Wolraich: Obama at the Gates of... Gates
Dr. C: In Praise of Writing Binges
Maiello: Gatsby Doesn't Grate
I was scheduled to speak today. As oftimes presented, this appearance is marked with no real boundaries as we all receive an opportunity to speak upon any subject we choose. Of course we are to assume that the normal morals regarding discourse are at work and we therefore must be as politically and morally correct as we might.
So here goes nothin'; as they say.
We are told that we are in the 'modern era' and that as such, we are living at a time with human achievements never even dreamt of decades ago let alone millenia gone past.
To day I would like to discuss out name; that is the name chosen for the nation within which we reside.
Now forget for one moment that we live in a white's only suburb (per restrictive covenants and such).
(Mrs. Judy gasps; visibly shocked by the words of this fourth grader and wondering if she might end up losing her pension or at least her position as an officer in the teacher's union)
We still manage to come up with terms that categorize some of us from some of them!
But my real interest lies in words.
Did you ever ponder why we are the U.S.?
Now, as in other lands far far away, we have many terms that describe us.
We are Americans.
And that is not just US calling us Americans. The Brits and the French call us Americans.
The term comes from Americus Vespucci.
Amerigo Vespucci supposedly found the New World just after Columbus discovered it.
Whereas Columbus ended up in the Caribbean, most probably Haiti eventually finding a southern point of Florida, Vespucci found himself in South America.
So there is some heritage with regard to the name America.
My only point here is to say that Brazilians and Peruvians and Bolivians might also call themselves Americans.
Heck, Canadians are Norte Americanos as well as Mexicans.
But, after all these centuries, WE are Americans.
But our true title at the United Nations and in the party headquarters of the Republicans and the Democrats is The United States of America.
Kind a bureaucratic set of words, is it not?
And our chief opponent; after all great heroes must face their villains, is the USSR. That abbreviation is anglicized of course; what you might see printed on the outside of the Rusky's space ships might read: CCCP. The Ruskies employ a different alphabet than we do after all.
That brings me to an aside as it were. Where did the word Russia come from. Well the Rus. The Rus were a Scandavian tribe that ended up in Moscow. In other words the Vikings gave Russia its name.
But England really received its name from a northern Germanic tribe called the Angles. Believe me the blood lines of the Angles differed little from the Rus.
But Russia is no longer Russia. Its people chose a more 'modern' bureaucratic name; namely the CCCP. Or the USSR in our language.
Back to Americans.
We Americans refer to ourselves as U.S.
The United States.
So our leaders have decided that through their propaganda network we become US.
Therefore it makes it easier from a psychological perspective, that it is US vs. THEM.
Propaganda was the German word for our word information.
Should you find the time from you bicycle riding and your viewings of Beaver, read a book or two written by one George Orwell. 1984 is probably the best of his writings, although there are several other tomes to review in order to get a sense of what this Brit was getting at in his verbal meanderings.
Well Orwell pointed out something to the rest of humanity; the humanity that are not in control of their governments.
We are taught that it comes down to US vs. THEM.
And to think that only the commies have some scent of propaganda in the messages they give to their citizens as opposed to those who are in control of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave is poppycock.
Because this country has, by its own decision as to the abbreviation best able to communicate to the outside world what it actually is, is: US.
And we are supposedly to believe that in 1962 it is US vs. THEM.
The best thing that we can do as disenfranchised children during our internment in the national educational process is to ask the question:
WHY IS THIS SO?
Hobart sat down.
Two kids cheered because they liked Hobart.
Everyone else in the 30 member class wondered what the hell he was talking about.
Mrs. Judy was speechless and dismissed the class early.
Here is a typewritten copy of my speech today.
Well thank you Hobart.
Mrs. Judy was befuddled.
I mean this is the fourth grade for Christ's sake and kids are not supposed to speak like this. My god the kid sounds like a communist; she pondered.
The instructor snuck into the teacher's room to grab a smoke and a Coke to further think upon what had just transpired.
Who the hell is Hobart and where in the hell did he come from? And why did Our Lord make sure that this miscreant ended up in her classroom.
Feldman meandered into the Teacher's Lounge.
Hi Judy! Feldman was always mesmerized by the size and shape of Judy's beautiful backside and consciously compared it to the one carried by his spouse.
Mrs. Judy just looked down at her Coke and grabbed another suck of reality from her Marlborough. She switched to Marlborough because it had a filter and supposedly she would find herself less susceptible to disease and such than from her beloved Lucky Strikes.
What's the matter? wondered Feldman.
Oh Marty if you will excuse me, I would rather not talk about i
Judy was not only pondering this Hobart phenomena but her own place in LIFE. I mean what in the hell was she doing here anyway. She went to the girl's college and ended up with her BA in History and went on to receive an M.A. At Brown and yet, here she was in Litchfield attempting to teach the children of this newly created veteran's class of suburbanites some basic history.
Hitler was a goblin but if he is not humanized, Adolph will just go down as some prescient omen of Armageddon and no one will understand how humanity ended up in such a predicament during the 40's.
Judy wrote her Master's Thesis on this subject.
And as background, her husband Tom Wolffe dismissed her as a school marm who was attempting to sidestep her duties as a mommy with three kids. Tommy wanted seven kids for chrissakes and how many bowling balls have been dropped from his inners anyway!
Oh Damn! I am getting mad again and I am supposed to be in heaven, heaven consisting of gang free, minority free, and reality free suburbia?
Judy looked up.
Marty have you ever heard of this Hobart?
Oh Hobart is a fine student. He works hard.
How would you rate him?
I would give him an A+ for effort and an A- for results. I do not see him as some new mathematical genius or anything but he...he is something. He will take a test and score a 90 and then actually type up (how many fourth graders actually type up?) an explanation for how he failed his expectations as far as multiplication and division in his testing. Then he gave me this paragraph (Marty pulled a page out of his inner coat pocket, a sports coat that had had to have been had in some Goodwill Store in Hannibal):
I have failed in my expectations regarding your recent test. I promise I practice constantly on a daily basis to achieve something with regard to basic math. I will predict this. In decades to come people will simply use calculators, virtual calculators on line, to solve these problems. But that gives me no solice. I believe that you, sir, have a real promise as far as enlightening us, the boomer generation, so that we might carry a new torch in order to enlighten the road to a new horizon.
WHAT IN THE FUCK WAS THAT? Feldman was thinking out loud.
Mrs. Judy began to laugh and laugh and uncontrollably fell to her knees. She wondered if she had been waiting for decades for someone to finally draw back the curtain and expose the nihilistic bastards who really controlled everything.
The bell rang.
Time for the next class.
Feldman thought: Hell I got a chance here to taste of strange muffin!
Judy thought: What in the hell am I supposed to do?
Meanwhile, Hobart went back to his locker. Some bullies were hassling Frank down the row and he spoke up:
I have Kodachrome right here, and if you bother this fellow again, I am not only going to present pictures of this torture to the proper authorities, I am going to follow each and everyone of you and expose you for what you are! Get the fuck away from this student who is only attempting to get through the day.
Hobart packed up and got to Nicollet where he could catch the bus and go to the downtown library.
His quest today?
To discover why in the hell Thomas Jefferson decided that he, and only he, knew how to properly edit the Bible.
End of Chapter One
previous attempt at this piece: