-see, you’re everybody’s favorite. Now come on, let’s get ready for the party.
To be continued …
The industrial powerhouse of 1950 [Detroit] is now a crime-ridden wasteland with a functioning literacy rate equivalent to West African basket-cases.
American Nations – A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America – by Colin Woodard – A Book Review – Part 2
(The first part of this review is found here)
In the second and third parts of the review I’ll go in depth about how the characteristics of the more important “nations” influenced how the political and social divisions in the later history of the United States would align.
Although the Spanish, French and even the English at Jamestown colonized earlier than the New England colonists, the Pilgrims and the Puritans were the biggest influence on early American life. The Puritans left England, en masse, from mostly East Anglia to found a populous religiously intolerant Calvinist “heaven on Earth’ that they could run their own way. They despised the aristocratic Norman noblemen and believed that a tightly knit town life run by selectmen who all agreed with the Puritan values would give them the social cohesion and resources needed to flourish and spread their way of life to the surrounding communities and eventually the other nations.
The abiding characteristic that marks the Yankee is his desire to interfere with anyone else who does not live life the way the Puritan thinks it should be lived. They are inveterate busybodies who cannot abide anyone enjoying life except on their terms. This was notable in the 1600s and is equally true today. Even with the demise of their belief in God they have turned their social justice proclivities into a cult that invests much of their time and energy in policing everybody else’s business.
As a practical consequence of their numbers and their organized approach to life they quickly spread in all available directions. They spread north and east into New Hampshire, Maine and even the Canadian Maritime Provinces. They went west and south into Connecticut, Long Island and eventually most of New York State. Later when the western areas of the continent became accessible, they migrated to the Great Lakes region essentially colonizing all of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Ohio and even northwestern Pennsylvania. And much later, in the mid to late 1800s, they even colonized the Pacific Northwest forming the core of Oregon and Washington and even areas of northern California.
One very exceptional branch that emerged late from Yankeedom (as Woodard names the New England founding) was the Mormons. They were a radical sect founded by a Yankee from New York state named Joseph Smith. Their extremely unorthodox beliefs and community couldn’t hope to be accepted in the confines of orthodox New England so they eventually fled the United States for Utah. But it is interesting that their New England heritage of religious communalism is probably the only way that they were able to survive the high desert of the Far West. Their cooperative lifestyle allowed farming in an area where all other small farmers eventually failed and left.
Diametrically opposed to the culture and the approach of the Puritans of Yankeedom were the landed gentry who colonized Virginia and later the Carolinas. These men were landed gentry who utilized indentured farmers and later on, black slaves to become wealthy from tobacco, rice and sugar estates that they were given by their aristocratic connections in England. In Virginia, the Carolinas and later in Georgia, the local government was a closely held enterprise of the wealthy few who did not even permit the common men to vote and certainly not hold office. And once the system of farming was worked out, these men accumulated great wealth and lived more sumptuously than their patrons back in England ever dreamed of. The colony of Virginia never expanded much beyond its original borders but the deep south plantations of the Carolinas moved steadily west through the gulf state areas of Alabama, Mississippi, and eventually into Florida. Later when cotton became the great cash crop, areas of Tennessee, Arkansas and even Texas were also included in this plantation society. These aristocrats were the spiritual descendants of the landed nobility of England and felt that they were owed obedience by the common people and should answer only to themselves in the way they transacted business and lived their lives. Woodard compares the rivalry between the Puritans of New England and the Cavaliers of the Deep South as an analogue to the sides of the English Civil War where the puritan roundheads under Cromwell fought to the death against the cavalier gentlemen of King Charles. And indeed, the documents of the time show that both sides saw it in the same terms.
At all times and even during the American Revolution when these opponents were allies and even countrymen a rivalry and a bitter hatred existed between these two “nations.”
In the next installment I’ll talk about how the other nations and especially the Appalachians figured into this wrestling match for control of North America.
For all the casual slurs about ‘cultural imperialism’, British imperialists were more interested in other cultures than anybody before or since, and, if they hadn’t dug it up and taken care of it, we’d know hardly anything about the ancient world. What’s important about a nation’s past is not what it keeps walled up in the museum but what it keeps outside, living and breathing as every citizen’s inheritance.
Okay, so this is it, this is the payoff. This is the quintessential Twilight Zone episode. Not even I dare to dispute the primacy of this one. This is the A+ by which all other episodes are measured against and found wanting.
