The Monologic Imagination [A Short Story]

for all those who are befuddled by the fact

that we have come to a place in our history

where Hilary and Donald are the choices

we present for President of the United States;

talk about going to hell in a hand cart

The Monologic Imagination

by

Thomas Sarebbononnato

Our world has been so much taken with the blurry lines it imagines it sees between fact and fiction that we barely know anymore how to read one or the other and simply allow ourselves to play a game of hopscotch from one to the other. We are even challenged as to how we might could should do write either one or the other, or when it would be most appropriate to chose one or the other.

Fact or fiction have become moods similarly understood as we understand “I would like a pint of IPA—no, I feel like a hefeweizen instead.” My editor and my publisher have allowed me this preface of a kind to  say something about these pages as presented with me as the author now telling you the reader that there was a man who tells the story of a playwright who writes (he likes to say, wrights) monologues in the form of tirades concerning recent arrivals to America, NewYork, and how they would be framed by jingoistic politics when spoken . . .

So, I now tell you of a man who then tells you of a man he knows who is a playwright who writes monologues as jingoistic tirades to exhibit what some of you would want to say is an underbelly of America, but I and the man telling the story of the playwright building his monologues know are mainstream in a way too many cannot accept.

I know a Story

by

Annonymous

I know a story of a playwright who has written several performance pieces among many pieces he has written for the theater here in New York, off-off Broadway exclusively, a small company formed and centered in Manhattan’s East Village, as New Yorkers liked to say; a company he was one of the founding members of back in 19XX. The pieces here are called monologues by everyone, by him, by generic definition, monologues in the exercise of diatribe, tirades, you could say, as the form was established (by Racine?) by French neo-classical theater; the convention is a character setting himself up to rail against fate, against the Gods, against all or any human limitations, his or others. He does not limit actresses from performing the pieces; the chief consideration, though would have to be what if I were Mister Jingo; what if I were a man saying these things.

The playwright imagines that the monologues can also serve as satire; but then the playwright sees himself as a satirist first, although he does not always seize the opportunity to explore satire in his writing, and sometimes establishes stereotypes as were used in the age of the baroque, he likes to tell others, character sketches, theatrically representing what the character title infers, implies, whatever else we have to suggest reveals in association with the character’s title name, as in this case, Jingo.

The playwright has written what he has written, particularly for a friend who needed to have something to perform for his acting workshop, and the pieces chosen could be new, as his acting teacher had said.

The monologues are here presented with their accompanying notes:

Monologues

by

A Playwright

Note to the actor:

The following is a diatribe in several monologues together comprising an essay in jingoistic politics, a persona in search of an essayist, perhaps? Any definition of ‘jingo’ or ‘jingoism’ would be helpful, as would any examination of Donald Trump and his antics on his way to becoming the Republican nominee for President of the United States. We are at a time when thoughts like these are at a premium in and for our media that are run by men and women who enjoy making the money sensationalism and divisive politics or politicking bring them. The parasitic bastards they are.

Monologue I

Jingo

. . . recent arrivals not yearning to be free but greedily to accumulate as much money as they can to send home to their foreign lands . . . just visiting, really. We need to address this shit where just about anyone from anywhere can come here. Russia is still the enemy of the United States, and so is China, and too many from both countries are a jeopardy to the security of the United States. Guard against them; watch them; investigate them; revoke citizenship when necessary; deport them when required. I can still support liberal policies at home without being naive about just what people from Russia and China think about us and about their native countries. They are too much. They have been out of hand–I cannot tell you how many anti-American sentiments I heard spoken aloud by Soviet-Askenazi refugees, supposed victims of Anti-semitism, when they were in fact victims of other Russians and those Russians expressing anti-communist sentiments after the break up of the Soviet Union–yes, anti-American sentiments from most of my students in government funded programs here in Brooklyn designed to serve alleged refugees, many of whom turned out to be former members of the communist party in the Soviet Union. Race suprematists most Ashkenazi from the Soviet Union are, more like Nazis than anyone from anywhere I have ever met. And these were the ones who felt they could express what they thought and felt–how many more were there who remained silent? You should look up what Teddy Roosevelt thought of Russians, although I do not know why I am deferring to some alleged authority Teddy Roosevelt might have in the matter or manner of judging national character–which is not what I am saying–but totalitarianism is a system of control producing a greater degree of unilateral effects than what we once used to think we could discern in national character.

