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The Laughing Tailor's Bloc

by FSN Sunday, Oct. 20, 2002 at 5:13 PM

Civil disobedience with a twist

The Laughing Tailor's Society
By Carol Schiffler

George Bush The Lesser is not the first emperor-wannabe to come down the pike. Some call themselves czars. Some call themselves kings. Today, some call themselves CEOs. Ironically, still others seem to prefer the title “President,” (or “El Presidente” depending on their relative proximity to a CIA black op), as if they were actually elected.

Now aside from a decided pre-disposition toward self-aggrandizement, these aspiring petty tyrants share a few other striking characteristics. It is easy to come up with the more chilling traits. Brutality, greed, and murderous self-righteousness come readily to mind. But often overlooked in this hurtling freight train of adjectives are the very weaknesses that motivate the global bullies in the first place. The most notable of these weaknesses is an ego the size of Toledo. And what lurks beneath that ego? A very little man, curled up in a fetal position, sucking his thumb and hoping no one notices that, in reality, he is just, well – a very little man.

This kind of self-delusion takes a lot of effort to maintain. The ego must be ministered to in perpetuity. Usually, the requisite fawning is provided by the best friends that money can buy. But lets stop referring to the aspiring emperor’s “ego.” An ego implies that our petty tyrant just has a perception problem, one that might be overcome by appealing to reason or public outrage. While these strategies are not without merit, in some ways they simply feed the same sense of self-importance that created the monster in the first place. “Look at me! They must come to me and convince me!” or, “I am powerful because I have angered those I despise.” And while outrage is the logical reaction to a coup, it precludes the use of at least one very effective tool – but we’ll get to that in a minute.

For the moment, let us focus on changing our perspective. Let us not, then, refer to that ugly combination of hubris and narcissism as an ego. Instead, let’s call it an Achilles Heel, and as such, let us go forth and exploit it.

How, then, shall we exploit the Heel? Shall we exploit it with gratuitous simpering? Of course not. We do not want to assuage its throbbing need. Shall we exploit it with anger and outcry? Well, we’ve been doing that, and in the end, perhaps all we have done is impart more power to the Boy-king by allowing him to push our buttons. Shall we simply ignore it in the hopes that the message will be received and the Global Village Idiot will just go away? No. The stakes are too high to permit apathy to run its course, and besides, the self-proclaimed Leader of the Free World is surrounded by too many others who are willing to keep stroking the Achilles Heel for personal gain. It is doubtful that the Bush 43 would take much notice of our absence at the posterior-kissing booth since we were never there to begin with.

So what is the “effective tool” that can strip away the veneer of grand delusion and bring a dictator to his knees? Let us pause for a moment to contemplate public ridicule.

Most of us are familiar with the old folk tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” It is the tale of a pompous ass brought low by a humble political faction – namely, a tailor. As we know, the emperor in the story was fond of parading around the streets in all his finery, and of creating a public spectacle so that his own Achilles Heel might be stroked by the worship and envy of the masses. Our friend, the revolutionary tailor, brought the whole sham to a screeching halt one day by creating a really bitchin’ outfit for the emperor, one that consisted of, well – nothing. And so it was that the emperor found himself parading down Main Street wearing nothing but his self-deluded bliss, at least until the snickering started. I imagine that were a sequel to the story be written, the very next royal edict issued by the exposed monarch would have been met with the medieval equivalent of, “Bugger off, you old fool.”

The story of the Emperor’s New Clothes is as relevant today as it was several hundred years ago, and the tactic used by the subversive tailor to give the recalcitrant Royal Pain-in-the-Rear a reality check can easily be adapted to subduing our very own home-grown preening emperor, George W. Bush.

All you have to do is laugh. The key is doing it at the appropriate place and the appropriate time.

We think that the next Bush rally is as good a time as any, and of course the tactic would be most effective if it were done by a group of intrepid souls in the audience, as opposed to a group of protestors laughing in a First Amendment Zone six blocks away where passers-by would merely presume that someone must have taken the loonies on holiday. That would be sort of counter-productive.

So what would trigger such unrestrained mirth? While it is virtually certain that Bush would utter something incredibly stupid, something along the lines of his now infamous “Fool me once” gaffe, one need not wait for him to trip over his own tongue in order to engage in a laugh-in. One need only wait for him to utter something astoundingly hollow and hypocritical – something like “strong economy” or “helping working men and women” or “protecting our seniors.” Coming from anyone else, these topics might be cause for serious discussion. Coming from Bush, they are a regular laugh riot.

And by the way, this tactic need not be limited to the Chief Buffoon. His entire administration is filled with pompous asses like Rove, Cheney, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld and Rice. And let’s not forget the propaganda wing of the White House - Bill O’ Reilly goes on speaking tours. So do local-yokels like Jeb, Trent Lott, and Tom Delay. They even let Ari Fleischer out for an occasional public-spewing engagement in order to grind the party organ. Because they are a disciplined lot and well-trained in the art of manipulating outrage for political advantage, they invariably respond to angry protestors by waxing poetic on the First Amendment. “This is a shining example of how great life is in a free country,” they gush. “God bless America.” (Of course, this is just before they have everyone carted off to jail.) But how, I wonder, would the Bushistas handle a snicker-in instead of a sit-in?

Would there be the throbbing of veins and the reddening of faces? Would there be stuttering and stammering? Would the world bear witness to the public meltdown of the Few, the Proud, and the Boundlessly Stupid? Hell if I know, but I think it’s worth a try. Think of it as civil disobedience with a twist. And it’s convenient. No need to worry about being stopped for those threatening 8 1/2 X 11 piece of paper that proclaim “Bush sucks.” No need to lug around bulky signs and inflatable grim reapers. No need to worry about dressing for hours of standing in the cold, the heat or the driving rain. All you need in order to participate in the Laughing Tailor's Society, (or the Laughing Revolutionary Tailor Bloc, if you think it that has a better ring to it), is a good hearty belly laugh.

I realize all too well that living under the thumb of an aspiring dictator is dire and dangerous, and we should not make light of mounting a serious opposition to Bush and his would-be oppressors. I realize that that we must fight, and fight hard, or we are lost. We must bring all our creativity, our anger, our will and our energy to the table in order to prevent what may well turn out to be a world that vaguely resembles the Wild West with nukes.

And I know that Bush really is no laughing matter…or is he?

After all, he is naked.

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