Friday, January 6, 2012

Kim Jong-un For President!

Dear Hated Running Dog Capitalists,

I know my plate is kind of full, taking over after dad. I might seem like a weird choice, seeing as how my country is pretty universally reviled over there. But I don't care. I'm throwing my olive drab hat into the ring. I'm running for president, and you know what? You crazy bastards are going to elect me.
Here's the deal:

I've spent my whole childhood studying America. Sure, there was also a lot of stuff on China too, plus the typical math-science-single-malt-Scotch tasting classes. But my point is I could actually get a 4 or 5 on an AP US History class. That makes me more qualified than 95% of you and every one of your presidential candidates. And yes, I'm counting Gingrich. He's smart, but he makes up so much crap it's like he's got his own personal alternate history. But that's not the main reason.

The main reason you should let me take power is that, as your politicians are fond of saying, America is a great and noble experiment. And some experiments blow the hell up. I think we can safely say we've reached the ruined, smoldering, cracked-eyeglass-and-singed-hair stage of democracy. You gave it a good run. But let's clean up and move on.

You have a crumbling economy, failing grades, falling bridges, and your politicians have redefined bribery and corruption so it's not even criminal anymore. Plus your foreign policy depends on putting a US soldier in the middle of every ethnic, political, and religious squabble that any two people are having anywhere on the planet. And to pay for all this nonsense you guys spend a trillion dollars more than you take in every year. This is exactly the point where all the grownups get together and come up with a plan that cuts the popular expensive stuff, zeroes in on critical priorities and does some horse-trading so every rep has to go back to his or her district and deal with the same number of angry loudmouths. You grow the fuck up is what you do. I'm a 27 year-old who lives like some combo rock star/Bond villain, and even I know that.

But you're not going to do this, are you? You're going to spend 10 months in a drum-circle-tricorned-hat clusterfuck, and the screaming headlines will be about what someone did at a college party 30 years ago. The left will protect the entitlements and the government jobs, and the right is going to protect the tax rates of people who are richer than I am (And for a Commie, I am surprisingly well-off. Seriously.) You'll agree to fight each other on the stupid things, because the big things are too scary and complicated, and they call for even handedness and compromise and real sacrifice. You'll attack a few more countries. Your kids will get even more stupid, but they'll all get trophies just for trying. You'll go deeper in the hole.

I offer an alternative to all that. I will seize your security forces, crush your spirits, and execute every one of your leaders on live TV. Yeah, don't worry about the spectacle -- you'll get plenty of that under a North Korean government. It's kind of our thing. Half the country are doing a massive, endless synchronized dance routine to distract them and keep them from noticing the other half are going to crap. Of course you people are already on your way there. But I'll bring more flags, bitches.

Kim Jong-un: Because Why The Hell Not?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Was Shitting You People - A Message From Ayn Rand

To Whom It May Concern:

I gave my lawyer instructions to release this message after my death. A joke I concocted when I was a kid has gone way, way too far. The most important thing you should know is this: Nothing I have ever written was meant to be taken seriously. You really don't want to build some kind of philosophy around Atlas Shrugged, okay? I'm sorry if I caused any trouble. I owe you an explanation.

Back in the early 1940s I was living in Tenafly, New Jersey with a guy named Ronnie Hubbard. He was hiding out in his brother's basement so he could avoid the draft, and I was working at a rendering plant. Most nights we'd lie on this cot he'd found on a curb and drink, fuck like weasels, and smoke opium. I'll be honest: We smoked a shit-ton of opium. Anyway over the course of a few weeks -- it's hard to piece it all together -- we started talking about pranks.

"What's the worst prank you could possibly pull?" he wanted to know. I can still see those piggy little eyes glinting while he said it. He was an ugly man. I have no idea how I ended up with him. But he asked the question a few times, and I didn't really have much of a reply. Until one day, the answer just came to me.

"The worst thing you could do would be to somehow take the most terrible people in the world, and make them even greater douches than they already are. Find a way to zero in on all of their ugliest faults and vices, and just... just amp them up beyond belief. That would be something."

He sucked on his pipe, adjusted his filthy kimono, and thought a bit.

