Orifice, Or a Face?

A Hole or a Visage?

We eat drink, smell, sneeze, speak, hear, breath and vomit through holes in the head: our orifices. There are two other orifices we seldom name in polite company, but they are no where near the face and, even though they are highly sensitive to touch and manipulation we allow them to be synonymous with shame. Probably because they are used to expel smelly waste products associated with having a gut microbiome, and eating food. Either that, or the heightened sensitivity of these secreted orifices and the arousal of sexual expressions of said holes and their fleshy surroundings can sometimes be embarrassing. They spend most of their time hidden behind layers of clothing and seldom, if ever, view the sun.

So, most writers have little to say about an orifice such as the ear or the nose which have little to do to actively engage in acts of sexual stimulation. (I don’t want to ignore the wonderful smells that are arousing, nor the sexual appeal of a tenor’s lyrical voice, but these physical structures are limited in their usefulness as far as mechanisms for sexual play. One seldom hears of ear-anal penetration for example. ‘Brown nosing’ is a derogatory term rarely used in erotic literature.) Most attention is focused upon the penis, the mouth and other penis-accessible orifices, especially the one where babies emerge, over a gestational period of time, of course.

Do you know how people oftentimes resemble their pets? The short grouchy butch guy with the bulldog or the fluffy-haired poodle owner. I wonder if the same thing exists between a person’s face and their own orifices? I mean a face is made up of eyes, skin and orifices so there is bound to be a correlation there, but how often do people resemble their lower orifice? I mean if someone calls you an asshole, it’s usually because you are a jerk and not because they have noticed any resemblance between you and your, well, you know. I mean how would anyone actually know except the guys at the gym, maybe, unless you are a porn star or something. Is it really what you want to be known for in polite society?

Just as the elevator doors shut:

“Hey, I know you from someplace.”

“Sorry, I don’t…”

“You used to have black silky hair, you’ve gone bald, man. I remember, you did porn and you looked just like your asshole.”

“SIR, PLEASE!”

“I never forget a face or an ass for that matter, you resemble your ass.” “Your porn was like watching the Patty Duke Show.”

A rare occurrence, I am sure, but we need to see more butts to know if the correlation actually exists or if I’m just talking out my ass. Maybe our photo ID’s should have a front view of the face, a side view, and an ass view. People would be saying: “Hey, Dachshund-ass” or “Is that a schnauzer in your trousers?

I don’t suppose I would be discussing this if today’s headlines weren’t about our beloved President Trump calling Haiti and most of Africa “shithole” countries. He sure has a way of lowering the level of world discourse.

Evangelical White Christians

Their values are modeled

on those of the Donald.

Trumping the vision

of He who is Risen.

Thoughtless devotion

to orange-haired emotion

renders a notion

not worth promotion.

 

Those who have toyed

with paranoid red-herrings

lose ethical bearings,

mixing right with wrong.

They’ve ‘fake’ delusions

he’ll give divine solutions

like nuclear profusions

and doctrinal devolutions.

 

Yes, I know our times are broken

and it may be harshly spoken

but we’re dealing with the tokens

of Evangelical promotions

so forget poetic notions:

We’re all fucked!

 

By Bill O’Donnell   Freethoughtblogs.com/Odgraphix

Jesus Camp, the Harbinger

I re-watched the 2006 documentary, Jesus Camp the other day. It predicted Trump; not the who of Donald Trump, but the what of an evangelical-favored president. The fact that he is irreligious has no relevance to them. They indoctrinated their children into being voters for a Trump-like leader and it worked. They got what they asked for, emotionalism, nationalism and speaking/texting-in-tongues nonsense.

By the way, this is not what I meant by negative capability, which respects and honors reason and logic in collaborative harmony. This is intentional random illogic and unreasonable faith in anti-intellectualism with a nod to Evangelical Christian religiosity. The “Kids On Fire” summer campers of the film were old enough to vote in this past election. Like the students from any madrassa, they presumably did what they were taught to do.

I was saddened by this film when I first saw it ’07. But I’d regularly been saddened by the Anita Bryants and Jerry Falwells and Tammy Faye Bakers of the world since the 1970s. My expectation for the Evangelical’s dream candidate was more along the super intelligent con-man type, like the balloonish Ted Cruz. Instead we got the perfect blend of a capitalist oligarch salesman/conman who is the male version of Tammy Faye in terms of hair at least, and he organically speaks in tongues. He is neither the intellect nor the pious spiritualist; that born-again glaze in his eyes, as the Evangelicals perceive it, is just plain crazy to the rest of the world. He is more oligarch than evangelical and the religious crowd is happy with what they have got. This represents the Christian backlash that’s been predicted for years. Oddly, I expected to have more respect for it when it arrived.

