AMERICAN IDIOTS (clockwise, from top left): Louie Gohmert, hands-down dumbest member of Congress; Texas physician and Congressman Michael Burgess says male fetuses can masturbate; Michele Bachmann, contender for the presidency in 2012 is next-dumbest member of Congress; wigged & winded Donald Trump, fake billionaire and would-be hangman; pasty-faced Illinois Republican honcho Jim Allen says brown-skinned Miss America of 2003 is a “street walker”; Texas legislator Jodie Laubenberg says rape kits “clean out” zygotes.
This Week’s Crazy Talk in the “Hew-Hess-Hay”
By Thomas Adcock
opyright © 2013 – Thomas Adcock
NEW YORK, near America
Curious about the imbecile-versus-sentient ratios within the population of the United States, interviewers for the respected Public Policy Polling firm quizzed a sampling of Americans in April. The firm, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, found that some forty-four million of us believe in the existence of “Sasquatch,” a half-man, half-ape rumored to be wandering through the wilderness regions of the Pacific northwest; about forty-one million believe Barack Obama is the anti-Christ; and thirty-five million are convinced that “the government” allowed al-Qaeda to attack New York and Washington in September 2001.
Intriguing as these statistics are, I am most impressed by this number: nearly thirteen million Americans are convinced that the U.S. political system is “controlled” by “lizard people,” whomever they might be.
What better reasons to explain the need of a new department I shall occasionally append to this space? Let’s call it “This Week’s Crazy Talk in the ‘Hew-Hess-Hay.’”
More about the stylized moniker for the U.S.A. later herein. For now, let us begin in the potato-clogged state of Idaho:
According to a June 21 article from Religion News Service, published in the Washington Post newspaper: “Still angry about the idea of an Islamic cultural center opening near Ground Zero [the Manhattan site of the 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks], a group of Idaho gun enthusiasts decided to fight back with a new line of pork-laced bullets. South Fork Industries…claims its ammunition, called ‘Jihawg Ammo,’ is a ‘defensive deterrent to those who violently act in the name of Islam.’”
During their manufacture, Jihawg bullets are coated in pork-infused paint, which presumably makes the ammunition “haram,” or unclean per Muslim dietary law—as erroneously interpreted by spud-eating entrepreneurs of Idaho. Therefore, the bullets serve a dual purpose. “With Jihawg Ammo, you don’t just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell,” according to a company press release. “That should give would-be martyrs something to think about.”
South Fork Industries also offer a line of apparel, featuring the alternate slogans “Put Some Ham in MoHAMed” and “Give ‘Em a Spankin’ with some Bacon.”
Texas was home to the legendary journalist Molly Ivins (1944-2007), beloved by her readers for lampooning the state’s lawmakers. “I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil,” she said of the Texas legislature, “and that no one knows the truth.”
Twice this week, State Representative Jodie Laubenberg demonstrated Ms. Ivins’ epigram—by way of mangling a foreign language, and unfamiliarity with evidentiary methodology in the criminal prosecution of sexual attacks on women.
Sweetheart of the right-wing Tea Party political machine in Texas, Ms. Laubenberg published a campaign flier containing her solemnly written vow to never “cowtow” to “socialist-minded liberals”—perhaps those persons who understand that “kowtow,” rather than its bovine misspelling, is the proper Anglicization of the Mandarin kòu tóu.
More consequentially, Ms. Laubenberg was the proud sponsor of a bill in the House chamber to abolish nearly all health clinics in the state available to low-income women, effectively banning medically approved abortion procedures. Prior to Monday’s three-to-one vote in favor of her bill, Ms. Laubenberg prevented any and all amendments to the law—including one to permit abortion in cases of rape or incest. She said such exception was unnecessary because “in the emergency room, they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.”
Known by physicians and district attorneys as a SAFE kit, the acronym is self-explanatory: Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence. Having absolutely nothing to do with the prevention of unwanted pregnancy, a SAFE kit contains small boxes, glassine envelopes, and microscope slides for collecting and storing material such as clothing fibers, hair, saliva, and semen quite useful in courtrooms. It is not known if this has been made clear to Ms. Laubenberg, a member of the Public Health Committee of the Texas House of Representatives.
Molly Ivins would have preferred Donald Trump as a loud-mouthed oaf from Texas. “The Donald,” as he calls himself, is instead a loud-mouthed New York oaf, a fake billionaire and fake presidential contender in 2012 who insisted that President Obama was born in Kenya and therefore a fake American citizen.
Mr. Trump and his odd coiffure were Monday morning guests on a daily chat show broadcast by the right-wing Fox Television network. Topic of the day was Edward Snowden, on the lam from U.S. authorities engaged in what was known in the Latin classes of my youth as absurdum adiunctis: the former National Security Agency contractor is sought for spying on the N.S.A.’s domestic spying program, an act that inspired President Obama to “welcome” a “national conversation” on domestic spying.
