No one loves a good speech more than yours truly. From Tacitus to Favreau, oratory appeals to the head and heart simultaneously. Political speeches can get you up and cheering like a sports fan, hurling epithets at your flat-screen, reaching for a handkerchief or reaching for antacids. A real humdinger can take you through all of the above with the addition of reaching for a dictionary when its all over.
A glance at the credentials of the hired speech writers for Presidents, Prime Ministers and such, shows us that they are very well paid, very well educated and of very good parentage. Some are also columnists, authors, novelists or playwrights which makes them very experienced and capable. Sometimes they coin new phrases which become mainstream afterwards, which makes them change agents and social architects.
A really effective speech will be re-adapted many times over as seems to be the case with Chief Seattle’s famous words. There is a good version on the wall of the hotel cafe in Lytton. I have only read several of the other 85 versions. None alive today can know what he actually said and very likely few alive at the oration could have known exactly what he meant. Almost anyone would agree that it is a damn fine speech, regardless.
A traditional form of speech is the so called State of The Union speech given by politicians once a year or so to serve as a report card and as an apology for things promised in previous speeches. Using a combination of statistics, rhetoric and even theatrical emotional displays via invited guests, the unfulfilled promises are explained away or shoved into the background by fresh steaming loads of new information.
After listening to the most recent American State of The Union speech and remembering all the other speeches I have heard in my life delivered by American, British and Canadian politicians and reflecting on the same, I thought it might be interesting to give it a try, myself. This then will be a generic speech which I title, The State of The Onion. It is addressed to no particular body of constituents and has been adapted for those who dare to dream. It is delivered by the plural pronoun “We” so as to give due credit to the vast team of writers, advisers, lobbyists, and public relations experts that stand behind the chosen individual who delivers these speeches. Let’s follow the teleprompter now.
Good evening folks. It is with great humility that we give this address to you. We will attempt to literally cover some of the hottest hash tags that we have seeded the news feeds with for the past year and which our telemetry has shown us to be issues of great importance to you.
As you know, they, that is, them over there are very naughty when it comes to human rights. We have brought some of their victims for you to see and hear for yourselves. These poor folks have managed to escape tyranny, torture, unlawful confinement and gender specific public washrooms.
We welcome these new voters with open arms, open hearts and your open wallets. To underscore the superiority of our world view and morals to theirs, we are announcing the re-opening of an off-shore military detention center torture facility that your last electronically elected leaders promised to close but did not.
We draw your attention to the audience. Here, look, here’s a guy who crawled out of one of those facilities on crutches. On crutches! Hold up the crutch. OK. Sit down. Unbelievable. Un-believable. Unbee-lievable.
Turning our attention now to drugs. Its a big problem. Regulating them, taxing them, making them affordable to you and your children. Keeping the riffraff out of the business is a thankless Herculean task, let us be clear. We are working on several initiatives currently, drawing upon the lessons of the past. Just as the alternating prohibition of alcohol across bordering neighbors served up great profits to both countries over time, we can apply that model to marijuana and keep more of those dollars at home. If you were one of those affected by the past legislation, rest assured that we will think about launching a study group eventually to help us find out if an amnesty program of some sort would also be profitable.
Globally speaking, we are working very hard with our friends and neighbors to make important changes. There have been some major breakthroughs in that journey. If you hadn’t noticed, we would like to point out to you that there have been significantly fewer declared wars since World War Two than ever before. Great strides have been taken in prosthetic design, psychoactive drugs and Paralympics promotion. Many large cities have free safe injection sites, approved homeless camps and naloxone volunteers. Our advertising for the military branches is inclusive of women and in many cases targeted specifically to women. When these brave women come forward with their complaints of sexual harassment, we are responding. Many bad men in leadership roles have been pensioned off already. Some of these may soon wish to be women and we will see to it that your tax dollars will assist them in their reorientation.
The environment is another topic we have speak about. We have already signed and put in place international treaties that will ensure that now and in the foreseeable future only bad countries will pollute with no regard for the environment. It will not be tolerated here. Electricity and other fuels will be priced well above the ability of the average person to over consume. This is a typical example of our win-win strategy. Here is another example. By allowing some countries special privileges in these regards, we have made available to you, here, big box stores chock full of cheap plastic trinkets. This alone has employed many with low wage jobs that otherwise wouldn’t have been there at all.
Let me tell you about Tariq. Stand up. Folks, here is Tariq’s story. Tariq was born in a terrible country. We had put covert missions in place some years before with our allies to foment revolution in order to get the survivors to democratically elect the well educated young woman we had chosen and groomed in advance for that position. In this way, we secured more oil, more minerals for making cell phone batteries and computer chips, more ambassadorial listening posts, more vaccination test subjects, more cheap vacation destinations and other benefits.
After dividing Tariq’s country into separate factions through agitation propaganda, alas, it came to pass that his pregnant mother was thrown into a transit camp. His father was not so lucky. She managed to escape with the help of a coalition of organized human traffickers into a new life of prostitution and opiate addiction into a succession of safer countries. Fortunately for him, Tariq was heard singing on a talent show in Scandinavia and was subsequently adopted by a wealthy actress, cared for and eventually graduated from the London School of Economics.
His mother was also rescued and works to this day as a housekeeper for his adoptive family. Tariq was good at noticing trends and eventually hit upon a unique business idea. After seeing myriad reports of children's toys manufactured in Asia by children that frequently burst into flame, he soon had a list of items that behaved likewise. From microphones, toy cars, computers, chargers, batteries – his list grew. Starting small and using his adopted mother’s capital, a company was born and these various and sundry items were re-purposed into actual weapons. Using his now pacified and controlled native country as a manufacturing base, he employed many of the once wretched survivors of the revolution. When he got wealthy enough Tariq decided to come here to us under proper entry channels and now enjoys full citizenship.