Their prayers have been answered. By the time he is done the Christian version of Sharia law will give these wackos authority over an individual’s sexual, gender, and reproductive life. The non-productive capitalist theology/ buffoonery of a Trump and the oppressive dominionist theology of the evangelicals have given the Republican oligarchs two tigers to hold by the tail. Balancing oligarchy with theology was hard enough but Trump presents a wild-card they didn’t expect. The pie has to be gerrymandered so that all three major players get the piece they want.

From the distant devastation of my twice hurricane-struck island I am glad to be here, not there. With my brief internet connections, I feel like I am glimpsing an episode of the 1960s TV show Batman; an episode where all the colorful criminals, the jokers, penguins and cat persons have taken over the city while each of them makes up their own set of nonsensical rules and chaos prevails. Our democracy is now a failed camp farce. Will a bat-costumed billionaire save the day?

The teacher has left this USA classroom alone for far too long. Where is the adult? Or are we just waiting for Godot?

The Carousel is Burning

Every time I type the word ‘bureaucracy,’ the spell-checker has to fix it. I don’t like the word or the thing itself. However, bureaucracies are necessary for the efficient management of large numbers of people; they are necessary in government and the government is only as good as the people running the bureaucracy. So, the distressing part of the article I mentioned yesterday (which is now missing from this site): Why The Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming From Inside The White House by Michael Lewis at Vanity Fair, is the giant gap in the number and quality of employees left in the Dept. of Energy.

Trump, with his cartoon sycophant sidekick, Rick Perry, is going about the destruction of this department the wrong way. It needs to be dismantled piece by piece in a structured and cautious manner. If some parts need to be saved or protected or are dangerous then you can’t just blow the place up or let it rot away. A plan, based upon understanding of the bureaucratic structure and how it evolved into being will be the guide for how to go about dismantling it. So, whether the intent is to keep it going or to dismantle it, the person doing this must FIRST understand it.

The Education Department is being destroyed much more efficiently due to the theologically driven Betsy Devos. She may not understand what education is in the real world but she is confident of what she wants it to look like in the future. There is a plan and she seems to be methodical in her pursuit of that goal from what is being reported. I hate where she is taking her department, but she is doing a better job of transforming the place than Rick Perry is with his ignorance-based technique. Any damage she does will only harm this generation of students with little permanent damage (except for the children which is bad enough). Perry, the stock Comedia clown that he is, has the fate of the planet in his hands, with no plan nor comprehension of his responsibilities.

Long before I started blogging I predicted that the US would fail in the same manner as the Soviet Union. I attributed the USSR failure to its overwhelming bureaucracy that made tractors more valuable as scrap metal than functional machinery. I predicted that our fall would take longer, but that our bureaucracies are so overwhelmed and cumbersome that they needed some trimming down.

The choice to perform the task of destruction is based upon ideology. The task of destroying a bureaucracy (ideology aside), can be done with callous disregard of its purpose or with respect for its intent. Bureaucracies of all stripes have a natural tendency to feed on themselves and grow new appendages and form knots of intricacies around themselves. Governments have massive knots of intricacies tying one entity to another. A significant disruption in one can have unforeseen ramifications throughout the system. The haphazard circumstance of the Department of Energy is our equivalent to the fall of the USSR. The potential for total system collapse is upon us and we’ve got Sapino the clown running the thing!

So, I have major disagreements with the choice to destroy governmental bureaucracy rather than fixing it, but those objections become irrelevant when the process of destruction has so little regard for the safety of the world. Rick Perry obviously never read Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Use it Rick, Use it. Become Responsible!

Look, We can fight about ideology another day if we survive. Go ahead, destroy the Department of Energy. Just do it responsibly, with integrity, use common sense. Hire the experts necessary to dismantle the bombs and the grid and the materials that will kill us, safely. There is way too much at stake to play silly clown-games with this stuff.

Spirit of Positivity

We were so close.

Then came January 20th and the inauguration with its ominous speech from Hell.

There was no ‘shining city on a hill,’ no one was ‘having a dream,’ there was no “What can I do for my country?’ instead there was: ‘American Carnage,’ obscure references to an “us” that seemed to  be someone else, and a promise that certain members of a religious group:

we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth”.

