Viking Hats For Freedom!

Viking Hats For Freedom!

by Mark Driver

If this is rambling, I’m sorry. It was written in one sitting, and is unedited. I know if I stopped anywhere and went outside it would never have gotten finished and posted, which would probably be better for everyone, but if half-baked blathering had horses, then Driver would ride.

First of all, let me say that progress on the book is good. It takes up all my time and energy and I’m loving it. I’m two or three days away from completing the first draft, which will be 55,000 words of pure shit, or in paperback book form, about 250 pages of pure shit. Of course there will be a horrible, horrible amount of editing, rewriting, retooling, rethinking, and rewording, but it’s all a fucking blast to me so I can’t complain. Well, I could complain because spending all my time on this book has gotten me fired from all my jobs and made me completely unemployed, as in no money coming in and a girlfriend on my back, but last week I woke up on my 28th birthday in a New Orleans hotel room and as a first order of business, threw up white shit into a toilet for 10 minutes. I’m taking it as an omen.

It’s gonna be a great 28. No job, dead broke, and happy as fuck.

Also, I’ve written an artsy-fartsy short story that I’m mailing out to a bunch of lit mags to establish some sort of lit credibility to potential book agents, credibility beyond my calling the President “a codpiece-licking puncture wound on the sour face of America” in the newspaper here that made some national headlines last month. If anyone likes pretentious short stories, bug me and I’ll mail you a copy of it. If anyone likes unsuccessful run-on sentences, re-read the first line of this paragraph again.

Anyway, back to my election coverage.

I cannot think of anything more American than the way this whole thing went down.

5:00 pm PST. The men on my reality interpretation and commercial reprogramming box used their wizardry to declare that all 25 electoral chimpanzees of Florida were to pull the lever for Gore. While Dan Rather drooled orange goo all over my screen with his piles of pirate maps and crotch scratching experts, saying “It looks like President Gore may very well be the next President of the United States,” the polls were still open in much of the country.

“Oh,” says the lady with five screaming kids about to suit them up and go hit the polls, “the TV told me I don’t gotta go vote for Gore now. He already won.”

I voted earlier (pissed that yet again the Nihilist Party didn’t run a candidate), and I’m out the door, feeling a little confident, cleats over the shoulder, to go run around in the dirt and knock people over under the cloak of sport. Not even the race of Presidency can stop Mr. Driver from using his breadth of shoulder to take far-better skilled soccer players and introduce them to his friends: Superior Tonnage, Trippy Dicky, and Big Chief Knee-to-the-Groin.

When I got back from losing, around 9pm or so, Dan Rather’s map showed Florida had become inflamed with a sickening red color. Dangling there like an infected penis, Florida had fallen into Bush’s lap. Despite the fact that Mr. Rather, amidst similes and metaphors that were as stupid as a crosseyed-poodle at a Mensa meeting, had earlier assured me that CBS “would only call the states that they were absolutely, positively sure about, unlike other networks who might be irresponsible about it” their expert techniques of brilliant analysis were wrong, inexcusably wrong, and assuredly affected those voters with roasts in the oven, work to finish, shits to take, whatever. I’m all for irresponsibility, but when you’ve taken that much power, you better be able to keep it in your pants. The American Media cannot.

Dan Rather soon tells me that Bush will be President of the United States, an announcement which undoubtedly made G.W. feel exctampabulous. Driving a golf cart around the Texas State Capitol with a bottle of Stoli between his knees, he accepted congratulations from other leaders of the world, wanting to be the first to welcome him to The Office and maybe mail him a color coded map of where their country sits on the globe so he doesn’t invade it accidentally. Even Gore called to say he loved him.

And then, bust out the coke, they un-called it. Florida had gone back to gray, and not because of an influx of immigrating senior citizens who moved down there and voted for officials whose terms they probably won’t even live through. The networks had fucked up again, and this time even the Vice President of the United States had fallen for it.

The news is not the truth. It is just a poor interpretation of a moneyed interest’s idea of what may have happened and if this, the complete bumbling of possibly the biggest event of the year, won’t screw that into all of your heads, I don’t know what will.

This is so American. Everyone taking talk from the box as the truth, and the spiraling outward of events that the use of this truth causes. It is a parody of itself. Peter Jennings was the only one to even mention “whoops”, then lectured me briefly on the intricacies of statistical analysis as applied to electoral matrixes while a stagehand extinguished a small fire that had started on the set. Flipping the dial at 5 am EST showed cracks in the network facades, the stone faces of truth now exhausted and rambling, seeking guidance from everyone around them, yelling at shadows, repeating themselves, and lord – the giggling. Please save me from the giggling.

And then there’s the electoral college, a fiendishly sharp lobster trap set up by our Founding Fathers so that the voice of the people never gets too far from their rulers. When they set this fartblossom up, they didn’t let blacks, women, or non-land owners to vote either, but we’ll ignore that in a typically American mouth foaming fervor. This is the process. This is America. Gore wins the vote of the people, and Bush will become president because of some retardedly obtuse construct that guarantees that the will of the people is only sort of relevant. President. On a technicality. The man who will be driving the truck had a minority of the vote and still gets to tell me what to do.

Not that I’m a Gore supporter. I’m not. I didn’t vote for him. He was the Gonorrhea to Bush’s syphilis. Neither would be good presidents. At least Al would serve as a President who couldn’t get anything done. That’s the best sort of government, one that can’t rule on anything. Keep them arguing while we do our thang.

What’s scary about Bush is that he knows he’s a baboon, and he will surround himself with the same helpful werewolves that helped his dad, helped his funny uncle Reagan, and got their starts draining buckets of urine for that galloping fascist Nixon. The parade of freaks that don’t exactly have my best interest at heart.

But still, half the country wants him. Assuming that government has something to do with the consumer mind-colonizing that’s turning everyone into empty rubber sacks and by extension, amoral and apolitical snakes simply out for their next chocolate fix, maw and paw have come off the farm to vote for a man to put the Image of Morality back in the White House. And while he won’t get caught on the fun end of a hummer, you can bet your Nike hightops that America will continue that highly moral practice of destabilizing the political systems around the world to keep a list of heavy corporate donors happy, and keep turning a blind eye to human rights violations abroad as long as manufacturers can keep shifting jobs from expensive Union Workers to their starving counterparts in foreign, pollutable slums. For Republicans, small government doesn’t mean more freedom, it means that Big Business, not your elected officials, will be making the rules.

We need a government big enough to keep Big Business from dry humping every last cent of worth from our lives. That’s all it should do. Protect us from those trying to make money at our expense. Can anyone really say that a company’s bottom line has anything in common with the common good? I’ve seen enough ‘market forces’ to be terrified of them. Supply and demand only goes so far. I’m not willing to give away National Forests with the Libertarian philosophy that “corporations will care for the land because it will be in their best economic interests to take care of their investments.” Oh really? Anyone see how well Pacific Lumber takes care of their ancient redwoods? With a chainsaw.

We need protection from externalities and stupidities. FDA? Fine. EPA? Fine. DOI? Sometimes. DEA? Fuck no. ATF? Only when we need little children torched and machine-gunned.

Actually, two things would really do a lot to keep misbehavin’ corporations in line. Criminal (as in Folsom Prison Blues) sentences for executives and Criminal (as in Live from San Quentin) sentences for stockholders. If you could get your ass sued and thrown in prison for being part owner in one of these evil empires, don’t you think you’d look a little bit more closely at their behavior before calling yer broker? Man, can you imagine the fallout? I’d want to be there for everything!

The networks’ flimsy coverage went on to pit the environment against the economy, as if they are opposite ends on a stratum. Maybe they are. If I could get a job taking shits in your front yard, you’d let me, right? How about living next door to my pickled egg enterprise? Hey, don’t tell me your wife starts coughing when I add the Habeneros, I got three people working here!

People across this land will accept the poisoning of their children’s bodies with industrial runoff while simultaneously whining about media trying to poison their kids’ minds. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Morally pure with lip carcinoma. Brain tumors instead of bad thoughts. Fuck the Trees: Emphysema All Around.

Look, if we all have to breathe the fumes that give you a living, you can tolerate the questionable morals of us scumbags trying to make a living, thank you. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Can’t they make the sit-coms less sleazy? Can’t they make that factory less carcinogenic? No. Yes. No. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. I can tell you this: it’s not violent movies that are removing human souls, it is the endless commodification of everything marketable and the inherent nihilism that accompanies it, but hey, that’s too much to consume in this article.

They prattled endlessly about Medicare and Prescription Drugs, making America seem little more than a sickly pack of old whiny hypochondriacs. Accurate? Maybe, but fuck them. It’s easy to blame the poor for being poor, and say ‘just get a fucking job’, but when Uncle Sam isn’t running to the pharmacy to pick up those seventeen different pills that will keep you voting until you die of boredom at the age of 198, man there’s gonna be some hell to pay! You ate country fried steak three times a day for 60 years, and here’s your bill, tubby. Aren’t you the ones always talking about taking responsibility for your actions? Never mind that us youngins can’t even get health insurance unless we get a smashing job (even those are dropping all their benefits in favor of contract work, the ‘market’ claims more human heads). No, the ancient and unproductive need to stick around popping pills in misery for a few more years, long enough at least to screw up a few more elections.

In the end of all this, this Decision 2000, there will be complicated lawsuits, some flaccid anti-electoral college rancor that will fizzle out whenever the next funny Pepsi commercial absorbs that national attention, a shitload of eternal whimpering from every side of the oyster, and then that barely-qualified shill George W. Bush will awkwardly ascend the throne. If that’s not American, I don’t know what is.

God, why couldn’t they have just run McCain? I love that fucker.


I’d like to officially welcome Alabama to the 1900’s for dropping the ban against interracial marriages, which brings them at least on par with Nevada and Nebraska – who somehow felt that it was gay marriage keeping them unhappy and personally unfulfilled. Gay marriage in Las Vegas? Que Horrible! We like to keep our gays limited to prostitution, thank you (the free market at work again). Alaska refused to legalize pot, preferring instead the black market cash they make from growing and selling it in Seattle, and speaking of, my own State of Washington took the bold stance of stopping the random poisoning of wildlife. Bold! Next year I’m hoping for an anti-baby suffocating amendment.

And not to be a complete downer, in my happy city of Seattle, we may actually get all the neighborhoods here connected by a monorail. Yes, a monorail. A popular vote in city a few years back approved the building of it, and the city council, who felt fine funding a trillion dollar baseball stadium and a downtown parking garage for Nordstrom against the will of the people, struck it down our monorail as ‘unfeasible’. Unfeasible or not, it snaked back on Tuesday’s ballot, which demanded at least a study of the idea before Paul “Gas ‘Em and Book ‘Em” Schell can dump it again in favor of less hilarious transportation, like a hot air balloon piloted by rodeo clowns. Supporters are already posting ‘Monorail for Mayor’ stickers everywhere, and goddamn I hope that cute little train wins.

A monorail stop outside my apartment and George W. Bush in the White House. Kids, all I can say for the future is: Put your Viking helmets on – it’s going to get weird