From the author:
There has been for some time recently a discussion about the role of satire on the opednews. I would like to contribute by first saying that there does not seem to be any satire in the US. It is because humor in the US is like a eunich- it is totally castrated, it has no bite. And satire, a real one must have a bite. It has to hurt where it hurts. It has to be insulting, bad, rough, caustic, tough. It has to be remembered.
In the Y2005 I tried to write a satirical piece of that kind. I imagined Mark Twain traveling through time and visiting GW. It is my humble opinion that it was a true satire. Thus I decided to publish it again as an example if I may to prove my point.
Mark Twain 2005. How I talked to the Pretz
(from the files of Artemus Gordon)
The Indiana Manuscript
Today, on the August 17, Year 1907 AD, I, Samuel Clemens, alias Artemus Gordon document a strange event, namely my visit to the US Empire in the Year 2005. I suspect that it happened courtesy of my friend and confidant Mr. HG Wells and his time machine, although he does not support my theory. Below is the description of the interview granted to me by King George W, the II of the Empire of the Neo- America in his hunting castle in Crawford, Texas.
…I managed to spend several days in the Empire before I got an invitation to visit the Castle. It happened after the hotel Waldorf where I stayed turned me in to the Homeland Security. Apparently nobody in the Empire pays the hotel charge directly in gold in the 21st Century. .Instead they used for some strange piece of bristle material called a credit card which meant that all the people in the Empire were in debt. I already knew that King George, the Commander – In – Chief and the Holy Pretzel had introduced an ‘ownership’ society in which everyone owes something to the one owner- him.
They dragged me out of my bed in Waldorf and interrogated for a while about my gold coins and my Colt revolver. When they heard about the time machine they asked me if I had recently watched the War of Worlds. I replied that my friend HG recently told me about his new idea. They started to call me ‘nuts’ and then asked if I knew someone named Osama. I answered that during my trip to Europe with the first American Innocents I met a lot of Osamas, also Imams and Fergusons. Then they left me alone for a while and that’s when I got an invitation.
Turned out the King was bored and irritated because some woman named Cindy Sheehan besieged him in his own Castle. His vacation was ruined and he was depressed.
He could not kill that woman because apparently in the Empire it was a taboo and extreme bad luck to kill a mother and the King was very superstitious. Apparently someone wanted to amuse him and told him about me. He wanted to have some fun.
They told me that I should behave myself and returned my suite. Two burly men ‘frisked’ me and let me into the big room where three men sat in the comfortable armchairs with drinks in their hands. One of them was as ugly as a chimp, another had disproportionably big head which reminded me of the freaks of nature I saw in London. The third one was very fat and his eyes were never still. Quite a group they were.
The chimp chap took a gulp and addressed me,
- Hey, you, nutcase. Who are you?
- My name is Artemus Gordon. Do I have an honor of addressing the King?
-Call me Pretz. We have only one King and Elvis is dead. Hoo- ho?- he looked at two others suspiciously.
- Ho- ho –ho, laughed they both for a while. I sat down. The laughter stops.
- So, my poor man, are ya scared?
- I am not scared, I am excited. I am a journalist and I want to use an opportunity and interview you if you don’t mind.
At that moment the fat chap whispered something into the King’s ear. The King looked at me again.
-Oh, OK ( I already knew what that meant). I guess, no harm will be done if we have some fun. Hey, nutcase, shoot your questions. By the way, that’s my Vice Roy Dick Shitty (he pointed to the bighead) and that’s my private confidant Karl Screwe (the fat one). Let’s consider this to be a game.
-Thank you, Pretz. May I ask what does that word mean ‘nutcase’?
- Oh, that’s how I call most of the people. See, I never understand what they want. Did you see that woman at the entrance when you passed by?
-No, but I heard…
- She is a nutcase. See, I unleashed a war. Her son was a soldier and he died in the war. I said that I was sorry for her as I usually say to all of those folks. Now she sits there and ruins my health. See hownervous I am? She wants to speak to me again. But I can’t do that! I already spoke to her once, that’s it. If I talk with every relative of the person which died because of me…
Here Karl pinched him. The King jumped up and stopped. Shitty Dick took over,
- See, Mr. Gordon we call the people who do not agree with us nutcases.
- And are there many people like that?
- Not very many and our Homeland Security works diligently to take care of them all. In fact it becomes the opposite; now as soon as they get the person that person is automatically classified as a nutcase. That makes it much easier. Thus we have three categories of the people in the Empire: the loyal citizens, the nutcases and the dead.
- The dead?
- Oh yes, they are a majority. A silent majority supporting our King.
- Ho- ho, intervened the chimp," Shoot your next question."
- Who are you at war with?
- Er, guess what, man as if you don’t know. We are at war with everyone! They all hate us.
- That is because we want them all to be happy.
- Aha, that’s how those Indians were! We wanted them to be happy, but they didn’t want to, so we killed them, right?
The chimp flinched, "Mr. Gordon, I can assure you that those Indians who survived are very happy. Karl, aren’t they happy? I just met with some recently.”
- Er, Sir, those were the Cleveland Indians.
- So, you are at war with the people of the Earth? The US against Earth?
- Yep, and we kicked their butt in Iraq.
- The Iroq? That’s where the Iroquois are?
- Nope, that’s where the Arabs are. Come to think of it, it was you, Artemus, who gave us an idea. Didn’t you write in your ‘Innocents Abroad’ about those filthy, disgusting and crooked people who lived in Middle East? We took your ideas to heart and Innocents are back with guns. All those crooks are now dead, thanks to you, man.
- Dead? How many?
- About 120000 of them so far. But it is only a start. See for yourself.
He drew the curtain away and I saw crosses, thousands of them, going to the horizon. He started to shout in a horrible piercing voice,
- Those are the heroes who died for freedom! We honor their death by killing more enemies, foreign and domestic. And I will stay on course until the job is done and whoever remains after our expedition rejoices in the same happiness the families of these fortunate men do now. Yes, rejoice, because there is no bigger happiness than to die for the Empire.
Carl Screwe laughed loudly and patted the chimp on the shoulder. Shitty Dick took a gulp of that stuff he had. The chimp smirked right into my face and said,
- So, man, now you know what happens with nutcases. Either you are with us and then you are a good citizen or you get back to HS and then you become dead. Really dead. The Quick and the Dead, ho-ho. Like these bozoos we send to fight our war. They are all dead and we are so proud of our boys and girls. So, have a drink and stop being a nutcase.
He poured me a drink and I drank it. It was unbelievably bad. I felt nauseated and lost my conscience. When I got back to my senses, my dear friend HG Wells was standing over me with a cup of strong tea.
- What happened to you, my dear Mr. Clemens?
- Oh, HG, it was horrible, horrible. Your machine, it took me to the US in the future. Oh, my beloved country, it is in Hell. A trio of madmen rule it. And they use my books to justify their ruling. Oh, HG, what have I done!
- Calm down, my friend, it was just a nightmare. You never used my machine. You fell asleep on the couch here and I came into the room when I heard you crying. It is over, my good fellow, your country is OK, democratic, proud, home of the brave, land of the free. No Kings, No Cleveland Indians, no castles.
- I looked out an saw my dear US. It was all a dream. But was it? HG is such a wizard. And if it was a dream, how did he know those names? I don’t know, I don’t know….
All world does hate us but it is a mere coincidence. So, we seem to have an answer to the mystery that haunted Mr. Clemens, RIP. It was really just a nightmare.