I started to write a positive post here but it’s already gone astray, sorry. I’ve been thinking about the future and how to remain positive about it. When I first moved to the Island of St. Croix I saw bumper-stickers saying, “Positive is how I live.” I automatically thought it was about having HIV and taking proper care of themselves, but I saw the phrase everywhere, it was on way too many t-shirts and store-fronts for that. Turns out it is a non-profit effort to give local children a useful attitude toward the future and prepare them for success in their lives. How Cool!

A friend of mine volunteers her time in the library at a local elementary school. When Trump was elected her students asked if that meant they would have to go to Africa since they have dark skin. How positive can life be if that question is on their minds?

Some things are beyond my control, so I’ve decided to look on the bright side of life. I’m tired of being depressed and anxious about the future so Positive is how I will live. I have many reasons to be positive. For example, my home is well above the 17’ rise in sea level predicted within the next 30 years. We checked the FEMA tsunami prediction maps before purchasing the property. The projections were made with existing water levels so, adding another 17’ above that puts us in…Oops, did it again. Stay positive!

We’re putting skylight windows in to brighten the interior of our home, a generator for the frequent power outages, and glass windows instead of screens and storm shutters that will help with rust and mildew. I’m going to stop right here lest I venture into less-than-positive areas like the corner of the bedroom that seems to be separating from the rest of the house, so I won’t even mention that in the spirit of positivity.

I’m volunteering for the PRIDE events celebrated in September here. A large chunk of the local gay community on this isolated island is still living in the Boys In The Band era of the 1960s while the ex-pat gay community is loud and proud and a big part of the development of the West End of the island. My task is to bridge that gap between the closeted crowd and the loud and proud crowd with a party for our allies during PRIDE Week. The theme is “Harmony.” I know it’s going to take more than just one event, but this is a positive with no downside. We’re here, We’re queer, We’re allies, Let’s have a party together, so we all can get used to it.

No cynical ending to this post guys, I’M POSITIVE!

https://www.stxpride.org

Rules of Acquisition

Stephen Fry spoke in an opinion piece for the NYT  about the importance of a monarchy and how we in the US might attempt such a thing: “But ritual and pageant, costume and custom are to public life what metaphors are to language; they bring it to life and move it from the abstract to the real.” Fry suggests we elevate someone, anyone to the position of “Uncle Sam” or “Aunt Samantha” to be the US equivalent of the King or Queen in a monarchy. He says that putting on the “show” of a monarchy will make our shared ideals real in the way a metaphor does in language. That sounds interesting although I wonder what commonality we would use to identify the essential “Sam” of our nation.

I’m veering off from what Stephen said now (he also spoke of the need for leaders to explain their actions, etc.) by asking if any common ground exists between the ideology of the Obama era and Trump’s current amorality? My first thought, as elementary as it may be, is, ‘don’t kill other people,’ part of the law of reciprocity, it’s a shared value for everyone. The second item on my list of assumed fundamentally shared values was ‘don’t steal from other people’ but after a second or two I realized Trump doesn’t actually share that particular fundamental value. He doesn’t pay workers for work done. He lies (fundamental 3) and breaks promises (4). He cheats (5) but cheating and capitalism are practically synonyms anyway. He “grabs ‘em by the pussy,” (6) another form of theft that is also: assault, humiliation, demeaning, disrespect, belittlement, male entitlement, and violation. I could go on, but I stopped even numbering because the search for unifying values begins and ends with one – don’t kill! Wait, Mitch McConnell’s health care plan will kill people. That is the end of commonality.

Ladies and Gentlemen there is no value that we hold in common. 

This was too simple, I’m not ready to give up, let’s try a more established set of rules:

The Ten Commandments (modified to be inclusive),

1 Thou shall have no other ideologies before me. Obama’s ideology is to seek the greatest good for all, and Trump’s is self interest – money, ego and golf.

2 Thou shall not make any graven images. Obama preserved vast plots of land and historical locations as national parks; Trump builds gold plated hotels with his name on them.

3 Thou shalt not use the ideology’s name in vain. Obama protects our environment for humanity’s sake and Trump destroys it for monetary gain.

4 Remember to keep the holy days a time for ritual and reflection. Both men play golf but Obama prays introspectively. Trump plays in the temples that bear his name while banning the people whose rituals and reflections he doesn’t comprehend.

5 Honor and get along with thy father and mother. Trump constantly belittled Obama’s parentage as he does the heritage of all immigrants. How does that honor his own parents?

