Friday, September 19, 2003

I Get My Just Deserts (from John Ashcroft)



John Ashcroft paid me a house-call today. I knew this was coming. I had been dreading it ever since the House passed the Patriot Act, which allows the government to delve into my library check-out records.

"What's this Harold Robbins Carpetbaggers trash you've been reading?" the Attorney-General snarled, waving my secret file at me. "As a Southern Christian gentleman, I find carpetbaggers odious."

"But that was 1962!"

"There is no statute of limitations on terrorism!"

"I didn't check that out to terrorize anybody. It's a stroke book!"

"I don't know what you mean. My mind's too clean," said the Attorney General.

"Well, back when I was 14, my friends and I passed around these books with sexy passages as aids to our imaginations."

"Pornographers! That's just as bad as terrorism! Pornography is a form of terrorism! And so is self abuse."

"Right, like you never abused yourself."

"I never did. The nude statues in front of my office were getting me kinda horny during press conferences, so I had their tata's covered. I'm a Godfearing Christian gentleman. As soon as I sense temptation in my path, I sweep it aside!"

"Wow. No wonder Bush appointed you Attorney General."

"And what about this Lady Chatterly's Lover? I understand it was written by a foreigner who dodged the draft during WWI."

"That's another stroke book. I last checked it out in 1965. But it has literary merit, which Harold Robbins's stuff does not. It IS true D. H. Lawrence was an Englishman. The English helped us invade Iraq, you know."

"If I find one more 'stroke book' on your library list, I'm going to recommend that you be made a registered sex offender. …Wait. What's this? Tropic of Cancer! That was banned decades ago!"

"Gimme a break. It's been unbanned for 40 years."

"It's dirtyminded."

"How would you know….. unless you’ve read it?"

"I have my sources. Henry Miller is a subversive."

"Maybe. But so are you. Aren't you the guy that wrote the article praising Jefferson Davis for a Confederate fanzine?"

"There was nothing sexy about that article! Jefferson Davis is an authentic American hero."

"So you wrote. But Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, was arguably America's greatest traitor and subversive and terrorist. He led a bloody rebellion which killed one million Americans and sought to destroy the union and overturn the Constitution."

"That was no bloodbath, that was a perfectly honorable war---the most glorious war that has ever been fought. And it was back in the 1860's. We're talking about now."

"I thought you said there is no statute of limitations on terrorism."

"The War Between the States was not ABOUT terrorism. It was about redblooded Americans standing proud for states rights!"

"Rights like slavery?"

"That was one of them. But we're not talking about ME here. We're talking about YOU. What's this Electric Kool-Ade Acid Test?"

"Oh Christ. I checked that out of the Boston Public Library in the summer of 1969. You've got some good investigators!"

"It's a drug book, isn't it?"

"It's about Ken Kesey and his merry hallucinagenic pranksters."

"So you're a narco-terrorist!"

"Hallucinagens are not narcotics. And reading American history doesn't make me an acid head or a terrorist anymore than writing a slavishly worshipful magazine piece about the greatest American traitor or eviscerating the Bill of Rights makes you a traitor."

"I'll bet my bottom dollar you're a druggie. I have half a mind to bust you like I did Tommy Chong. …What's this?! Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception!"

"Wow. I think I checked that out of the Sarah Lawrence College Library in 1971. I remember thinking it was a wonder nobody had stolen it off the shelves. But they were probably too busy DOING drugs to read about them."

"You MUST be a druggie. Jim Morrison borrowed the title for his drugged up band."

"How do you know about The Doors? I thought you were innocent of all polluting cultural influences."

"I am the Attorney General of the United States. I am by definition innocent. And just about everybody else, with the possible exceptions of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, but not his two slutty, dipso, daughters, and definitely not that druggie Florida niece of his, is guilty."

"But you read books by foreigners, too."

"I do not!"

"The Bible was written by foreigners."

"The Bible was written by rightwing Israelis. They're more All-American than Americans."

"Point taken. But the Bible is sexy! Have you read the Psalms?"

"Hush yo' mouf! I've heard just about enough out of you! I have half a mind to declare you a terrorist and send you off to a cage in Guantanamo Bay! They can just batten down the hatch, throw away the key, and forget about you down there, you know."

"But I have rights! I'm an American citizen!"

"Anybody who says the Bible is a stroke book is UNAmerican and forfeits all his rights as citizen!" The Attorney-General snapped his fingers and summoned three or four brawny FBI Men to handcuff me and drag me off to a paddy wagon.

As I was being stuffed into the already crowded wagon, I shouted: "So what DID you do in Sunday school when you got to the sexy Psalms, John?"

The Attorney-General's face turned bright red. He mimed ripping some pages out of a book. "I'm a Godfearing Christian gentleman! I sweep aside all temptation in my path!" Then, realizing he had given himself away, he roared like a wounded lion: "There is NOTHING tempting about God's Book!"

"I'm thinking YOU better register as a sex offender yourself, Mr Clean," I taunted, but it was all for naught. My keepers clanged the door of the paddy wagon shut and I was carried off, in darkness, to oblivion.


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