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George W-- The Lord of Misrule

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Message Sherman Yellen

As I watched the President jest, chortle, and wink at Elizabeth, the visiting Queen of England, remarking on her visit to this country in 1776 as opposed to 1976, I thought of the role of the court jester during holidays as he played the Lord of Misrule. In the Middle Ages during the Christmas season the jester or some designated peasant presided over The Feast of Fools – a festival which included wild partying as masters served their slaves, and the ordinary rules of life were turned topsy-turvy.

Since George W entered the White House we have been living through an endless Feast of Fools, suffering the acts of the dry drunk who has power thrust upon him. The reign of our Lord of Misrule has turned our world inside out and upside down – a world in which honor means betrayal – justice means oppression – and truth – well, truth is whatever our President says it is at any given moment, subject to revision by W and his minions. Our Lord of Misrule has called an offensive war, a way to keep the peace, he has twisted, even tortured language in order to justify torture, he has made his mantra “supporting the troops” which in his world means having them killed in a civil war they cannot win, and there is no lie too absurd that he will not attempt to pass off as truth.

And now we live with its consequences. How can we believe him, or anything that comes from his government, even when a genuine threat occurs? I felt this strongly as I watched the news unfold about the threat to Fort Dix in New Jersey.

How many of us read with skepticism of the aborted plan to shoot up soldiers at Fort Dix. It may well be true that a massacre was planned by evil pizza delivery men but my first reaction was to believe that the government was turning the fantasy of some pathetic would be jihadists into a much needed victory in its declared war on terror.

Even the notion of a war on terror has come to seem absurd under the reign of King George. We now know it is no more possible to declare war on terror than on drugs, poverty, or crime.

Practical people realize that each act of terror must be treated as a criminal act, independent of any larger event, that fighting terror is in the details, not in the rhetoric. If these men planned to shoot up Fort Dix they should be treated as criminals, not as part of some larger conspiracy, designed to scare the bejeezus out of the public.

But it is the role of our Lord of Misrule to embellish the truth until it becomes a lie, and tell lies until they appear as the truth, all in the name of ignoring the Constitution and consolidating power. That is the role that W has played during his reign of terror. In the Middle Ages the Lord of Misrule reigned until the Christmas holiday ended and then life went back to normal, whatever that normal was. Alas, we must wait until ’08 for that blessed event to take place.

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SHERMAN YELLEN, screenwriter, playwright, and lyricist was nominated for a Tony Award for his book for the musical, The Rothschilds. His screenwriting has won him two Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award, for his drama John Adams, Lawyer - in the PBS series The Adams (more...)
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