6 Thou shalt not kill people. Trump’s major go-to guys, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are seeing to this. The ACA attempted to prevent avoidable death. “Trumpcare” doesn’t care.

7 Thou shall not commit adultery – “grab them by the pussy.”

8 Thou shall not steal. Already covered that.

9 Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Tweeting Trump’s unTruths.

10 Thou shall not covet anything. Like money, attention and hot chicks, or walking into contestants’ dressing rooms?

Well, That was an exercise in futility.

Outside of the Ferengi “Rules of Acquisition” (from TV’s Star Trek series) there is no known code or set of moral guidelines that fits Trump’s behavior. Trump plays by his own set of rules, none of which seem to fit with the ‘Golden Rule,’ the Law of Reciprocity in any way. Here’s a sampling of the Rules of Acquisition: 126 A lie isn’t a lie, it’s just the truth seen from a different point of view,  90 Mine is better than ours, and 144 There’s nothing wrong with charity … as long as it winds up in your pocket. See what I mean?

So, establishing Stephen Fry’s idea of a ‘Sam’ uncle or aunt monarchy would have been perfectly viable during Obama’s era while impossible now. The right wing back then held ‘Judeo-Christian’ values as the foundation of the country, however, now that Trump is almost a saint to the Evangelicals – Christians (in theory at least), God has been replaced with gold. The new Golden Rule is: “Screw thy neighbor and make them pay for it.” Take Mexico and the wall for example.

The right wing spent the eight years of Obama’s administration saying: ‘no’ without clarification of what they would do instead. Now that they have all three branches of government the best they can put forth is a SCI-FI TV show’s farcical metaphor of capitalism run amok? All hail the new Uncle Sam – Trump, the hairy-eared Grand Nagus of Ferenginar.

“But ritual and pageant, costume and custom are to public life what metaphors are to language; they bring it to life and move it from the abstract to the real.” If we did as Fry suggests it would give us a metaphor so ugly that it would force us see just how repulsive and distant from Judeo-Christian values we actually are. No amount of pageant, costume, custom or ritual can hide the vulgarity of the Evangelical hero, Trump. It is time to bring the metaphor to life, to make this abstract real enough for even a Christian to see.

Trump And The Three-Point-Stance

A three-point-stance is vital to successful urination for the canine male.  I don’t know why ‘cause my yellow lab, Yogi, always sets his foot down in the puddle he’s just made. It gives me a chuckle. I’ve been trying to figure out why he does it, but only a few thoughts have come to mind. I’ve started paying attention to other dogs who do the same thing. The oddity of this behavior had me ask Siri, who says a vertical surface keeps the scent around longer. (I doubt the dog has though this through, it’s instinct.) It could be a message declaring ownership of the vertical object, or a territorial boundary. I think it is more of a pride thing, or a pride of his thing, thing. They proudly lift their leg to call attention while waving their hooter-parts around for all to see. Then, they step in it and leave little stamp marks of their paw prints down the road. This makes it easier for the next dog to follow the prints and obliterate that message with their own.

Trump does that. He calls attention to himself, makes a mess, steps in his mess, then walks away. Those staffers who follow behind will say, “Smells like Trump has been here.” We’d better obliterate his mess with alternate facts and other such hoo-ha.

My female Basset Hound, Molly, doesn’t seem to have the same braggadocious needs in her peeing habits. Although sometimes a certain smell will make her squat in her version of a dainty feminine manner; she stops, splays her hind legs, and lets loose. If she happens to do this behind me on a walk it can be a wrenching experience for my back. Suddenly, without notice, my travel companion will turn into a fifty-five pound dead weight with claws in the ground. If she is in front, I trip; if she is behind me my shoulder gets jerked out of place. Either way, it doesn’t help the sciatica, and once I tore my calf muscle and was laid up on the couch for two weeks.

I suspect this is why Melania Trump slaps away Donald’s hand on vacations. She is a slight girl, in contrast to him, who doesn’t want her shoulder jared when her hefty husband suddenly stops. This has probably happened in the past and unlike Molly who is close to the ground with wide paws and stubby legs, she is perched up on those dagger-like pointy heels. A sudden stop by the big orange gorilla would instantly knock her off those precarious things.

Molly loves going on walks with her brother. On the left is a picture of my two dogs on a walk. We are just passing the spot where that ten-foot boa-constrictor surprised us from the tall grass. Now, if you look closely you will notice there is only one leash with a y-connector for the dogs. With Yogi’s sudden bursts of dog-brained, scattered energy and Molly’s propensity for sudden stops, the use of two leashes was literally tearing me apart; I had to put them together so they would jerk each other’s sciatica instead of mine.

