8/3/16

Meanwhile, at the League of Doom!!!


A sinister cabal of League of Doom evildoers convene at the Hall of Injustice in a galaxy far far away to discuss their dastardly schemes for world annihilation!!! You will be amazed by these fiendish masterminds and their demonic plans for the destruction of the earth as we know it and for the end of all things good, decent, and humane!!! Will their hideous plots succeed? Will there be time to save humanity from these heinous villains? Or has the countdown to Doomsday already begun? Read on!!!


A cylindrical chamber rises from a hatch in the polished marble floor of the Hall of Injustice. The doors slide open. As the smoke clears we see the figure of Donaldo Trumpatron, evil mastermind of mayhem!! DA-DA-DA-DAAAAAA! He removes his solarium goggles and steps out of his RDC (Radioactive Decadence Chamber) messily eating a massive glowing Trumpatron Steak™ with his bare hands. Convening this League of Doom meeting is Count Dracula, who will be joined by other legendary villains as they counsel, advise, and consult their earthly proteges.

Count Dracula: “Ah welcome, Trumpatron! I trust you had another glorious radioactive degeneration session?”

Trumpatron: “Not bad, really not bad, and I can say that because anybody who knows me knows that you don’t get this kind of radioactive orange face with a white raccoon mask around these beady little eyes without putting in some serious hours on an expensive and pointless tanning bed, hours that would otherwise be wasted on trying to figure out where the hell Syria is on a map, or why we don’t just nuke China instead of wasting our time on all that stupid liberal ‘diplomacy’ bullcrap that Washington insiders seem to be so keen on. Let me tell you something Count, when I’m leader of the free world, I promise that I will not only nuke China, I will use my hyperbolic negotiation powers to make them build and pay for the bomb that I nuke them with. They do build things cheaper there after all, so it’s also good economics. Although I will also tax the shit out of anything from China, so American companies better not get any ideas about building all our nukes over there. We need to keep those jobs in America where they belong. How’s that for a campaign pledge?”

Count Dracula: “I love it, Donaldo! It’s simplistic without being simple! It’s sophistry without sophistication! It’s casuistry without a case! It’s common sense in the most common of senses! Brilliant! Ah! Here are your fellow League of Doom villains arriving now! Welcome Erdogtator! Welcome Bladdersmear Putane! Everything still delightfully doomed and getting doomier by the day in Turkey and Russia I hope?”

Erdogtator: “Frighteningly bad! The economy is struggling, industry has ground to a halt, exports dropping, foreign investment fleeing, international standing plummeting, unemployment rising, labor rights disappearing, tensions mounting, terror surging, society fraying, religious extremism soaring, a civil war in the making, witch hunts, jingoism, lynchings, intolerance and persecution of any and all opinions not approved by the government... So all in all, I would say things are going pretty well! I have taken the future of a nation and I have single-handedly crushed it in my hands! HAHAHA!!”

Count Dracula: “Yes, excellent…. but I couldn’t help but notice a slight inconsistency there at the end of your devilish delivery, Erdogtator. I don’t mean to be persnickety but how can you single-handedly crush with your hands in the plural? It’s like a Zen koan. You know the sound of crushing a nation with two hands, what is the sound of crushing a nation with one hand? That kind of thing.”

Erdogtator: “What’s the difference? It all makes the same crushing noise, does it not? It’s all the same delicious destruction! Okay, two hands might crush more forcefully, I get it, but the one hand can also… anyway, it’s just a metaphor. Maybe I have a single giant hand that is all-powerful and can crush as effectively as two medium hands? Let’s drop it. I am not used to such questioning, so next time you have to ask questions will you please just do what I make journalists in my own country do upon threat of imprisonment and ask only what appears to be a question but which is really just a set-up for me to spew more bilious propaganda to forward my acidic agenda through a shackled media that is under my firm grip please? Thank you!”

Count Dracula: “Yes yes, of course. Excuse me Erdogtator, I know none of you like to be challenged or questioned in any substantial way. I apologize. And how are you doing today Bladdersmear? How is your immense realm doing these days? Withering under a noxious cloud of fumes emanating from yourself as always?”

Putane: “Yes indeed. It is under a constant Putane gas cloud, not to boast. The country remains a massive shit smear of corruption, violence, decadence, mismanagement, alcoholism, xenophobia, and fascism that would leave the shittiest of countries gasping for lack of air. The Putane is everywhere.”

Count Dracula: “Excellent, my Tsar in the making, excellent.”

The Hall of Injustice suddenly reverberates with the sound of a massive toilet flushing. A door on the other side of the hall opens. Darth Vader walks out wiping his hands with a paper towel before heading towards the enormous pentagram-shaped table where the other League of Doom villains are seated.

Count Dracula: “Ah, here comes Darth Vader. Small disclaimer, you know how he can get a little touchy about his morning bathroom routine, he really does have a hard time with it all so he can be in a bit of a foul mood if…”

Darth Vader: “Count Dracula, the acoustics in here really are amazing, I can here you from the other side of the hall as if you were talking right into my ear... plus, you know, the Force.”

Count Dracula: “Ah yes, I was just warning them to…”

Darth Vader: “Silence! You tell every single villain who comes in here the same thing, whispering it to them like it’s a dirty secret as if I can’t hear you. Remember when you had Kim Jong Un in here with Sepp Blatter and the IOC? How awkward was that? So let me just get this out there once and for all: I HAVE BOWEL PROBLEMS. Okay? I HAVE A HARD TIME SHITTING. Okay? And guess what else? This suit I have to wear is a massive pain in the ass to take on and take off just so I can take a shit. You’d think I could just press one of these control buttons on my chest and a trap door from my pants would just flap open from under me so I could just shit out of it and then when I’m done I could just press the button again and it would close and I could be on my way. But no. I am a half robot with a state of the art suit that virtually breathes for me, but I can’t even get my pants off to take a shit. Oh also, if any of you can manage to avoid having to wipe your asses while wearing a full metal helmet mask and a cape, take advantage of that opportunity. It is almost literally the hardest thing you will ever do. And people wonder why I’m in a bad mood all the time. So now that we have all that sorted out, can we get on with life?”

Count Dracula: “Yes, yes of course Lord Vader. I’m sorry, I just…”

Trumpatron: “Excuse me for butting in, no pun intended, but you would think with the Force being so strong with you and all, your bowel problems could just…”

Darth Vader: “Just what? What do you know about the Force? Do you think the Force can just magically dissolve shit out of my bowels and into thin air? The Force cannot dispose of a fat turd. You know what can? An anus. Preferably one that isn’t wrapped in an airtight Kevlar spacesuit. So let’s shut the fuck up about my butt now and focus on you shitheads.”

Trumpatron, Erdogtator, and Putane seem indignant and surprised at having been called shitheads.

Darth Vader: “Oh no, what’s the matter? Did I hurt your feelings? Are you guys not used to being called shitheads? Well get used to it. You can’t imprison me, you can’t torture me, you can’t assassinate me, you can’t blame everything on Jews or Armenians or Mexicans or whoever the fuck you don’t like, and you sure as fuck can’t complain to the obsequious ass licking yes men you surround yourselves with. Okay? I could literally strangle you all with my brain. So you dick knobs better swallow your megalomania, curb your psychopathic urges, and tame your delusions of grandeur. It’s me, Darth Fucking Vader. I’m not a pissy little NGO, I’m not a shitty little intellectual dissident, I’m not a scuzzy little journalist, and I’m sure as fuck not the hippy dippy leader of a pro-democracy movement or some whining opposition party. I am a Sith Lord. You know what that means? That means I am second only to Satan when it comes to evil powers. And guess what else? I come from a Galaxy that is not only far far away, I come from a galaxy that is far far better than yours. Guess what the most advanced space ship in your galaxy is. Guess. Anybody? Okay I’ll tell you: a space shuttle. A fucking space shuttle. And it hasn‘t even gone as far as the Moon. Let me tell you what the worst spaceship in my galaxy is like: it can travel from one end of the galaxy to the other at light speed and it shoots lasers. Seriously, that’s the WORST space ship in our galaxy. So your best spaceship is like a doubledecker bus compared to our worst space ship, which is like a Lamborghini. Not even a Lamborghini, actually, because we’re so advanced we don’t even use wheels anymore. We just float. Just like that. That’s how far ahead we are. So are we all on the same page now? Does anybody have a problem with who’s in charge here?”

Trumpatron: “No sirree.”

Erdogtator: “Nope, all good.”

Putane: “Nyet.”

Darth Vader: “Great! You’re not all as dumb as you look. Now that Count Dracula has dispensed with the formalities and the small talk, we can get down to business. Now, if I’m not mistaken, you fuckwads are trying to… let me see here in my notes… ah, you fuckwads are trying to flush the United States, Turkey, and Russia down the toilet as part of our overall plan to destroy the Earth. Correct?”

Trumpatron: “Yep.”

Erdogtator: “Pretty much.”

Putane: “Mmhm.”

Darth Vader: “Okay. Let’s start with you Donaldo Trumpathon.”

Trumpatron: “That’s Trumpatron. I’m Donaldo Trumpatron…”

Darth Vader: “Oh, I’m so sorry. So, so sorry. I really must apologize. Let me try again: Fatty McFucknuts? Did I pronounce it correctly this time? Is that good?”

Trumpatron: “Uh...yes sir, yes, that’s fine.”

Darth Vader: “Good! Would anybody else like to correct Darth Vader on how he pronounces their name? Because I’m not already angry enough that I have to speak through a barbeque grill that’s permanently attached to my mouth.”

Erdogtator: “I think we’re good.”

Putane: “Nyet problemski.”

Darth Vader: “Excellent! So anyway, tell me, Fucky McFucktits, what is your plan for shitting all over your country?”

Trumpatron: “I am racist, bigoted, misogynistic, and I deny climate change.”

Darth Vader: “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… I’m sorry, were you saying something? I must’ve fallen asleep here. Were we in Basic Evil For Beginners class 101?”

Trumpatron: “Okay well I’ve also made some really ludicrous campaign pledges that are not only poorly thought-out but absolutely preposterous.”

Darth Vader: “Oh wait, I think I heard of one of them. Was it the one where you said you’d build a wall, a real fucking wall, along the border with Mexico and then you said you’d make the Mexicans pay for it? Was it that one?”

Trumpatron: “Yep, that’s one of them.”

Darth Vader: “You know, I actually have to say that is pretty good. No, seriously. I am not being sarcastic this time. I do not say this often, but that is brilliant.”

Trumpatron: “Really? Because you still seem like you might be being sarcastic…”

Darth Vader: “Yeah, I get it, since you can’t see any of my facial gestures because I’m wearing a fucking motorcycle engine on my head. But trust me, it’s brilliant. I mean, you actually seriously said that, but then it says here, you got nominated as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party? You sure it wasn’t the Reform Party?”

Trumpatron: “Positive. It was the Republican Party. I'm certain of it, 100%. I am the Republican Party nominee, you can ask people, they‘ll tell you.”

Darth Vader: “Wow. It wasn’t the Tea Party? Or the Ku Klux Klan? Or the…”

Trumpatron: “No sir. It was the GOP.”

