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Meet the New Boss; Same as the Old Boss
July 10, 2002
By Dwayne Eutsey

As the war on terrorism rages on (and on) and US bomber pilots continue making the world safe from Afghan wedding celebrations, George Bush was reportedly in high spirits the other day at the Bush family compound in Maine.

Putting around the family golf course on his birthday with dear old dad, our Fearless Leader seemed undaunted by (or smirkingly oblivious to) reports of the growing political instability in Afghanistan, or the widening number of economic scandals shaking corporate America, or the countless other "distractions" flaring up in the New World Disorder that he has helped to create.

Being a wartime President is hell, but, after all, one should never allow it to interfere with tee time.

Why should Bush be concerned, though? Although his regime is largely responsible for the world bursting into flames all around us, he knows that no one is going to hold him accountable for his pyromania. Our appointed sovereign rests assured that none of his subjects will dare question his imperial majesty.

You could see this smug certainty oozing out of Bush as he regally rode around in the First Golfcart. The hat sitting crown-like atop his pointy head said it all: he's "el Jefe," The Boss. Previous presidents at least made the pretense of being an elected servant of the American people. Not El Jefe, though. The logo emblazoned on his hat reveals his arrogant assumption that he's the bossman of the United Sweatshops of America, the CEO accountable only to the stockholders and their bottom line. The rest of us are here to serve him.

Because Mr. Bush is not one to read anything more complex than The Hungry Caterpillar, I wouldn't wager that he has ever read Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. But even if he has, I'm sure the irony of strutting around with "The Boss" stitched on his hat is lost on Bush.

In Twain's classic story, a gun factory supervisor named Hank Morgan gets bashed on the head by one of his workers during a fight, and is somehow sent back in time to Arthurian England. Using his 19th century industrial know-how to fool everyone into believing he has magical powers, Hank soon asserts himself as the unopposed ruler of the medieval kingdom. Everyone, to his pleasure, calls him The Boss.

It's an amazing (albeit flawed) work of satire. Twain takes on everything: the wealthy, the poor, capitalism, the church, politics, the human race in general. So when I saw "The Boss" across Bush's hat, I immediately thought of Twain's book, in particular, the chapter entitled (not surprisingly) "The Boss.". In it, Hank describes in a cocky, self-satisfied manner what it's like to wield vast, unchecked power over the serfs and nobility alike.

However, with its reference to ruling without dissent thanks to "the tower episode" (an incident where Hank uses trickery to startle everyone into believing he's more powerful than he really is), the chapter has the eerie feel of what one might find in Dubya's diary (assuming he has the attention span to keep one) shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks:

To be vested with enormous authority is a fine thing; but to have the on-looking world consent to it is a finer. The tower episode solidified my power, and made it impregnable. If any were perchance disposed to be jealous and critical before that, they experienced a change of heart, now. There was not any one in the kingdom who would have considered it good judgment to meddle with my matters.

…I was no shadow of a king; I was the substance; the king himself was the shadow. My power was colossal; and it was not a mere name, as such things have generally been, it was the genuine article…Yes, in power I was equal to the king...

Since Mr. C Average knew that Poppy was buying his Yale degree for him, I'm sure Bush never felt compelled to read Twain's book (or any book, for that matter) while in college. If anything, he probably just watched the Bing Crosby movie version of it and thought that was good enough to help pass the American lit final.

Of course, anyone who has read the book knows that it doesn't have the happy, musical ending that Bing's movie has. In fact, Hank The Boss actually ends up losing everything: his family, his power, his soul. He even ultimately destroys the Republic he tried to establish in England by igniting a nightmarish war that ends in Hank's insanity and the gruesome slaughter of over twenty-five thousand people.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Our Republic is in danger of being beaten into subservience to a dictatorship; if he ever had a soul, Bush has long since auctioned it off for a few barrels of oil; we're sinking steadily into the quagmire of a nightmarish, unending war that has already resulted in the slaughter of thousands of innocents; and an unsettled world is beginning to question the sanity of George The Boss.

It's funny…no matter how often life keeps imitating art, we still get fooled again. Here's to the new Boss; not that different from Twain's Boss.

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