Monologue II

Jingo

I do not trust many from any of the Republics of the former Soviet Union. I also knew American boys from Brooklyn Tech High School who can attest to the endemic racism and bigotry from virtually every Chinese student who had been throughly indoctrinated by their parents to see only Chinese, respect only Chinese–while at the same time avoiding actively disrespecting non-Chinese. They are indoctrinated into believing how great China is, not only how great China is, but how superior to the United States China is. Race suprematism 101 in every Chinese household here in Brooklyn, grandchildren of former peasants from Guangdong that anyone from Beijing would have and does condescend to . . . one kind of perverted pecking order after another . . . and many Russians under forty from Russia here are jingoistic Ruskie supporters of Putin. I do not want too say deport the fuckers, all, but why can’t we watch them, keep our eyes on them, see if we can see something and then say something? Do something about them. What’s the point of the Patriot Act if we are not going to use it to protect ourselves? It’s there for a reason, and the reasons are many, many men, women and children who have no intention of participating in our way of life and only have contempt and condescension for us and to us.

Monologue III

Mister Jingo, Master Jjingoist

Having taught both Russian-speaking people and Chinese people for many years here in New York, there is one rule in their thinking and that is how horribly stupid Americans are when compared to Russian speakers and Chinese. And I have been doing what I am doing, teaching non-natives, for twenty years, twenty years of this having to listen to one or another opinion about our students completely contrary to any one of them I have ever met in any of my classes, classes completely contrary to so many of the testimonials by other teachers meeting with one or another received idea about the ideal ESOL class that has never existed, more info-merical than real class, so full of shit it stinks, but every one comes out and says how like roses everything smells—shit by the name rose. And of course these assholes, as systematically undereducated as they have been, believe these full-of-shit fuckers from the Soviet Union when they say how much better educated they are, how much smarter they are naturally, and of course, then, how much better their system of education was or is and I just do not see it—I am here to tell you I have taught students from everywhere in the world here in my native city New York, and there isn’t anyone from anywhere smarter than anybody else from anywhere else; not in general, not natively, not naturally, unless you are talking about this man or that woman in particular, which then means he or she stands as an exception to his or her people. But as far as arrogance, condescension, chauvinism, belligerence . . . there is nothing like these chauvinistic pricks from the Soviet Union or China; flip-sides of the same narrow-minded totalitarian coin; the stupidest educated people I have met from anywhere. I am convinced that Soviet mind is of the kind that if you had four Russians in an unlocked room, four Russians who had never seen a door and had never opened a door; and you had four chimpanzees in another adjoining room, locked, but with a key for the door in the lock, the chimpanzees, in time, would get out of the locked room faster than the Soviet-educated Russians who had just happened to have never seen a door would get out of the unlocked room. There would of course be food outside the room that both could smell and would have to get to through the door when they became hungry—but I am telling you, the chimps would get there first. Don’t think the Chinese from their ten million people villages in Guangdong are any better; they might even be worse. Ask any honest man from Beijing.

Monologue IV

Jingo

Live Free or Die is the motto of New Hampshire, on every license plate you see, definitely unspoken in the character of a people far, far removed from the understanding of too many of the people I live among in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York; too many people who have suffered one or another form of repression, for certain, oppression, it can be assumed, as it has been historically verified in some cases. No one from any Totalitarian Communist society has escaped the formative effects of that totalitarian enculturation, assimilation, indoctrination. There was state manufactured and delivered dogma to be swallowed, either whole, or chewed and digested. There were those who delightfully chewed and digested their State dogma, feeding themselves and nourishing their minds with propaganda and ideology.

