In every country unscrupulous wealth can, by artificially “making opinion,” mislead and beguile the people more easily and with less chance of detection than in any other way. Democracy has no more persistent or insidious foe than the money power, to which it may say, as Dante said when he reached in his journey through hell the dwelling of the God of Riches, “Here we found Wealth, the great enemy.”–James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce
WHEN THIS WORLD CATCHES FIRE
BOOK THREE: SAVAGE NOXTOWN
CHAPTER TWELVE: PART FIFTY-SEVEN: THE EASTERN GATE OF PARADISE
“Nature is red in tooth and claw,” said Glen Phillips to Billy Batchelder Tallent, “and human beings are hardly exempt, even at the loftiest precincts. Only, in our case, money takes the place of brute strength. It has truly been said that money is this day the power in this land. It is well known among people who are not actually wet behind the ears that the whole of American politics is little more than a shabby conspiracy among money-hustlers.
“And speaking of conspiracies, uncommon sense,will tell you that there was something very suspect indeed about the Lincoln assassination. I suppose that as a Southerner, you were jumping for joy at his murder”
“Not at all,” said Billy. “I was hardly born yet. And I wouldn’t wish that fate on any man.”
“That’s why you’re a good person.” said Glen. “More than a bit naive–but a good person withal. Now, I’ve hung around newsrooms quite a bit, and heard the reporters when they’re in their cups, and one topic always comes up when they’ve guzzled down enough skullpop. Who REALLY killed Lincoln? For instance, where the hell was Andy Johnson while the whole thing was going on? Probably off getting as drunk as a boiled owl. Remember what Lincoln said about him: ‘Andy ain’t no drunk.’ Hardly what I’d call a ringing endorsement! As a matter of fact, Lincoln had very little use for Johnson. He basically cut him dead. Ignored him. Left him out of decisions. So why was Lincoln shot? You have to ask yourself–who benefits? Andy Johnson, drunk or no, became the President, and promptly set out to bring back some of the fine old practices of the South. And who was John Wilkes Booth, anyway? A Southerner! I think that what happened was that the money-men knew that once peacetime arrived, honest Abe would start going after the greedy hucksters who made their fortunes charging extortionate shipping rates, peddling shoddy munitions, and selling rotten garbage and calling it pure food.
“Do you know who was chummy with Andy Johnson? Why, it was none other than Mr. Booth himself! Booth knew him! That right there ought to make a reasonable man suspicious. As a matter of fact, the two were practically related. Why, back when Johnson was Governor of Tennessee, he and Booth both kept a mistress. And the two of them just happened to be sisters! And they used to get drunk together and rumor has it that they were generally inseparable whenever Booth was in town. Why, Mary Lincoln was absolutely convinced that drunk old Andy Johnson had something to do with the conspiracy. Maybe she was a little bit nutty–but you should never discount the intuition of a loving woman. There was no love lost between those two, I can tell you. Why, after Mary Lincoln made a big hoot and a hollar after Lincoln was laid to rest–very improper behavior for a high-born lady–and took her good old time about moving out of the White House–Johnson more or less had nothing whatsoever to do with her. Who can blame her for weeping and wailing? She was the one who insisted on going out to see the damned play–even after Lincoln told her about his disturbing dream, in which he was lying on his bier, dead as a mackerel. In a way, she was the one responsible. Maybe she even planned for it to happen. Maybe all that fuss and feathers was just an act, to cover up her own involvement.”
“Monstrous,” said Billy Batchelder Tallent.
“I dunno. Maybe Andy had a guilty conscience. He never DID hang old Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree, as was promised. Johnson was very likely little more than a confederate stooge, just like Booth. Some say Judah Benjamin, the Confederate Secretary of State, was at the head of it all. After the war, he high-tailed it to England and stayed there. Mighty suspicious, don’t you think? Or maybe it was Harry Rathbone. They say he tried to stop Booth. Well–look at the result. He couldn’t have tried very hard, could he?
“With just a little more scratching you can pin the thing on the Rothschilds. Lincoln turned down their loans, and they stood to lose a lot of money on commodity speculation, and they concluded he was bad for business, and their schemes for taking over all the United States banks, and so he had to go. Of course, they were probably also working fist-in-glove with the Jesuits. They say that only a Jesuit assassin was clever enough, and devious enough, to plan and carry out the crime.The Church had it in for Lincoln because, of course, they approved of slavery. Also, Lincoln humiliated one of their bishops in court, back when he was a lawyer. Besides, the Vatican was well-known for its propensity to murder folks who got in the way of their holy enterprises. And then again, there were also the Northern businessmen and cotton speculators who wanted slaves to go right on picking that cotton. It wouldn’t be too hard for them to hire some stooge to arrange the matter. Or maybe it was the people from New York. At the 1864 Democratic Convention, one of the delegates stood up and said that if we can’t get him with the ballot, we’ll get him with the bullet. Nice talk! So maybe McClellan had something to do with it. Who knows?
