My role here is strictly that of a news reporter, whose job is to report the facts to the American people. As such, I make no claim as to the accuracy of the statements obtained in my interview with, or as a result of my longstanding relationship with, the subject of this story. It is merely my intent to report the news, which by definition, is devoid of all political perspective or bias. Thus, the political views expressed by the subject of this news story in no way reflect those of the author, or those of the editor of this publication. They are merely the perspective of one individual stuffed toy monkey. Nothing more, and nothing less.
The astute critics among you, upon hearing the details of this story, may doubt my ability to be impartial in this matter and may attribute that suspicion to the fact that I have had, and continue to maintain a close personal relationship with this particular stuffed monkey. My answer to these critics is simply that they should shut up, watch what they say, quit being so Anti-American, and that no one should listen to or even consider their absurd criticisms. Any criticism whatsoever, of this esteemed stuffed monkey (or of me) is the equivalent of support for terrorism, and will needlessly endanger our troops.
As I implied earlier, in reporting this story to you, I have eliminated all editorializing so that no trace of my own perspective can be found anywhere in this article. I present to you just the carefully selected facts. Only the names have been changed, along with a few other insignificant details, to protect the privacy of the individuals involved. (For example, my name is actually Paul, but in this story, I will be Joe)
My hope is that, armed with only the unadulterated truth, you will reach your own conclusions about this extraordinary monkey and his amazing insights into the complex realm of contemporary politics and world events. I do, however, firmly believe that when presented with just these facts, any person of sound mind will be bound to reach a specific set of logical conclusions. Following the example set by corporate mainstream press in America, I will stop a just a tiny bit shy of actually stating those conclusions for you. This is because it is critically important that you should believe that your conclusions were logically arrived at in consideration of the facts alone.
They say you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. But if you can place him next to the mainstream that you want him to drink from, and make him believe that the stream contains the only good water anywhere, he will believe that his only choice is to drink from that stream or die of thirst. In this way, not only can you make him drink, but you can also determine what he drinks.
I know I have spent a lot of time to this point establishing beyond any doubt my credibility as an unbiased reporter. This is because I lack the one credential that many Americans assume will assure them the news they hear is completely unbiased; association with a recognizable corporate news conglomerate, such as NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, The Whitehouse, The Pentagon, or the CIA. Nevertheless, I ask that you please read the story and uncritically assume that every word of it is true. After all, did I not begin here by stating unequivocally that this is the case?
Here then, finally, is the story:
While shopping for a Christmas gift for my niece in 1995, I wandered into a toy store at a local shopping mall. After careful deliberation, I selected for her a stuffed toy monkey, which I purchased and brought home wrapped in a plastic bag. Since it was still several weeks until Christmas, I placed the bag, with the toy in it, in a linen closet in my apartment.
As I was boarding a plane for a Christmas visit with my brother and his family, I realized that I had forgotten to bring the toy monkey with me. I purchased another gift for my niece after I arrived, and soon forgot all about the stuffed monkey that I had left at home.
Nearly a year later, I discovered the monkey, still where I had left him in the back of the linen closet. I brought him to my girlfriend’s house that night. She had some stuffed animals, and I thought she might appreciate another one. I arrived at the front door of her house, carrying the monkey. To my complete surprise, he suddenly began to talk!
“Hello Susie,” he began. “My name is Monkey. How are you?”
Both Susie and I were flabbergasted. Neither of us had ever heard of such a thing! But it was undeniably really happening. What followed was a long conversation with Monkey, the details of which are not particularly significant, as it was all very mundane. Suffice it to say that the entire discourse was just the kind of mindless, insignificant monkey chatter that one would expect between two ordinary adults and a stuffed toy.
What might be considered significant, however, was something that both Susie and I noted immediately. Whenever Monkey spoke, my lips moved! Thus, to the outside observer, Monkey’s words might have appeared to come from me. However, his voice was clearly distinct from my normal speaking voice, having a quality more like that of a cartoon character.
Since no one had ever compared my normal speaking voice to that of a cartoon character, the clear implication was that Monkey’s words were his own, and had nothing to do with me whatsoever. This tentative conclusion was absolutely confirmed later when it was discovered that sometimes when Monkey spoke, he did so with Susie’s lips, when I was not even present. And his voice, at such times, sounded nothing like her normal speaking voice either.
As the years have passed, both Susie and I have had extensive conversations with Monkey on a wide variety of topics. Many of these conversations, especially in the early years of our relationship, were quite trivial. But what is nothing short of amazing, is that around the time of the September 11th terrorist attacks against this nation, his discourse, his ideas, his very presence, suddenly began to radiate a kind of statesmanlike “gravitas.”
This development came as a total surprise. We had, by that time, become accustomed to his obvious immaturity, his inadequate grasp of contemporary politics and world history, and quite frankly, his apparent lack of intelligence. But again, I give you just the facts. As implausible as this transition was, I can only describe for you this startling turn of events with the same degree of impartiality and detachment that Americans have come to expect of mainstream news reporting.
I cannot ask you, dear reader, to take my word for it. I present to you here an exclusive interview with Monkey, that you may be able to judge for yourself the relevance of his views and the strength of his wisdom. If, after reading this interview, you feel that Monkey does not deserve to be regarded as the Supreme Commander of the Universe, you are certainly free to criticize him. Free expression is the right of all Americans. Keep in mind, however, that should your criticisms become too strident, or if they piss off The Supreme Commander Himself, the result may be that your communications and the communications of those that you correspond with may be monitored, you may be subjected to various forms of intimidation and harassment, and in certain circumstances which the Supreme Commander need not fully define, you may be subject to imprisonment without trial or even execution. I hope you enjoy the interview.
Joe: Monkey, thanks for being here today.
Monkey: You’re welcome Joe, thanks to invite me to share my views.
Joe: The first question I would like to ask is, some critics have noted that when you speak, my lips move. How do you respond to those that might claim that your words are not really your own?
Monkey: Joe, I really do want to be polite, but that’s a stupid question. When George Bush, a man who claims he is President of the United States, speaks to the press, I can clearly see Karl Rove’s lips move. No reporters say anything about that, do they? Do you think it is because they are stupid, or just too polite? Or maybe they just know something that you don’t.
Joe: Okay, I’ll accept that. Next question, but one that might be considered related to the first. Some people might question the relationship that we have. For example, we live in the same house, we have been friends for years, you know my wife extremely well, and sometimes, since you are a cuddly stuffed toy monkey, we put you in bed with us when we watch movies. Do you think this relationship should cause anyone to be concerned about the accuracy of my reporting about you?
Monkey: Well Joe if anyone really cares to attempt to examine conflict of interest, there are some stories they might concern themselves with that are even more significant than this one. For example, have you not noticed that the news media in this country has for years been in bed with both corporate power and the two major political parties? Have you not also noticed that the continuous and unchecked consolidation of media power in the hands of the far right has resulted in mainstream news outlets whose product is inferior in quality, less reliable, and less illuminating than the ranting of a stuffed monkey? Do you think the fact that partisan Republican corporations count votes in more than thirty states with computers whose software cannot be independently examined by anyone outside of the companies themselves, warrants serious attention? Do you think the fact that public policy is now formulated in secret by unnamed corporate CEOs, and the lack of media outrage at that fact, is a sign of a healthy democracy? These are huge earth shaking stories that should be investigated relentlessly by all major media outlets, but that isn’t happening. So give me a break with your questions about our relationship.
You claim to be a reporter, but no mainstream reporter in America asks questions that cast doubt upon his or his organization’s relationship with those that he interviews. It just isn’t done. Do I have to teach you everything? If you want to learn how to conduct a proper interview using corporate news organizations as a model, you should learn to ask questions that allow me to make the points I want to make while pretending to answer your questions. Can’t we just get on with it? If you persist in asking questions I don’t like, I’ll choose a different person to interview me, and use their lips to say what I want to say!
Joe: Okay, sorry Monkey. Let’s move on. In the past, you have been highly critical not only of the Bush administration and the political right, but also of the Democratic party. Any comments?
Monkey: Joe, the Democratic Party, for the most part, IS the political right. They are just not the rabid fundamentalist radical right that is represented by the Bush administration. Democrats handed Bush the power to invade Iraq, approved his Cabinet, which included the certifiable John Ashcroft, helped pass the Patriot Act, approved huge tax cuts for billionaires, and have now meekly approved the latest $87 billion installment to support Bush’s brutal and senseless Iraq policy. I wish it weren’t true, but I have a more realistic view of things than most centrist Democrats. I think most of those people want a return to the days when they could sit back and watch their portfolios swell while being oblivious to the condition of the working poor and the rest of the planet. They want a return to the days when the face of power seemed smarter, kinder and gentler. They want to curl up comfortably and go back to sleep like they did in the Clinton years, when corporate power consolidated its stranglehold on the planet, the military budget remained hopelessly bloated, and the environment was continually degraded by corporate polluters. I think that if those people actually think that the mess we’re in will be solved by electing a corporate sponsored Clinton clone, like a Howard Dean or a Wesley Clark, they are dreaming.
Joe: Wow, monkey, those are harsh words. Don’t you think they will get you in trouble with some Democrats who argue that criticizing Wesley Clark and Howard Dean will help to reelect Bush?
