History Abhors a Vacuum

Goebbels, Göring, Bormann, Speer, and Himmler used to meet at Uncle Tom’s Cabin, a cute little café in Berlin’s Anhalter Station that served vegetarian cuisine. Adolf loved it. Plant-based burgers. Tofu ice cream. Let your imagination run wild. Hey, your daughter’s wrestling team is short this year, the year being 1935. Can’t some Nazis be persuaded to wear pink panties and change in the girls’ locker rooms? Let their hair grow and learn to giggle? Fulfill their dreams? Take ballet lessons after school? Where can they sign up? What would Harriot Beecher Stowe have said? They all read Karl May and imagine themselves riding horses on the open plains.

Adolf Hitler might have been the last world leader to possess an extensive library and to have read Schopenhauer. In 1935, the New Yorker reported that he held 6,000 volumes. Many will counter that illiteracy is preferable. Who would argue? Better an ignorant fool than a well-read monster. The best-selling writer of American-style Westerns, Karl May, convinced the madman that he could do to the Jews what the Americans did to the Indians.

The soaring number of deaths is worrying…who knows? I don’t know what the Japanese are doing right, but I praise them for being worried about the 300-year-old shop that makes candles.

A distant relative was a waitress at Berlin’s Adlon Hotel. Her husband was Hitler’s interior designer. Adolf preferred the smell of lilacs in the toilet.

The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano no longer declares gay marriage wrong. What’s its take on transgender surgery? This might be a way to sneak in women priests. The Vatican wouldn’t have the expense of converting papal locker rooms to accommodate women. A good way to save money, the Pope would surely agree, and the Church could merge convents with monasteries. Males and females could wear habits. Fellini films could be repackaged as documentaries.

“He treated them like family but could fire them on the spot.” Yes, this is very Southern. Everyone is your friend until they dismiss you. I learned this in the seventh grade. My girlfriend dumped me when she learned Barry would give her a more expensive Valentine’s present. “Better to learn it young,” father said, laughing. “This is why girls are called whores,” Ackerman, my best friend, added.

My daughter’s changing her name to Conrad Twitty and enjoys wearing a jockstrap.

The Indignities of Serfdom

A guide for living in the twenty-first century, prepared
for the American lower-classes in book form since it is common
knowledge the poor lack access to the internet. Where is Andrew
Carnegie when we need him? Democracy is something to be
found in remote places like America, Switzerland, or ancient
Greece, not at the center of the world, meaning China.

Macduff (enters).

You ask what Adolf Hitler has in common with T.S. Eliot’s cats?
The answer, my friend: both are the subject of Broadway musicals.
The plum trees and grapevines are bearing fruit. So is my plot
to get the principal fired. Red is the characteristic color of sexuality.
In dealings with Indians or Egyptians, or Shilluks, or Zulus, God
be with you, said the cleric, a good man from Michigan.

Lay on, Macduff.

I remember nothing, not a thing, besides the fact that at one time
Ronald Reagan worked for a guy named Lew Wasserman. Beyond that,
I can’t remember a thing. I know that Robert McNamara killed 50,000
American soldiers, give or take. I remember the day Robert Kennedy
was shot in the back of the head in the kitchen at the Ambassador
Hotel. I told my mother and she asked what I wanted for dinner.


White voodoo is behind chemistry; only the Devil could have invented
Doritos, thus spoke Cousin Emma, a midwife living in suburban Dallas.
I will never forget the day it was realized that seventeen minutes was
missing from the secret tapes subpoenaed by the House Subcommittee.
I remember people saying Reagan was too old and dimwitted to run
the country. Beyond that, I don’t remember.

Macduff, lead on.

There is talk of the Russian soul, but only of the American character. Is there
an American soul? Seems like there should be a lecture on this topic available
through TED Talks, but there isn’t. PBS is hopeless. What about the BBC?
As far as I can make out, there is no American soul to speak of. What about
the Chinese? My wife says that’s because Americans eat hot dogs. Blacks
have souls. What of the Greeks?

Lay off, Macduff.

Someone says they don’t have enough snow. The soul can’t develop in temperate
zones. So much for the Australians and their cousins in Bali. So much for Micronesia.
This is beginning to sound like a song by Steven Sondheim. Maybe it is a song
by Steven Sondheim. Jews have souls but they’re Jewish. This sounds like
the sort of thing the Nazis would have studied, in addition to cranium sizes and
Aryan identity. Germans have souls, don’t they? Poles do.

Cut it out, Macduff.

If the topic is to be the American character at the beginning of the twenty-first
century, I know your man. Alexis de Tocqueville. He didn’t write about the
twenty-first century; he didn’t live that long. That, sir, is beside the point. What
he said about the past applies to the present. Does it? You think? I doubt that
very much. The man wrote of the American spirit. The spirit? The spirit? Really?
What are his fees? He’s dead, I just told you. The guy died years ago.

Get stuffed.

Ok, we’ll get someone living. Can we agree to that? What do you say? That
should limit the pool. You have a list? Remove the dead. That’ll make it
easier. Not easy. Easier. A list of the living. To start. We will try to limit
our search to the dead. How’s that? I mean, the living. The living. Let’s get
someone who is alive. Ok? Are you listening? Someone into the American
spirit. The spirit of hope. Our hopes and dreams. The American dream.

Macduff (exeunt).

Phi Beta Crapper

At frat parties today, those in attendance are asked to pick someone to defecate in the corner of the main hall, preferably a girl, as a symbol of proletariat suffering. The smell is intended as a reminder of the barn, of slavery, and as a tribute to Black Lives Matter. College dorms are too clean, it is said, and smell distinctly of white privilege. Inspectors from the Department of Education made note of the prominent odor of deodorant, lip gloss, and Michael Jordan running shoes. Cleanliness is racist, it has been declared. “Nothing like a pile of shit,” the National Council of Fraternity Brothers declared, “to bring people to their senses.” Afterwards, they announced a drawing to select a member of the fraternity to clean it up. This act is intended as a symbol of equality and justice. All of this was done under the supervision of the college’s Academic Dean, Dr. Alise Syder (formerly Dr. Alex Syder), the Benjamin Scheidt Professor of Elicit Thought and Freedom at Miss Jane Pittman College (previously Antioch College) in Yellow Springs, Ohio, at Angela Davis House (formerly Woodrow Wilson Hall) on Maya Angelou Place (once known as Calvin Coolidge Boulevard).