THE INFORMATION #907
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. –Mark Twain
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TEN: PART EIGHTY-NINE: KINGDOM COME
“Yob, if you want rich and influential people to take you seriously, there are two things you have got to remember. One is, you have got to have a lot of money. And the second one isn’t important. And how do you make a lot of money? First off, by robbing the poor. It’s a lot easier than robbing the rich, who keep a weather eye out for folks as try to steal their acorns. Oh, I can tell you stories. But I dast not. How’s come? Maybe because I feel a queer compunction to tell you how to make it on the straight and narrow.”
Count Victor Justin was in a talkative mood and, since he was in between con jobs, he elected to take his early evening constitutional with me, a green Yob barely old enough to shave. You might almost have mistaken us for father and son, except for the fact that I looked nothing like Count Victor. I was shorter than average and plumpish, had red hair and freckles to match, and slopped around in an ill-fitting jersey and shabby canvas overalls. For his part, The Count was a tall, angular and vigorous white-haired man with shaggy black eyebrows and a pointed nose, and he always wore a fedora or a straw hat and dressed in a fashion the sports all referred to as “trig”.
“Sure, Yob, I’ll be the first to tell you that the way of the straight and narrow can be boring at times. It’s all about hard work and keeping your nose to the grindstone and spending your dosh on a decent place to live and clothing that makes you look presentable. No eating every day in swell chophouses for the working boy! It’s all about thrift, and holding on to that Yankee dollar until the eagle screams. You got to walk straight like a little soldier and for Godsake keep your stockings pulled up. Folks are just like animals, you know, and if they see that you look sickly, they’ll start in to biting you. That’s the way of nature, and it’s also the way of the world. If you really don’t care what people say about you, you can always make your living as a geek in the carny–that is, if you don’t mind chawing up broken glass and being paid for your labors in rotgut hooch. Otherwise, you had better start to get wise to yourself and get slicked up and begin to dress the part.
“You want to curry favor with the Boss? Of course you do, Yob. It’s the only way a Yellof can get ahead. Show up to work every day at least three hours early. If it’s during a blizzard, and everyone else has stayed home, then so much the better. Nothing says ‘dedication’ quite like a suicidal commitment to your work. As a matter of fact, your Boss will like you even more if he sees you working without pay, or doing the work of three men, or working through your lunch break. He might even fire your pesky rival–the office gossip who always talks about you behind your back. And that would be better than a Christmas Turkey!
“Keep yourself somewhat aloof from your fellow employees, and make sure the Boss knows about it, too. After all, you’re not there so socialize, but to work. It might be helpful if you find some rooms immediately adjacent to your workplace, so you can roll out of bed and be there within minutes.Don’t waste any time distributing memos to your fellow employees. You owe them nothing, and you can bet that they don’t give a rap about you, neither. Write memos only to the boss, and keep them short and simple.
“It certainly can’t hurt if you spy on your boss, and see what he needs to have done, but doesn’t want to dirty his own hands by doing. Like, for instance, clearing out the deadwood. And getting rid of troublemakers and complainers. Always be sure to casually drop by Bosso’s office at least once a day and fill him in on all the hot gossip. “Just so you know, Boss–I hear that Cringely is less than happy about having to work every Saturday. Just for the record, I’d be happy to take his place, as I have no commitments on that day.’
“If your boss asks you to do something impossible, or something that doesn’t make any sense, tell him you’ll get on it right away, right after you take care of ten other things which are far more important. He’ll get the message, and stop pestering you with insane assignments. Maybe he’ll even give them to your most hated rival instead!
“Of course, you are never out of line when you promote yourself and all the good work you do. While at the same time implying that everybody else in the organization is a loafer and a goof-off. If you keep hammering this message home, maybe the boss will start doing a little bit of spying of his own, and catch your most hated rival in the act of doing something he shouldn’t.
“After you’re in and everybody else is out, and the Boss feels like you’re the only employee in the whole place he can rely on, you can advance from low-paid scrub work to becoming the Boss’s Personal Secretary. Sure, you’ll be at his beck-and-call at virtually all hours of the day and night–but you’ll also be making a lot more money, and associating with a better class of people. In your spare time you should take dance lessons, and tennis lessons wouldn’t hurt none either. You may consider this an enormous waste of time, but adding these accomplishments to your repertoire will reap rich dividends down the road.
“If you must fabricate a college diploma for yourself, make sure that it is a college which is perfectly respectable, but not necessarily in the first rank. For instance, Bard. And if you happen to be unlucky enough to meet someone who actually went to Bard, you can say you dropped out and went to Skidmore. Now, if you’re particularly ingenious, you could make up a college completely out of whole cloth, and say you went there. Tell people you went to The University of the South Atlantic. Who in hell yould even bother to check?
“On no account should you ever imply that you’re all alone in the world–especially if you are. People who think you’ve got no influential relatives will use that opportunity to shit all over you. No, Yob, you must always talk of ‘My Good Friend the Mayor,’ and ‘As I was sayin’ to Teddy Roosevelt just the other day….’ The more outrageous the lie, the less likely anybody will be to question it.
“I gleaned that particular insight from my good friend and former employee…Mister William Randolph Hearst.”
DON’T BRING ME DOWN
GREEN ON RED
WHO’S LANDING IN MY HANGAR?
THE LATEST POLL RESULTS
Don’t place too much credence in polls. As an old pollster myself–for Pat Cadell, and, very briefly, at Corey, Canapary and Galanis (funny I can remember that name from 36 years ago but not what I ate last week)–I know that most polls fall prey to flawed methodologies, try as one might to account for them. The biggest flaw is that the wage slaves who administer them are more focussed on quantity rather than quality, “as” the have a quota. Lots of fudging goes on there. Also, any poll administered solely over the phone or solely via computer is flawed from its outset. And any poll with fewer than 800 or so respondents has an unacceptable margin of error. You really need a survey sample of about 1600, and even then the results are likely to be plus-or-minus about three per cent.
You can read this if you don’t believe me:
Jerry once claimed in a 1980s PARADE interview that the film The Day the Clown Cried would only ever be screened “when world pornography is eliminated.”
Apparently, it’s not a very good film.
Through much of the 1970s he was addicted, among other things, to Percodan.
“The Nutty Bathroom: It was Jerry’s fortress of solitude. A “Do Not Disturb” sign warned passersby to steer clear. According to Joe, this was no ordinary comfort station. It came stocked with a color TV, two telephones, two revolvers, a wet bar, refrigerator, bookcase, marijuana, Quaaludes, Nembutal, coke paraphernalia and an intercom system hooked up to each bedroom so Jerry could eavesdrop.”
When he was a teenager, everyone called him “Id”. Short for “Idiot”.
It seems fairly obvious that his film The Nutty Professor is essentially one long “fuck you” to Dean Martin.
In a 1980s PARADE interview, he claimed that a “Texas Billionaire” once offered him “a million dollars” if he would confide to him why he was so devoted to the cause of Muscular Dystrophy. Lewis claims that he turned him down.
A story which is verifiably true: Jerry once mouthed off to none other than Albert Anastasia:
And that’s just scraping the surface.
You might find this amusing:
THEME FROM MR. LUCKY
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
MOST HARD TO WATCH SCENES IN MOVIE HISTORY
6* DAILY UTILITY
THE SORROW AND THE PITTY:
SEGREGATION AND THE SELLING OF DEPUTY DAWG
GIRLS ABOUT TOWN (1931)
“One man said he learned much of demon possession from Nicholas Cage.”
From this kooky website:
Few still remember the great showman Kroger Babb.
“When a stupid jerk tries to outsmart proven facts, he should be in an asylum, not a theater.”
After the success of Mom and Dad, Babb talked of an “unrealized” project called Father Bingo, which he advertised in BoxOffice magazine as “An Expose of Gambling in the Parish Halls” and described as a comedy with an anti-gambling message about a corrupt priest who runs a “controlled” bingo night at his parish. Babb called it “the best ‘snow-job’ of my life,” and it has been speculated that he never intended to make it, despite the trade ads that appeared for years
Babb’s final film was his presentation of a European version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This was described by Friedman as one of the most “unintentionally funny exploitation films ever made,” filled with “second-rate Italian actors who could barely speak English.”