The Donald, who denied a recent account in the New York Daily News about his children staging an “idiocy intervention” due to his “increasingly unhinged rants,” suggested how he, as president, might deal with the Snowden offense.
“This guy is a bad guy,” Mr. Trump told his viewing audience. “You know, there is still a thing called execution.”
Moving several hundred miles to the west of Fox TV’s Manhattan studios, consider the dust-up between a pair of Republican Party stalwarts in the prairie state of Illinois—Jim Allen, whose face is the color of Elmer’s glue, and brown-skinned Erika Harold.
Mr. Allen was forced to resign his position as chairman of the Montgomery County Republican organization after public exposure of a racist e-mail he sent to a colleague regarding Ms. Harold, a lawyer vying for the party’s nomination as standard-bearer in next year’s Congressional primary election. Born in the university town of Urbana to parents of decidedly mixed races, the Harvard-educated and stunningly attractive Ms. Harold was crowned “Miss America” in 2003.
In his e-mail, Mr. Allen said Ms. Harold’s challenge to Congressman Rodney L. Davis, the incumbent and assuredly white Republican, was bound for defeat.
“Davis will win, and the love child of the [Democratic National Committee] will be back in Shitcago (sic: Chicago) working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires,” wrote the ungrammatical Mr. Allen. “[M]iss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the Democrat Party.”
Speaking of Congress:
It is arguably the mightiest stronghold of inanity in America, especially its lower chamber—the House of Representatives, with membership defined as “that gang of talentless hicks and hacks” by William H. Seward (1801-1872), secretary of state during the Civil War era of President Abraham Lincoln.
Others have expressed similar notions. Among the earliest of these: John Adams (1735-1826), second president of the United States—“I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a disgrace, that two become a law firm, and that three or more become the Congress.” And representative of our contemporaries: journalist Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine—“A romper room of overgrown children seemingly barely old enough to keep from peeing on themselves.”
Mr. Taibbi puts us in mind of Congressmen Louie Gohmert and Michael Burgess from—where else?—Texas. They are comrades of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota, founder of the House Tea Party caucus for far-right Republicans. Their respective contributions to this maiden installment of Crazy Talk:
• During a rally outside the Capitol building in Washington, the semi-beautiful Ms. Bachmann told a flock of aged true believers sporting hats pinned full of tea bags, “In my former life, I actually was an insurgent…I got a job with the [Internal Revenue Service] as a tax lawyer because I believe if you understand the enemy from the inside-out, that’s the best way to defeat them…One thing we’ve heard from the politicians is that they often are probably more frightened of real people than anything else. There are shivers right now going up and down the spine of a lot of politicians.”
• During Monday’s floor debate in the House over a bill to ban abortions after twenty weeks of pregnancy, Mr. Burgess noted his credentials as a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology to advance his argument, based on masturbatory impulse: on the (highly questionable) theory that fetuses feel pain, abortions should be banned even earlier. “Watch a sonogram of a fifteen-week baby,” said the ungrammatical Tea Party doctor. “If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is so hard to believe that they could feel pain?”
• In a contentious back-and-forth with Attorney General Eric Holder during a House Judiciary Committee hearing regarding classified discussions between agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and their Russian counterparts, Congressman Gohmert took offense when his mental acuity was challenged. Mr. Holder to Mr. Burgess: “You don’t know what the FBI did. You don’t know what the FBI’s interaction was with the Russians…I know what the FBI did. You cannot know what I know.” Mr. Gohmert’s inscrutable retort: “The attorney general will not cast aspersions on my asparagus!”
At the height of his worldwide popularity as an American pioneer of topical cartooning—from the late 1930s through the ‘60s—Al Capp was compared with masters of satire such as Mark Twain, Fyodor Dostoevski, Jonathan Swift, and Lawrence Sterne.
Emphysema killed the iconoclastic cartoonist in 1979. Painful death was arguably the least of his troubles over seventy years of tragedy and shame under the cover of extraordinary generosity, huge talent, and piercing intellect. We are beneficiaries of his many gifts of laugh-out-loud artistry—among them, the long-running Rabelaisian comic strips “L’il Abner” and “Fearless Fosdick,” the spoof “Little Fanny Gooney,” the burlesques staged in fanciful places like Lower Slobovia, the Valley of the Shmoon, and the Republic of Crumbumbo.
Though not of his own time, Al Capp knew the likes of all the modern-day crazy talkers cited in the foregoing paragraphs. He dubbed their predecessors as denizens of the “Hew-Hess-Hay.” In his portrayals of cartoonish archetypes, he put an American twist on the sardonic literary formula perfected by the French novelist Marie-Henri Beyle (1783-1842), better known by his pen name—Stendahl.
“I simply involve my people in the consequences of their own stupidity,” Monsieur Stendahl wrote, in explanation of his works, “and then give them brains so they can suffer.”
Mr. Capp’s rendition: “I simply involve my people in the consequences of their own stupidity and then take away their brains so that they can do nothing about it.”
Comment très américain.
Thomas Adcock is American correspondent for CulturMag.