Monkey: No. You know what I say to those people? Bring ‘em on! Those people might not agree with me, but don’t you think they will look pretty silly getting red in the face trying to argue with and silence a stuffed monkey? But seriously, they really had better not mess with me, because they have NO IDEA who I am! And if they want me to take THEM seriously, they should respond to the allegations, rather than doing what they usually do, which is to insult their critics. That is precisely the tactic that is used by their supposed arch enemies, the Republicans.
Joe: Well Monkey, it is easy to criticize, but why not offer some constructive advice?
Monkey: Sure. Here it is, Joe. Dennis Kucinich is the guy for President. He and Al Sharpton are really the only ones saying the right things. Kucinich is a really intelligent and articulate man, and will fight for single payer national health care, cut the bloated military budget, and adequately fund energy programs that will reduce America’s addiction to oil.
Joe: But haven’t you heard, Monkey? Everyone says Kucinich can’t possibly be elected.
Monkey: Of course I have heard that defeatist mantra, but there is more to it than that. In fact, you have omitted the most important part of the equation. What “everyone” is saying, is that they really like Kucinich, that he speaks for them on the issues, but they are afraid he can’t win. The idea that he can’t win is what we will call “mainstream wisdom.”
Where do you think such wisdom comes from Joe? Have you not noticed that the “mainstream” has become a cesspool? Many people see and readily admit that Kucinich best represents them on the issues. But instead of supporting him, they choose to work to elect someone they do not like nearly as much. There is a questionable assumption here, one that needs to be examined. People that make such a choice assume that they are smart enough to know what is really going on, but they also assume that everyone else is too stupid to get it. So they deliberately kill their own dreams before they even attempt to make them a reality. And for making this choice, they congratulate themselves on their own capacity to be “realists” while labeling those that would dare to ask for what they want “dreamers.”
Then they support candidates that openly declare their intention not to even attempt to do what needs to be done. For example, Dean states right upfront that he will not seek single payer health coverage for all Americans, and that he will not reduce the biggest military budget in the history of the world, even at a time when we also have the biggest budget deficits in the history of this country. For every sector of the population except millionaire CEOs and military contractors, these policies constitute a betrayal. Polls consistently show that working class people, in fact a majority of all Americans, want single payer health care for everyone. Joe, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Another capitulating pro-corporate Democratic weasel will not do what is needed here. We need a candidate with courage and vision, not another Republicrat.
Joe: But Monkey, the right wing corporate press will never give Kucinich the coverage he needs. They will lie and distort his record, and use every dirty trick in the book to slander him. They will say he is a radical leftist hippie, they will say he is far too left to appeal to mainstream voters. They will do everything they can to defeat him. Would you agree?
Monkey: Are you suggesting the mainstream press is not “fair and balanced ?” Gee, Joe, you’re going out on a limb there! Of course they will say he can’t be elected, and slander him. Anyone they might favor with reasonable coverage must necessarily be a front man for corporate power. Even Clinton, whose policies could fairly be described as ‘moderate Republican,’ was reviled by the Rabid Right as an extreme leftist. How ridiculous is that?
Corporations do not pull the strings behind the scenes anymore. They directly control the government. They are the government, Joe. They are rapacious, totalitarian, and will not willingly share power by any means that could fairly be described as a “democratic process.” If we want democracy, we will have to fight for it. No third generation investment banker from a Republican family in New York (Howard Dean) and no millionaire ex-Republican General (Clark) will risk what they must risk to work for working class and poor people in America. If they were willing to do that, they too would suddenly find themselves among the ranks of those that are ‘too far to the left to be elected.’
Joe: So you are saying that it is precisely because the powers that be say he can’t be elected, that he MUST be elected?
Monkey: Exactly Joe. You see, the Democrats have for many years been the party that pretends to work for working people, while in actual practice, they continually betray them. By far the largest group of potential voters in America is the group that does not vote. What makes people not vote? In addition to laziness, it is the belief that their votes will not count, and the perception that one choice is as bad as another. Why are “angry white males” so susceptible to being manipulated by right wing talk radio liars? Because they correctly perceive that they are getting the shaft, although they have no idea where it comes from. With Democrats providing no clear alternative to the deceptions provided to them courtesy of the corporate billionaires of the Republican party, it is easy for them to fall prey to the simplistic lie that foreigners, blacks, gays, feminists, hippies, poor people, old people and Democrats are the ones to blame for their oppression. They might not have a clear picture of what is going on, but they can spot insincerity when they see it in Democrats who claim to represent them. Mainstream centrist Democrats are more interested in their careers, that they are in fighting for the working class. And their careers are entirely dependent on appeasing their corporate benefactors.
Joe: If people can spot the insincerity which comes from Democrats, then why can’t those people spot the insincerity which emanates from Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld?
