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)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


[Dramatic music swells up and then dies down; cut to the anchorman.]

…and finally tonight, our recent story on the destruction of several statues at the wax museum has caused no end of controversy and negative comment. Here with another opinion of the story and the controversy it has generated is Doctor Childeric Hrothiways, the president of the local chapter of the National Vandals Anti-Defamation Association. We are pleased to have you on the broadcast tonight, Dr. Hrothiways.

[Cut to a distinguished looking man with a battleaxe he is not married to.]

Thank you, Brian, it is a pleasure to be here this evening. [turns to camera and begins reading prepared text.] My fellow citizens, the national leadership of my organization, the National Vandals Anti-Defamation Association, has requested that I, as local president of that fine organization, set the record straight on the scurrilous charges that this station and others made in reference to Vandals and the recent break-in at the wax museum on Main Street, charges that reflect badly on the Vandal community and do nothing to break down ancient stereotypes against Vandals. This station, in its story on the break-in, flatly charged that Vandals were responsible for this vile act. The station made this charge although the police have made no arrests in the matter and have even asked the public for its assistance in solving the crime. In short, the police have no evidence that Vandals were in any way responsible for this crime, no evidence that any Vandals were involved in committing the crime, and no evidence that anyone in the Vandal community even knew that the crime had been committed. How then does this station know, when the police do not, that Vandals were involved at all? I suspect that the management of this station would have exercised much more caution if there was even a scintilla of evidence against a member of almost any other ethnic group you can think of, but let so much as a light bulb break under mysterious circumstances here in our happy little burg and the management and the news division of this station is quick to blame the Vandals.

Now, the number of possible suspects in this case is long and varied, which is something you would not know if you depended on this station for your information. This station made no mention of the fact that almost all of the statues destroyed or mutilated in the museum were those of prominent Democratic politicians, with special animus directed towards the statue of President Clinton, whose severed head the criminals replaced with Star Jones’s pre-surgery buttocks and Charo’s hair, and that of Senator Clinton, which the criminals destroyed in a manner not mentionable on the air waves. The perpetrators also had some special loathing for Mr. George Steinbrenner, whose statue wound up with some of the parts missing from Senator Clinton’s statue. Given this evidence, this station did not investigate whether or not minority members of the Senate, devoted watchers of The View, cogs in the vast right wing conspiracy, or disgruntled Yankees fans, who, to be fair, have reason to be disgruntled this week, were in a position to commit this crime. This station did not choose to point any of this information out in its misleading story; it chose to blame Vandals, and in particular, young Vandals.

I should not have to point this out, but it is highly unlikely that any Vandal has this level of hostility towards the Clintons in particular or the Democratic Party in general. Since the Vandals began immigrating to this country almost a century ago, we have been among the most loyal supporters of the Democratic Party. Vandals voted in extraordinary numbers for Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996, and in 2004, almost 87% of the Vandal vote went to Democratic candidates. Only Jews and African Americans vote the Democratic ticket in higher percentages than Vandals do. As to this station’s aspersions against young Vandals, the statistics speak for themselves. The vast majority of Vandals do well in school, graduate from high school, and go on to college in numbers significantly higher than other segments of the population. There is, therefore, no excuse for this station’s blatant truckling to prejudice in accusing young Vandals of this crime.

News anchor: Thank you, Dr. Hrothiways, that’s about all the time we have this evening…

[Dr. Hrothiways swings his battleaxe once in a graceful arc, severing the anchor’s head in one blow. Blood sprays all over the studio, hitting the green screen the weatherman uses to project weather maps amongst other things. The weatherman frowns, not sure how that line of thunderstorms stretching from Kansas City to Chicago got there; it wasn’t there just a minute ago. The anchor, nonplussed by this sudden turn of events, continues to smile and waits for instructions from the control room, which are not forthcoming, since the axe has cut off the cord to his earpiece as well as his head. Dr. Hrothiways continues.]

So why then does this station continue to countenance and even propagate bigotry against Vandals? Is it history? That Vandals behaved in a fairly barbaric manner in the ancient past is certainly no great secret, but I think most fair-minded people will concede no group’s past is entirely free of these blemishes. No one sees fit to bring up these days that the Irish were headhunters when St. Patrick first arrived in Ireland, that some American Indian tribes practiced cannibalism, and that there are Red Sox fans in New England even to this day. Why then should this station and others continually single out Vandals for this sort of historical faultfinding? There is no reason for it and there is no reason why we, as Vandals and as Americans should have to put up with it. I ask that this station do the right thing, the American thing, and admit publicly that it was wrong and to apologize to the Vandal community as soon as humanly possible. Brian, I’d like to thank you and the management of this station for the opportunity to state the Vandal case here tonight.

News anchor: You’re very welcome, Dr. Hrothiways. [turns head toward camera, no easy task when you’re just ahead of the competition in the ratings.] Remember, ladies and gentlemen, to stay tuned here for SportsDesk with Charlie Franklin. Charlie’s guest tonight is David Beckham, who will no doubt give tips on how you can bend it just like Beckham, too. For all of us here at the Channel Six news desk, thank you and good night.

[Dramatic music swells up; over the music you can hear the anchor say, hey, what the hell are you doing, stop doing that, I just got my hair cut, as the Vandal kicks his head around the studio like a soccer ball. Music reaches crescendo and then screen fades to black. Commercial begins.]

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