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Not Yer Average Grandfather's Bedtime Story
January 29, 2002
by David Marsden

"Oh Granddad, do please tell me a story - please - please..?"

"OK, let's see...mnnn - yes, here's one - how about 'The Emperor's New Clothes...?'"

"Ughhh - boring and old-fashioned. Don't you have anything new and scary, like 'Shrek?'"

"If you'd let me finish.I was about to tell you the true story of 'The Emperor's New Clothes - hmnnn - Hangers' and it goes like this.

"Once upon a time there lived a very lucky emperor who not only made it just in the nick of time to the gilded throne through a freak accident of birth but also from a secret balloting accession fiasco of unimaginable slapstick proportions.

"Now, the new emperor hailed from his nation's wildest, most litigious and lawless region where it is said there are more paper and people shredding machines per capita than anywhere else on earth. Yes, even including Somalia.

"Where he comes from hundreds of tons of incriminating documents are routinely shredded daily by large international auditing firms that ostensibly exist only to protect small investors and prevent directors of large companies siphoning-off hard-earned retirement pension funds - to eager and willing off-shore money laundering financial institutions - before declaring bankruptcy.

"And where thousands of over-proportionally racially-profiled wretches are summarily shredded too, mainly because their court-appointed defence attorneys sleep or drink during trials where judges and jurors alike wear big ten-gallon hats and pack concealed weapons. Quaint customs stemming from the days when predominantly European settlers shredded marauding bands of bow-and-arrows-carrying legally-entitled land-owning native indigenous peoples riding bareback.

"Now, and pay attention because this has a significant bearing on what follows, the future emperor was sent by his emperor father - before he was deposed to greener corporate pastures - to get his on-the-job-training running, among other things, a penal system where incarcerated degenerates and deviates - innocent or guilty it makes not a jot of difference - are subjected to extreme sensory deprivation as a matter of course.

"The generally-accepted logic behind such treatment says potential murderers, armed robbers and rapists are forced to think twice before committing a crime, or not, and generally don't, thereby avoiding being sentenced to be shredded or to spending life behind bars without the possibility of parole. And keeping taxes down by not having to build even more penitentiaries.

"But in reality as everyone knows it's because it gives voters a squishy and safe vengeance-y sort-of-feeling.

"Then, suddenly one day - on a recent January 24 to be precise - the emperor was confronted with three conundrums of epic awesomeness. Literally, and simultaneously, apocalyptic events occurring within moments of each other:

"In a punishment-friendly court - located in an area where most residents depend on their livelihood from the emperor and his closet advisors - one of his very own people was arraigned before a judge and charged with four most grievous matters. Each of which could lead to the people-shredding final solution. But since the defendant's 'civil rights' had been so mangled in captivity defence lawyers are already shredding each other for the job.

"Not ten miles away before an august and auspicious government tribunal - don't these people have real jobs? - a crack certified public accountant refused to answer questions from a group of elected officials who like most of their fellows had recently been caught-out being increasingly showered with gold, frankincense and myrrh. Especially myrrh. From companies adept in the golden parachute poison pill tactic of hiring unimpeachable international audit companies employing high crack auditors trained and well-versed in the art of refusing to answer questions from a group of elected officials without real jobs in government tribunals, etc., etc, ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

"And, ominously, over the deep wide ocean, Jack Sprat, the Foreign Minister of the most loyal coalition partner ever made the seemingly-harmless (but not) suggestion that people of his nation held in cages on an otherwise hostile Caribbean island be shipped back to their own country to be tried in their own courts. Where people-shredding is outlawed completely and life without the possibility of parole is unknown.

"The emperor summarily summoned his ironically betitled Secretary of Defense - think about it for a minute - and asked for reassurances that he was above it whatever happened, and that his closet advisors had everything under control.

"'Oh we do - your majesty - trust us - there's still a remote chance we'll all serve out our terms and live happily ever after.'

"Tomorrow night I'll tell you how the new emperor authorised staggering regular infusions of ducats to his Tallitubbie allies to induce them to allow his father's company to build a pipeline through their country and then suddenly cuts-off all payments and bombs them from 30,000 ft causing untold panic, misery, death and hunger among the civilian population that we never see and aren't told about because it isn't - in the true sense of the word - a war."

"And some other time, how the relatively-benign Tallitubbies were replaced by savage warlords."

"Thank you Granddad - so much better than 'Shrek.' I do hope they make TV movies out of all of them."

"Oh they will darling - oh, how they will - goodnight and sweet dreams."

David Marsden syndicates his columns to newspapers worldwide from Barbados and answers intelligently - if not diligently - all non-abusive emails sent to Copyright 2002 David Marsden. All rights reserved.

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