Onkel Toms Hutte (1965)
THE SIXTIES ARE OVER…MAN.
11* DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
TOKEN SUPERHEROES AND THE BIG TWO
DC published several PSAs in the 1950s advocating racial tolerance. Also in the 1950s, EC comics published in their (pre-Code) title ShockSuspenstories a series of stories they called “Preachies,” in which racial bigotry was explored and minority characters were depicted sympathetically. Also in the 1950s, Marvel/Atlas didn’t go out of their way to depict black characters at all.
Starting around 1964, both Marvel and DC made some token stabs at integrating black people into their output. Unfortunately, many of the editors were middle-aged fellows with the prejudices common to the era in which they grew up, and their well-meaning attempts to promote racial harmony were somewhat ham-handed, at best. Most notorious, perhaps, is this entry, from November of 1970:
If you’re really interested in this topic, definitely see Stromberg:
Stan Lee can be pretty accurately described as a windbag. One who was very prone to taking credit for things he shouldn’t have been taking credit for. Most notably, Captain America.
He was also a big fat copycat, if you credit the testimony of Arnold Drake:
Some similarities exist between the original Doom Patrol and Marvel Comics’ original X-Men. Both include misfit superheroes shunned by society and both are led by men of preternatural intelligence who use wheelchairs. These similarities ultimately led series writer Arnold Drake to argue that the concept of the X-Men must have been based on the Doom Patrol.
“ …I’ve become more and more convinced that [Stan Lee] knowingly stole The X-Men from The Doom Patrol. Over the years I learned that an awful lot of writers and artists were working surreptitiously between [Marvel and DC]. Therefore from when I first brought the idea into [DC editor] Murray Boltinoff’s office, it would’ve been easy for someone to walk over and hear that working on a story about a bunch of reluctant superheroes who are led by a man in a wheelchair. So over the years I began to feel that Stan had more lead time than I realized. He may well have had four, five or even six months.
This is hardly surprising. Even in the 40s and 50s, Marvel/Atlas followed every trend, flooding the market until the trend blew over–then latching on to the next trend.
Marvel’s advocacy of civil rights was, from a cynical viewpoint, just the so-called House of Ideas latching onto another trend.
DC had (implausibly) a black WWII soldier named Jackie Johnson as early as 1961. Marvel introduced its own black WWII anachronism, Gabe Jones, in 1963. Dell introduced a black cowboy hero, Lobo, in 1965. Marvel’s Black Panther came along in 1966. And the Falcon was introduced in September of 1969.
Power Man was simply good ole Marvel leaping on the voguish Blaxploitation trend.
CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE.
- AUSTRALIAN MAN MARRIES HIS DOG
I’m glad we were provided with some pictorial “pointers” (ha ha) on how it should be done.
It’s nice to know there’s a fellow out there who is willing to give a hand to a dumb animal, so to speak.
I have a feeling that he’s just the kind of guy who is willing to give a poor dog a bone.
I guessing the gift registry was at PetSmart.
I also heard that the wedding “cake” was made of dog biscuits. Bon Appetit!
And that there were ushers present who dissolved bouillon cubes in all the urinals.
I heard the wedding band featured a canary, so the sound system would have both a woofer and a tweeter.
And I’m guessing that in-between sets, the DJ played selections from Pet Sounds.
It is rumored that they got Bob Barker to be the Master of Ceremonies.
The fact that the dog was only eight years old was a bit embarrassing to some of the more old-fashioned members of the wedding party.
But at least he was no longer be Living In Sin.
Plus, the sanctity of the marriage bond ensured that there will be no slighted feelings which arise from the insecurity of an unsanctified long-term relationship.
The dog is a female, and that’s great. Otherwise, they wouldn’t legally be able to pass through South Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama on their way to their Honeymoon destination: Atlantic City.
It is also rumored that the world-famous Youtube celebrity Jin Dan stood up for them (literally) as Best Man.
P.S. I hear the mother-in-law is a real bitch.