We’ll get back to this five-year continuing investigation of the Koch Machine in a moment. But first, some short parables that might be helpful in processing all that I’ve told you and all that I’m going to tell you. Besides, it works better than “Parabolic Hyperboles for the Weekday.”
The First Parable: Monument Valley National Park
Once upon a time, my wife and I ventured in our Western travels to see Monument Valley, that place made legendary by a gazillion John Ford/John Wayne westerns as “THE ARCHETYPAL WEST,” so much so that you couldn’t film a car commercial for many years, and in some cases to this very day, without putting Monument Valley in the background.
And there was a line of cars and Winnebagos (or whatever you call five tons of steel dragging another couple tons of car, motorcycles, mountain bikes, or whatever other trailer gear makes for an enjoyable “roughing it” in the West, complete with satellite dishes and a portable generator for the bug-zapper). It was late spring, and the crowds weren’t what they were going to be, once school let out and the station wagons were unleashed on an unsuspecting West filled with price-gouging gas stations. Gas was still at winter “local” levels.
The run into Monument Valley is famously desolate, and you can see the spires of rock towering in the distance down a straight-line road that’s a favorite of cameramen of all ages and persuasions.
And when you get there, there’s the obligatory gatehouse for collecting tolls, and if you read the signs, you’ll notice that it’s “Monument Valley Tribal Park” which oughtn’t surprise you, since you’ve been on the Navajo Reservation — a chunk of land that embraces an area as large as West Virginia, and completely swallows the Hopi Reservation within it — for many miles now.
In front of us, the archetypal Ugly American from the East Coast, with his factory-named High-Tech Conestoga wagon, and you could hear the exchange from three cars in back, which is, coincidentally, right where we were.
“Look, Lady, I got a GOLDEN EAGLE pass! We get in FREE.”
“I’m sorry sir,” the Navajo woman in the park ranger’s uniform kept politely telling him. Her exact words did not make it the three car lengths, but y0u could tell that she was patiently explaining and RE-explaining that this was the Navajo Reservation, and this was a Navajo Tribal Park, and his “Golden Eagle Pass” was for U.S. National Parks and Monuments.
from a commercial website offering TOURS!
But Charlie Lugwrench was having none of it. Turns out he’s a veteran, a taxpayer, a good friend of his congressman, an important fellow, a wily consumer, and, finally and most importantly, an asshole.
24-carat plated, encrusted with rhinestones, genuine all-American asshole.
The minutes dragged on.
Now, his ignorance of the existence of American Indians is typical, of course. Most native-born Americans have never MET a Native American — not even in an Indian Gaming casino, which are almost entirely bereft of Indians — who isn’t a Cherokee™, which is what everybody with “Indian blood” claims to be in America. If you don’t believe me, ask the Western Indians, who know the in-joke I’m referring to:
“I’m part American Indian, you know.”
“Really? I bet you’re Cherokee!”
“I am! How did you know?”
“Oh, it’s OBVIOUS.” (Try not to snicker until later when you retell the story to your friends.)
Generally, the “part-Cherokee” then buys lots of expensive Indian art or jewelry or whatever.
2011: The Average American’s notion
of a contemporary Native American.
We took their land away from them (as we took half of Mexico in 1846) and pretend that THEY’RE the aliens, and what the HELL do you mean it’s FIVE DOLLARS to visit Monument Valley National Park??!?!
From a stock photo site, a typical error not confined to this group
I GOT ME A GOLDEN EAGLE PASS!!!!!!!!!!!
Let’s get this totally clear: There IS NO Monument Valley National Park.
It only exists on bad posters and stock photo sites.
But Charlie Lugwrench finally relented, and paid the five bucks.
When we got to the Ranger, I asked her, “Does this happen often?”
She smiled a sort of smile halfway between acceptance of fate and churning of lunch.
“All the time.”
Now, if you consider America to be Monument Valley Tribal Park, the forces that we’re facing are like that guy. He’s ENRAGED over paying $5 because he’s got a Golden Eagle Pass, he’s an Ayn Rand Superman, creating all jobs and wealth, and WHY THE HELL should he have to pay $5 that he can easily afford (how could they be packing all that tonnage of steel enjoymentmobile without a LOT of cash for gas and munchies?) and WHAT the hell is your problem?
What’s weird about this true story is that the guy in the Winnebago, towing the Jeep, looked in the large side-mirrors almost EXACTLY like this guy:
Judge Napolitano hosting Fox Business’ “Freedom Watch”
Heck, come to think of it, it could have BEEN this guy.
For many years, we had a David Muench poster of “The Mittens” hanging in the office that said, hilariously, in seventy-two point headline type, “MONUMENT VALLEY NATIONAL PARK,” wondering if anyone would ever notice.
Nobody ever did.
Parable the Second: The British are Coming! Oh, wait.
Once upon a time, I went to Philadelphia, and I couldn’t sleep. I took a walk, and, blogging from the “guest” computer by the checkin desk in the wee hours of the morning, I wrote …
But Scheherezade perceived the coming of dawn and fell silent.
(part 2 tomorrow)