So tomorrow is Florida’s primary day. Of course I am going to participate and do my civic duty…or is it doody? Either way, it’s happening and there is no way anyone can stop it, because I Give a Fuck. But to most, AKA the average citizen, local primaries are like the birthday party for the lame second cousin to the presidential election…the one where no one shows up. Boo to that I say. I mean really, how inconsiderate!? People go through so much trouble and expense, and then… Nothing! Uninformed, disinterested, and uninvolved peeps. What I think politics needs is a little bit more humor.
Anyway, as I think I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been reading books by an author named Jasper Fforde. I LOVE LOVE LOVE his books! He has several series running, and I am forever waiting for his new book to come out. He is super witty, funny, and, most importantly to me, absolutely freaking ABSURD. I constantly recommend these books to people, but for some reason no one ever takes me up on it (with one exception that I know of, and she now LOVES his novels as well).
The specific book I’m reading right now is titled Something Rotten…
I demand that you read his books. If not now, then in the very near future, because they will make you laugh and smile AND think. But right now I am going to force you to read part of one of his books because Something Rotten has a plot line about a politician and part of what Fforde does so wonderfully is lampoon politics and politicians. So obviously reading this book was quite timely, and I just want to share with you what is possibly my favorite scene from a book ever:
“Good evening and welcome to Evade the Question Time,
the nation’s premier topical talk show. Tonight, as every night, a panel of distinguished public figures generally evade answering the audience’s questions and instead toe the party line.
There was applause at this, and Webastow continued: ‘The show tonight comes from Swindon in Wessex. Sometimes called the third capital of England or “Venice on the M4,” the Swindon of today is a financial and manufacturing powerhouse, its citizens a cross-section of professionals and artists who are politically indicative of the country as a whole. I’d also like to mention at this point that Evade the Question Time is brought to you by the Neat-Fit® Exhaust Systems, the tailpipe of choice.’
He paused for a moment and shuffled his papers.
‘We are honored to have with us tonight two very different speakers from opposite ends of the political spectrum. First I would like to introduce a man who was politically dead two years ago but has managed to pull himself up to the second-highest political office in the nation, with a devoted following of many millions, not all of whom are deranged. ladies and gentlemen, Chancellor Yorrick Kaine!’
There was mixed applause when he walked onto the stage, and he grinned and nodded for the benefit of the crowd. I leaned forward in my seat…
‘Thank you very much,’ said Kaine, sitting at the table and clasping his hands in front of him. ‘May I say that I always regard Swindon as a home away from home.’
There was a brief twitter of delight from the front of the audience, mostly little old ladies who looked upon him as the son they never had.
Mr. Webastow went on, ‘And opposing him we are also honored to welcome Mr. Redmond van de Poste of the opposition Commonsense Party.’
There was notably less applause as van de Poste walked in…
‘Thank you, gentlemen, and welcome. The first question comes from Miss Pupkin.”
A small woman stood up and said shyly, ‘Hello. A Terrible Thing was done by Somebody this week, and I’d like to ask the Panel if they condemn this.’
‘A very good question,’ replied Webastow, ‘Mr. Kaine, perhaps you’d like to start the ball rolling?’
‘Thank you, Tudor. Yes, I condemn utterly and completely the Terrible Thing in the strongest possible terms. We in the Whig Party are appalled by the way in which Terrible Things are done in this great nation of ours, with no retribution against the Somebody who did them. I would also like to point out that the current spate of Terrible Things being undertaken in our towns and cities is a burden we inherited from the Commonsense Party, and I am at pains to point out that in real terms the occurrence of Terrible Things has dropped by over twenty-eight percent since we took office.’
There was applause at this, and Webastow then asked Mr. van de Poste for his comments.
‘Well,’ said Redmond with a sigh, ‘quite clearly my learned friend has got his facts mixed up. According to the way we massage the figures, Terrible Things are actually on the increase. But I’d like to stop playing party politics for a momentand state for the record that although this is of course a great personal tragedy for those involved, condemning out of hand these acts does not allow us to understand why they occur, and more needs to be done to get to the root cause of–‘
‘Yet again,’ interrupted Kaine, ‘yet again we see the Commonsense Party shying away from its responsibilities and failing to act toughly on unspecified difficulties. I hope all the unnamed people who have suffered unclearly defined problems will understand–‘
‘I did say we condemned the Terrible Thing,’ put in van de Poste. ‘And I might add that we have been conducting a study in the entire range of Terrible Things, all the way from Just Annoying to Outrageously Awful, and will act on these findings– if we gain power.’
‘Trust the Commonsensers to do things by half measures!’ scoffed Kaine, who obviously enjoyed these sorts of discussions. ‘By going only so far as ‘Outrageously Awful,’ Mr. van de Poste is selling his own nation short. We at the Whig Party have been looking at the Terrible Things problem and propose a zero-tolerance attitude to offenses as low as Mildly Inappropriate. Only in this way can the Somebodies who commit Terrible Things be stopped before they move on to acts that are Obscenely Perverse.’
There was a smattering of applause again, presumably as the audience tried to figure out whether “Just Annoying” was worse than “Mildly Inappropriate.”
‘Succinctly put,’ announced Webastow. ‘At then end of the first round, I will award three points to Mr. Kaine for an excellent nonspecific condemnation, plus one bonus point for blaming the previous government and another for successfully mutating the question to promote the party line. Mr. van de Poste gets a point for a firm rebuttal, but only two points for his condemnation, as he tried to inject an impartial and intelligent observation. So at the end of the first round, it’s Kaine leading with five points and van de Poste with three.’
There was more applause as the numbers came up on the scoreboard.”
–Something Rotten, Chapter 3, Evade the Question Time, Jasper Fforde
It continues on in this manner, the absurdity increasing, which is why I love it! I hope you enjoyed! Now go to the library and check out his books! 🙂