This becomes particularly dangerous, however, when both dogs decide to go in the same direction at the same time. Suddenly there is 110 pounds and eight legs pulling me forward with determination. I’m more than twice their combined weight but that becomes a meaningless factor given the physics involved. All their force is applied to my shoulders which makes me top-heavy, leaving my legs to do most of the resistance or start running.

I imagine the White House staff feels like I do in that situation, too. There they are, running the country, when out of nowhere an invented word on an unfinished, published text pulls them off course and out of balance. Y’know, one has to wonder how he got all those cell phones through his own security to give away to other leaders in order to bypass our own security?

I don’t think anyone is holding his leash because he’s got to have collaborators programing those security-violating phones for him. Can you imagine him up all night with a tiny screwdriver and a box of new cell phones?

I’d become quite worried if my dogs got off their leash.

Dual-Fact Nation Part 2

Adam & Eve have no lower bodies and conveniently draped hair.

Dismediation is a new word for me I found it in a Religion Dispatches Newsletter article by Christopher Douglas. I should have mentioned the article in my last post since I divided the whole topic into two posts . Dismediation is a process using a medium to tear down that very same medium. So, if you use the TV news to complain about TV news coverage you are dissing the media covering you which academic folks label dismediation. It is a rhetorical technique similar to the one where you begin your speech by saying you are not going to talk about a particular topic; which you have obviously just done by mentioning the topic. “I refuse to discuss my opponent’s vile policies on strawberry flavored toothpaste, I will, however discuss the joys of mint toothpaste which I support wholeheartedly.”

Dismediation is not like those cartoons where the bridge falls apart piece by piece just as the last wheel of the caboose passes by. The bridge must remain an essential carrier. It’s more like complaining about the medium of news for doing what the speaker relies upon it to do, report the message. Trump constantly portrays the news media as being liars thereby discrediting the medium he needs to get his message out. He expects the bridge to remain available after his caboose has passed by so he can use and abuse it repeatedly. The news becomes a straw man that can be attacked repeatedly while whittling away at its viability. If you can convince enough people that the tracks are unsafe then fewer people will travel on the tracks ultimately destroying the effectiveness of the railway system.

The goal of “fake news” and “alternative facts” goes beyond providing different data. Their purpose is actually to destroy the notion that there could be impartial news and objective facts. Maria Bustillos calls this endgame “dismediation,” “a form of propaganda that seeks to undermine the medium by which it travels.”

The people most vulnerable to this rhetorical trap happen to be Fundamental Christians. They have been conditioned to do so by a lifetime process of indoctrination. It begins with an attitude of dislike for the elite, know-it-all, educated class that comes from family influences as well as social interaction with fundamentalist churches. Here, they learn of the inerrancy of the Bible, a blind obedience to its teachings and dis-trust of those who don’t share the same belief. There was little infrastructure to support this back in the late seventies when the fundamentalist evangelicals began their forays into politics through one particular luminary, Anita Bryant and her anti-gay campaign to Save the Family. Anita was not afraid to call gay folks names. Pick any, or all, of these descriptive terms found in The Anita Bryant Story:

Evil, sinners, perverted, an abomination, those with vile affections, reprobate minds, unnatural, deviant, flaunting, afflicted, regrettable, sad, tragic, apart, distorted, abominable, effeminate, ashamed, reproof, abhorrent, disgusting, licentious, lacking legal or moral restraint, marked by disregard of the rules.

If you want a complete list you will have to dig up her book because all this came from just one small part of one short chapter.I had to stop writing them down, it was too stressful.

Anita Bryant capitalized on her orange-juice spokeswoman fame and wrote several “Christian” books. She became both the beacon of her movement and its lightning rod. Jerry Falwell joined her and it became a launch point for truthiness and faux-scholarship of the bigoted religious. You see, she wrote a best selling book. A BOOK. If its in a book its got to be true! If it quotes the Bible a lot then its even more true. So, a whole slew of other anti-gay people started quoting her books as a credible source. They learned about footnotes and endnotes and citations and all those other image-enhancing rip-offs of credible writing. That lead to other bigot’s books quoting this “highly credible” authority (she wrote books you know); one who uses language that would make the Ku Klux Klan folks blush. Once this body of scholar-less-ship dismediation came to pass, evangelicals and fundamentalists started to realize there’s gold in them there books. If the Bible is quoted enough, then academic scholarship is not required. They would, of course reference one another’s work and soon there was a whole library of this stuff. In Christian schools a homogenization process of real and faux scholarship, religious ideology, and the Creation Museum hoopla all merged into “alt-reality” as we call it today.