Darth Vader: “That is mind boggling. Very impressive. It’s literally the most outrageously stupid thing I’ve ever heard, and yet you won the endorsement of one of your country’s two main establishment parties. Incredible. Now let’s look at some of your other policies and promises. Are they just as imbecilic?”

Trumpatron: “Well to tell you the truth I’m not sure and I don’t care. People love hearing it, they clap, they love me, so that’s really all that matters. I haven’t actually thought anything through or weighed how practical, sound, or realistic any of my policies are. I kinda just say whatever works. My policies can all pretty much be summed up in a poorly written tweet and explained in 140 characters or under.”

Darth Vader: “Wow, I really am baffled at how far you've already gotten. Astounding. Very impressive flourish of demagoguery on your part. Hm, it says here you want to impose a 45% tariff on all Chinese imports and a 35% tariff on all Mexican imports to the US? Wow. This is great. First of all you can’t just impose tariffs on a country, you have to do it on certain products, not that anyone you're saying this to would understand that of course. Secondly, imposing tariffs like that will contravene the WTO and create a trade war that will affect the entire global trade system. Thirdly, people will have to import the same items from other countries like Thailand, Vietnam, or Indonesia, and costs will go up, leading to inflation throughout the US, since the US relies on cheap Chinese manufacturing and imports for so many of its consumer goods and also for its primary goods for industries. So you’re essentially saying to American consumers and businesses 'I will raise prices on everything'! Diabolical. The irony is that inflation is the number one enemy of super rich investors who are the backbone of the GOP since it eats away at their long-term investments, especially the ones who hold fixed income securities, which is pretty much all of them. I mean, they’re not actually creating jobs with all that money they have, are they? They’re just investing their money in making more money for themselves in securities exchanges around the world. Which is why inflation is their number one bogeyman and therefore the American financial system’s number one bogeyman, since the super rich control and run that system. Furthermore, it says here in my notes that you want to kick out undocumented workers instead of integrating them into the system as human beings deserving of respect, dignity, and equality? These are immigrants denied a decent, safe, and dignified living in their own corrupt and ramshackle countries and are therefore risking life and limb to get to your country to seek a better life for themselves and their families, separated from their loved ones and living in miserable conditions, much as your Trumpatron ancestors went to that same country as immigrants seeking a better life. Correct? Those guys work for peanuts and receive no social security benefits, which means your country essentially gets to use them for work at almost slave wages with no rights enjoyed by the average American. If you didn’t have those millions of undocumented workers, you’d have to pay three times the wages to Americans who aren’t willing to do those jobs in the first place, plus you’d have to provide social security, employment and medical security, pay taxes for them, and provide 401K’s. That’s why your elite makes sure not to legalize and integrate them as humans beings worthy of the right, referring to them as illegal aliens, but also doesn’t try to kick them out. So by kicking these people out of the country, you will lose millions of workers, increase costs and therefore prices, and that will  lead to more inflation for American consumers who will have to pay more for the same products and the same services. In effect, you’re actually undermining what ultra-rich conservatives love about this inhumane system, which is access to cheap labor without acknowledging it’s there and without ever accepting that it’s legitimate, but still letting them continue to work and live there among you because the super-rich know how much they need it and how good they have it. It’s like an informal slave system, essentially a ‘loophole economy’ within the economy. Wow. So you’re not just fucking over undocumented workers, which you wouldn’t care about anyway because you’re evil which is why you’re here with us today, but you’re also actually fucking over the same evil people whom you’re seeking votes from. You are openly and actively pursuing immigration and economic policies that are wildly inflationary and which will hurt the ultra rich, the ultra-rich who are the number one voter base for you and the GOP! Amazing! Of course, you will make up for that by not requiring them to pay proper taxes and thus letting your country, infrastructure, and society continue crumbling into a Machiavellian anarcho-capitalist nightmare of all against all orchestrated from behind walled towers of white corporate affluence, but then that kind of push toward sustained plutocratic repression is what any GOP presidential nominee is expected and required to uphold, so it’s pretty much par for the course. But overall, it seems your populist demagoguery isn’t at all in the interests of the super-rich either. It’s brilliant. You’re fucking everybody over. You’re fucking over world trade, possibly leading to new trade wars and protectionism worldwide, you’re fucking over American consumers, you’re fucking over working class people and undocumented workers and their families, you’re fucking over the middle class, you’re fucking over the ultra-rich, and you’re basically fucking over your own voters. In fact, the only person you are not fucking over and who stands to gain anything at all from this whole absurd charade is… YOU! This whole thing is actually just an advertising campaign for Trump! Wow. Even I couldn’t have come up with something this horrible.”

Trumpatron: “Well, I didn’t really think it all through that far, Darth. I think thoughts and ideas are for pussies. I‘m an action kinda guy, I don‘t like to waste time with brain stuff. Besides I kinda just stop thinking once I hear crowds scream with joy every time I mention how we’re going to teach China a lesson or kick Latinos out, or say we‘ll be great again and stuff like that. If I hear claps and people chanting the Trump brand, my job has already been done. In fact, the whole presidency thing is already just an afterthought for me—an afterthought, by the way, which I also refuse to think about. But I’m glad to know this all helps forward the League of Doom’s overall Fuck The World, Fuck All Worlds agenda. As long as Trump wins, the League of Doom will also win. That‘s what‘s so great about this partnership. Will everybody excuse me now please, I have an RDC appointment. You don‘t keep this orange radioactive glow by just sitting around and talking about policies all day. Bye now.”

Darth Vader: “You will go later. You will sit now and wait for this session to end.”

Trumpatron: “Oh, okay, I’ll just… sure, that’s fine, I… hm… okay.”

A door slides open on the other end of the Hall of Injustice. In comes Gargamel and his cat Azrael. Darth Vader utters a loud groan as he shakes his head and looks up at the domed ceiling in what appears to be abject frustration.

Count Dracula: “Ahem, yes. Here comes another League of Doom heavyweight. All rise for Gargamel!”

Darth Vader: “Stop! No! Gargamel? Really? You are putting me, Darth Vader, at the same table with Gargamel? The guy who tries to catch Smurfs and FAILS. Really? Who’s next? Bluto? Wile E. Coyote? Elmer Fucking Fudd?”

Count Dracula: “Just calm down, Darth, it’s not that big a deal, okay? Evil is evil so let’s just…”

Darth Vader: “Evil is not just evil. I am EVIL. Gargamel is mischievous at best, not to mention inept. Even you are kinda lame. I mean, come on, vampires? Really?”

Count Dracula: “How dare you?! I am pure evil my friend. Pure evil. And people love vampires, do you know how many books and films and TV series there are about us?”

Darth Vader: “Myeeeh. You’re okay at best. If anything you’re a little caricaturish. Not like Gargamel but still…”

Count Dracula: “Ok excuse me, sucking the living blood out of humans isn’t evil enough for you?”

Darth Vader: “Okay, whatever, look we’re getting off topic here. Let’s get back to Chumpthong over there.”

Trumpatron: “It’s Trumpa…”

Darth Vader: [deep breathing]

Trumpatron: “Trum… Trumpatr…”

Darth Vader: [deep breathing]

Trumpatron: “Trumpatron.”

Darth Vader: [deep breathing]

Trumpatron: “My my my… name is Fatty McDumbfuck.”

Darth Vader: “That’s better.”

Trumpatron: “Was that like one of those Jedi mind trick things you just did to make me call myself that or…”

Darth Vader: “No, that was all you being so shit scared that you called yourself that. That’s what that was. You can‘t tell right now, but I’m smiling.”

Trumpatron: [gulp]

Count Dracula: “Anyway, let’s move on Darth. I mean this guy isn’t even a leader yet. He‘s still just a sleazy real estate and casino mogul and a reality show celebrity… oh and of course also a GOP presidential nominee.”

Darth Vader: “Okay well, I‘m not sure how much substance we‘ve got with Chumpdump to make him into a grade A force of evil. Right now he just looks like a narcissistic charlatan pandering to ignoramuses and halfwits. Anyway, we‘ll go back to him later. Let’s move on to Erdogtator. Ooh, nice. This guy looks like a piece of work. He gets elected on a democratization ticket despite being quoted as saying ‘democracy is like a train, once you’re at your stop, you get off’. He proceeds to fill government full of religious fundamentalists, he clamps down on the media, curtails freedom of speech, supports and sends arms and people to groups that are internationally recognized terrorists in neighboring countries, he isolates Turkey on the international stage to a point where he has no more meaningful allies and nobody takes his country or his word seriously anymore, dismantles his military into a ragtag unprofessional politically divided Middle Eastern strongman militia, massacres minorities with brutal urban scorched earth tactics, foments racial and sectarian tensions in society, co-opts ultranationalist causes, forges alliances with people he later denounces as terrorists to forward his agenda, has been caught on tape with his family and ministers openly admitting to stealing and laundering money, backs Neo-Fisherian economic policies like 'low interest rates lead to low inflation', creates a big state-subsidized construction bubble that makes it look like his country’s economy is still growing while manufacturing and job creation crumbles, introduces labor laws akin to modern slavery and serfdom, supports almsgiving initiatives over sustained poverty alleviation and human development, seeks to create an education system that only instills religious dogma and obedience at the expense of critical thinking and scientific fact, insults people of different beliefs and faiths, and openly breaks the laws and constitution of the country he himself is the president of, to the point where he builds an illegal 1000-room palace and says he doesn‘t recognize the decisions of the country‘s constitutional court!? Under his rule his country has today gone from being what was once considered a paragon of stability, reason, sense, strength, and international standing to the point of being an example to other countries, to what is today being openly referred to as a failed state on a par with Iraq and Syria. Wow. And this is in just over 10 years? Amazing. This guy is a treasure. Honestly, this is one for the books. I mean… I’m Darth Vader, Darth Fucking Vader, Sith Lord, conqueror of galaxies, and make no mistake: I. Am. Totally. Impressed.”

Erdogtator: “Well, I’m flattered, naturally.”

Darth Vader: “And you should be. I really have little to add here, I’m glad to say. Just keep doing whatever it is you’re doing. Soon we can add yet another country on our shit pile of historic failures, right over there with Pakistan and Venezuela. Seriously, I would take my hat off if it wasn’t bolted into my head. If I could however make a tiny suggestion…”

Erdogtator: “By all means, I always like to take advice, as long as I already agree with it of course.”

Darth Vader: “Naturally, naturally, such is the nature of us power-hungry villains. But I would suggest that you have a Plan B ready just in case. When you make a lot of enemies it’s always good to know you and your family have a nice cushy country to retreat to.”

Erdogtator: “Already thought of that, Darth. We all have Saudi citizenship lined up already, so if worse comes to worst I can take the family and all the money we’ve siphoned through shady deals, crony contracts, legal manipulation, and nepotism over the past 12 years, and we can just plop down in a comfy compound and be neighbors with Idi Amin’s family. Don’t you worry.”

Darth Vader: “Excellent! You have it covered then. And what about this coup business that just happened, how are you dealing with that? Witch hunts, I hope?”

Erdogtator: “Witch hunts indeed. I’m using it as an excuse to get rid of everyone and anyone who is not 100% loyal to me in the entire government and state apparatus, public servants, military personnel, hospitals and schools, governors and parliamentarians, journalists and intellectuals, even sportsmen and sports authorities, many of them on the most tenuous or even just made up charges of belonging to a terror organization. That also gives me the excuse to get rid of anyone who still believes in a secular country. We’re talking tens and tens of thousands of arrests. It’s going to be great for the construction sector because we’re going to have to build prisons for everybody in the entire country who isn’t on my side. That could reach up to 50 million people! The entire country will be cleansed! CLEANSED! CLEANSED!”

Darth Vader: “Uh… okay. This is getting a bit weird.”

Erdogtator: “Wait, that’s not it, Darth. I even cleansed my own party of everyone who was once my comrade, everyone who helped me found the party and get to where I am today, because you never know if they’re going to stab you in the back and take away from your limelight and disagree with you because they think they have a right to voice some kind of criticism, WHICH THEY DON’T! NOBODY HAS A RIGHT TO CRITICISM, NOBODY EXCEPT ME! ONLY I CAN CRITICIZE MYSELF! So then I just filled the party with yes men and puppets and pushovers so I could just have the rubberstamp parliament I deserve…”

Darth Vader: “You’re seeming a little unhinged, would you like to sit back down and have a drink of water?”

Erdogtator: “I deserve this, I deserve it. I made myself a palace with one thousand rooms, and from each one of those one thousand rooms I will govern and oversee the affairs of every one of my 1000 provinces in the new Islamic Empire that I will be the Caliph of, I, I Erdogtator. I am a messenger, a humble messenger of God. I am the beloved of God, I am here to save mankind. I will build a great bridge and then another great bridge and a great mosque, the biggest mosque anyone has ever seen and I will build a big canal, man made, greater than the Panama Canal, greater than anything the world has ever seen, and from a million mosques around the globe they will call my name to defend the faith and unleash upon the world the greatest weapon ever seen, every screen on earth, every television screen, every movie theater, every computer and laptop and smartphone will have my image upon it, you cannot stop me, you cannot stop me… I'll show them, I'LL SHOW THEM ALL! NOBODY WILL EVER MAKE FUN OF ME OR LOOK DOWN ON ME OR QUESTION ME! I AM BELOVED OF GOD! I AM A MESSIAH! I AM ALWAYS CORRECT! I AM THE MOST POWERFUL PERSON IN THE...”

Darth Vader: “STOP! ENOUGH! GET DOWN FROM THE TABLE! SIT DOWN! SIT THE FUCK DOWN! STORMTROOPERS, IMPERIAL GUARDS, RESTRAIN HIM! SILENCE HIS MANIACAL CACKLING!”

Erdogtator: “HAHAHAhahahaHAHAHAHA ALL HAIL ME! ALL HAIL ME! ALL HAIL ME! I AM GREAT! I AM GREAT! UNHAND ME! UNHAND ME YOU ROBOTS! HELP HELP I HAVE BEEN ABDUCTED BY ALIENS!”

Darth Vader: “Get him out of here, put him in the straight jacket and give him the same medication we gave Robert Mugabe. Yes, you heard me, the same medication. Just do it. For fucks sake. You know, just once I wish we were dealing with an evil person who didn’t have some kind of mental instability. Just once I would like to deal with a fellow evil person who wasn’t psychotic or megalomaniacal or sociopathic to the point of insanity.”

Gargamel: “Right, says the guy who accepted a Sith emperor as his master so he could rule the galaxy and murder jedis.”

Darth Vader: “I’m sorry, was anybody talking to you, Gargamel? Don’t you have some little Smurfs to catch?”

Gargamel: “I’m just saying. It’s not like you’re a paragon of sense here. None of us are. Let’s face it, we’re all fucked up. That’s why we’re evil. Right? We all have some kind of character flaw or something traumatic in our childhoods or some kind of personality disorder that makes us fear change, fear difference, fear others, fear anything that we have no control over, that makes us paranoid about people hating us and wanting to hurt us, and so we seek power to control everything and everybody, to make the pain and the hurt go away, and we need to coerce and force people into liking us upon threat of death and imprisonment. But the more people you dominate, the more enemies you feel you have, and so you have to imprison and dominate them too, but then once you do that, you have yet more enemies, so the circle has to widen and you have to imprison anyone and everyone who isn‘t 100% on your side and and… Are you guys even listening to me?”

Darth Vader: [yawning sound]

Count Dracula: “So what’s your point? Are you saying that’s not normal behavior?”

Gargamel: “Yes! That’s exactly what I’m saying. Jesus, do you not get it?”

Count Dracula: “Well I don’t know, we’re evil and we all hang out with other evil people, so what you described sounds like pretty well-adjusted behavior to me.”

Gargamel: “Okay never mind, forget it.”

Darth Vader: “Yes thank you Gargamel for that amateurish Psych 101 analysis of the origins of evil, it was very illuminating. I‘m sure you‘ve blown everyone‘s mind with that. Oh by the way, Papa Smurf called, says your secret potion to poison him didn’t work yet again, surprise surprise. Back to the drawing board, Gargamel!”

Gargamel: “Oh fuck you.”

Count Dracula: “Quiet down you guys. Our next guest of evil is Bladdersmear Putane. Bladdersmear, welcome!”

Darth Vader: “Uhm… I’m just going to point out the elephant in the room here and ask everyone if it isn’t a little weird that Putane is shirtless and sitting on the back of a tiger right now?”

Count Dracula: “Oh, yeah, he insisted on that.”

Gargamel: “Definitely weird.”

Darth Vader: “Right? I mean, Erdogtator and Trumpatron are wearing suits. Why don’t you wear a suit like the rest of them? I’m not saying you have to wear a cape like me and Dracula, or shitty rags like Gargamel… but something, dude. Says here you do judo? Why not at least wear a judo outfit?”

Putane: “I am… very manly man.”

Confused looks shoot back and forth around the table as everyone waits for Putane to say something more, which he doesn’t.

Darth Vader: “Ooookay. I don’t even know what that means, but let’s pretend it explains things so we can move on. Now you’ve been in charge of your country for… well, it seems forever, or at least since that last turnip-faced drunkard who was president before you. So how would you say you’ve helped it and the world become a worse place that’s one step closer to destruction?”

Putane: “First of all, I have completely eradicated any semblance of there being rule of law or an independent judiciary, or any seat of alternative institutional power whatsoever in my country, and I’ve been even more successful in this regard than the likes of Erdogtator over here.”

Erdogtator: “I have to admit, I am jealous of him for that, but make no mistake, I’m working up to it.”

Putane: “So now in Russia, I pretty much run and own and control everything. And I mean, everything.”

Darth Vader: “And who do you blame when things go wrong?”

Putane: “I blame the usual suspects, America, the West in general, Britain and France, Jews, of course, Muslims, freemasons, you know, the usual suspects. Like Erdogtator, when my policies lead to economic downturn, a crashing stock market, loss of FDI, market instability, a depreciating or devaluating currency, inflation, current account deficits, loss of export markets, etc., I just blame it on traitors and enemies of Russia within, and the usual Western powers abroad.”

Erdogtator: “Yep, standard procedure, me too. Except I call Jews the ‘interest rate lobby’. That’s my code word for Jews.”

Putane: “Mmhm, I just call anyone who’s anti-me a fascist and lock them up. Same thing really. Anyway. I have also completely transformed my country into a corrupt oligarchy where law, ethics, and civil society have completely broken down, and where the state is basically the biggest organized criminal network in a country of thousands of big and small organized criminal networks. There’s also lots of racism and, you’ll be happy to know, drugs and alcoholism. So much alcoholism that Russian men have an average life expectancy that's ten years less than Russian women, and on a par with some of the poorest African countries. Demographically speaking, we don’t have enough people to maintain a country as big as ours, and the population is shrinking to the point where there won’t be enough of a workforce to sustain the economy, let alone grow it. And of course having become so reliant on hydrocarbons like gas and oil, we are doomed to fail as industry suffers, diversification fails, initiative and entrepreneurship collapse, prices fall, and eventually those finite resources run out in a few decades. I also make sure that the precious revenue we do earn from hydrocarbons goes into a massive military machine that tricks Russians into thinking they are a superpower, when really it’s slowly killing their country’s hopes for a decent and sustainable future. So you could say that I am pretty much making Russia dig its own grave before I kill it off completely and put the whole thing out of its misery.”

Darth Vader: “Okay, well, it doesn’t look like you need any help from us then. Good job. All I can say is carry on and keep up the bad work.”

Nervous chuckles around the table.

Darth Vader: “Thank you, that's just a little joke I made there... I said keep up the bad work instead of... never mind...”

Count Dracula: “Yes yes, we all picked up on the humor Lord Vader, thanks for lightening the mood. Okay, thank you everybody, that brings our meeting to an end. Any questions from you, gentlemen? Erdogtator? Putane? Trumpatron?”

Trumpatron: “Well, yes, regarding your end of the deal… when we finally all manage to kill the world off, what will our, um, situation be?”

Count Dracula: “Oh yes, of course. Darth, do you want to take this one?”

Darth Vader: “Sure. Okay as per our deal, you guys all get beamed up to our new Luxury Leisure Death Star, the 'wRECk Star' as we like to call it. Remember we gave you the tour already before you signed up with us, so I don’t need to remind you about how it’s a fully refurbished and renovated Death Star that’s totally geared to your decadent, vainglorious, evil, and lecherous needs as top class earthly villains, and where by signing your souls off to Satan, you get to be immortal and enjoy all the amenities forever. That includes the hot tub filled with the blood of enemies of your choice, the gym room where the weights are made out of the lead-filled skulls of pro-democracy activists from your respective countries, the massive cinema where you all get to star in propaganda films extolling your virtues as great heroes of the people or what not, and of course the solarium where you get to tan in the radiant light of your own magnificent ego through our state of the art technology which allows you to plug the most primal reptilian part of your brain into your own anus, thereby enabling you to bask in the glow of your own all-consuming bullshit, virtually a self-sustaining energy source that will last as long as you do. I knew you’d like that one especially, Trumpatron. Now, needless to say, every evil person you can possibly imagine is going to be there on the wRECk Star. You name it. For example, Adolf Hitler is still the chief of customer relations. Mussolini is head of entertainment, although Berlusconi is literally dying to join him up there with some good old cruise ship crooning and some wicked bunga bunga parties. It’s like a who’s who of shitty people. The list is endless. Genghis Khan, L. Ron Hubbard, Attila the Hun, Jeffrey Dahmer, Saddam Hussein, Mother Teresa, Swiss bankers, all other bankers, Me, Frankenstein’s monster, Al Capone, hedge fund managers, Stalin, Reagan, John Lennon, every Catholic Pope ever… in fact we have a special VIP deal with them. There’s even a private hyperwarp gateway in the Vatican through which the Popes can teleport right up here as soon as they’re murdered by their cardinals without so much as a minute’s delay. So needless to say, you gentlemen will also be up there with the worst of them once your deeds are done. But Trumpatron, you will still need to win the presidency, otherwise you’ll have to go to our three-star facility for sleazy real estate, casino, and reality show celebrities.”

Trumpatron: “Oh boy. Isn’t that where all the Real Housewives stars go? And all the Bachelorette suicides?”

Darth Vader: “I’m afraid so. And also dead rock stars and actors.”

Trumpatron: “Ugh, that sounds nasty. So eventually there‘s going to be people like Madonna and Tom Cruise and Kaitlyn Jenner?”

Darth Vader: “I’m afraid so. Look, I’m not going to lie to you, it’s pretty vulgar and pretty gross over there.”

Trumpatron: “Is it like Vegas? I could do Vegas.”

Darth Vader: “Worse. It’s like Miami. Pretty fucking nasty. So make that your motivation for winning the presidency. Oh and another motivation could be to not lose to a woman.”

Trumpatron: “She’s hardly a woman.”

Darth Vader: “Yeah well, you’re hardly a man, so get your shit together by November.”

The ceiling opens. A miasmal smoke and an overwhelming red light drowns the entire Hall of Injustice as everyone rises to their feet.

Count Dracula: “Attention! All hail our Supreme Leader!”

From the red glow above and through the smoke, a form appears and descends slowly to the biggest seat at the table, a black and red leather seat with an inverted cross design at the top. 

Count Dracula: “Hail our Supreme Leader! Hail our Supreme Leader! Hail our Lord!”

The form floats down and takes a seat at the chair as he pinches his chin between his thumb and the middle phalanx of his index finger.

Count Dracula: “All Hail Steve Jobs!”

Darth Vader: [siiiiiigh]

8/2/16

International citizens of the world, separate then unite!




It's time to throw off our national shackles and finally become official passport-holding international citizens.

It's a common scene at any airport. You're waiting in line at the passport control, patiently standing there in a pair of Havaianas with your Macbook slung over your shoulder and a copy of the International Herald Tribune tucked under your arm (with crossword proudly completed, even though it's only a Monday), downloading a podcast of the latest TED lecture on creative solutions to Sub-Saharan soil erosion while tapping your feet to the indie-ska playlist on your iPod. But, try as you might to recreate a secluded bubble miniverse of your refined postmodern lifestyle-in-transit, you're unable to drown out the stinging awareness of a shoddy herd of your fellow nationals who have plodded off the same flight and who now form a fleshy ring of redundant DNA around your snug little aural orbit. You flup-flup to your Chopin playlist for comfort and perform some meditative breathing exercises you picked up in Yoga class. But it all falls short as the vacant-eyed family bickers loudly in a painfully intelligible language--your language--about who ate the last pack of complimentary airplane peanuts while their chubby offspring repeatedly scream and crash into your legs with jerky high-fructose-corn-syrup-fueled spasms of stubborn attention-deprived insistence. The walls have been breached, the barbarians are clumsily lumbering through.

Whether we are Americans or Italians or Turks or Indians or Mexicans, we have all been through those moments. We have all on those occasions looked out across and beyond that depressing snare of fellow nationals in the hope of catching the eyes of some other sparkling doppelganger for wonderful-hip-sophisticated Us. We feel that those rare gems we spot here and there, those exquisite dead ringers for super cool you and me, are our real fellow nationals, regardless of their actual nationality, and we wonder despairingly why it is that our bureaucratic and statistical fate has instead become intertwined with that semi-educated clan of soft-drink-guzzling, white-bread eating neanderthals simply because they were born within the same political parameters as us.

Why, we reason further, can we--who often define ourselves as "international citizens" anyway--not become actual official international citizens of the world?

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Let's face it, nationality is no longer an accepted mode of identification for many of us. At best, it's trite and meaningless. At worst, it's the primary root of war, atrocity and genocide in the modern age (although religion gives it a good run for its money, which is why they usually go hand in hand). Look at any modern polity, and you'll find that those who still lend any credence to nationalism as a political movement are the least educated, most bigoted, and most latently or outright racist segments of that society. As a partial reaction to this, these days the more sophisticated members of those societies use terms like "citizen of the world", "international citizen" or "global nomad" to define themselves. These are people who feel more in common with those who share similar lifestyles and socio-cultural frames of reference--regardless of ethnicity or nationality--than they do with those who were born and live in the same country as them.

And rightly so. After all, the only thing that really ties you to fellow nationals is that you happen to be born under the rule of the same state power, which you're all thereby condemned to pay money, time, labor and even your life to (in the form of military service and wage labor) in return for an endless stream of bills that charge you for basic human necessities like water, heat, education and health. But that's not all. You also get an incessant lifetime bombardment of cunning and manipulative advertising devices that are always trying to sucker you into spending money or going into debt; you get the possibility of war over some stupid piece of land somewhere that you could give two shits about; and you get the threat of imprisonment if you decide not to bow to the norm and accept your subservience to flag, country and credit cards. Meanwhile, as you're standing in line at your local bank trying to pay a late bill so the water authority can turn your water back on, your government will be spending billions of that money on tanks, fighter jets, vote-enticing white elephants, and entertainment expenses for the visiting criminal head of state of Oilandgasistan, in between bailing out billionaire bankers who did a little whoopsy daisy with everybody's money.

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But is there no real substance to nationality? What about language? Sure, speaking a common language is an important bond, considering that language is what we construct our thoughts upon--and essentially the semantic mortarboard that our modern nation states were built with--but anyone who's had a good education and has traveled around and lived in a foreign country or two would be expected to speak up to two or three foreign languages anyway--at least one of them probably well enough to work, write, argue, fight and fuck in. So then what's so special about your mother tongue? Besides, you don't feel any more of a "national" bond with someone from a foreign country whom you can perfectly speak a common foreign language with, so why should you necessarily feel any more of a politically-binding sentiment with a person you speak your native language with?

But what about the case for shared traditions and customs? Yes, these are fundamental to creating the sense of intimate bonds that are crucial for maintaining a friction-free society where you buy gifts on birthdays and attend weddings and visit aunts and uncles on official holidays, and pronounce stock slogans of affection and well-wishing on precisely outlined occasions, kissing hands, rubbing cheeks, etc. But for those with creative and inquisitive spirits, things like traditions and customs are oppressive and time-consuming ritualistic social burdens that are fine for people who need some kind of safe and standard set of ready-made rules and practices to abide by with the least possible mental exertion demanded, but which fall far short of satisfying those who have better things to do with their lives. Rather than be content with simply acting out hollow manifestations for the give and take of respect, love, gratitude and sorrow for the sake of running a well-oiled social network, some people seek to experience such emotions and acts in sincere, challenging and authentic conditions, perhaps even to question the whole ethical and behavioral fabric upon which the society they've been born into is founded upon, and maybe even to experience how different societies do things--if not to actually even create their own way of doing things. So traditions are fine if you need some cheap filler for all those long tedious stretches of the average human existence. But for those few who have things to do beyond mere labor-giving and child-bearing, their lives are way too short to spend on forced togethernesses and fake happy occasions that have been circled on calendars and RSVP'ed three months in advance.

What about religion? Religion sort of fits into national customs and traditions anyway. Although many customs and traditions don't have their origins in religious practices or dogma, they are eventually co-opted by and melded into them. But the very idea of dogma--though obviously useful and precious to many--is woefully unsatisfactory to those who want to experience life without being tied down with precious lists of holy dos and don'ts, eternal rewards and punishments, sacred carrots and sticks, and simplistic "God made it so, therefore it is so" kinds of arguments that seem like an insult to intelligence and nature. Common prayers, surreal religious buildings, choral music, codified morals, sanctified art, stories of miracles and mystery are all well and good enough for those who have to get on with their lives without the time to waste on fancy philosophizing and existential questioning when there's a living that has to be made and children that have to be fed and raised... But for others, that sort of stuff is just not going to cut it, and will merely be of anthropological interest at best. Let's face it, smart people don't want to live with a giant metaphysical nanny called God anymore, let alone all that religious hocus-pocus that comes with it. We read about quantum mechanics now, not angels.

On a profaner note, how about education? We are all bombarded with references to our common national destiny and identity through education (and in the media--which is an auxiliary arm of the education machine), but this is little more than propaganda to give the illusion of commonality to better justify and legitimize state coercion. The very idea of a "nation", (Latin "nascere", to be born, as in "those of the same womb") implies that we are all of a common origin*. Our state-controlled education takes this concept of common origins one step further, by anachronistically inserting a relatively recent political and ideological phenomenon (nationalism and nation states have only been around for the past 200 odd years) into thousands of years of history, so that your "nation" seems retrospectively to have existed in some form even back in times when nobody referred to themselves as being a member of that nation, or even knew what a nation was, often defining themselves on tribal, religious or clan lines instead. And that's if they "defined" themselves at all, since concepts like "identity" and "definition" are relatively modern (or arguably now postmodern) terms. So we read our modern identity into great achievements in history (while conveniently blurring over the great atrocities), believing that there is somehow some proto-nation that has existed all along, doing this and building that and conquering here and moving over there, until bam, your country is finally founded--like the shining predestined historic culmination of a millennial teleology that has become a self-fulfilling prophesy in reverse. In other words, hooey.

And the media? The media just props up the propaganda ingrained in us through education, replenishing and reproducing it with every news and social affairs item that we are nudged into feeling we should identify with and care about. The media is like the light protective surface sheen that's there to maintain a fresh gloss over the hard, ugly, sturdy brainwashing meted out during a decade of state education in our vulnerable and formative childhood years. Education gives a vertical depth to the myth of national bonds, while the media gives it horizontal reach and scope. Its power is that it even brings in seemingly trivial aspects of life into the orbit of nationalist agitprop. It ties us all in as a nation through seemingly trifling items of news that have moral and existential dimensions, with the aim of eliciting from us an opinion on everything, because we believe that everything concerns "us" as [insert plural form of your nationality's name here]--the earthquake in so-and-so, the war in over-yonder, the genocide out-in-what's-it-called, and the man who cheated on his wife and sold his child's kidney on what's-her-face's talk show. Even the weather report gives the sense of common national destiny ("Get out your umbrellas Ireland, it's going to be rainy!"). And so your opinion for or against becomes irrelevant, because it's enough to simply draw you into the debate in the first place so that you have an opinion at all. And once you have an opinion, you've become a part of the imaginary national discourse as yet another "concerned individual" trapped in an endless 24-7 barrage of current affairs. You have become part of a market, and the greater the extent of that market, the greater the audience, the better the ratings, the more receptive the ideologically-molded populace, and thus the more the revenue to be made from a population that is involved with little more than rapid sequential images on a screen.

Sports also works to uphold the national varnish, though more as an addendum to education and media (since sports by itself cannot forge a sense of nationhood--with the possible exception of Australia) as it facilitates a great means of forming a bonding frame of identification without actually verbalizing it. You can talk about a team or a player at length, and even argue and dispute each others' views, but what's really going on underneath is a kind of sexual (mostly male), social, regional and national bonding depending on what competition or team is being identified with and discussed at a given time. The ritual of watching a game with your national team playing the world championships in blah-blah-ball as you wave a flag alongside someone you would probably never even talk to or meet in day-to-day life, is a powerful one, which is why these rituals are evenly and consistently spaced out at regular intervals on international and national blahblah-ball calendars.

Perhaps the most that nationalism has going for it is land and economy. After all, the food people buy and the water they drink has to come from somewhere. There have to be fields where corn and potatoes and wheat and rice grow, and there have to be rivers that are dammed for electricity, water and irrigation. Then you have to build the necessary transportation and logistic infrastructure to bring it all to the cities. This has until now formed a strong and practical bond upon which to build a political entity and a national identity. But is that still the case? Economy has by now far-transcended national boundaries. These days we talk about the world economy. The food being grown and raised 100 kilometers from you is probably being exported somewhere else, feeding South Africans or Malaysians or Japanese. Most of the food you eat may also be coming from other countries, and so too with electricity. Also, few countries have a complete monopoly on major water resources, most of which necessitate international sharing. International market prices and currency exchange rates determine what you pay and what you consume. Technology like refrigeration, air and sea and rail transport, international commodity markets, the internet, all make a mockery of distance. That's not to say some states don't still strive for truly national economies, but they're all outcast hermit misfits like North Korea, Iran or Cuba, none of which can be seriously termed overall success stories. A Polish farmer is happy to grow food that may be going to Venezuela, and someone living in Warsaw is fine with buying a couch that was made in Sweden. So too a British company will build its factory wherever the labor is cheapest and not necessarily in Britain. If Turkish olive oil was cheaper than Greek, the Greeks would be gulping it down. So, if anything, modern economics has eroded the bonds of nationality, and with the technological advancements in logistics and finance, the importance of geographic boundaries has diminished.

So then what's left to uphold the nation? Precious little beyond dissimulation and thaumaturgy. The guy you hugged and draped the flag around during last night's match is probably the guy you're looking at disdainfully from the corner of your eye on the metro. The woman with cheap perfume and a mole under her nose standing in line with you in the same supermarket queue while shouting into her cell phone in a grating rustic accent, buying a big disgusting bag of junk food for her children, is supposed to be considered to be from the same distant womb as you. And the guy trying to rip off a tourist with sleazy advances is someone you will stand shoulder to shoulder with when the time comes to defend your country from the big bad [insert your particular national enemy here].

Well, fuck all that. It's time for an alternative. It's time for an international citizenry of like-minded people who will carry human civilization on to a new stage of socio-political evolution by calling bullshit on all institutionalized modes of systematic ideological manipulation and deceit.

It's time for official international passport holding World Citizens.

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Consider people from New York, London, Istanbul, Paris, Mexico City, Sydney, Johannesburg, Mumbai or Tokyo. They would have more in common with each other than they would with their fellow nationals who live just 50 kilometers away in some small town where most people die where they're born, where flags are waved on national days, and where bumper stickers declare pride in vapid heroic national slogans that are founded on pointless idealized slaughterfests that wasted millions of lives in the name of national "causes" (i.e. politicians' power interests). Instead, those sophisticated cosmopolitan denizens of the great metropolises of the world would have similar lifestyles to each other, regardless of country or geographic proximity. They would work in similar jobs, eat similar foods, watch similar things on TV, see similar films at the cinema, travel to similar places for vacations, engage in similar pastimes, sports, recreation and hobbies in their spare time, and they would all enjoy and have access to the best that civilization has to offer in terms of art, design, architecture and overall style-of-living. In other words, they would be defined and identified by a common way of life that can perhaps be identified (albeit rather pompously) as the "art of living".

A typical day for these global metropolitans would include some Starbucks Ethiopian Blend coffee in the morning in front of the TV while clicking through the BBC news site on their iMacs with maybe the National Geographic channel or CNN on the flat screen Hi-Def TV in the background, before setting off to their own design studio or architectural firm or academic or corporate position in a state-of-the-art office located in a high-tech eco-friendly building designed by a famous architect, and then driving home in their hybrid car where they'll download a film-festival award-winner from Netflix or iTunes while listening to some nu-jazz streaming through their invisible Bose speakers as they cook up a nice light Thai curry that they'll enjoy with a fine Australian Riesling wine on the side, while waiting for their photographer girlfriend whose flight is about to arrive from Berlin and who should text them on their Blackberry as soon as they land.

Of course, when I refer to a day in the life of this certain "someone", I don't mean just anyone. I mean someone who defines themselves as a "world citizen". Someone who abides by that admittedly peppy yet apposite mantra of thinking global and acting local; someone who defines themselves as an international citizen; someone who has the education, social awareness, cultural accumulation, aesthetic refinement, economic wherewithal, and lifestyle tastes that distinguishes them from the norm. Someone for whom business, family and pleasure are holistically intertwined into a sense of life and living as an artistic and creative endeavor.

These are people whose lives take them all over the world, people for whom boundaries are not only meaningless, but an outright obstacle to their need to live without boundaries. These people want to move to Hong Kong for a couple of years if they have to, or go to Rio de Janeiro for a friend's wedding, or decide to travel around Australia for six months, or want to get together with friends from other world cities for a week's skiing in Val d'Isere, or who move to Shanghai to be both nearer to a dynamic financial market and also to satisfy their need to be in a place where they can pursue their love of Wing Chun while also being better located to set off for some scuba-diving getaways in Micronesia. In short, these are people for whom political boundaries are not only pointless but a nuisance, for whom national passports and visa regulations are a royal pain in the ass, and for whom nationality is a mere bureaucratic hindrance. Isn't it time that these self-described international citizens became official International Citizens, with the necessary legal rights that cater to their own unique lifestyle? Isn't it time to do away with the heavy lugubrious nation-state bureaucracies that have become comical and arcane Swiftian satires in the postmodern world? Isn't it time to lift this giant red-ink-blotched paperweight off our collective backs to finally enable us to pursue a lighter, freer, more productive way of life?

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So how do we implement international citizenship? There will obviously be some major obstacles, not least of which is why a state would willingly let go of tax-paying, labor-giving, soldier-forming, crap-buying subjects. Furthermore, wouldn't this be a mockery of all the ideals a nation-state stands for? Not necessarily. Well, actually, yes... but not to the extent that one might think.

First of all, the people who would be eligible for international citizenship would be those people who would not want to give their time--let alone their lives--for any national cause like war or even military service anyway, so why have reluctant half-ass troops? Plus they'd be too intelligent (and probably soft) to make either expendable or good troops out of, so good riddance to them. Secondly, they are not the morons who buy processed food and drink gallons of carbonated sludge and buy shit they see off infomercials--in other words, they're quite a small minority of the population--so they're not part of that massive population of brainwashed drones that giant companies can make their money off of. Thirdly, they are not usually the kind of people who engage in wage labor. More likely they're freelancers or independent agents who do their own thing, and whose job and business probably has a pretty international scope anyway.

But there are a few obvious problems: 1) it seems elitist, 2) you lose a tax-source, 3) you lose qualified, educated citizens in a kind of brain drain that would have obvious deleterious effects on the national economy, and 4) the ideological foundation of your nation state would be seriously challenged and hurt, because if the best and brightest are bailing out from the nationality illusion, then all the sacred symbolic and ritual foundations upon which the whole ideological edifice has been built could come tumbling down... Let's face it, it's hard to argue in favor of national duty and personal sacrifice for the greater national good in defense of the mother/father/homeland if there are those among you who have the option to just say "No thanks!" to the whole thing and opt out of the club. Finally, 5) what sort of bureaucratic framework has to be established for an institution that is meant to circumvent bureaucracy in the first place?

So considering these issues, how could you build a workable foundation in which international citizenship could become a reality and nation states would agree to such an innovation?

Let's start with the last question first. Obviously some kind of bureaucracy is needed because we can't realistically be expected to return to the golden age of travel in the 19th century when technological innovation in rapid and comfortable transport happened to felicitously coincide with free and open borders (modern countries were really just coming into existence) and little or no documentation required to cross them, nor any limits on how long you could stay in a foreign country. People in those days assumed that anyone who had the wherewithal for travel was probably the sort of person you wouldn't mind having around in your country. Even in the 1970s, if you missed a flight you could just jump on the next one with no questions asked, even if it was a different airline! Of course, this is sadly no longer the case. Now people are treated as statistics, and all considered guilty until proven innocent. If you are not from a white and affluent country, you're subjected to the racist humiliation of having to get a visa. That means you have to go through the disgrace of having to declare that you are NOT a terrorist, and you even have to provide them with your bank account details to prove that you have money... plus you have to provide a list of all your possessions, a bill under your name to prove you have a house, and a copy of your company payroll to prove not only that you have a job but that you have a well-paying job. Then you have to wait at least a week for the White Gods of Whiteland to deliberate on whether you are worthy of visiting their precious little country. And even then you can't stay more than a set period of time, and at a predetermined address. And as if that wasn't enough to make you feel like scum, you even need a letter of guarantee from a national of Legoland who has to state officially that they vouch for you and take full responsibility in the event that you turn out to be not a human being but an evil jackal-headed demon. Governments are so aware of the arrogant affront to human dignity that the entire disgraceful visa process represents, that they take care that you are never actually in contact with their own nationals. They instead hire locals from the country in which the visa application is being made -- either as staff in the embassy or through private companies that carry out the visa process for the embassy -- just so you have no target to vent your frustration and anger toward, and you only end up getting angry at your own nationals. In other words, they even deprive you of the pleasure of being able to call them racists to their faces. And as if that wasn't enough, you also have to pay hundreds of dollars once you succeed in actually getting the visa.

International citizenship is meant to help people get around this whole horrific system. Why should only diplomats get to go wherever they please with their shiny red passports? If anything, they're the ones who should be made to suffer the same indignity that is meted out on mankind by the very states they represent. So here's what I propose:

- A department of International Citizenry at the U.N. could be set up. All international ID/passports will be issued, regulated and controlled by this organization. It will not be subject to any national jurisdiction.

- The tax issue could be resolved if the international citizen pays part of their annual international citizenship fees to the national government from which they have seceded. Furthermore, international citizens would maybe be required to pay a little income tax or residency tax (or both) to the country in which they reside/work (the aim being to get nation states on board with the project).

- You are considered an international citizen in whichever country you reside, wherever you travel and wherever you work. Your embassy in any country will be the U.N. embassy. However, in criminal proceedings, you will be subject to the laws of the country you reside in.

- Your passport is actually more like an international identity card, and it's also good for traveling anywhere and everywhere without a visa. You may reside and work anywhere in the world without need of a residency permit. Your international citizenship fees and income and residency taxes will suffice.

- To become an international citizen, there will necessarily be tough criteria that will be invigilated by the United Nations Department of International Citizenry, or U.N.D.I.C. Criteria may include a university degree, a standardized written and oral exam, interviews, and knowledge of several languages -- at least two of which must be major internationally spoken languages (English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Russian, etc.), plus the means to pay for an international lifestyle, fees, residency tax, income tax, etc.

- Certain professions get automatic international citizenship, including accomplished scientists, academics, writers, sportspeople, artists, musicians, etc.

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Naturally, some of the problems I mentioned earlier will need to be addressed. Among those problems is the adverse effect international citizenship would have on national sentiment and ideology, the elitism of international citizenship, and the brain drain effect. Let's take each case one by one.

If we take the brain drain situation first, we'll find that although it looks like a nation is losing a brain, it's actually gaining many brains. International citizens can and will live and work anywhere they like, so it will be up to individual countries to continue attracting the best and the brightest to their educational, industrial, technological and scientific institutions. International citizens will welcome not having to deal with all the usual red tape of residency permits, work permits, passports, visas and what not, so really nation states will benefit in the long term -- plus these international citizens will be paying their income and residency taxes too, a share of which will go to the host country. Some may argue that international citizens will still be paying taxes, which isn't much different to paying for residency permits and visas and passports and the like now, but I think international citizens will be much better off because they will not have to deal with the national bureaucracy of the host country. They will only deal with U.N.D.I.C. Furthermore, although they will still be required to pay taxes, these will be a standard amount that applies everywhere, so at least they will know exactly how much is paid when, and the payments will all be between the international citizen and the U.N.D.I.C. All of this saves much time and hassle and stress for the international citizen.

Another problem is the adverse effect the prospect of international citizenship will have on national identity, national ideology, and the idea of national polities in general. After all, the idea of "national bonds" is sort of meant to mean that you are bound by birth, history, origin and destiny to your fellow nationals. There never really has been an opt-out clause until now. But in a postmodern age of critical deconstruction, nationalism is not what it used to be. In fact, nationalism has become rather more of a myth or a superstition to most people, much like religion. This is probably why more extreme forms of religiosity and nationalism are coming more and more into the fore, because those who once occupied the middle ground (at least in affluent countries with a large, prosperous and educated middle class) have shifted leftward or at least toward the cynical side. In the age of Foucault and Derrida, Said and Chomsky, in the age of the internet and globalization, nobody really believes in a "nation" being something either natural or sacrosanct. If anything, it's now known even by average citizens to be just another ideological system relying on a state power apparatus to exert its sway over a passive population, bolstered by a bunch of fairy tales and myths about great national accomplishments and origins. It's now known to be just another way of wielding power over large masses of people, and one that competes against other ideological systems. So if this is the case already, why should those for whom national bonds mean little or nothing anymore be forced to continue to pledge allegiance to flags, to sing national anthems, to celebrate glorified episodes of bloodshed, slaughter and mass murder in the past, if none of this means anything anymore? Instead, those who consider themselves international citizens already -- and many other people across the world -- would rather believe in universal values than national ones. The importance and meaning of national history has already in the minds of many been superceded by Human history. Many of us can identify with -- and take pride in -- all the accomplishments of mankind. A Mexican can take pride in the accomplishments of the Greeks and the Chinese. Humans built the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China and the Suez Canal. Humans mapped the human genome and the Milky Way galaxy, sent robots to the far ends of the solar system, compiled the Encyclopedia Britannica, invented the microchip, composed the Ode to Joy symphony, and delved into the incredible world of quantum physics. These people were of many nationalities, but who cares? Focusing on nationality in an age like this seems like mere nitpicking. Humans have also committed atrocities like the Holocaust, slavery, terrorism, mass destruction, torture, and racism... does nationality matter there as well? In short, many more people now than ever in human history identify themselves not as a certain nationality or religion or with a particular region, but first and foremost as Humans. It's time to recognize this and cater to their needs. If people do not feel like they can give their lives for shortsighted and absurd national ideals, then isn't it time these people's rights were officially represented? Today, ALL the land on earth has been appropriated and divided up by nation states. People are born forced into being of a certain nationality. This skews and deranges them for the rest of their lives. They are given a "national" education. They are brainwashed into putting a nation above all other nations, and a national identity above even their humanity. We have even reached the point where human atrocity is not only considered appropriate but even normal if it's committed in the name of "national interest". Just like drugs are considered a poison of the human body, just as religion is now more and more being considered a poisoning of the human mind, so too nationalism should be considered a poison. You have the option now of being an atheist. You don't have to go to church or pray or be religious. We have finally accomplished this great achievement. You can get treatment for substance abuse and be cured of alcoholism, nicotine addiction or other drug addictions. But there is still no way out of nationality. You are born into a nation state and are under its oppressive sway for the rest of your life. International citizenship is not just an elitist luxury, it's in fact a human right.

And if it hurts national sentiment, is it a bad thing? Besides, the nationalists have their favorite mantra: "Love it or leave it!" they scream. So why not do just that? If you don't love this hateful, poisonous, criminal blight that has plagued the mind and soul of humankind for the past few centuries, why can't you just leave it? It's time to leave it. It's time for the age of International Citizenship.

Besides, could you imagine how fun it would be to beat up one of these smug little international citizens?

8/1/16

Let’s be grateful we don’t have a commentating God


Of all the Gods we could have had, it always seemed to me lucky that we didn’t have a commentating God that would just kind of hover over us commentating on everything we did. Some people believe in an interventionist God, one who has a big invisible Godly hand in day to day things and who supposedly thinks “I’ll help this little kid out with his math exam” or “MUDSLIDE!” Other people believe God is non-interventionist, just kind of sitting back, chilling out, waiting for the right moment to reward or (more likely) punish you. Some believe there’s a creator God who created everything (except himself, presumably); others that there’s a theist and monist God who is everything and always has been. There’s a Judeo-Christian-Islamic God with laws and rules and books and prophets, and there’s a deist variety of God who’s more kind of just indiscreetly there somewhere, kind of aloof from the whole thing. But despite having all those kinds of Gods, I really think it’s wonderful that, of all the Gods we could’ve had, we didn’t have a commentating God, at least not since the time of the Greeks, when Ares and Athena would get all bitchy with each other as they played finger puppets with Hector and Achilles. I mean, God could’ve picked that path for himself, right? He may have thought “Instead of sending books and prophets that are full of contradictions like ‘Circumcise! Don’t circumcise! Circumcise!’, why don’t I just give live real time comments on everything everyone does?” And he might have had a point, since all those prophets and books haven’t done anything except make the world a more fractious, violent place. But can you imagine how much worse it would‘ve been if we‘d had a commentating God? Here are some terrible scenarios that come to mind:

1. He would probably be unbearably sarcastic all the time
Could you imagine the amount of sarcasm we would all get from a perfect being who’s constantly commentating on everything humans do? He’d always be saying stuff like “Wow, nice job ironing that shirt, were you raised by monkeys?” or “Gee let‘s see if your shoddy construction materials can withstand my earthquake… uh-oh, I guess not” or “Cool gambling problem you have there, Robert, hope you’re looking forward to an eternity of hellfire?” or “Hm, last time I checked, I said adultery was a sin… although technically I didn’t say anything specific about NOT getting tied up, whipped, and fisted by a tranny hooker at a roadside motel, so carry on Steve, by all means…”. Plus he’d be commentating out loud so everybody around could hear him. It would be so embarrassing.

2. Or alternatively, he would be annoyingly helpful
God: “Hey there Brad, maybe you should water the lawn in the mornings and evenings when there isn’t such direct sunlight so you don’t scorch the grass… hmm, that’s not the best way to roll up the hose, try wrapping it around your hand and elbow… yeah, there you go… hey, the pasta water’s boiling, wanna tell Sheryl? She’s in the backyard putting up the laundry… ooh, the baby’s about to wake up. I suggest you throw the pasta in the pot and give it a quick stir so it doesn’t stick, maybe pour in a little olive oil, then go check the baby… up to you, I’m just saying, I can see everything from here… you know, omniscience and all… also you might want to unplug the juicer, better safe than…” etc.
You: “Okay God, geez”
God: “Hey, I'm just trying to help”

3. God would spoil all your relationships because he’d keep commenting on what happens in the future 
You: “I have a date today! She’s amazing, we met at Dave’s party, apparently she’s into Tae-Bo and…”
God: “Forget it.”
You: “What?”
God: “She’s too good for you. It’ll seem like it’s working out at first but then she dumps you in three weeks.”
You: “What? Oh, man. I was really looking forward to that date.”
God: “I don’t blame you, she’s hot, she’s smart, she’s cool… but that’s also kind of why she dumps you. You see the irony there?”
You: “Yeah”
God: “You want to be with her because of those qualities, but it’s those very same qualities that make her impossible for you to get”
You: “Yes okay, I got it, thank you. Would I end up having sex with her at least?”
God: “Um, yes. But trust me, you don’t want to. You get all excited and... well, you know... the girl says it’s ‘okay’, but of course it’s not… you know how you are”
You: “Okay okay, wow, you‘re really laying it thick today. Geez. Aren’t you supposed to be on my side?”
God: “I think you’re confusing me with a fairy godmother. Technically, I’m a commentating God, so I really just offer commentary”
You: “Hey what about her?”
God: “Shyeah, right!”
You: “Why?”
God: “Seriously? You want me to tell you how that works out? Please, make my day, I’d love to see the expression on your face”
You: “Okay, you don’t have to be a dick about it”
God: “What did you call me?”
You: “Nothing. What about Caroline? The one from…”
God: “Yes, I know Caroline. I was the one who shouted HIGH FIVE! when you two made out at her mom’s place, remember?”
You: “Yeah thanks again for that, that went down real well”
God: “Look, I have good news for you. You and Caroline fall in love, have three beautiful children, and live happily ever after”
You: “Wow, really?”
God: “Yes”
You: “You’re not fucking with me?“
God: “Nope”
You: “Because this sounds like another one of your sarcastic set-ups where you go NO, SHE DUMPS YOU!”
God: “It’s not, trust me.”
You: “Great, well then I’ll call her now”
God: “But…”
You: “I knew it. What?”
God: “She dies of cancer on October 6, 2041.”
You: “Why would you tell me that? And why would you tell me the specific date? You’re such a…”
God: “Don’t say it”
You: “Okay, but can’t you see that was a dick move?”
God: “Yeah well, she suffers for years, you eat up your savings, and she dies. Painfully.”
You: “Awesome, thanks.”
God: “Wait, that’s not it”
You: “Oh goodie”
God: “You live another 13 lonely years after she dies and then you die of pneumonia.”
You: “Is that it?”
God: “Yes. That’s the worst of it anyway”
You: “Oookay, so I won’t be calling Caroline after all”
God: “Well, she’s still your best bet.”
You: “What about that girl there? She’s cute”
God: “Herpes”
You: “You are no fun”

4. Forget about watching sports with your favorite sports commentators
John McEnroe: “That was a great crosscourt forehand, Tony, I think Djokovic is looking really…”
God: “Excuse me, excuse me, John and Tony, sorry to butt in again, but don’t you think he should’ve gone down the line on that and wrong footed Murray? I seem to think so.”
John McEnroe: “Yeah well, he could’ve I guess but…”
God: “Yes he could’ve, he definitely could’ve.”
John McEnroe: “But with all due respect, he still won the point pretty convincingly”
God: “Ummm… who’s God? You? Are you God, John?”
John McEnroe: “No, of course not. I‘m just saying…I think my opinion as a former world number one counts”
God: “Oh by all means! By all means, John, I’m not taking that away from you, I’ll give you that. It’s just that you were world number one in tennis, John, whereas I’m world number one in EVERYTHING. I’m world number one in the WORLD. I’m world number one in the UNIVERSE. Do you catch my drift?”
John McEnroe: “!#*%$#$”
God: “Sounds like somebody still has anger issues”

5. You couldn’t watch a movie without God spoiling it for you all the time.
God: “What did you pick? Oh that’s a good one, definitely watch that one, it has an amazing twist at the end”
You: “Okay I‘m going to. Look, God, I appreciate the help picking out a movie, but just don’t talk through the whole thing this time, okay? And stop saying what‘s about to happen”
God: “Um, well, technically I’m a commentating God, so I can’t make any big promises… oh, shhhhh, look, you’re going to want to see the beginning of this”
You: “Alright, see, you’ve already started”
God: “Just pause it first, pause it or you’ll miss it. Look, did you see that? Did you see what he just did? That‘s going to be important later”
You: “No, I didn’t see it, because I was busy telling you not to interrupt. Do you see my point?”
God: “Okay, you know what, just fast forward to 36:40, there’s an amazing car chase”
You: “First of all, you don't ‘fast forward’ anymore, we’re not watching a Betamax video. You skip…”
God: “Okay smarty pants, that’s what I meant, skip to 36:40... Man, you’re pretty lippy for someone talking to the supreme creator of the universe, you know that?”
You: “Yeah well you’ve ruined films for me. And you don’t have to bring out the ‘I’m God’ card every time we have an argument. We get it, you’re God”
God: “Well sometimes I feel like I have to remind peoOH THIS A GREAT SCENE, YOU TOTALLY SEE SCARLETT JOHANSSON’S TITS!”
You: “Can’t you do that any time you want anyway?”
God: “Well, yes, I suppose I can. But it’s different when it comes up in a movie, I don‘t know why… oh great you missed it, mister lippy. There was nipple and everything. Just rewind…wait, I mean skip backward”
You: “AAAAGH!”

6. He’d be the worst backseat driver ever
God: “I told you to take that left on Edmunson, now you’re going southwest toward the I-50, and that’s going to take you to..”
You: “PLEASE! I’m driving here, my wife has the map, we’re doing the best we can”
Wife: “He’s right though, I don’t know why you don’t listen to him”
God: “Thank you Linda. See? She’s smart”
You: “Oh now you too, Linda? You’re ganging up on me? It’s like I have two wives in the car, great”
Wife: “I just don’t know why you’re too proud to ask for directions, especially when God is giving them”
God: “I know, right? I was just about to say that. Typical men”
Wife: “Don’t get all cocky, you're the one who made them like that”
God: “Um, yeah I guess I did”
You: “Yeah, so it’s not my fault, it’s yours”
God: “Oh great, now you’re both ganging up on me? I’m…”
Man and Wife together: “you’re God, yes we know
God: “Pfff, that’s not what I was going to say”
Man: “Oh really? What were you going to say?”
God: “….”
Man: “That’s what I thought”
God: “Oh bite me, seriously, you have a deity to help you out and you prefer to... LOOK OUT, POTHOLE! Why are you going so fast? Wait, do you have enough gas?”
Man: “I don‘t actually, would you mind doing a little God magic and putting some in the tank, I promise next time I‘ll…”
God: “Let me guess, you’ll promise to listen to me next time I tell you to pull into a gas station because it‘s the last one for the next hundred miles? Yes well, too late for that. Besides, I’m a commentating God, not a gas station attendant God”
Man: “You are so annoying”
God: “You are”

7. Sir David Attenborough wouldn’t be able to get a word in edgewise
Attenborough: “Here, in the Patagonian plains, one bird has prospered above all: the Yellow-Tailed Austral Thrush, which is…”
God: “A-DOR-A-BLE! Am I right?”
Attenborough: “Ahem. As I was saying, the Yellow-Tailed Austral Thrush…”
God [in a sarcastic Attenborough tone]: “the Yellow-Tailed Austral Thrush nyah nyah nyah, look at me I‘m Sir David Attenborough, I know everything about animals myeh myeh myeh I think I‘m God
Attenborough: “Okay cut. We’ll just wait until…”
God: “Until what? God leaves? Where am I going to go? There? Oh wait I’m already there! I’m everywhere”
Attenborough: “…..”
God: “I am omnipresent, beeyatch. Sorry, okay, go on, I was just kidding around. Seriously, go ahead, I’m not going to interrupt you Sir David. Proceed.”
Attenborough: “Okay, thank you. As I was saying, the Yellow Tailed Austral Thrush has prospered above all others in the…”
God: “AND HIS GREATEST PREDATOR IS MAN!”
Attenborough: “…….”
God: “………”
Attenborough: “……..”
God: “That’s what you were going to say right?”
Attenborough: “Well…”
God: “You were, weren’t you? You always say that.”
Attenborough: “Yes well, eventually I suppose I was.”
God: “Yup.”

8. Evolutionists would have much tougher debates
Richard Dawkins: “The fossil and DNA evidence suggests that genetic mutation through natural selection has been the driving biological factor behind the evolution of species in their constant need to adapt to various ecosyst…”
God: “ZAP!”
Dawkins: “Excuse me?”
God: “I said ZAP!”
Dawkins: “I don’t… I don’t understand”
God: “That’s how I did it. I went ZAP!”
Dawkins: “What do you mean you went zap?”
God: “I mean none of that fossil DNA natural selection mutation bullshit is real, it’s all just made up”
Dawkins: “So then how do you explain the origin of species?”
God: “I just told you. I went ZAP, and there it was, a giraffe.”
Dawkins: “A giraffe?”
God: “Or whatever. A hippo, a leopard, a dung beetle, your mom. ZAP!”
Dawkins: “You actually say ‘zap’ when you do that?”
God: “Well, not necessarily. Sometimes I do. Or sometimes I just go BLAM!”
Dawkins: “Mmhm. I see.”
God: “Or KABLOOIEE!! I did that with dragons”
Dawkins: “So there were dragons?”
God: “Don’t be silly, I was just messing with you. But yes, sometimes I say kablooie… or SHAZZAMAZOOO! Then I do this really cool thing where I furrow my brows and shoot lightning out of my fingertips as my voice thunders across the sky going LADYBUGS!!!”
Dawkins: “I can’t continue this infantile debate”
God: “You’re infantile, with all your scientific gobbledygook”
Dawkins: “Look, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of…”
God: “ME going ZAP! That‘s what the evidence is in favor of”
Dawkins: “That’s it, I’m done, this debate is over”
God: “Okay, wait, let’s talk about your book then, The Selfish Gene”
Dawkins: “Really? You're not just being sarcastic?”
God: “No sir, I would seriously like to talk about it.”
Dawkins: “I feel like I'm going to regret this, but okay then, go ahead”
God: “I think it seems a pretty big generalization to say Genes are selfish”
Dawkins: “Yes well, let me explain...”
God: “I mean, is Gene Hackman selfish?”
Dawkins: “Ugh, I should've seen that coming”
God: “Or what about Gene Wilder, was he selfish?”
Dawkins: “Okay I’m out of here”
God: “Wait, Richard, one last thing… your friend Christopher Hitchens says hi!”
Dawkins: “What?”
God: “Yeah, says he was wrong about the whole atheism thing.”
Dawkins: “You don't say”
God: “Says Hell is pretty shitty”
Dawkins: “Okay that’s enough”
God: “Says he wished he’d prayed to me more often”
Dawkins: “Oh fuck you”
God: “Ha! You wish!”

9. Religious people would get sick of God commentating during their sermons and lose faith in their religion
Priest: “Our Father which art in heaven
God: “That’s me”
Priest: “Hallowed be thy name
God: “Damn right”
Priest: “Thy kingdom come
God: “Sure will”
Priest: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven
God: “Zap! Kablooie! Abracadabra!”
Priest: “Give us this day our daily bread
God: “You got it”
Priest: “And forgive us our trespasses
God: “Well, we’ll see about that, I mean what if you’re a serial killer?”
Priest: “As we forgive those who trespass against us
God: “Except maybe serial killers... or pedophiles, what about them?”
Priest: “And…uh… lead us not into temptation
God: “Sorry, am I distracting you?”
Priest: “It’s fine… where was I? Oh yes… but deliver us from evil
God: “Amen!”
Priest: “Not yet… For thine is the kingdom
God: “Mine, thine, ourth, theirth”
Priest: “[Sigh]… and the power, and the glory
God: “Fuck yes”
Priest: “Forever and ever
God: “I’d like one more ‘ever’ added to that line”
Priest: “Amen
God: “Okay there it is… Amen!”
Priest: “Would you PLEASE just shut up!?”
God: “Whoa… are you talking to me?”
Priest: “Yes! You don’t need to comment on everything, just be quiet and let us worship you in peace, just once, how about that?”
God: “Just take it easy, you’re having a priest tantrum”
Priest: “Guess why? Guess why I’m having a priest tantrum? Because you won‘t stop talking and commenting on every little fucking thing”
God: “Watch your language, you’re in a house me”
Priest: “I don’t care anymore, you are UNBEARABLE. Look at these poor worshipers! They’re stunned and frightened. This should be a place of solace and peace. There is HORROR on their faces”
God: “Well maybe if you didn’t flip out in front of everyone”
Priest: “Maybe I wouldn’t flip out if you didn’t talk all through my sermon, which, by the way, we’re all doing for YOU, and you just fucking talk right through it”
God: “Okay okay, geez, just tell me to hush down next time”
Priest: “But that’s just it, I DO, I do tell you to hush down every time, every fucking time”
God: “Oh great, people are leaving. People are leaving the church. That’s just what I need, more people leaving the church”
Priest: “It’s your fault, you’re SO annoying”
God: “Well then why are you dedicating your life to me? Why don't you dedicate yourself to lawn bowling or something instead?”
Priest: “I should've. I can't believe I gave up sex for you”
God: “Oh right, I guess fondling little choir boys doesn't count as sex”
Priest: “Hey, that's uncalled for”
God: “Fuck you”
Priest: “Fuck you”

10. Sex would be really awkward
God: “Yeaaaah… mmhmm… like that, oooh yeah… nice”
You two: “HEY!”

Finding love at a personal branding consultants' convention


Two professional personal branding consultants attending a personal branding consultants' convention fall in love at the cocktail reception.

"Hi! Name's Chad... says right here on the old name tag!"

"Hi Chad, great to meet you, I'm Sally! Wow, terrific handshake you have there, firm yet warm, I get the feeling you're a confident, trustworthy kind of individual. How's the evening treated you so far?"

"Fantastic! What did you think of that 'Putting the You in You-niverse' seminar? Wasn't it mind-blowing? There's so much positive energy in this room, I really feel pumped to be able to harmonize with all this constructive synergy!"

"I know, I can tell from your big white gleaming toothy smile that you too are having a great time!"

"So I take it then that you are too?"

"Oh absolutely! But I guess you could already tell from these big gleaming teeth I get whitened regularly!"

"Of course I could, and it's so important too, because, as you yourself know all too well, a confident bright smile projects the confidence you have within you and inspires confidence and trust in the person opposite you as well. In this case, the You is Me!"

"I could not agree more, Chad. It is you. Notice how I maintain eye contact to increase a sense of sincere conviviality between us while also making you feel desired and interesting? This increases your sense of trust in me which will be great when I try to sell you something or convince you to do business with me."

"Congratulations, great eye contact, I certainly do feel special already, and we're only a few seconds into the conversation! I would be very open to anything you say right about now. Well done! I also make sure to maintain eye contact, and also proceed to ask questions about you so as to make you feel important, desired and interesting as well, which means you'll warm up to me and like me quicker, so I too can pedal my own inevitable money-making agenda. Here's one of those questions I've already lined up beforehand: Where do you workout? You have a fantastic physique!"

"Oh I like how you both asked a question to show that you show interest in me, Chad, and also added a cleverly disguised compliment in there designed to flatter me! I do indeed workout Chad, five times a week, in fact... mostly Crossfit, but also Tae-Bo and Pilates... Your avid head nodding and unflinching smile make me feel like I'm the center of interest and that you're genuinely enthralled by my answer, thereby encouraging me to continue on the same topic."

"Please tell me more about your Crossfit training, and also your Paleo diet... Excuse me for presuming you're on the Paleo diet, but..."

"I am! I am on the Paleo diet, good guess, although I suppose everyone at this convention is also on the same diet, considering we were all on the same Atkin's Diet at the 2002 convention. But I did not find it too presumptuous of you to mention it Chad, because I'm keeping things positive! An outward appearance of positivity is crucial because I find that how you look on the outside inspires a positive reaction in the people around you while also projecting confidence and power, thus making you a desirable person other people will want to get to know, thereby transforming you into a brand that people will want to consume and will simply not get enough of! Don't you agree Chad?"

"Absolutely, Sally. Say, have you read that book 'How to Influence People and...'?"

"'WIN FRIENDS! YES, oh my God, I love that book! I feel like those 12 step goals have made people genuinely interested in me, increasing my influence over them and..."

"...winning you friends, wow, I can't believe I knew you were going to say that... High five! Isn't life great Sally?"

"Oh it most certainly is great Chad! Cheers to life, and also cheers to standing out from the crowd in life! It feels really special to be part of this whole crowd of people here at this convention where every single person stands out from the crowd!"

"It sure does. Achieving your personal goals on a daily basis and seeing yourself transform into a person who projects confidence and charisma at ever increasing gradations through a pre-scheduled and intricately planned span of time is certainly what makes me happy to be alive, Sally!"

"I think I can second that, Chad!"

"Don't second it, FIRST it!"

"Ha ha, terrific!"

"By the way, Sally, aren't you impressed with how often we repeat our names to each other? Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."

"I know! That's from 'Six Ways to Make People Like You', isn't it? I love that quote!"

"Yes it is! I totally agree with it too, because it's very important to maintain the appearance of being absolutely engaged wholeheartedly in the conversation you're in, thereby gaining that person's confidence, attention and attraction, all of which translates to making YOU a more attractive person as well, and, dare I say it, a more desirable brand that others would love to consume!"

"Yes! Although I'm pretty sure I said exactly the same thing a few minutes ago, didn't I?"

"Did you? Of course you did! I am listening very carefully to everything you say so as to gain your trust. But I guess we've been reading all the same books so sometimes we say the same things and maybe repeat ourselves and even repeat what the other person also says without knowing, even though we're listening very carefully to each other and also looking like we're listening very carefully to each other!"

"Yes, doing all that is very important while constantly repeating each other's name through the conversation. I guess that's what makes you an attractive person!"

"Me?"

"Yes, well... you and me, actually, both of us... I mean, you use my name and, you know, make me feel special, and I use..."

"Okay okay, yes, I got it now, you weren't talking about me in particular, it was just a general you..."

"Well yeah, but no, it was kinda both... in this particular instance 'You' is you, even though it's actually kind of a general impersonal You that I meant, depending on who I'm talking to, kind of a faceless nameless conceptual You... anyway... "

"Yes, okay I understand Chad, but back to our conversation... While we obviously always project our best selves to others and thereby increase our personal brand awareness and prestige in the eyes of others, I think we could also help each other out by maybe pointing out a few areas where we could improve?"

"Oh of course, we could always improve, nobody's perfect, improvement is an ongoing process, life is about..."

"Yes yes, I know the spiel Chad, no need to repeat it to me here, you were about to quote '20 Ways To Project A Rock Star Personality'... Sorry if I sounded a little impatient there, but remember how we said we've read all the same things? So yeah, you don't need to repeat all that golden advice to each other..."

"Okay sorry"

"No no no, never say you're sorry, that just projects a sense of doubt and lack of confidence about yourself. That's a big no no Chad, especially at a personal branding consultants' convention! People can see right through that here!"

"Oh yes, I forgot for a moment, I had my guard down... well maybe that was a positive reinforcement on your part, because you just helped me by pointing out one of the problems... err, I mean challenges I face in terms of me becoming the best personal brand of me that I can be?"

"Oh absolutely, although the questioning inflection at the end of that sentence also projected a sense of self doubt and insecurity, just another little thing I thought I'd point out, but then that's why we're all here, to help each other become better personal branding consultants, right?"

"Right, but now you're doing the same thing, there was a questioning tone at the end of your sentence too..."

"Yes yes, I know I know, I got that, I was just, you know, making a point, otherwise I would've ended that with a more confident, in-charge-of-conversation kind of tone... but I feel like I'm correcting you too much..."

"Yeah you do come across as a liiiiiittle... what's a positive way to put this? Um.. patronizing?"

"PATRONIZING?! That's the positive way of putting it?! Do you even know what positive means?"

"Whoa whoa, now you're sounding very negative, Sally... and dare I say it, sarcastic as well... sarcasm is for losers, remember?"

"I'm surprised you could even tell considering you don't seem to even know what the word 'positive' means... okay, sorry, that was uncalled for, I lost my temper there for a second, I know I'm a better person than that... I need to project a sense of self-confidence to inspire a sense of brand reliability and trust, and that just sounded cruel, bitter, and weak... I apologize, because apologizing need not be a sign of weakness if we have learnt to confront the weakness that underlies it and have dedicated ourselves to eradicating it and all such negativities from our personalities."

"Okay, apology accepted Sally."

"Alright, good... although... you accepting my apology sounded a little patronizing too though, you know, just saying..."

"Oh, sorry..."

"Don't apologize, remember, never... ugh, I feel like we're going in circles."

"Yeah, sometimes it's hard being a personal branding consultant and a human being at the same time."

"Not hard, perhaps... just a challenge."

"Yeah yeah, that's what I meant... I need another drink"

"You sounded like you said something heartfelt and sincere there Chad when you mentioned being 'a human being'. Good tactic!"

"Oh... thanks, I guess."

"Okay anyway, now perhaps you can do the same for me, Chad? What is something you think I can improve about myself as a personal branding consultant?"

"Well, okay... your smile is great, fantastic... but it's a bit too intense..."

"Oh, too intense is it?"

"Yeah like, right now, you're kind of freaking me out... But not in a negative way, just, you know, it's a bit challenging."

"Oh no no, I think we've both learned to erase that word from our vocabularies"

"What, challenging?"

"No no, the N-word, we do not use the N-word"

"What? Geez! I never used the N-word, I'm not a racist, I'm just very very white..."

"No no, not that N-word, I mean NEGATIVE, we don't use the word 'negative'.."

"Oh right, yes yes, sorry, I got confused there for a second"

"You said 'sorry' again"

"Okay, that was a mistake... I mean, that was a challenge, it was a challenge that I can overcome, not a mistake..."

"That's right, 'mistake' sounds like something you don't want associated with your personal brand"

"Yeah, anyway, I was just saying, Sally, that your smile can be a bit intense... there it is again... your eyes are a little too wide, I shouldn't be able to see the whites all around... and it kind of looks like your nostrils are flaring... I don't mean to sound, you know, N-ish, but your eye contact is now kind of like a threatening stare"

"OH IS IT? MM HMM? YOU FEEL I LOOK THREATENING, CHAD? DO YOU FEEL THREATENED BY ME NOW? MAYBE IT'S YOUR OWN INSECURITIES THAT CREATE THAT SENSE OF THREAT?"

"Oh no no no, I mean one may feel threatened if one were so inclined, but I don't feel threatened personally, I'm self confident enough to not feel threatened in any situation, being threatened, as you know, projects a sense of meekness in the face of adversity, and that's a very unattractive quality for us to have, it's not something you want associated with your own personal brand, it makes you less attractive to others"

"Yes, yes it is, very bad... but bad is such an N-ish word too, let's say it's... improvable"

"What, like, can't be proved? I'm confused"

"No Chad, it can be improved, is what I meant, again you're just thinking negatively"

"Oooo you used that word!"

"Yep, my slip there, you caught me out on that one Brad"

"Chad"

"Yes yes, Chad..."

... awkward silence... both gulp their white wine... looking around room... cold sweat...

"Look, Sally, I have to admit, I'm kinda new to this personal branding consultancy thing..."

"It's okay, it's okay, it takes time to build our own personal brands as personal brand consultants, I mean, I was a... a..."

"Life coach, right? You were about to say life coach? Yeah me too... we all were weren't we, I mean it's like a gateway job into this personal branding stuff..."

"Yeah... it's not something any of us are too proud of, is it... I mean, let's face it, life coaching is just something that people who don't know what to do with themselves do for people who don't know what to do with their money, right? This is off the record... I'm not talking as a personal branding consultant now, I just want to be a normal person for a change... I just want to talk honestly and not worry about how I'm affecting my personal brand with every goddamn thing I say. I just want to not be a brand or a product for a bit. I want to be a shitty, messed up, fucked up, confused human being..."

"Yeah, no kidding..."

"...And I want another drink... and I want to smoke a fucking cigarette... Wanna get another drink?"

"Yes, hell yes... I feel exhausted, and I hate wearing these clothes. I'm wearing an argyle cardigan for christ's sake. Who does that?"

"Psychopaths."

"Exactly. Everything I wear is ironed, everything's clean, everything's crisp... I feel like I'm constantly living out a lunatic's OCD nightmare"

"Yeah, that's exactly it. Constantly trying to project confidence, reliability, power, perfection... it's insane... It's inhuman. Do you know how many nervous breakdowns I've had since my divorce, Brad, or Chad or whatever the fuck your name is? Three... that's three nervous breakdowns in two years. And I'm not even counting the panic attacks."

"You think that's bad? I chew on a leather belt when I'm alone. My real name isn't Chad, it's Reginald. I owned a sporting goods store that went bankrupt two years ago. Also, I'm addicted to porn."

"Really? Fuck it. I've got so many prescription drugs running through my system right now my urine smells like a retirement home."

"I think those guys behind you can hear us..."

"Who cares, they're all deranged. YEAH, YOU HEARD ME! Now take off your name tag and let's get out of here, find a bar, and then go fuck in a motel, Reginald."

"Call me Reg. And you know what? I actually like you. It's the first thing I've said all night that I haven't read in some shitty self-help book. It's also the first thing I've said in two years that I actually mean. I. Like. You."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

They tongue. Right there. At the cocktail.