Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies. –Groucho Marx
“I often think,” said Count Justin Victor, “that one day the party of the South will utterly bury all its scruples and, instead of basking in the sunshine and then crawling back under their rock, maybe someday they will nominate a real strong man for President. And no, I don’t mean a muscular moron with leopard-skin tights and a spit-curl; I mean a real Autocrat. A blubber-bellied bully-boy. A despot, if you will. A Simon Legree as will crack the whip and make the poor old Congress heed his every admonition. I’m surprised that it hasn’t already happened. But that’s on account of the fact that blowhards and bloviators are seldom in short supply in the vaunted halls of Congress, but hardly ever shall you come across a man of iron will. Now, you may say that The Money Power would never let it happen. And you would be a fool. The Money Power would like nothing better than to pull one over on the savages who comprise nine-tenths of this benighted population. Bleeding, rotting sods and bleating lambs waiting to be led to the slaughter. Once you get more than about twenty miles out of the big cities, most of the population consists of brutes and blutos who care only for three things: plenty of greasy fatback to eat, a tolerably warm place to sleep, and a twitchet willing to service their every depraved desire. Lord help us all if this mob ever manages to gain the upper hand. I suppose the first thing they would do is to agitate for to outlaw the Negro and the Mexican, just on general principle.
“And I’m thinking of some other charming things a genuine herald of the mobile vulgus would perpetrate. First, he would nominate the sorriest passel of owlhoots ever assembled in one place to serve on his cabinet. Next, he would pack the Supreme Court with his corrupt stooges. And then, I imagine, he would throw all the sissies and lavender lads in prison, so as to keep the byways of our country free of contaminating influences. I suppose he would also take care of all the big-city cosmopolitans he could get his hands on, and ship ’em back to the Europe they fled from to escape the knout. The same would go for all the Socialists who like to stir up so much trouble with their marches and demonstrations. Socialists always make a good rag doll to blame the country’s troubles on. That’s because most ordinary people see them as nutty. Furthermore, they’re scruffy and they look like vagabonds and they don’t like to wash. Take it from me, Yob: a Socialist is just a Hobo with a PhD.
“But that wouldn’t be the end of it, oh no. President Scarechild would have thousands of posters made, and he would plaster them everywhere. He’d have legions of spies in all the taverns and barbershops–just like it was two millennia ago, in the long-gone days of Tiberius. Picture an army of Pinkertons, who are everywhere all at once. A bunch of thieving coppers who can bust into your domicile any time of the day and night and shake you down. I’m well-endowed with ooftish; I can stand the gaff. But what about the smaller fry? They’ll all of them end up in the hoosegow. And then–they will dance a Newgate hornpipe without music. From the end of a hempen necklace.
“I can tell you this much: There will be no more wild women running around in long pants demanding equal rights or other such nonsense. No–the woman’s place is right there in her home, and the new leader would make that plain from the get-go. In fact, I’m guessing that the new President will be addicted to straight talk, and will refuse to pussyfoot around. He’ll call a spade a spade, by God. And he’ll say a lot of other things too, and not all of them will be to the people’s liking, but he won’t care. He’ll say, ‘The people be damned! Ain’t I got the power?” That’s what all politicians say, you know, in private. Even the ones who bleat about caring for the poor and the sick and the hard-to-help and like that.
“When we get a man like that in power, then all the fat-cats and plutocrats will be well chuffed. He’ll be just like a Jesus for the rich–he’ll magically give them everything they want, and more. He’ll wage war on small countries that are easy pushovers for our brand of two-fisted diplomacy. He’ll make the Spanish-American War look like a slapping party between pantywaists. All the money for poor relief will get shoveled down an endless rathole of armaments buying and there will be plenty of sword-rattling, you can rest assured of that. All the ploughshares will be beaten back into swords, by the double-barrelled jumping jiminetty!
“And the newspapers will toe the party line or be squashed. Right down to the funny papers. The afflicted will be afflicted some more; the comfortable will continue to be comforted. The newspapers will focus on optimistic messages. Recipes, puzzles, games. Literature will be reduced to the level of a mere congregation for the propagation of the faith. There will be one religion; and that one faith will be compulsory. Think you hate church-going now? Just wait until you have to go to church, or end up in jail. I wouldn’t be surprised, however, if the new leader overreached himself with that one. People take their religious faith a darned sight seriously. He might have to make a little wiggle room with the Bible stuff. I see a seal of state that incorporates a cross, but with none of the messy Jesus-style platitudes that make rich men so uneasy. No–it’ll be a brawny, Old Testament faith that downplays the love-thy-neighbor stuff. There will be all sorts of changes implemented. Every schoolchild will be compelled to wear the same uniform, for which the President and his cronies will provide the contract. Membership in the Boy Scouts will be compulsory, and there will be a land-office business in supplying those uniforms as well.The great prisons of our land will be filled to bursting with the elderly and insane, and there will be plenty of splendid little wars to distract the populace and occupy the idle hands of the poor and unemployed young men who currently clog the gutters of the great cities. Oh, by Jingo!
“All in all, Yob, from one point of view we would have us a paradise. And yet–it is a prospect profoundly to be despised. Say what you will about us Confidence Men–but even WE have some scruples.”
Eric Barnouw archly observed that J. Fred Muggs was an honored guest at “I Am an American Day,”– “although really a native of Cameroon.”
SO HIPSTER IT HURTS
TURN LOOSE THE DEATH RAYS
The Difference Between Men and Women.
Men will eat greasy take-out even if they forgot to ask for a napkin.
Women would rather starve than eat messy food with their fingers.
Men will seldom kiss a dog on the lips.
Women never bite the dog to show it who’s boss.
Men don’t care if her shoes match her handbag.
Women will react in horror to mismatched socks.
Men aren’t really interested in depilatories.
Women never eat their own toenails.
Men will often drum their hands on the steering wheel in time to the music.
Women seldom play air guitar.
Men will never admit they are afraid to do something.
Women seldom play practical jokes.
Men will never say, “I had a good cry.”
Women will never say, “Pull my finger.”
Men will spend half an hour reading on the toilet.
Women will spend half an hour talking in the rest room.
Men seldom scream at the sight of a spider.
Women seldom yell at the television.
Men will seldom hesitate to describe their bowel movements.
Women will seldom blow their nose into their shorts.
Men will interrupt what you were saying.
Women will help you finish a sentence.
Men will seldom initiate an air kiss.
Women will seldom exert crushing pressure in a handshake.
Men love the sound of their own voice.
Women are oblivious to the sound of their own voice.
Men will always lie.
Women will seldom tell the whole truth.