Christian fundamentalist Bible colleges and universities, publishers and bookstores, newspapers and magazines, radio and then television shows, museums and campus ministries, together formed a set of institutions that resisted elite, secular expert knowledge. Recognizing the power of expertise’s infrastructure, Christian fundamentalists created this counter-infrastructure to cultivate and curate its alternative forms of knowledge. This alternative knowledge—the forerunner of today’s alternative facts— took the form of creationism and an alternative Bible scholarship demonstrating the Bible’s inerrancy and traditional authorship.

I’ve watched the Anita effect influence society in negative ways. Once, I took my students from the Gay Student Club I helped create at Bloomsburg University back in the ‘80s to hear a highly publicized Campus Crusade for Christ anti-gay speaker. We had a stake in this game but were naive as to the effect it would have on all of us. The speaker used a new rhetorical trick to enhance his credibility; it was the unkindest cut of all. He knew his audience would already be on his side, but just to foil the opposition, us, he made a big deal about how all his facts were well supported by references and documentation. He had a three-page list of those references available for all to see if we needed proof. His speech was as evil as Anita’s book and included all sorts of “studies” proving his points. We asked to see his references at the end, but he had unfortunately (read conveniently) left them at home while on his speaking tour. Was there credence to what he said in the speech? Well, it didn’t matter since it had already been given.  There was nothing he could prove and nothing we could do but disagree. We didn’t bring our list of actual studies and scholarship either so nothing we said would have convinced the audience who came with preconceived opinions at the start. It was despicable and cowardly and dishonest and oh-so-typical of the alt-mindset theology: “a lie for God’s side is not a sin.”

TrumpFace, the Musical

I’ve had the most unusual idea for a new musical. Well, it will seem like a musical for the first fifteen minutes or so until a sudden shift occurs. Things will turn scary and the audience will experience fear. They’ll be magically transported to potential future events with dire outcomes if something isn’t done to fix the problems, just like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. The second act demonstrates how to get things done.

By first getting the audience on my side with the musical introduction, frightening them with a sample of totalitarian violence, explaining the consequences of increasing xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, and hostility toward others, then finally giving them a plan for a solution through thoughtful civil disobedience, they ought to be motivated to do something themselves, not just laugh at clever, humorous, frivolity. I mean, John Stewart really helped me get through the Bush years, but we’re in a much deeper pile of crap this time and it will take action from everyday people to get out from under Trump’s authoritarian proclivities.

The play begins as if it is a Minstrel Show.

The star will be Doxie Trump; sort of like Roxie Hart from the musical Chicago. Doxie will be the Donald Trump character in our show, get it, Donnie – Doxie? Ostensibly, each song will be about one of Donald Trump’s biggly lies. The performers will all wear “TrumpFace” instead of black face and have orange and yellow wigs.

minstrels copy

Trumpified Minstrel

It’ll start out fairly simple: Mr. Bones Trump, playing dried up rib bones on stage right and Mr. Tambo Trump, on tambourine stage left with a collection of Trump’s wives and daughters sitting on a row of bentwood chairs playing banjos and so forth. Mr. Interlocutor will be just like the shyster lawyer from Chicago, Billy Flynn, but his name will be Vlady Flynn and look just like Putin in TrumpFace.  He tries to rap his song, but he doesn’t quite get it. His jokes are awful.

The second number introduces the Velma Kelly character of our production, but we’ll just call him Vannon. This will be the only character not wearing TrumpFace; he’ll appear just like the real Steve Bannon who kind of looks like an alcoholic version of Trump anyway. Every time someone says ‘Vannon’ there’ll be a funny kettle drum hit quickly raised in pitch to remind us of his droopy drawers approach to life. This just seems appropriate, kind of like the horses and Frau Blucher in Young Frankenstein.

The third number will be just like the “Nowadays” number in Chicago with a Doxie and Vannon duet as they reminisce about the campaign. The song brings us up to the Inaugural Address. Before the speech begins we see the audience enter in their alt-right clothing, nazi tattoos, and red ball caps; a live mic picks up lines like, “ Finally, we can call ‘em fags again” and “fucking jews”.

Doxie gives a revised, Hitler-like version of Trump’s actual speech which leaves the theatre audience stunned and depressed. (Minstrels often had a malaprop filled “stump speech” bit in the third act.) The onstage audience of actors will gradually alter their clothing to become a uniformed “Springtime for Hitler” kind of high-kicking chorus line of Trump-faced Soldiers lined up down stage.

