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The Sad Truth
I have just returned from a trip through an alternate universe, and boy am I glad to be back. It was a brief trip, and I’m pretty sure that it did not cause any permanent changes to my personality or to my political beliefs. Still, it was a harrowing journey, one I am not eager to repeat. I watched Fox News for ten minutes.

I force myself to enter that universe every once in awhile just to keeps my wits sharpened. It’s always disorienting, but this particular visit was a bit of a rollercoaster ride. First, there was the explosive story about Joe Biden’s secret plan to take away my quarter-pounder. Before you could say “rump roast”, that story had spread like wildfire across the rightwing media. Then came a “correction” — or perhaps they called it an “adjustment”. It wasn’t a “retraction” because I don’t think that word exists in the alternate universe.

The adjustment revealed that there was, in fact, no secret plan to deprive Americans of their meat. All the outrage, all the fulminations and accusations and calls for accountability had been based on an untruth (which is so much nicer than “lie”, don’t you think?). Never mind, said Fox, without any apparent remorse.

Meanwhile, another blockbuster revelation had received front page treatment in the New York Post, another news-ish Murdoch entity. This scoop featured Vice President Harris, and asserted that her children’s book, Superheroes Are Everywhere, was being distributed at migrant shelters as part of care packages for immigrant children. Once again, the outrage had swept like a tornado through rightwing media outlets, and once again an adjustment was issued to modify another untruth. More outrage about nothing.

In both cases, a world-stopping exposé was revealed to be just plain false. For me, a resident of this universe, all of this was head-spinning. In fact, my dizziness forced me to flee the parallel universe, so I’m not certain how people who live there ended up dealing with it. My guess, however, is that the untruth is still a truth over there. Not to me, but to the Fox regulars and their ilk.

I see this as one of the main problems with that other world. Facts don’t have to be true in order to be facts. Anything that confirms an opinion — even if it is admitted to be false — is repeated as gospel even without proof. Unfortunately, this philosophical paradox affects those of us who live in our world, even if we don’t share that mania.

And speaking of philosophy, here is what I have come up with on this subject over the last four or five years: it’s not Trump, it’s not the media, it’s not the Republicans, it’s not anybody else in particular. It’s us. Human beings. These two universes have always existed, and we are all part of both of them. Like it or not.

And that’s what I believe, pending a retraction.
Seeds of Destruction
My favorite scene from The Invasion of the Body Snatchers is the moment when the hero fully awakens to the horror that giant seed pods from outer space are duplicating humans and replacing them with icky, all-vegetable versions. In the key scene, Kevin McCarthy, tipped to the alien scheme by the bland new personalities of some old friends, comes face to face with a waxy, flawless version of himself in an old greenhouse.

I want to be clear here that the Kevin McCarthy I’m talking about is not the one who is Republican minority leader in the House of Representatives. My Kevin was a veteran character actor from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and 10s. He appeared in Body Snatchers in 1956 at a time when the specter of creeping communism was haunting the American psyche.

Even at the time, the film was seen as an artistic manifestation of those fears. The pods, once they had copied a human’s body, waited for it to fall asleep. It was then that they completed the supplantation by absorbing the victim’s consciousness. What happened to the human cadavers after that was never fully explained, but I think we can assume that they were not given a proper burial. Typical commie move.

Anyway, the veggie Kevin in that greenhouse is sheathed like a giant ear of corn, complete with husk, and it’s got that fresh, unblinking glow that they get right before they suck out your mind. Kevin the man is understandably disturbed by the existence of this meatless imposter. He ends up killing his copy with a pitchfork.

But that one act can’t stop the pod scourge. Later, while fleeing their relentless advance, he flips out and runs into nighttime highway traffic. “They’re here already!” he screams to the bemused motorists. “You’re next! You’re next!” No one believes him, of course, and he ends up being hustled off to an insane asylum.

These days, of course, the fear of being replaced by someone with a different ideology seems rather quaint. We have since returned to the more traditional rationales for hatred: cultural differences and skin color. The body snatchers to be feared now are (once again) non-white immigrants. They are the ones who have come to replace us and leave our brain-dead carcasses to rot… at least according to Tucker Carlson and his legion of white supremacist hate addicts.

Naturally, the supremacists would not be literally replaced. They would still be able to vote and exercise all their rights under the Constitution. Their political influence would be diluted by the foreigners, though, along with whatever cultural standards they thought they stood for.

What really galls these guys, I am told, is the fact that these non-whites seem to be out-reproducing them. White birthrates are down, while the rest of the color wheel is multiplying like rabbits. The supremacists focus some of the blame for that on white women for not being full-time baby machines. Most of their rage, however, is reserved for the Others arriving from abroad.

(If you watched any of the Capitol insurrection on January 6, you might imagine that there are some other reasons for these folks’ low rate of reproduction. To my eye, those dudes did not have a whole lot of mating potential. If I’m an ovum on the make, and I want to enhance the chances of perpetuating my own DNA, I might decide to shop around for some better prospects. But that is a topic for another day.)

Like my movie protagonist, Tucker and his rageaholics also see an existential threat in the newcomers. And as January 6 demonstrated, they seem ready to burn the whole thing down in order to “save” it. “They’re here already!” you can imagine them screaming. “You’re next! You’re next!”

Meanwhile, Kevin McCarthy (the GOP minority leader, not the actor) has his own problem with replacements. In his case, coincidentally, those are the same supremacists who are villainizing immigrants. He and his leadership pals have actually welcomed these body snatchers into the bosom of the party — courted them, normalized them, and tried like hell to co-opt them. But they couldn’t pull it off, and now the January Sixers are about to do some serious Republican mindsucking.

So it seems that the two Kevin McCarthys have something in common after all. But while movie Kevin took a pitchfork to his nemeses and torched as many pods as he could, politics Kevin prefers a mild public tut-tutting of his pods or engaging with them in very, very serious private chats. The movie ended in a hair’s-breadth victory over the invaders. It remains to be seen what real life has in store for the heroes of the GOP.
Tripped Up
Is it strange
Or has my mind
Started to
To unravel?

The CDC says
We can fly
As long as we
Don’t travel?
K
One might think that the letter K does not need anyone to stick up for it. It is, after all, the strongest and most stable of all the letters. If you have ever tried to knock over a K, you know what I’m talking about.

But in spite of its stature (or perhaps because of it) K has always been a target of disrespect and prejudice within the alphabetical community. When I asked K directly about this, it simply shrugged its shoulder and smiled.

If you really want to know, I think the other letters are jealous. Part of the reason seems to be its emphatic clarity. That “kuh” cannot be mistaken for any other sound in the alphabet. Ts and Ds, for example, are both similarly hard-edged, but they are often mistaken for one another. Bs and Ps can be, too, though less often. Vs and Fs are similarly mushy. Ditto Rs and Ws and Ns and Ms. And the vowels are a total mish-mash. I think they look at the distinctiveness of K and are filled with envy.

They seem determined to assuage their own feelings of inferiority by trying to rob K of any chance to show its singular strength. Take, for instance, the word “knock” used in the first paragraph of this piece. I regret even using the word, but it does clearly illustrate my point. It is, in fact, a doubly insulting putdown.

The “kn” in knock uses the K as a silent prop for a completely unrelated sound. K is forced to stand there — at the very beginning of the word! — and do nothing. We blow right by it to pronounce the N and move on without giving it a thought. Even worse is the “ck” at the end. Why has C been allowed to horn in on K’s rightful linguistic territory? K does not need a C next to it to provide its “kuh” sound.

But I don’t want to dwell here on the antics of one sneak thief, lowlife, backstabbing slut of a letter — not when we have K to talk about. And I know that K itself has no interest in participating in the petty sniping engaged in by some of its peers. K is above that kind of thing. It is also quietly confident, self-reliant, and secure in its good looks. It is no wonder that other letters are jealous. And, if challenged, K would be more than capable of taking care of itself in a fight. If could certainly wreak havoc with that massive tusk. Or do some serious butt-kicking with its big front hoof.

But K is way too cool, too nice for that. And maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps K’s reserved manner and noble bearing are being mistaken for aloofness — or even disdain. If true, that would be sad. Anyone who has ever gotten to know K (as I have) can tell you it is as warm and real as any phonic symbol you are ever likely to meet.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon