Friday, September 17, 2010

The Overton Window: Chapter Five

Texting! With Liss and Deeky!:

Deeky: IMFG. Chapter five is the worst one yet.

Liss: LOL! I can't wait.

Deeky: It is unbelievably bad.

Liss: That's such a surprise!

Deeky: It kind of is. I really thought the writing would be at least professional.

I know I complained, sort of, that nothing happened in chapter four. But somehow, even less happens in chapter five. What the fuck? Is this story going anywhere? In the last chapter there were phone calls and the burning of paper. Chapter five is just Noah wandering the halls of Doyle & Merchant.

Really, this is an excuse for another of Beck('s ghostwriter) to list off all the things he hates. In the guise of Darthur's brilliant PR accomplishments.

This particular corridor was the company's walk-through résumé, a gallery of framed and mounted achievements, past to present. Press clippings, puff pieces, planted news items and advertorials, slick, crafted cover stories dating back to the 1950s, digitized video highlights running silently in their flat-screen displays. It was a hall of fame unparalleled in the industry and the envy of all competitors.

So, what were these PR miracles? "Manufactured boy bands and teen pop music stars." Oh, how iconoclasty. Wevs. "Must-have Christmas toys (murders had been committed for a spot in line to buy some of these)." I'm rolling my eyes here. You can't see it, but I am. Of course, all conservatives hate Che Guevara T-shirts. I guess because he was a commie. "On a dare, Noah's father had once boasted that he could transform some of the century's most brutal killers into fashion statements." Okay. "And he'd done it; here were pictures of clueless college students, rock stars, and Hollywood icons proudly wearing T-shirts featuring the romanticized images of Chairman Mao and Che Guevara." Also note, the disdain for "college students, rock stars, and Hollywood icons." I'm guessing Beck loves country musicians. (Not the Dixie Chicks, of course.)

Other things Darthur invented, or at least created the PR for: Tobacco, pharmaceuticals, the lottery. As a youngster, Noah, it turns out, came up with the phrase you can't win if you don't play, "during a rare family chat at the Gardner dinner table." Apparently workaholics are to be despised too. And lottery players have been duped by a child:

No other product could demonstrate the essence of their work as perfectly as the lottery. The ads and jingles might remind all the suckers to play, but it was the PR hocus-pocus that kept them believing in the impossible, year after year. ... Take their money and give them nothing but a scrap of paper and disappointment in return, and then— and this is the key— make them line up every week to do it again.

Well, you know, there is one other product that fits this description. They're called Glenn Beck books. Okay, sorry, that was too easy. But lottery players aren't the biggest suckers of all. No. It's the "do-gooders." Those foolish dreamers who believe they can make the world a better place. People like Che Guevara. Or Peace Corps volunteers:

Noah had a friend in college, not a close friend, but a self-described bleeding-heart lefty tree-hugging do-gooder friend who'd gone to work for an African aid organization after graduation. She'd kept in touch only casually, but her last sad letter had been one for the scrapbook. It turned out that after all the fund-raising and banquets and concerts and phone banks, all the food and clothing and medical supplies they'd shipped over had been instantly hijacked and sold on the black market, either by the corrupt provisional government, the corrupt rebel militias, or both. Most of the proceeds bought a Viking V58 cruiser for the yacht-deprived son of a parliament member. The rest of the money went for weapons and ammunition. That arsenal, in turn, fueled a series of sectarian genocidal massacres targeting the very starving men, women, and children whom the aid was meant for.

Saps! Fuck Africa. Helping them is just helping warlords, facilitating genocide, and buying yachts for black people. Screw that noise! This is why Libertarians don't help anyone. It's a waste. If Africa wants to improve its situation, it needs to grab its bootstraps, pull itself up, and get its shit together. Durr. Umm, okay, sorry, where was I? Oh yeah.

Darthur has also been the PR machine behind every president since JFK, excepting the "too high-and-mighty" Jimmy Carter and the "too cheap" Richard Nixon. Both those clowns were run out of office, weren't they? Darthur even had a hand in fixing Clinton's impeachment. Man, this PR firm does everything. And when they're not fixing elections, they're drumming up support for war.

Noah was nearly to the end of the hall when a small, unassuming case study caught his attention. There was no title or description on this one, just a silent running video, the testimony before Congress of a volunteer nurse named Nayirah al-Sabah. She was the fifteen-year-old Kuwaiti girl whose tearful story of infants being thrown from their incubators by Iraqi soldiers became a podium-pounding rallying cry in the final run-up to the 1991 Gulf War.

Undeniably moving, highly effective, and entirely fictional.

The client for this one had been a thinly veiled pro-invasion front group called Citizens for a Free Kuwait. The girl wasn't a nurse at all; she was the photogenic daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. The testimony had been written, produced, and directed by Arthur Isaiah Gardner, the distinguished gentleman sitting just behind her in the video.

Evil! Darthur is pure evil. Because all PR people do is lie. Which totally not what Glenn Beck and his ilk do. No, not at all. Anyway, I guess this New World Order thing is going to be a walk in the park. I mean, if he can fix the Clinton blowjob thing, and get Iraq invaded, he can certainly establish a new "political and economic and social structure." I wonder, is this is what's meant by "the banality of evil"? (The writing here. Not the starting of wars.)

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