Rod Serling is standing in front of a map of the United States when the whole thing goes dark except for one dot on the map that he tells us is Peaksville, Ohio. He tells us that the people there don’t know if the rest of the world was destroyed or if they have been removed from the rest of reality but either way, they are cut off from everything else. And he tells us that this was done by a monster and that the monster rules this little world through fear and intimidation. He has eliminated electric power, automobiles, radio and television and all other modern conveniences. Then Mr. Serling shows us the monster. It’s a cute little six-year-old boy named Anthony Fremont. He can read thoughts and he can create or destroy anything he wants to just by thinking it.
Next, we see life in Peaksville. A grocery store bicycle delivery man shows up at the Fremont farm and says some polite things about the three headed gophers that Anthony is playing with just in time for Anthony to get tired of it and kill it with his mind. And then he sends it into the cornfield which means it disappears.
The deliveryman talks to Mrs. Fremont about the things that have run out in the store and about the tomato soup that he found because he knows Anthony likes it. And we meet Aunt Amy who has been crack brained since Anthony stopped her from singing a while ago. Anthony likes music but not singing. And then we see Mr. Fremont in his room getting ready for a party that night and talking to Anthony about his day. Anthony says that no children came to play with him and he wanted them to. His father reminds Anthony that last time children visited him he sent them to the cornfield and if he keeps doing that eventually there won’t be anybody left. Just then a collie dog starts barking outside and we find out that Anthony doesn’t like dogs, so soon we hear a yelp of pain and the dog joins the three headed gopher in the cornfield.
That night is a dual celebration. Anthony will present one of his occasional television shows and it is also Dan Hollis’s birthday. The television show is a vicious battle between two triceratopses jabbing each other with their horns and attempting to throw each other off a cliff. When one dinosaur is victorious the television goes blank and Anthony declares, “that’s all the television there is.” Ethel presents her husband Dan with two birthday presents, a bottle of brandy and a Perry Como record album. Dan speculates that maybe they could listen to the instrumental introduction before the singing. But Mr Fremont declares that it would be too risky.
While the rest of the party gathers around while Anthony listens to Pat Riley play the piano Dan Hollis starts getting drunk on his brandy. Initially he just becomes maudlin about the dwindling supply of whiskey but eventually he starts railing against Anthony and blaming his parents for bringing him into the world. When Anthony becomes angry with him, Dan tells Anthony, “that’s right you think those bad thoughts about me and maybe some man whose had enough of this will take some something hard across your skull and end this.” For a second it looks like Aunt Amy is reaching for a fireplace poker but then she backs off. Anthony says to Dan, “You’re a bad man, a very bad man and you keep thinking bad thoughts about me.” Then he points his finger at Dan and as a shadow on the wall we see Dan turn into a jack in the box. Then we see Dan’s face bobbing as if on the jack in the box. Mr. Fremont begs his son, “please son, send it to the cornfield.” And he does. Then he warns Ethel Hollis that she better not think bad thoughts or he’ll do the same to her too.
While everyone tries to put a happy face on what has happened, they notice that it’s snowing (in the summer). Mr. Fremont starts to say that that will destroy half the crop but then he squelches his thought and finishes off by saying it’s a good thing that Anthony made it snow. And finally, he says with all the sincerity of a man with a gun to his head that tomorrow is gonna be a real good day.
This is the best Twilight Zone episode. It’s the vision of hell on earth. It’s a petulant child with the powers of life and death. The story is original, creepy and fun. A+
[We] assume that social progress is like technological progress: one cannot uninvent the internal combustion engine, so how could one uninvent liberty?
Trump’s rally in Michigan got started about a half hour late but I still watched the first thirty, forty minutes. Boy, he was having fun. He reminisced about the Michigan rally he had on the night before the 2016 election. And he managed to re-use his Hillary chant of “lock her up” as “lock them up” for the Russia-gate crew.
But what I was interested about was whether he was serious when he said that the conspirators must be held accountable. If he means he expects a prosecutor to indict them then I’m very interested. That would be a quantum leap from what has always been Republican status quo. Remember when George W. Bush assigned a prosecutor over the Plame fake scandal. The prosecutor tortured Bush’s associates for years and Bush never even gave forlorn Scooter Libby a pardon, merely commuted his sentence.
If instead of meekly taking a beating President Trump turns the tables on the FBI it could be the chance to reform the intelligence agencies into what they are supposed to be, the servants of the people not our masters. Of course, that’s almost a science fiction story but why shouldn’t I hope? After all we’ve never seen a man like Trump in the White House. Who’s to say that he won’t bust the whole dirty establishment to pieces just to get revenge on the creeps who tortured him for three years?
Hey, that felt good! Anyway, it’s good to hear President Trump happy again. Let’s see if he can leverage the momentum, he’s got from the Mueller capitulation to stampede these buffaloes off a cliff. I sincerely hope he will. But at least let’s enjoy this week. It’s a treat to see the progs suffering the vapors again.