Monkey: Because those people have billions to spend on PR, they own the press, control the airwaves, and they may actually believe some of their lunatic extremist ranting. Also, most people want to be associated with a winning team. They have been led to believe that those pathetic liars and lunatics are somehow winners, although that perception may be shifting somewhat as the returns come in from the Iraq adventure.
This same desire to be associated with winners is at work in the vain hope that a centrist Democrat will fight our battles for us. Did you ever see a boxer win a fight by taking a dive before the fight even starts? Kucinich is the real deal. If people want to capitulate to prevent the evil Bush regime from retaining its illicit hold on power, they can still have the opportunity to do so after the primaries, if Kucinich loses. But Kucinich must not lose. And all over America, people are waking up and pulling on the gloves. Corporate America is used to having it’s way with our country, but those days are coming to an abrupt end. Just like those centrist Democrats, they have NO IDEA who I am.
Joe: Okay Monkey, lets change gears here for a minute. Not long ago, you told me that contrary to popular belief, you actually control the universe. Is this true?
Monkey: Well Joe, I don’t know if it is really wise for me to answer that question directly.
Joe: Why not, Monkey?
Monkey: Well, a lot of people actually think Bush commands the power of the US government, but we know better don’t we?
Joe: I don’t follow you Monkey.
Monkey: Well, it is better for those who would actually dare to use their power if the power appears to come from somewhere else, don’t you think?
Joe: What are you saying Monkey, that the real power hides behind a figurehead, so it can conceal itself?
Monkey: Something like that Paul, uh, I mean Joe.
Joe: Is that your way of suggesting that I have some kind of power, you silly stuffed monkey? First you tell me that you control the universe, then you act like maybe I do? What kind of nonsense is that?
Monkey: Well Joe, I have noticed that when I speak, your lips move. But in my capacity as a wise, powerful and sagacious stuffed toy monkey, I do not refer to your own personal power. I am talking about the incredible collective power of all the people who want to see a change in this country, the power that emanates from those who really own America. Do you people really think you will be able to elect anybody President, and then sit back and leave them to do the work of straightening out the mess this country is in? If you believe that, you might as well vote for Dean, and then go back to sleep. No, you, and all the others like you that want a better America and a better future for this world and all of its citizens are going to have to come out from whatever you are hiding behind, and put your ass on the line, or you are just fooling yourselves that it will ever get done. You are not only going to have to vote for courageous candidates that are willing to take risks, but you are going to have to get out in the streets to support them. Without you, Dennis Kucinich is just one bright and principled fellow facing a juggernaut. But with the support of the tens of millions of people who want a real democracy, whose numbers will have to include millions who may never even have voted before, the juggernaut will seem more like a midget. Anyone who claims to be the President, or thinks they hold any power over you, is going to have to be reminded, gently or otherwise if necessary, where the real power comes from. Nothing less than this will get the job done.
Joe: Wow, monkey, that is kind of scary.
Monkey: Did you really think this was going to turn out to be some kind of a cute story about a cuddly stuffed monkey? It is only scary if people continue to let themselves be fooled by corporate masters who tell them in advance who can and can’t be elected.
Joe: You never really answered my question about whether you control the universe or not.
Monkey: I answered your question Joe.
Joe: Then why am I not clear what your answer was?
Monkey: I already explained to you how an interview is to be conducted in America. Pushing someone of my stature, to clarify a question that has been ducked, is way out of bounds.
Joe: Someone of your stature? You do seem to be implying that you are powerful.
Monkey: Joe, your disrespectful tone of voice indicates that you have difficulty with that notion. No mainstream reporters seem to have a problem with a military deserter ex-alcoholic ex-cocaine abuser who lost the election claiming to be the Commander in Chief. Why do you insist on upsetting me?
Joe: This brings up one last question, Monkey. Some people have tried to insult Bush by comparing him to a Chimp or a Monkey. I bet some readers even began reading this story thinking that might be where this was going to go, with some unkind reference to the President. What would you say to those people?
Monkey: Honestly, I really think it is rude for people to compare the President to a monkey. It is also really disrespectful. It’s not that I mind at all people who harshly criticize Bush, because I think he is a despicable ‘President.’ But no monkey, as far as I know, in the entire history of the world, has gotten hundreds of American soldiers killed, blown thousands of children and civilians to bits with cruise missiles, and lied repeatedly while pretending to be a patriot and claiming that he was doing all that killing to bring people freedom. Such behavior is not even worthy of a human being. Certainly no monkey deserves to be associated with it in any way.
Joe: Thanks for allowing yourself to be interviewed, Monkey.
Monkey: Thank you for letting me use your lips, Joe. Can we watch a movie now?