Essay

Down Palace Walls [A Short Story]

He lives by the principles of universal democratic humanistic co-existence because he is not in a position to live as arbitrarily as his hypocritical self is inclined to do. If he had the means, he would join the hierarchically arranged social structure of economic and power elites, as so many with money or positions of power do, he has said; as anyone in this excruciatingly decadent Totalitarian Bourgeois Capitalist America can be.

Those without real power exert influence, he has said, even if it is only to masquerade as opponents to power so all aligned or allied subversions can be controlled by Power, as so many of the influence mongers of Hollywood do. There is no one on earth more contemptible in his or her prostitution of Self–of his or her role as one of the People–he thinks, than any Hollywood actor or actress, not unless you’re talking about baseball or basketball players, he says, I remember. And I have not forgotten the NFL or tennis stars.

If he were really inclined to support the People against power, he would probably align himself, as he as said in the past, both in earnest and in satirical pose, even his in earnest positions have been tinged with satire–no one but the stupid, the semi-literate or the systematically under educated could take anything he says literally . . . where then has this gone,where then have we come to . . . aligning himself with the more Jacobinistic of the People–We the People . . . 

He has imagined that We should let the new impure blood flow by chopping off one after another actor’s head, if not just shooting a circumscribed number of them one after another on film, creating  short ten minute newsreels of their executions, he has imagined, to be shown on TV or in the movie theaters, he has insisted would be necessary.

The list of basketball or baseball players whose heads he would like to see roll is too long to list here, he would say, as he has in other words at other times–and after the performance of million-dollar hockey players on the New York Rangers not showing up to play hockey against the XXXX XXXX in 20–, not taking anything away from the XXXX, but no one can tell me or him that there were not too many players on the Rangers who were absent shift after shift on the ice game after game. Heads should roll beginning with the coach.

When we talk about machine politics, he wonders why no one discusses the guillotine. Tammany Hall had nothing on the guillotine for democratic maneuvering with power, he thinks as he has had for how long now he will not count. One of the great advances in democracy was the reign of terror, he has said. Who on Wall Street remembers, or is even literate enough today to connect with the history of that time? He asks. Who among them has any fear, an appropriate amorphous fear lurking about in them at least masquerading as a conscience?

But the People will squander or abdicate their responsibility as the People, he believes, and they will do so, he says, for the role more greatly supported by Power or the State, and that is the one of the Public, the Public always the People in service of the State and/or the Elite. What more do you need? He would wonder if he would actually bother to phrase what he thinks, for you or for anyone.

What more should I have to say for you to get what I am saying? He asks, has asked, will ask again and again. How long will the People squander their responsibilities to themselves as the People, taking on the more subservient role as a Public, always the People in service of the state, no longer with the weight and density of the People to counterbalance the State.

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