"Humor is our way of defending ourselves from life's absurdities by thinking absurdly about them."
—Lewis Mumford (1895 - 1990)
(Swans - December 29, 2008 - January 1, 2009) The man is sitting at the kitchen table of the small apartment he rents but cannot afford. He makes the TV news for he is one of 30-plus million Americans that depend on food stamps. He has nothing left but $3 in his wallet. His fridge is empty. He feels bad, slightly humiliated to have to depend on the hated government to feed him. But he manages a grin. He is optimistic after all. "I am an American and I believe in gawd," he says in front of the camera. We all ache at the fate of the poor fellow and think of our own blessings. We ain't there yet, we think with unsaid and untold fear that the TV news wants us to feel. Be afraid, be very afraid, the story goes. It could happen to you. So, bless gawd and embrace the flag -- that's all that is left in the insolvent land of opportunity.
In this atmosphere of doom and gloom gawd and country will have to do for the many who are anxiously awaiting the "change we can believe in" and praying for the coming of a new Messiah, or whatever, as unemployment lines grow exponentially. For the rest of us, in the non-bigot reality-based community, it's going to be a time to hang on to the rails of sanity, and value a few laughs here and there, thus steering the ship far away from generalized despair.
Indeed, there is much to laugh about, from flying shoes to Cheney's endearment; from the Vatican Poppy, alerting the world to the danger of Sodom and Gomorrah, to all the prophets of Americana, many of them residing in the bowels of oh-so-progressive academia; from the swindlers to the swindled; from blips on the radar screen (Sarah Palin, et al.) to old geezers, the list is long. Idiocy is the reigning paradigm of the young 21st century. Nothing has changed. Nothing is changing. The suffering of the whole benefits the few. An old story.
A relatively friendly reader asked earlier on in a phone conversation: "So, you don't believe in capitalism?" Ha, ha, ha. Time to laugh. Read on to find out the answer to such a deep question. Welcome, once again, to our traditional Infamous Predictions, courtesy of a bevy of Swans.
May humor prevail...and life...and et cetera.
Pontifex Maximus, an alleged life-long virgin presiding over a wide community of pedophiles, will decree that all people with homosexual and transgender behavior be exiled to Brazil in order to spruce the rain forest and save humanity from the scourge of that evil behavior. To prove the seriousness of his resolve Poppy will be the first one to board the ship appropriately named "Sodom and Gomorrah," with his choirboy, to sail toward the land of brimstone redemption.
The sighting of the Messiah in Chicago's Hyde Park will prove a hoax. Like orphaned ants, the people of faith will scurry about for new cover.
Louis Farrakhan will lead the Nation of Islam en bloc to claim sanctuary in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United megachurch. But the Rev will already have decamped to Utah, hot on embracing Mormonism.
Mayor Daley will lead his family members and other officeholders to the Baha'i House of Worship in Wilmette, where he will formally denounce the Pope and the St. Patrick's Day parade.
Ariel Sharon emerges unexpectedly from his coma and, alleging that he spent that long time silently conversing with god about the future of Israel, proposes that in order to keep the jewels of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) he is ready to offer an historical, yet painful land swap with the Palestinians with a transfer of both populations. All the Israeli Jews will move to Judea and Samaria and the Palestinians will take ownership of present-day Israel. The world rejoices. Sharon is promptly helped back into a coma as the Israeli government claims that he misspoke and intended to mean that all Palestinians should move to Jordan or Gaza (their choice).
Orthodox Jews will adopt buzz cuts and eat only Polish sausage.
Evangelicals will take a Trappist vow of perpetual silence and a new peace will reign in their crack dens.
At long last, Noam Chomsky receives the "world-renowned public intellectual" newly created Nobel award -- worth one million dollars -- after Karl Rove agrees with the great anarchist that "the world is a better place with Saddam Hussein gone." The trophy? A glass-enshrined Bush shoe.
Michael Albert, on his usual knee-jerked position, sucks the great man's dick, hoping to inherit the genius's juices and make a run for the next Nobel award.
Poppy, back in the Vatican, strenuously objects to Albert's and Chomsky's notoriety, noting that his predecessor had a choirboy who had much more proficient sucking skills -- which were lent to the White House for the benefit of Mr. Bush (as our Infamous Predictions of yesteryears have amply proved).
In a heart-wrenching confession, Alexander Cockburn, the global climate disruption and global warming denier, after being out-closeted by anonymous and fast-disappearing polar bears, will divulge in his famed rag, Counterpunch, that he has received substantial financial support from Exxon-Mobil over the years.