The on-stage lights will snap out while house lights come up revealing two soldiers at each theatre exit putting chains around the door handles. The real audience will start to get anxious. An elderly audience member attempts to go to the bathroom, but is knocked down by a guard. Everyone gasps! Is that part of the show? The onstage show stops, the lights become stark harsh white and the chorus stares at the audience while big shit-eating grins grow on their faces. They move up stage revealing Doxie, center stage. She takes off the wig, the TrumpFace and the Trump suit, revealing ‘him’ to be a black woman wearing blackface outlined with fluorescent colors. She comes forward to address the audience.

So, you think this is funny, don’t you? You are wrong. You’re trapped! [all the lights go out with a ‘ker-chunk’ type noise] You’re blind, [spot on Doxie’s head] and you have no choice but to listen to me! [as volume increases and her voice echoes harshly]. You paid to be here, you asked for it and now, you are not so sure what to do next. Am I right?

[Sarcastic] So, you thought humor would make Trump go away. Watch a little Bill Maher, Keith Olbermann, or Samantha Bee and life becomes tolerable again. You’re pacified, you’re complacent and then you’re docile enough to go to work for one more day. [shouts] Well, that’s not going to happen here.

You. All of you, have just volunteered for the biggest challenge of ALL our lives. When you, and I, leave here, and, yes, you will leave here. [lights on guards removing chains] You will not be complacent or the least bit docile. You will be determined and you will be serious. You will have no need for pacification because you will commit yourself to the task at hand. You will be an active member of the Resistance. You will be the solution!

To drive home the stakes at play in this circumstance, the second part of act one will involve Doxie, the black-faced black woman, magically guiding the audience through dark and dramatic ‘future’ scenarios revealing Trump’s religious bigotry, anti-environment policies, and hostility. It will be like the audience is Scrooge and she is the ghost of things to come. The Tiny Tims of tomorrow will provoke the passions and anger of the audience.

Intermission allows time to process the weirdness of the first act. The second act brings us to our current reality where we constantly hear the rumor of unnecessary deportations, bigotry and religious exclusions. The scene will be a community center’s meeting room, It is filling up with folks from the neighborhood.  Doxie enters in regular street make-up this time, no longer the ghost of a scary future, but her clothes have hints of the fluorescent colors of her mask in act one. She’s a somewhat plain average person. She is the present day leader of this small group of neighbors. She has brought them together to solve the problem of Trump. This will be the first meeting of the local Resistance. The everyday folks who attend this meeting will work collaboratively to create a goal and build a plan of action. This act will be modeled somewhat on Clifford Odets’ play Waiting For Lefty where, at the end, the whole audience stands and chants: Strike, Strike, Strike” with fists raised in defiance! Except that, we’ll be shouting: Resist, Resist, Resist! The spirit of shared purpose and possibility will cause our spirits to soar!

(We would do a big splashy production number for a curtain call except that the audience will have moved too far beyond the artificial pretense of musicals. The entertainment is over; now it is time to do something.)


 

P.S. The Minstrel Show was the most vile, racist propaganda our country has ever experienced. The most horrible stereotypes were presented on stage. Many of those images remain today. Some performers continue to perpetrate the minstrel mentality, especially in the music business. At first, all the minstrel performers were whites in blackface. Black actors were eventually allowed on stage years later, but they still had to wear blackface. Think about the mental dissonance required to perform absurd parodies of your own culture while wearing a mask that ridicules your very own being! Doxie takes that mask and makes it something else by trimming it with fluorescent colors – she becomes a magical guide warning us of possibilities. Remember, she removes the minstrel mask of TrumpFace in order to guide us to the future. In act two she is a normal person, but she still carries with her the strength of her cultural  heritage and the knowledge that going back can never happen again. The metaphor of removing masks to allow our true selves to take action presents a powerful lesson in personal growth leading to communal strength.

Feeling Daffy Duck-ish

The animator’s pencil comes into the frame, eraser first, as it starts to remove the black and yellow duck known as Daffy from the screen. The duck continues a conversation with the unseen animator complaining about being erased. It’s a surreal, existentialist cartoon from Warner Brothers that plays with the conventions of the dramatic art of cartooning.

