I have no way of knowing precisely what Paul Simon was thinking when he wrote You Can Call Me Al, in particular the line about his not wanting to “end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.”
For several years now, however, I’ve been living with the unshakable feeling that none of what I see going on around me is real, any more than Mickey Mouse is real: parliamentary meetings convened by honorable gentlemen and women who, judging by what they do and say to one another, are neither honorable nor gentle; the tool on the hill who publicly acknowledges she knows a lot less than she’s required to know if she is to properly carry out her duties, for which she is paid out of a treasury bereft of treasure; a uniformed and armed-to-the-teeth security force that secures nothing and is itself widely suspected of the very criminality that for far too long has plagued such people as rely on them for protection of body and property from remorseless killers, rapists and other societal vermin; a press that is actually an adjunct of the propaganda machine that serves government 1984-style, a machine it purports to criticize.
Then there are the so-called mock parliamentary sessions for presumed future parliamentarians, during which the nation’s young and impressionable are encouraged to imitate the regular MPs that constantly refer loudly to each other as canines, criminals and (sotto voce) child molesters.
And now, on top of the consultants with no experience whatsoever in consulting save for selfish purpose, another dozen or so of the usual suspects—at least two of whom sometimes sound as if in disagreement with government policy, at any rate in the untrained ear. More concentrated listening quickly exposes the sound for what it really is: the sound of axe grinding for personal gain.
This week the group now known as “the vision commission” went through the House of Dogs ritual that normally precedes the heavy imbibing of expensive libations funded by the houses of the poor. By all they said before the boozing began, these very gifted people will implant in our Lilliputian emperor what for most of his post-school years he had successfully pretended to have but never had: the V-factor. As in the vision thing.
Now the thing about the vision thing is that it separates the wheat from the chaff. At any rate, in real life, where emperors with no clothes stand to get arrested and deposited in custody suites fit neither for pampered poodles nor Marchand lapdogs. Or, for that matter, wannabe Scooby Doos. But we’re light years from reality, remember?
Just so you know. According to the widely acknowledged Saffire’s Political Dictionary: “Vision thing is a world-weary acknowledgment that a leader must articulate inspiring goals, usually expressed as ‘a Vision of America.’
“The phrase comes from the elder George Bush. Reporting political vision in 1987, National Journal added parenthetically, [Bob] Dole calls it ‘the V-Word,’ while Bush awkwardly refers to ‘the vision thing.’”
It’ll come as no surprise that the Emperor of Lilliput has more papers to his academic name than all of his hired
vision fairies put together. And I’m not about to include his honorary honors. So why would he want to be instructed by low foreheads such as were on display on Monday evening?
Interesting to note were the absentee geniuses, declared and otherwise? Where was Didacus ‘Best Brains’ Jules? Where was the oracular Tennyson Joseph? Where was the pedigreed Toujou Sou? Where was Claudius the Researcher Extraordinaire? And Ernest Hilaire, for crying out loud? Where was Jack Grynberg’s Babonneau associate-for-all-seasons?
STAR Person of the Year Dr. Stephen King was there but then he is ubiquitous. As was my mate in honor of whom somebody once wrote a catchy song entitled Boo La (and please don’t go jumping to asinine conclusions!).
Also present was the former spouse of the emperor before he declared himself emperor—which immediately begs the question: If she is pregnant with the V-thing, then why did she hook up with the emperor in the first place, only to break away before he crowned himself emperor?
Come to that, why did she agree after the big walk to share her Marigot palace with the lighter head of Head to Head? Which reminds me: Where the heck is Jessica Rabbit these days? Taking care of family business? And what’s all this about her distaste of local hummingbirds, anyway?
As if all of the above were not enough to drive anyone to shack up with Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, this is what I also had to put up with on Tuesday. Blame it on something I said on air to the host of Newsspin.
The caller had been most impressed. He said he could think of no one better to deliver a motivational speech at Bordelais. Subject? Well, he said, I might talk to the inmates about remorse and rehabilitation and turning their lives around. To which I answered: “I’d be more than willing to do that if you won’t mind me telling them I fully understand why they feel no guilt for what they had done, why they are so . . .”
“And why’s that?” my caller wanted to know.
I said: “The Bordelais population knows best those most responsible for the worst crimes committed in Saint Lucia. They know where all the bodies are buried, so to speak. They know the multiple personalities that in daylight masquerade as prescient political big-shots then at sundown turn into
blood suckers. The Bordelais inmates can list for you, from memory, the names of all the church-leading cherry-poppers. They can tell . . .”
“Okay, okay,” said my caller, at the end of his patience. “My battery is running out. I’ll get back to you.”
And now you’re wondering, dear reader, did this last conversation actually take place? What can I tell you? These days it’s not easy separating comic-book reality from daily life on this Rock of Sages that had produced, not one, but two Nobel Laureates. Just ask the Emperor!