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You are here Editorials Bob Alexander Pinched Nerve

Pinched Nerve

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My life-long quest to find the Unified Field Theory of Home-Grown Fascism seems at times tantalizingly close, but at others farther away than Alpha Centauri. I'm sure I could wrestle the beast to the ground, snap its neck, and call it a done deal if I laid out my arguments in the form of a book. But a couple of hundred pages makes an unwieldy club. Some Right-Wing half-wit gasbag like George Will or David Brooks could seize upon one sentence of mine … spin it around to mean something I never intended in a million years … and proudly proclaim the entire book debunked. No … I don't want to write a book, pamphlet, or paragraph. I want the same thing Einstein wanted -- to be able to spell out The Theory of Everything in an equation one inch long. No need for a 50-caliber machine gun when a derringer will do.

Just one sentence. That'll do the trick. Printed on a 3×5 card. It could be slipped into the steaming pile of manure Limbaugh reads from everyday on the air. He's on auto-pilot most of the time, doesn't really read the daily talking points in front of him before he starts his argle-bargle-yammering, so he won't even notice what he's read until it's already out of his mouth and into the ears of his listeners. What happens after that is anybody's guess. My favorite scenario is Limbaugh realizes what he's said and instantly his body loses cohesion; 300 pounds of body fat slops to the floor of his studio in an oily avalanche, a wire shorts out, and Rush Limbaugh flames out of existence leaving behind a greasy residue that resists even multiple applications of Mr. Clean.

All the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are spread out on my dining room table. I've got piles of psychopaths and sociopaths (never could tell them apart) right next to their minions. The minions are divided into upper, middle, and lower echelon groups. From the aforementioned George Will and David Brooks, all the way down to the idiot who still thinks Sarah Palin should run for president. Then we have the racists and religious fundamentalists. They're everywhere. Well over 90% of those are brain-dead minions, but if you look closely at the top … yep … psychopaths. Gotta move those guys over to the psycho-sociopath pile.

And then there are the ignorant and the willfully stupid. This is an enormous sub-group where personal experience comes into play. We're all ignorant of thousands of things in hundreds of ways. I know sound and video are converted into ones and zeroes, yet every time I look at the shiny side of a CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc … I Am Amazed. I know how vinyl records and video tape work … but show me a wide screen movie in surround sound from a shiny round thingy, and I turn into Caveman Bob. So yeah … that's one of the myriad things I'm ignorant about. But I can learn. That's the big difference between me and minions.

Get these three books - Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky, and A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn - and give them to some people you know. If they read them, that's amazing in itself. But if they reject what's in them … y'know … facts … then you've just seen first-hand the transformation of the ignorant into the willfully stupid.

If too many words make the eyes burn … here's an easier route. Have them watch the first couple of episodes of Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Whoever still thinks the universe is less than 10,000 years old after watching that … and statistically half of all Americans do … well let's just say the pile of ignorance shrinks while the willfully stupid pile grows so tall and wide I have to go to the closet and get out extra leaves for my dining room table.

What's next? We've got Psychopaths, Minions, The Ignorant, and the Crazy Stupid People. But before I make any more headway it seems we've got dinner guests arriving in a couple of hours. So the piles are swept into a huge box that used to hold my son's thousands and thousands of LEGO pieces. After the guests leave and the last load of plates are in the dishwasher, it's time to drag out the big cardboard box again … and as Cab Calloway would say, “I've sat around and counted them all a million times.”

Y'see I still think there's a pattern somewhere in those piles of Psychopaths and Minions. Something simple along the lines of … This plus Those = That. Or … That divided by Those = This.

Since I am a movie fiend, I completely understand if I'm coming across like Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny, “ … But the strawberries, that's where I had them. I proved with geometric logic that a duplicate key to the icebox existed. I could have produced that key. They were protecting some officer ... “

But then Bogie realizes he's blown his wheels … puts his ball bearings back in his pocket … and tries (too late) to come across like a normal person.

“Naturally, I can only cover these things from memory. If I've left anything out, just ask me specific questions, and I'll be glad to answer them one by one.”

If you've seen the movie … you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't … go get it and watch it. The Caine Mutiny. 1954. I'll wait.

But I digress ...

The one sentence long Unified Field Theory of Fascism is elusive to say the least. Living as we do in the belly of the beast, Fascism is virtually invisible until we tear our eyes away from our phones and TV sets long enough to get our bearings. The symptoms, however, are everywhere. The front page of any newspaper has at least one article about the footprints of the rough beast slouching towards Anywhere USA. We've entered the long, excruciatingly painful election season when we are programmed to argue for lesser evils instead of the greater good.

But it doesn't make any difference anyway. Psychopaths and their minions have stuffed the ballot box to bursting with dark money, and they buy elections the same way you and I go to the Deli and buy corned beef by the pound. Since they own the election process, they are well on their way to completely owning the most valuable real estate of all … the space between our ears.

What's the equation that represents that? What sentence would cut through the denial and be understood by everybody? That's my dilemma … wrapped in an enigma … covered in secret sauce.

Maybe there are two sentences … one to set up the problem … and the second to wrap it up neatly and succinctly. I think … no … scratch that … I know how to start it off:

It was a dark and stormy night …

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