Our friend, Mary Grabar, Ph.D., wraps up the year for The People’s Cube kollektive with this cultural fantasy.
Consider 2013 the year of the Apocalypse, as movie-goers spend the last of their dollars on a dramatization of a teen novel and its sequel with futuristic gladiatorial contests. The doomsday atmosphere is, no doubt, brought about by the Republican threats to destroy the country. Make no mistake, they can do it just by saying certain words, as we were reminded on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination, which was caused by the “extremist rhetoric” in Texas.
Going beyond uncivil words, Republicans forced the Democrats to vote for cloture, having Obama sign a bill that had not one Republican vote. In a blatant display of “ideological intransigence,” Republicans were closing hospitals and blocked the expansion of Medicaid funds, as Sally Kohn claimed on CNN.com, in a story that started with “The Obamacare website is open for business.”
According to Paul Krugman, Republicans were Scrooges causing 1.3 million American workers to lose unemployment benefits around Christmas “thanks to a perfect marriage of callousness – a complete lack of empathy for the unfortunate – with bad economics.” Ruth Marcus gave Paul Ryan the Scrooge of the Year Award, and Leon Panetta declared the Republican Congress “the most difficult I’ve seen in 50 years of public service.”
The apocalyptic tone was set by Maureen Dowd, the granddame of visionary writing at theNew York Times. Inspired by the Hunger Games, Ms. Dowd let her imagination run wild into the future, envisioning our nation’s post-sequester capital in 2084. (The model city of Detroit, in contrast, shows us how Democratic policies can succeed in the absence of Republican opposition.)
Upon reading Ms. Dowd’s column, this columnist too let her imagination run: what will our future look like if we let the academics and New York Times columnists run our world and make our decisions for us, I thought. The transformation would truly be fundamental. For an inspiring back story, read Ms. Dowd’s inspiring column, Welcome to Ted Cruz’s Thunderdome.
The Coming Apocalypse: Republicans’ Hunger Games
A chimp sits where Abe sat at a place once called the Lincoln Memorial. Under the reign of the Obama-Clinton dynasty in the year of Our Goddess 2084, all species are equal. So sayeth Peter Singer and Cass Sunstein.
Why should we privilege linear thought and language that signifies? The howls of the chimp convey more meaning than the Gettysburg Address to the younger-aged humans here on a civic engagement field trip to the capital of the True Community Democracy. Common Core dictates a common style of reading of all “texts”–the EPA directives that have saved the Planet are as important as a president presiding over a civil war. But if war is something that need not be remembered, do we need to keep open veterans monuments? The Leader in 2084 in his wisdom simply dispatches drones to eliminate those who disrupt the Peace Plan. We have no need for war, no need for veterans. The veterans memorials have been razed for statuaries of Che, Hugo Chavez, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Medea Benjamin, and Oprah. And of special interest to students: Bill Ayers in marble stands atop the old flag, thrusting a dagger into a recumbent Bill Bennett.
When the chimp from Abe’s chair hurls feces at the field trip group, the children turn to their facilitator who explains through her face covering that one type of communication should not be privileged over another. The hemisphere has adopted Helene Cixous’s precepts. Speech is no longer “governed by the phallus,” no longer seeks truth in its old linear, logical, goal-oriented manner. When little Barrachus (for many are the variants of Barack the First) starts to cry when the chimp feces hits him, the facilitator praises him for his authentic communication. “Barrachus, I am so proud of you,” she says, “You are finally coming around to interspecies communication and getting in touch with your feminine side. All hail to the Goddess and her daughters.”
When they return to their learning-community centers, and before the facilitator-aides tuck them into bed with a glass of soymilk and wheat-germ/molasses bran bars (all hail to the First Lady of Health, foremother Michelle Obama, who has wiped out obesity once and for all), they will discuss the significance of this act in their groups.
The facilitator now comes to wipe the chimp shit from the sense-o-meter strapped to Barrachus’s neck. The devices directly transmit to the Gates-Pearson-Hewlitt Center any social or emotional adjustment problems. The younger-aged get feedback on the readings every night in their groups, where they are encouraged to confess non-acceptance and cry with relief. Group hugs are mandatory. Those refusing are known as bullies and are sent to the Southern Poverty Law Center for re-education.
“This is herstory,” their facilitator reminds her young charges as she points to the monuments. The chimp has now shifted his attention and is quietly concentrating on a mid-torso flea.
The facilitator then points to a group of women in burqas who take small steps like pensive nuns. “This is the Truth Team,” she says. Through their cloth screens they affirm to each other, “Be the change, sister.” They have emerged from the Ministry of Truth and Change, where they have been correcting truths, all maintained in the computers of the Minister of Education, Bill Gates.
From the National Mosque comes the call to prayer. All drop to the mulch-paved ground and bow towards Mecca.
When prayers are done a tall one says to a short one, “Blessed be the liberation.” “Yes, all praise to Allah,” says the short one.
They are thankful for the new Freedoms instituted by beloved Leader. They have freedom from anxiety and worry, thanks to the Department of Mental Health and Welfare. They have freedom from argument, debate, and polarizing talk radio. But most importantly for the female-gendered, they are no longer oppressed by the gaze.
They are the cloned daughters of the childless foremothers, when the first Barack had decreed that cloning of the “thought leaders of America” would be covered under universal health care. Hence, Peter Singer and Cass Sunstein still live.
These women see each others’ faces only in their quarters (as do the community security on their cameras). One has the washed-out look of a 1970s Playboy bunny. The other has the pinched look of a bitter columnist, of someone who resents the fact that the approved mode of communication is non-linear. No longer does she enjoy power in a large building in Manhattan (for it now is a model organic city under Bill de Blasio, maintained by Central American peasants who work two hours each day to raise free-range pigs and chickens).
No longer does the columnist sit at a keyboard, delighting in her transgressive wit, chuckling over insults about the powerful politicos with zingers that zap all the pretenses of the male-gendered, word for signifying word. Now above her cubicle, identified by a red heart, is engraved the inspirational line from Cixous’s 1975 “Laugh of the Medusa,” a text once reserved for the super smart in English graduate seminars: “Language conceals an invincible adversary, because it’s the language of men and their grammar.” It has now been made accessible to all by Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, Secretary of Non-Testing, who has ended the “achievement gap.”
For those who are auditory learners, there are recordings that trill out the sayings of the foremothers Cixous, Julia Kristeva, and Betty Friedan in Spanish, Arabic, and English. The former columnist must communicate in the feminine mode now. But shuffling truths into piles indicated by pictograms on the computer screen just does not provide the same kind of satisfaction for her. She cannot even snidely compare the Commanders of the Faithful of the classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, to old white men of the Grand Old Party.
The question of the columnist’s own classic tome Are Men Necessary? has been answered. Roman columns line the paths in dedication to Barack Hussein Obama, the first Mufti, Hillary, the first womyn president, her daughter, the second womyn president, Huma Abadeen, the first Muslim Brotherhood Secretary, Oprah Winfrey, the first Race Relations Secretary.
The columnist casts her eye through the slits, surveying the utopian scene and then to the Museum of the Old Patriarchal Order, where the bad guys, Ronald Reagan, George Washington, Allen West, are preserved in wax. There the younger-aged are shown images of hate-filled ancestors: the tea party, VFW, Eagle Forum, and the Rotary Club—all eliminated. Most of the members were old already, anyway. They expired at their computers, waiting for the health care exchanges to accept their applications.
The facilitator of the young scholars (whose wisdom is within them) wipes a tear from her eye and then laughs hysterically. She suddenly shouts at the top of her lungs: “Hate is gone. No more hate. Universal love!” (This is not unusual in the Age of Authentic Communication when feelings are no longer repressed.)
The facilitator begins dancing like a dervish, laughing and crying tears of joy. For the Founding Mother, Helene Cixous, wrote, “Listen to a woman speak at a public gathering (if she hasn’t painfully lost her wind). She doesn’t speak, she throws her trembling body forward; she lets go of herself, she flies; all of her passes into her voice, and it’s with her body that she vitally supports the ‘logic’ of her speech. Her flesh speaks true. She lays herself bare. In fact, she physically materializes what she’s thinking; she signifies it with her body.”
The flea has been squashed. The chimp jumps off Lincoln’s chair. He joins her in the dance. He screeches and jumps up and down.
The facilitator cries out, “Oh, the universal dance of interspecies peace. Come my fellow primate. Let us commune.”
She holds out her arms in the interspecies signal of peace.
The chimp jumps up and down even higher, baring big yellow teeth, as he gives an ear-splitting chimp cry. Then with a huge hairy hand he rips off the facilitator’s face-covering.
And there is revealed Womyn, someone who at one time may have used the oppressive language of the patriarchy, burdened with facts, and an oppressive unjust “history.” Or she could have dealt with capital and money that robbed other citizens of the globe, for profit, in a very un-maternal way.
At one time Womyn had been burdened with lookism, with doing her hair and make-up before going into the public arena, concerned about what the male-gendered thought of her appearance. She had been burdened with worries about right and wrong, how to schedule her day, and how to walk in high heels. That was so much like Sarah Palin, who was also burdened with the care of her own progeny, before the 24-hour community center-schools (all hail to Arne Duncan).
The former columnist of the old patriarchal communicative form, as she stands with her sisters, peers from behind her own cloth shield and ponders as she watches the primate/primal dance. She ponders in spite of her belief in the New Community Order, when all such burdensome activities as weighing evidence and checking for logic are provided by the Sister State. She ponders in spite of the mental health warnings emerging daily about such risky activity, once done in logic classes.
In the old days she would have pondered freely and for hours about how to express herself, how to figuratively throw monkey feces at the Enemy. But now the Enemy, Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld and their followers, have been killed off. “Figuratively” has no meaning. Nor does “irony.” She thinks hard. Her face becomes even more pinched and sour under her covering. What is there to mock now, now that there are no more College Republicans even with their pathetic and ineffectual affirmative action campus bake sales?
She looks upon the scene, with the little learners, all equally capable, all geniuses, now that facilitators have learned how to draw out their innate intelligence. They stand open-mouthed, horrified.
The ape is becoming more excited as the facilitator dances faster and faster. The columnist notices that in spite of communicating in a manner that goes beyond “phallic mystification,” the chimp does have a phallus.
But the facilitator does not seem to notice. She is dancing the Universal Dance of Peace, her bare face now thrown up towards the overcast, humid sky. She has faith–faith that under the New Order all conflict can be eliminated, even interspecies conflict, through such authentic communication. It is a new era.
The former columnist looks on, now trying to repress her look of fear, squelching an urge to comfort the little scholars now looking stricken as the chimp jumps closer to their facilitator. Rainbow, a smallish female-gendered person, begins to cry.
The former columnist cannot help herself, and emits what is now forbidden in the time of Universal Peace: a bitter smirk. She lets out a cackle, like an old witch.
The chimp turns at the new, strange sound and leaps away from the facilitator towards her.
The former columnist watches the hairy hand come closer to her face. Then she roars as she never did before, for she is Womyn.