Instead of dealing with those issues, however, The Passing Parade deals with such niche issues as just what kind of wood did Gepetto make Pinocchio out of? The story, by Carlo Collodi, only says that Gepetto carved Pinocchio from a piece of firewood, but firewood is not a species of tree, merely the designation of any branch unlucky enough to get caught up in the wood-gatherer’s dragnet. Collodi points out that Pinocchio spoke to Gepetto from inside the piece of firewood, a situation like that of Shakespeare’s Ariel from The Tempest, whom the witch Sycorax entombed in a tree. This comparison fails, however, to take into account the key difference between Ariel and Pinocchio: Ariel was in the tree—Pinocchio was the tree. So we are stuck in the same conundrum we started with and without a ticket to get us all the way to the end of the line. I like to think that Pinocchio was made from the cherry tree that George Washington didn’t cut down as a boy; George could not tell a lie and neither could Pinocchio, despite his best efforts, because the spirit of the great man would not allow him to. Experience is a great teacher, but if one follows a great moral example you can usually skip the experience, which is often unpleasant and leaves greasy grass stains on the knees of your trousers.
So I think most of us can agree that The Passing Parade suffers from a deplorable lack of intellectual seriousness. Having identified the problem is the first step to it, as most self-help books will tell you. I am currently looking over my options, trying to find a subject of suitable earnestness that I can display my extremely well-developed sense of moral dudgeon over. High moral purpose, that’s the new theme around here and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The Passing Parade will be relentless exposing the corrupt system that oppresses us all from one end of this our Great Republic to the other, from sea to shining sea. The dudgeon will start just as soon as something sufficiently outrages me.