THE INFORMATION #982
MARCH 2, 2018
Copyright 2018 FRANCIS DIMENNO
Little sister’s short and stout/She didn’t grow up, she grew out.–Randy Newman
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER ELEVEN: PART SIXTY-SIX: DAYS OF WRATH
“I intended to ask you, Yob,” said Count Victor Justin to Cadger Tandy, “ how is your schoolin’ goin’? Have ye been attendin’ to your homework?”
“No,” said Tandy. “It’s boring, and I don’t feel like I even belong there, so I never go. None of the other kids will even talk to me because they say I live in a whorehouse. And what’s the point, anyway? Them teachers ain’t telling me nothing that I don’t already know.”
“Well, you seem to have forgotten the sole purpose of schooling, Yob—to babysit you snot-nosed bairns for six hours of the day, and keep you out of the hair of us taxpaying adults. Kids, stay in school–because we don’t want you around here!
“Boring is the whole point. What school is for is to teach youngsters to sit still and be quiet, the better to someday work in an insurance office, or a tool and die factory, or a funeral home. To teach you to wake up early every weekday, and walk the same path every day to get there, and come in and take your desk at the same time every day, whether you feel like it or not. And to do this for forty years, or until you drop dead, whichever comes first.
“Yob, let me be the first to put you wise to something that everybody already knows, deep in their heart of hearts: school is a hospital where they amputate your imagination. Adults are in on the joke, even if the kiddies ain’t. ‘If ignorance is bliss, ‘tis folly to be wise.’ The little red schoolhouse is where you learn your first lessons in hypocrisy and graft, and no better training ground for savages was ever devised than the cloakroom and the playground. It’s also where they teach you about civilization, which they use to dampen down your enthusiasm for the new and exotic—because that’s what civilization is FOR. No, if you want culture, Yob, you won’t find it in the classroom. If you want culture, I suggest you go to Gay Paree and order a fucking cheese platter—because you sure ain’t going to find it nowhere in any school in Noxtown.
“What really ruined book-larnin’ for me was my teacher—Miss Petunia. She had some unpronounceable Irish name—McCunny or O’Fuckingham, or something like that, so Miss Petunia is what we all called her—to her face. You’d be surprised what vile things we called her when her back was turned. Porky. Lard. Piggy. The usual schoolboy taunts. She taught us youngsters in a rather substantial building that was purpose-built for the small fry—a large wood and brick slab built on the former site of the town dump, so every now and again you would dig in the turf of the playground and come up with an Indian head penny, or a pig’s knuckle. More often than not, though, it was a clay pipe, or a brown piece of broken bottle glass worn smooth.
“From what I have been able to gather, Miss Petunia was born in a shabby, nearly deserted village, maybe in Ireland, which must surely have been a suburb of hell, for she was trouble itself, and discord walking. Like a horrendous snail arisen from the Stygian depths, she left a trail of malice and venom whenever she crept forth from her loathsome nest. She was a stupidly complacent, supremely incompetent, malevolently blabber-mouthed, bloated, foul-mouthed Teague…an oleaginous automaton…the world’s fattest fat pig…a five star freak, rated five stars out of five…with a terrifying visage straight out of Pyle’s Curiosities and Anomalies of Medicine. Hard to believe that she even had bones—that her entire body wasn’t made of some sort of durable and calcified blubber. Surly, brusque, and giving the stink-eye to anyone she perceived as her inferior, which included all the children in her care, she was mealy-mouthed and fawning to parents, and when she laughed at their jokes, or at her own, she cackled like a burly hag.
“As I recall—and mind you, this was about forty or fifty years ago–it is not beyond the realm of possibility that her clothing was fashioned from old feed-sacks, for they hung on her as loose and shapeless as worn burlap. She even had the temerity to affect a little lace fringe around the neck of her floppy blouse, which made her resemble a Komodo dragon—or, worse, she would wear two dingy taffeta frills, which made her look like an enormously fat and superannuated circus dog that should have been put out of its misery long ago. In winter she wore a sweater—it was pink, or at least, I think it was once meant to be pink, but it had deteriorated to the point where it looked like cotton candy spun out of dried filth. In the spring-time she wore a ridiculous black battered straw hat contraption, with ribbons and flowers and other gew-gaws—a sad looking thing, which wouldn’t have passed muster even on the head of a garbageman’s horse. She never wore no paint ner powder, because schoolmarms in those days never did, and this made her look ghastly, like a filthy clown you might envision in a fever dream after eating too many hot dogs. If she had worn make-up, I warrant she would have applied it with a trowel. It was always my opinion that she would have looked at her very best with her head on a platter and an apple in her mouth.
“Her shrill, quavery voice was worse than that of the most talentless soi-disant Opera Diva. Far worse. She taught all sorts of subjects, but the biggest ordeal was when she taught music. She very nearly put me off of music for good and all. You haven’t lived, Yob, until you’ve seen and heard an off-key fat hog yowling “Old Black Joe” with all the subtlety of a steam drill. Whenever she sang—if that’s what you call it– her slobbery jowls shook like a calf’s foot jelly.
“I’ll tell you what–she certainly put me off book-learnin’ forever, for when she stomped into the classroom the wooden floors shook and dust and plaster fell down from the rafters and she looked and sounded like the Four Horsemen of the Porklips. Now, y’know, Yob, you can’t always judge by appearances. Some fatties are the nicest folks you’ll ever meet, the very soul of charity, in spite of their taking up all that space and eating all that food–and, as a whole, they are, in fact, prone to be jolly, and certainly not inclined to be voracious and cruel. Y’know, like the Yellofs with the ‘lean and hungry look’ that the immortal Bard done told us about.
“But Miss Petunia surely was cruel. She looked, and behaved, like an angry hog, always indignantly squealing and snorting about something or other she found defective about her porcine lair. At lunch-time I would swear that she looked at us greedily whenever we put a scrap of food in our mouths, as though we were somehow depriving her of a prize. Eating lunch in front of her was like snacking in the straw hut of a starving ogre. Putting her in charge of students was a huge mistake, but she was so adept at flattering the principal and everyone else in any position to fire her that she was able to escape the ax on numerous occasions when better teachers were let go. And believe me—ALL the teachers were better than her. No wonder I quit school the first chance I got! You look under Miss Petunia’s house–and there’s probably the bones of all the neighborhood children what have gone missin’ since 1869!”
PAPER PLANES (LIVE)
CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN
WHITE RIOT (LIVE)
ANOMALIES & CURIOSITIES OF MEDICINE
KAL KAN CONTROVERSY
Fortunately, there are many pet foods which are better than Kal-Kan.
Country Livin’ Cream of Sick Puppy Fixins ‘n’ Gravy
Country Livin’ Newspaper Trimmings for Your Adult Dog
Country Livin’ Paper Pulp ‘n Sawdust for Your Sluggish Fat Dog
Country Livin’ Crispy Puppy
Country Livin’ 99 Dead Dawg Soo-prise
Country Livin’ Tapewormz in Gravy for Feral Cats
Country Livin’ Pig Eyeballs in Gravy for Shiny Coat
Country Livin’ Tarantula Chow
Country Livin’ Scorpion Meat
Gemstone Ground Up Horsemeat
Gemstone Ground Up Horsemeat and Hooves
Gemstone Crispy Chicken Beaks ‘n’ Claws
Gemstone Crunchy Hog Maws ‘n’ Eyebrows
Gemstone Low Energy Dog Food
Gemstone All-Fat Dog Food
Gemstone Maintenance Service Floor Sweepins Dog Food
Gemstone Minimal Performance Dog Food
Gemstone Premium Adult Dog Meat
Gemstone Puppy Meat
Gemstone Chinese Restaurant Floor Sweepins Cat Food
PAPA WAS A ROLLIN’ STONE
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
THE BLACK PANTHER
The character was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and writer-artist Jack Kirby, first appearing in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966).
The Black Panther’s name predates the October 1966 founding of the Black Panther Party, though not the black panther logo of the party’s predecessor, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, nor the segregated World War II Black Panthers Tank Battalion.
6* DAILY UTILITY
BOB DYLAN WROTE PROPAGANDA SONGS
THE VENTURES OF ZIMMERMAN
Here’s something that every Dylan fan and Dylan-hater should read.
BAZOOKA JOE RAPS
“I find Ursula’s steamy rhymes about looking hot in tights, checking out the sights, compromising workout positions, and making many ‘friends’ at the gym to be the perfect compliment to Zena’s previous rap about her obsession with shopping and her envious high-end lifestyle.”
THE BEASTIE BOYS
9* RUMOR PATROL
Upon my honor
I saw a Madonna
Standing in a niche
Over the door
Of the prominent whore
Of a prominent son of a bitch.
–Said to have been written in the guest-book of Hearst Castle, referring to the room occupied by Hearst’s mistress, Marion Davies. Parker always denied it, pointing out that she would never have rhymed “honor” with “Madonna”.
Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue
11*DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
THE DOUCHE CHILLS 5: PAT ROBERTSON BLAMES SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ON OBAMA, LESBIANS, AND WITCHES
12* CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE
“Just wait after November, you’ll have a front row seat because I’m going to make Attila the Hun look like a faggot.”