“Poor Lincoln! He was surrounded by veritable fiends! His drunken bodyguard. His goofy Vice President. The members of his own cabinet! The Secretary of War, for example. Stanton. He warned Grant not to attend Ford’s Theater. He did nothing to stop Booth’s getaway. He shut down all the telegraph lines. He made sure Booth was killed before he could talk. He even tore pages out of Booth’s diary!
“Now, I don’t put much stock in the ravings of a bunch of drunken reporters. But I do believe there was something mighty fishy going on there. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. I’m not the least bit superstitious. But I do believe that every sign, every symbol, every name, and every place is connected. Every action is part of a larger ritual. And every ritual makes something happen. So…maybe it was actually the Freemasons. What was THEIR motive? The Killing of the King, of course.
“That’s the only motive the likes of them have ever needed.”
THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES
SHAKE SOME ACTION
DIDDY WAH DIDDY
DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY
THE BEST WAY TO LEARN ANYTHING
I’d love to see what a modern-day editor would do for (or to) Charles Dickens.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
(RE: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” PICK ONE. CAN’T BE BOTH. OR PREFER, “It was both the best and worst of times.” BREAK UP EXTENDED CLAUSE INTO SINGLE SENTENCES.) RE: That last sentence. IT IS INCOMPREHENSIBLE!
“It was both the best and worst of times. Not only was it the age of wisdom, but also of foolishness. Men’s beliefs shaded into incredulity. The light and the darkness contended for primacy. The winter of despair vied with the spring of hope. We had both everything and nothing before us. We were on an express to both Heaven and Hell. In fact, 1789 was so much like 1859 that you had to either love it or hate it.”
THE PARALLAX VIEW
THE INCREDIBLE MONTAGE
Turn off the sound on this ^ and synchronize this sound with this picture from the beginning>.
The two line up amazingly well.
5*AVATAR OF THE ZEITGEIST
COTTON EYED JOE
GOOD FOR NOTHIN’JOE
THE ROCKY FELLERS
HAPPINESS IS A GUY NAMED JOE
6* DAILY UTILITY
AMERICAN FLAGS 1767-PRESENT
THE CROSS & THE SWITCHBLADE
Don’t eat free bar snacks. They’re covered in fecal coliform. Because people don’t wash their hands!
9* RUMOR PATROL
In Vietnamese Pidgin English, “Number ten” means the worst, and “number one” is the best.
LIKE A POSSUM
11*DEVIATIONS FROM THE PREPARED TEXT: A REVIEW OF OTHER MEDIA
MOVIE REVIEWS IN EXACTLY TEN WORDS
Scent of a Woman: Blind Colonel sniffs girls, drives car, threatens preppies with flamethrower.
Othello: Lost Snotrag enrages Moor, cooks Desdemona’s goose; jealous employee held.
Superman: Flying alien falls for implausibly affluent reporter; spins world backward.
Batman: Vigilante in bat outfit bests gaudy homicidal clown, gets girl.
Spider-Man: Adolescent shoots sticky fluid from appendages; not a wet dream.
Underdog: Flying Beagle battles mad scientist, impeccably tailored cigar-smoking wolf.
Taxi Driver: Insomniac cabbie talks to mirror; murders pimp; becomes hero.
A Place in the Sun: Boy drowns pregnant girlfriend, lusts for Elizabeth Taylor, is fried.
The Last Temptation of Christ: Hallucinating nomad preaches peace; is entangled in dice game; dies.
Titanic: Hag bores salvagers with love story; drops sparklers in drink.
Alice in Wonderland: Girl falls down rabbit hole, ingests ‘shrooms, sees strange critters.
Se7en: Dante-allergic cop finds pregnant wife’s head in mysterious box.
The Devil’s Advocate: Demon lawyer fucks hick who gives birth to hick lawyer.
Pretty Woman: Filthy diseased whore gets cosmetic makeover and marries older rich guy.
The Magnificent Ambersons: Young man thinks he’s better than everybody, only he’s not.
M*A*S*H: Smirking bawdy medics give cruel nickname to young army nurse.The Battle of Algiers: Documentary makers demonstrate that Algerian rebels die the darndest deaths.
Leaving Neverland: Aging ephebophile outed; outraged superfans condemn film, audience, and victims.
12 Monkeys: Man meets himself as child; however, there’s not enough chimps.
12* CONTROVERSIES IN POPULAR CULTURE
FAILED CATCHPHRASES OF YESTERYEAR
Old people belong in hell
I is someone else
Not Your Grandfather’s fascism
Four Roses Logic
Who Said Dat Word Fuck?
Ahoy there, Jesus!
Everything Is Love, Charlie!
Relax, Love, Messiah is Coming
My God I’m Tough
Let Love Be Obeyed
There were white slaves too, you know!
My lady boner is set to zero!
Smell My Coke Nail, Booger Boy
Tiger Hand Beats Rock!
My favorite prostitute is your wife
A Bagel With Everything, and step on it!
Show me your famous Rope Trick Mr. Gacy