"I'm going to convince actors they have super powers."

It sounded like drug talk when he first said it. I mean, what the fuck did that mean, right? It took years before I realized -- before any of us realized -- what he was going to do. Anyway, at the time I argued with him that actors weren't worth it. They couldn't cause any real damage, because no one with any sense would take them seriously. (I know, I know.)

"Fine," he said huffily. "Who would you go after?"
"Rich white college kids."
"Jesus," he said. "That's... that's perfect."
"I know, right?"
"They're the worst."
"God, they're horrible."
"But what are you going to do to them?"
"I'm going to convince them... that they're just too nice."

We laughed for twenty minutes. I was tearing up, and Ronnie was wheezing like he was going to stroke out. I didn't even know where I was going with this idea. But it felt just so fucking wrong. In a good way. In a great way.

Of course we never thought we could do any of this. You figure even the most entitled, morally backward people kind of know they're being dicks. No one is going to believe that being selfish and irresponsible is actually a good thing. Right?

Next thing I know Ronnie's goaded me into writing this wooden, transparently stupid novel. And it sells, like, a bajillion copies. I kept waiting for someone to figure out it was all a joke. But the reporters kept asking serious, thoughtful questions, and the goddamn college kids kept joining those clubs.

In 1959 I was interviewed by Mike Wallace (Attorney Note: Clip below).

I was sure Mike would catch on. And I was more stoned than two Carrie Fishers. But it just made me more successful. The years passed, and the money kept coming in. They wanted more books, more essays, more appearances at university debate clubs so we could talk about how great life would be if everyone was running around being an absolute first class knob to everyone else.

As I write this it's 1981 and Ronald Reagan is in office. I assume people will come to their senses, and the whole thing will unravel soon. But if it doesn't, I want you to know the truth. Because someone has to shut this crap down. I'm sorry.

(And If you enjoyed this, you should know that I began my career as a desperate magazine writer and low-level scrub at the now-defunct Mademoiselle. My novella, The Big Money, is a funny, fictionalized account of my experiences, and it's available for your Kindle or your Nook for 99 cents.

It features sexual fantasy sequences, World War II trivia, drunkenness, betrayal, murderous rages, the Spider Demon at the end of
Doom, and a weird love story involving cat-sitting. It is loosely based on the truth. And when I say "loosely" I mean that it is true in the emotional, but not legally actionable sense.)

Jumping Off Cliffs Is Our Core Competency

Lemmings. It's what we always were, and always will be. We don't fly from trees using skin flaps. We don't lie in the water and wash stuff with our adorable paws. We do exactly one thing, and we do it extremely well. We herd up and jump off some goddamn cliff for no reason whatsoever.

We've become cultural icons doing this. But if we stop now, we're dead. Not literally dead. That's going to happen anyway, in about fifteen minutes. But the idea of lemmings will be dead. We could experiment with a different brand identity, a whole new strategy to reach people. But we risk losing everything that lemmings stand for. We're not prairie dogs and we never will be. Trying to act like them is just... suicidal. That's not what lemmings represent. Wait. No, actually it is what we represent. But not like this, people. Not like this.

If you're some NatGeo producer, and you've just packed hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment into a Jeep to drive up through Crackfreeze, Norway to film some lemmings, what kinds of footage are you looking to capture? Burrowing and foraging? No, my friends. You can go to PetSmart and watch a couple of friggin' gerbils do that crap. You're looking to see wave after wave of beady-eyed kamikazes dive off some jagged rocks and disappear into the foamy surf. I, for one, want to give those people what they came out here for.

You think we can play around with our image and there will be no consequences? You think the meerkats aren't right behind us, looking to steal everything we've built and cash it in with some Dreamworks piece of shit? We have the jumping-off-cliffs franchise. No one else has the tiny furry balls to do what we do as well as we can. But that takes focus. Integrity. If we don't rededicate ourselves to this -- every day, every season, every psychotic leap off every piece of rock -- someone will come along and take our throne.

You gonna let them do that?! Huh?! You gonna let some fucking voles come into our house and show us how to hurtle to our deaths? I didn't think so.

See you bastards at the bottom.
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