The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A LOGICAL FALLACY: This is not the sort of thing that would ever happen here in our happy little burg, of course, despite the many negative things our detractors say about us. No, indeed, the living is easy is easy here, the fish are jumping, and the morals are high, a state of affairs we take a good deal of pride in, but the same is not true for that slough of urban despond directly across the river from us. They are not as scrupulous in many things over there as we are here, nor do they change their socks as often as they might, which just goes to show you what kind of people they are, and why one must expect this sort of unsettling news from the opposite shore every now and again.

The news, and I am sure you scarcely credit that such a thing could happen in this our Great Republic in this day and age, came to me courtesy of the local newspaper, which reports that the state police and the local gendarmerie there in that pit of urban squalor are receiving hundreds of complaints from the citizenry about the sudden proliferation of anatomically correct snowmen from one end of the town to the other. By anatomically correct, I do not mean that these transriparian snowmen have perfectly constructed larynxes, pharynxes, kidneys, or even opposable thumbs; anatomically correct means exactly what you think it means. In some cases, the artists, if you can call them that, chose to dispense with the rest of the snowman’s anatomy altogether and left only the frozen phallus freestanding in the middle of the front lawn, usually the front lawn of some upstanding member of the petty bourgeoisie’s championship bowling team, who would just as soon not have fertility symbols sprouting up all over his or her front lawn like so many genital warts.

The gendarmes, through their spokesmen, and has anyone else noticed the essentially oxymoronic nature of the word spokesmen, denoting as it does someone who isn’t really supposed to say anything and use a lot of words while not saying whatever it is they are not supposed to say, are saying nothing at this juncture, not wanting to compromise the integrity of their investigation, but they are telling the decent citizens of that unhappy little burg that the chief of police has personally assigned a squad of crack detectives to the case and that the authorities expect developments shortly. This means that the gendarmes have no damn clue as to who is erecting erections in their jurisdiction or why these people are screwing their courage to the pricking place and building these damn things, except to annoy the populace no end, a task at which they are succeeding beyond their wildest dreams.

One theory mentioned in the newspaper suggests that the gelid genitalia may be Viking in origin, since we are now rapidly approaching the Winter Solstice, a major Viking holiday. There may some truth to this theory; that unfortunate town has been the victim of any number of major Viking raids these past few years and some inhabitants, weary of the constant bloodshed and looting, are trying to pass themselves off as Viking sympathizers. This is understandable, I think, given that the authorities have done so little to stop the Viking attacks beyond removing Nativity scenes from in front of City Hall and other public buildings so Viking raiders do not mistake these municipal buildings for churches and pillage them first.

The problem of Viking raids is one that all of us here in this neck of the woods have been living with these past few years; here in our happy little burg we have little to worry about, given our advanced early warning system, but other, less happily placed municipalities have not been as fortunate as we have been. We’ve often wondered why the government doesn’t do something to help those poor people, but their lax attitude is the sort of thing one expects from civil servants; they get paid whether they do their job or not; but the recent announcement by NBC and CBS that they were developing a reality show based on the Vikings and their depredations here in the valley seems to most of us to be adding insult to an already painful injury. I know why they are doing this; after a lifetime of watching television I know that there is very little a television executive won’t do to boost his network’s ratings, especially nowadays when the broadcast networks must compete with cable television for a share of the viewing audience. Conniving with Scandinavians to destroy small American cities is just the sort of thing one would expect from a group of (mostly) men who made the Riddler wear green pajamas in public, trapped Ginger on an island with a trunk full of last year’s fashions, and slaughtered astronauts in red shirts by the literal dozen on Friday nights.

I can already see the ads for this atrocity in my mind. There’ll be a half dozen or so of them, each one targeting a different segment of the audience, with all the usual tie-ins to other programs. On Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the guys will show one particularly fashion challenged Norseman what the well-dressed barbarian wears to a city sacking these days, and Rachael Ray will do a couple of shows on thirty minute meals you can whip up before escaping the fury of the Northmen. There will be, however, one small problem with all the hacking and slashing, a problem the networks say they are already working on. NBC and CBS may be able to show a Viking raid across the river in its full and now very stylish barbarity, but the FCC cold cocked any portrayal of the statues erected since the last time the Vikings passed through the slough of urban despond for fear of upsetting viewers who may let their children watch such programs. The networks plan to fight this sort of small-minded provincial Comstockery, of course, and who knows, they may very well win, but for now those sculptures will not be coming on your television anytime soon.


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