In a long-overdue acknowledgement of Stephen Zunes's services to the cause of neoliberalism and the Establishment that pays his bills, the esteemed professor will become chairman of a newly created department of social sciences at the Jesuit University of San Francisco, "The Art of Whining in American Scholarly Politics." Enrollments soar as progressive activists and leftist pundits want to hear the technique so well refined by "the most 'dangerous' and 'anti-American' left-wing professor in the country" according to Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz, and Sean Hannity.
A shamed Bernard Madoff, unable to make restitution according to the law of the Mishna, converts to Catholicism and has a prepuce grafted on his penis, allowing Thomas Friedman to quip, "thank gawd, he was not one of our own." Benedict XVI blesses the arrival of his congregation's latest sinner.
Gawd, irked and dispirited by human follies and religious wars, abolishes all religions, commits suicide, and gets reborn as a peace-loving Dalai Lama toddler. Poppy Benedictine, having his myths mixed up, engages on the long journey to Nazareth on the back of his mule to greet the birth of the new Jessubah, chanting "Gawd is dead, long live gawd."
Sarah Palin, crash-landing in the icy slopes of Juneau, will be devoured by a pack of Alaskan polar bears.
Rod Blagojevich will be appointed Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms on the understanding that immediately after being sworn in, he will swallow five gallons of vodka, smoke thirty pounds of tobacco, and then shoot himself in the head.
The UN General Assembly unanimously declares December 14 "shock-and-awe shoe strike day." Three countries abstain: the U.S., Israel, and whatever unknown Pacific island. (The Barack-elect administration objects to the declaration on the merit of its title, arguing that it should have been entitled "the day the moron got his due" or "the competition between shoes and dyslexia.")
Shoe sales soar, saving the world from the dreaded depression. Turkish and Chinese workers rejoice. Americans learn how to aim the latest WMD.
Nike will give a shoe deal to Muntadar al-Zaidi. The "Head of State" shoe, also nicknamed the "Thumper," will be so successful that al-Zaidi will become a billionaire and be able to restore Iraq to its former condition. As part of this effort, and to show American good will, Moveon.org will organize an NGO to restore the ruins of Babylon to their former ruined state.
George W. Bush has a legacy-saving epiphany: Shoes are WMDs, Saddam Hussein wore shoes, therefore Saddam Hussein had WMDs. Bush pardons Saddam posthumously for allowing his WMDs (shoes) to go undiscovered.
With Barack Obama making it cool to be black, Michael Jackson spends his remaining millions to tattoo his skin back to its original color in hopes of revitalizing his failed career. In the process, his "Caucasian" nose completely disintegrates, leaving his appearance creepier than ever and his career in a literal nosedive.
Yet, Barack Obama, thoughtful of white supremacists, brings Jackson to the White House as an adviser on white skin-bleaching policy for black America.
Disgruntled by her husband's latest decision, Michele Obama appears in the nude on the front cover of Vanity Fair in the company of Carla Bruni -- photo taken by Art Shay with his famous Leica. Carla and Michele go on to record a new rendering of "Black is White," and Carla, tired of Sarko and having fallen in love with Michele, is invited to take residence with the First Family.
In the spirit of racial reconciliation, a hallmark of the new Obama administration, the duo is welcome to the White House, making it the first post racial, post gender, post sexual, post ideological Mud House in history. Art Shay becomes the official photographer of the new era.
Condoleezza Rice takes advantage of Sarko's newfound bachelorhood and moves in with him in the Elysée, where she will advocate for oil, Chevron, and neoliberalism, and make over neoconservatism. The couple conceives a child -- not yet gay, and not yet condemned by Poppy for mixing races, genders, nationalities, and whatever -- but who possesses a certain je ne sais quoi. In the age of globalization, the Elysée, like the White House, becomes another Mud House. Vive la France!
The first edict of the newly appointed secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will be to remove the stains from Monica Lewinsky's dress and initiate a "rendition" order on Gennifer Flowers.
Vice President Joseph Biden, after being diagnosed with a fatal case of foot-in-mouth disease, will be allowed to attend cabinet meetings only if gagged.
Three months after the final bank bailout, the secretary of treasury will announce the end of the '08 recession and the start of the '09 depression.
China considers purchasing all its outstanding shares of the United States, but a due-diligence audit reveals that the US economy is based on a pyramid scheme, which quickly collapses. China buys the country's assets for pennies on the dollar and outsources the government to India.
Because of a newly enacted law preventing illiterates from entering public reading-rooms, ex-President Bush will be denied admittance to his own presidential library.
A media carbuncle will erupt when it is discovered that George W. Bush has cheated on his golf score during a friendly round. Golfing partner Donald Rumsfeld, after first trying to minimize the damage, will eventually have to admit his knowledge of the whole sordid affair. "Who would have thought it," he will exclaim. "Sometimes reality just hits you over the head." "But," Rumsfeld adds, as is well known, "stuff happens."
A theatrical consortium will turn Guantánamo Bay Detention Center into an amusement park. Native Cubans imitating long-term inmates dressed in colorful prisoner garb will allow themselves to be tortured and photographed by tourists. A special waterboarding room will serve Coca-Cola as recorded cries of pain intermingle with popular Cuban rock music.
Scooter Libby will write his memoirs, but Harvard scholar, Harrison V. Camber, will discover that a large section about a little red wagon that Scooter desperately wanted but never got was actually plagiarized from an unpublished memoir ghost written for Joe Lieberman but deep-sixed when Rush Limbaugh suggested that no American should want a red wagon.
Karl Rove will be discovered in a tête-à-tête with Jeb Bush over a couple of lattes in an obscure Starbucks in Montana. Both will deny vehemently that they have any intention of decamping to the Democratic Party, and Bush will insist as proof that his was not a latte, but a cappuccino. However, National Enquirer reporter Harry "the hat" Smarts will secretly make off with the empty cups and will have the traces scientifically analyzed. When he publishes the report showing that both cups definitely contained latte, Rove will collapse in tears and admit that he and Bush have been secretly married for more than a year and that they see themselves in the light of the movie "Brokeback Mountain." Bush will continue to deny everything.
Joe Lieberman, overwhelmed by his political identity disorder, makes a career move by going through sex reassignment and becoming a lobbyist for the transgender community, earning kudos from Karl Rove and Jeb Bush.
Dick Cheney will be tapped to play the Tom Cruise part in a remake of the classic movie, "Risky Business." The Rebecca De Mornay part will be played by Ann Coulter. They will make movie history with a steamy scene in which Coulter walks towards Cheney and her knees prove to be so sharp that they shred her dress in the process, revealing everything. In a promotional interview Coulter will rhapsodize about the sexy Cheney smirk.
Next, cold-icy Dick, having mastered the scatological art of fucking 'em all and waterboarding dissenters, will be hired by ABC to compete in the prime time slot reserved for Jay Leno at rival NBC. Humor takes on an all-new meaning in America. Advertisers salivate.
In his final midnight regulation, which will take decades to undo, George W. Bush classifies elite white males as an endangered species, thereby requiring their habitat, including but not limited to work, home, and play, to be protected. Millions of acres of federal land are transformed into golf courses (firearms permitted).
Dr. Michael P. Jones will announce that his team at Virginia Tech has perfected the technique of genetically creating green babies. These babies make chlorophyll in their skin and need no food so long as they are given water and are allowed to stick their toes into good rich soil. They sleep in flowerpots rather than cribs and produce everything they need through photosynthesis. Because photosynthesis takes carbon dioxide out of the air, President Obama will hail Dr. Jones's discovery as the solution to global climate change. But a fly in the ointment will appear when Donovan "mellow yellow" Leitch discovers that smoking these babies' hair will get you stoned. President Obama will commission Hillary Clinton to create a committee to examine the ethical implications of the situation.
Ralph Nader will be appointed to the position of Car Czar to oversee the reform of the US auto industry. The CEOs of the big three have a sudden change of heart and return the taxpayer money, deciding that, in fact, bankruptcy is a viable option, so long as they keep their perks and their financial compensation.
Following their own marketing book, GM reinvents itself by introducing the Eco Hummer. The new, green-collar US military orders them by the thousands, pulling the company out of bankruptcy and back into the only green zone that it really cares about. America Über Alles!
Oh yeah, it will suddenly dawn on Pwogressives that although Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi are Democrats, they are first and foremost multi-millionaire women who rose to unprecedented power, supported war unconditionally, never intended to put impeachment on the table, and really don't give a rat's ass about them and their causes.
Obama-ma-ma will save their scalps, for sure. If not, George Soros will, since we could not survive without their delusion.
Meanwhile, shit will go on with merry and eerie schadenfreund.
Life's too short not to enjoy the most of it.