These weapons are sold in a strictly ethical way whereby the purchaser must sign agreements as to where, when and how they will be used and on whom. Tariq cooperates closely with us to ensure the balance of power remains where we need it to be at any given moment. My message tonight folks, is simply that you can do it too. What he did. Yes you can.
Now, I know many of you heard last night on the news that the portable fitness devices that are so popular, especially with our fine military folks have a geolocation beacon that can be tracked and hacked just like your cell phones, cars, remote car keys, wireless devices and such. Yes, it is true. Basically anything that emits a radio frequency such as a credit card, a passport, a smart fridge, a TV, a webcam, a game console and those heart rate monitors you wear on your wrists, can be tracked. Some of you were worried and Tweeted questions like, “Won’t the enemy see that data? Won’t that place our warriors in peril?” Folks, I assure you, the bad guys always wear them too. Don’t panic.
Today it is hard to separate the issues of the environment and the economy. Must have been much easier for the politicians in the old days. Anyway we won’t let you separate those two ever again. We did it and only a tiny handful of us got all the gold and buggered off overseas. So just don’t go there. We have important news to give you this evening on the environomy. Get it? Environomy. Say it until it's Epic!
OK look, you got your carbon exchange. We gave you that already. Want more? Push back. But wait, that’s not all. Somewhere out there some genius will devote an entire hydro-electric dam to mining bitcoin. That’s nothing. We will do it with solar. We will do it with wind. We will do it with geothermal. We will do it gender-neutral, on time and under budget. We will do it to your seventh generation and we will do it to your First Nations. Remember we already said we’re sorry and we’re taking down some of our statues.
Speaking of generations, we have teams of indoctrinated young people fighting for your right to die in hospices across the world. Maybe you could help your jobless adult children by not burdening them with your expensive illness. Maybe we could provide your adult children with subsistence welfare with the money saved and not have to spend anymore new money creating jobs for them. Everybody wins.
We encourage you to look into the future and to forget the past. We will take care of the past and remove any nasty bits that might frighten the children. As a nebulous token of something so numinous and inchoate that only we could fathom its meaning and purpose, we will probably do something grandiose. Soon. Sooner than you think. Would you believe an electric car orbiting in the asteroid belt? And that we would do it before some one else puts a panda breeding module in low Earth orbit. So, to conclude this speech we advise you to ask not what we can do for you. Ask yourself instead, what the hell we are doing and what can you do about it.
Dear Valued Canada Revenue Agency & B. C. Hydro:
As the underwriters of your avarice, your feedback is important to us. We are constantly seeking new and innovative ways in which to improve our ability to feed your pimped-out lifestyle. Kindly take a few moments to tell us how we’re doing.
1) Since the introduction of the Temporary War Measures Income Tax Act which funnels the futures of children into military adventures, impoverishes parents and funds the welfare of the non-taxpaying collateral damage while you bloat yourselves and govern via Twitter from a First Class airplane seat en route to sign international treaties; are you:
A) Vaguely disappointed
B) Experiencing vestigial guilt
C) Spiritually numb
D) Mostly unaware
E) Secretly contemptuous
F) True to your nature
G) Happier than a pig in shit
H) Late for your one o'clock Mani-Pedi
2) Since the forced by stealth introduction of the Smart Meter; do you:
A) Even remember the abundance of cheap hydro electricity your nation used to enjoy
B) Ever grin at people struggling to stay on the Step One rates threshold
C) Expect anyone to believe that their austerity will save the earth
D) Wonder why effective solar panel systems are priced beyond our reach
E) Experience an increase in sleeplessness and headaches
F) Enjoy reading by weak yellow or blue light
G) Know who your fridge is talking to
H) Relish the thought of a lithium battery powered car on Canadian highways in Winter
Thanks for participating in this short survey. Results will be tabulated (trust us) and published as part of the first follow-up Rand Style survey questionnaire preamble so as to convince you that everything is unfolding exactly as you yourself and your like minded fellows wish.
A recent find was made at the ruins of Leptis Magna, 130 km east of Tripoli at present day Khoms. There where the Wadi Labdah meets the sea at a spot that has seen Carthaginian, Roman, Vandal, Berber, Arab, Italian and Byzantine inhabitants come and go; was found a most curious tablet. The artifact was discovered by an eleven year old Korean lad who was visiting the ruins along with his parents and siblings.
A scholarly examination of the large fragment has revealed that it likely dates from the period of Vandal rule of the city, namely the mid-fifth century AD. It was happened upon by the boy while he walked the Via that runs inland from the Serapaeum to the Market.
Some of the text is illegible and a portion is missing but several of the linguists attempting to decipher it agree that some of the words appear indeed to be Vandalic. Unknown Gothic scholar, Wilbur Plumcrease was chosen unanimously by a bored seven to undertake the English translation of what remains of the treasure. The scholars, save three, agree that this bit of archaeological belly-button lint may best be described as an example of fifteen-hundred year old satire. The author of the document, say those five scholars, appears to be poking fun at the Roman legal customs that preceded the city's conquest by Gaiseric. The remaining trio contend that it is an uncommonly feeble attempt by a non-Latin literate author to forge a legal document. The fact that in the name of Rome, Belisarius recaptured the city in 534 AD lends credibility to their dissenting opinion. Here below is the Plumcrease Translation.