To enjoy a cartoon, you, the audience, must first accept the illusion of reality as presented in the animator’s product. Once you realize the conventions of the illusion: bright colors, stylized scenery, animation, funny voices, sound effects etc. you can choose to go along with it or not. The natural inclination is to disbelieve things that are so blatantly artificial, so you must temporarily suspend your disbelief to give the artist the opportunity to present his art. Duck Amuck, pokes fun at the cartoonist’s own rules through a number of techniques calling into question what reality is, and other existential dilemmas. The image of a god-like pencil and unseen power controlling it could be frightening in another circumstance.

I’m feeling a little Daffy Duck-ish today, speaking of other circumstances. The omni-twitter-present power controlling our government’s pencil is erasing me. After fighting my whole lifetime for the opportunity to be recognized in society and especially by the government, Trump is erasing me from the picture. I know it’s not personal, he is erasing a whole category of which I am apart. I am old, gay, disabled, and I have no children. This category of individual is being erased from the National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP). The love that dare not speak its name from my youth is being told to shut up again. Well, not exactly told so much as the questions about us have disappeared from the questionnaire. We won’t statistically exist any longer. Poof, gone!

We know it is a planned effort on the part of the administration for a number of reasons:

  1. They are doing the same thing on the Annual Program Performance Report for Centers for Independent Living which evaluates services that help people with disabilities to live independently. No statistics specific to the gay population will be collected this time.
  2. They lied about the changes made in the surveys. The Administration for Community Living (ACL) oversees the surveys.  They give a new reason for the dismissal of questions while contradictory statements about these issues remain on their own website. They describe the current questionnaire as not being any different from the last one.
  3. “An anonymous administration official confirmed to the AP that the agency targeted LGBT questions in the surveys” according to Zach Ford’s post in Think Progress yesterday.
  4. The LGBT rights web page disappeared from the WhiteHouse site on Trump’s inauguration day.
  5. A HUD survey on LGBT homeless was dropped completely. No data there!
  6. And of course, all the pull back on transgender issues in education and in North Carolina.
  7. This is a continuation of the homogenization of our culture. I have mentioned it before. No attempts to recognize diversity are being made. We are all the same – worker bees. Our distinctive characteristics are diminished while our commonality is reinforced.  There is no point in recognizing any sub-group because Trump, really doesn’t want any identity to define Americans other than American. Ignore the “Special Interest” to remove its power as a sub-group. He spelled this out in his inaugural address.

Those of us of a certain age are quite familiar with a closet. We know it when we see it. This is the database version of the closet. If there is nothing to find in the database then it doesn’t exist. If the questions aren’t asked in the research then there is no data to report. When there is no search information to find, the query provides no answer, so a default answer is applied. Our society is so reliant upon searchable data that even our religious institutions have trouble relating to the humanity of their belief system. Take, for example, the Pope’s recent Apostolic Exhortation on love, it is designed to fit into a database. Lawyers must have written it given the legalistic nature of statements defining the rules of Catholic love. It is a forceful anti-LGBT document dressed up in the flowery language of condescension.

There are clear edges on each rule starting with the first sentence. “The Joy of Love experienced by families is also the joy of the Church.” This says what they mean it to say, but further explanation of the fine points is necessary. It’s a declaration that the church and the family are inseparable, making love impossible without the church and its database of rules. There can be no love in a family unless it follows the rules in his book. My reaction to this is one of eww yuck – I don’t want the church in bed with me. I envision a creepy priest peeking under the covers of each bed while the family is asleep.  The Exhortation is a long list of rules that fit in the database and become absolute criteria for love to exist. I was never a Catholic, but once I had read this manual for love I was appalled at the audacity of those pompous men in robes for demanding this from human beings. I’ve never read anything so pretentiously cruel. You see, a database has no way to turn emotion into data. The church disregards, denies or ignores the feelings of the humans it overlords.

Trump is formulating his own exhortation on being a subject under his rule. His first criteria is that every commoner will be regarded in the same way unless they are rich. Money is the deciding factor in whether distinctiveness shall be noticed. Are the rules for belonging to Mara Lago that different in their exclusivity than the Pope’s Exhortation? In the Pope’s realm the excluded masses go to hell; in Trump’s realm the excluded masses become the homogenous 99% citizens of America. The only distinction that matters has already been made. No need to gather the data of distinction.

So, the end of Duck Amuck reveals the unseen hand of God controlling the eraser to be Bugs Bunny. Who knew Bugs, the Pope and Trump have so much in common? The final line in the cartoon is Bugs’: “Ain’t I a stinker?” The answer is three times yes.

Thats all folks!trio

Still willing to suspend your disbelief?