Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Hopelessly Juvenile Project

This post has no links, no quality content, no redeeming social value.

But the one I sent to the Daily Kos a couple of nights ago did. And it turns out that one of the Kossacks who wrote in had the following handle:


"Dick Cheney--Before He Dicks You."

Ah, that takes me back.

When I was a little boy, not much bigger than you are now (here, come up and sit on my knee) Richard M. Nixon was president of the United States. Yes, he was. And well-bred people in the United States back then didn't start sniggering if you told them that your first name was Dick. Really! They didn't, that's the way it was.

There was no obscene pun raised, in educated and polite circles; no chuckles, no off-color jokes. The president's friends were proud to know him personally as "Dick Nixon." There wasn't even a hint of impropriety associated with the name.

Until he actually started governing. Then a bunch of dirty anti-social hippies and yippies, all of them about ten years older than me and eligible for the draft, started printing up obscene T-shirts with the legend:

"Dick Nixon--Before He Dicks You."

Well, I was about nine years old. The first time I saw a long-haired hippie wearing a shirt that said that, I nearly died. I laughed til the snot flew out of my cute little nose. The idea, that someone would make an irreverent joke like that, about the President of the United States--rocked my little world. LiteBrite and GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip lost some of their lustre.
When I saw that I lived in a country where people were free to make a rude joke like that about the leader; I knew intuitively--even then--that someday the time would come to put away childish things.

And as the years flitted by, I saw that there was more to this rude joke than just its rudeness. The sentiment was vindicated, as Nixon pursued the Viet Nam war instead of making peace, as he expanded it into Cambodia, as he dragged the nation into the mire and disgrace of Watergate. The dirty hippies with their t-shirts had been right. We had failed to dick Nixon before he dicked us, and suffered the consequences.

The reminder of how that t-shirt had helped to politicize me at a very tender age, and of how prophetic that juvenile sentiment had been, inspired me to play around with the names of our present Republican leaders in the hope of "recreating the magic." So I spent part of the afternoon on it, but the best I could come up with was this:

"You voted twice for a Bush and a Dick--and you're surprised we all got f****d?"

Perhaps you can do better. The point is to confront conservative and Republican voters with an offensive but trenchant sentiment or warning.

I hope that at least some of you will join me in "the quest." You, out there--on your farms, in your office cubicles, your college campuses, behind the counters of your convenience stores, driving your kids to school, serving in our armed forces--if we all try together, WE CAN DO THIS. We can come up with something for the present administration as pithy, offensive and accurate as the original "Dick Nixon--before he dicks you". And if we do, it will live on in time and memory, as that slogan has--as the emblem of an era.

I think we owe it to the present generation of young people.



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