Perhaps swallowing dogma whole only leaves one with a socio-political gastro-intestinal distress, as if there is an analogy for gastro-intestinal processes or disruptions in what we can call the political mind; but then we do speak of the body politic, don’t we? In my understanding, from what I see, what I hear, what I personally experience in my neighborhood and other neighborhoods around the city . . . there are far too many people from the former republics of the Soviet Union or from mainland China who were either members of the Communist Parties in their respective countries, or have assimilated the manners of operating within such a system. Adapting to a totalitarian social schema designed to keep everyone on his toes, walking on egg shells, and participating in small or slightly larger degrees in the repression that was wide spread became as natural–if we can speak of the nature of a society–as leaves growing on trees. The horror of all totalitarian oppression is that everyone participates in larger or lesser degrees, no one is exempt, and the repressive actions become collective, even addictive. I know someone at one of the branches of the Brooklyn Public Library in the south end of Brooklyn who was definitely a Communist in the Soviet Union. Putin’s Russia is really no less totalitarian; it is just not dogmatically anti-capitalist.

One such reflex that I have both noted myself and have been told by former citizens of such societies, and over the number of years living next to, across from and among people from the former republics of the Soviet Union and China, is the penchant for–or at least the motivation toward–character assassination. There is an ease and sometimes a visible, although albeit unconscious, glee that comes over the face when saying something defamatory about another. The legal distinction of defamation of character seems lost on those I have witnessed engaging in such displays of micro-Stalinist or micro-Maoist activity.

Defamation of character is a sport among too many from either country, and the ease with which some people from either country can perform on the stage of informing is astounding to me. The character of the informer is a role too many have played for the purposes of social advancement through the decline of another’s reputation. Societies such as Communist China or the Soviet Union were all too ready and willing to accept such information, either anonymously or not. Often, to settle petty scores, or at other times just to get a leg up on someone in either a real or an imagined pecking order, informing as a method of character assassination was the way.

This has been attested to by more than just a few people I have known over the years from either country, more specifically the Soviet Union, and not because it happened there more often but because I have found Russians more critical of the Soviet Union than I have found Chinese to be critical of Communist China, and I have found them less xenophobic and a lot less racist or anti-American than I have the Chinese I engage daily in Bath Beach, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst Brooklyn, particularly when they do not know that I am an ESOL teacher that can help them advance socially. When they discover this, all changes, and from either Russian speakers from the former republics of the Soviet Union or Chinese from mainland China, I am received with a complete and visible transformation of character.

It is not exactly disturbing to me how personal conflicts, when some people were concerned, were managed by going to the authorities with something damaging about another person–it is just all too human. But it was also all too Russian and certainly all too Chinese. “I thought I heard someone listening to the radio last night. I think I heard English. It wasn’t Russian.” I am certain there is a variation of this for Chinese. The Stalinist Hysteria in the Soviet Union was an entire society succumbing to the paranoid schizophrenia of its leader, infecting everyone, toppling virtually everybody, but fed by the already plentiful force of totalitarian oppression.

Now in societies set up to do nothing else but to manage their populations through manipulation, propaganda, fear, coercion, force and/or investigation, telling tales about someone is useful and even encouraged. It did not matter to the authorities, for the most part, if what was said were true–the authorities in China and the Soviet Union themselves often fabricated false reports to coerce and control. Any excuse to investigate was seized with delight. Gleeful were the Communist authorities who had patriotic citizens who were concerned enough to say something if they thought they saw something or heard something, or just were bold enough to fabricate something, perhaps for something as petty as a personal slight. Virtual paranoia was the norm.You can almost feel it, it is sometimes palpable when in proximity to some people from these societies. It is sometimes almost the same as when engaging socially with Arab muslim women who have just arrived within the last year or two.

It is unfortunate when this kind of mentality affects the psychology of individuals operating here in the United States–and it does when people of this kind find themselves in positions of petty authority here in the City of New York. I have experienced this myself first hand, from students and colleagues; the extent some people from either country are willing to lie, to distort, or to imagine without evidence that they have enough to testify to what they are saying is amazing to me. There is nothing in any of these instances I am alluding to that I understand to be American or democratic in any way, or anything fostered by a living, breathing understanding of the First Amendment or the Fifth. I have never wondered why fish cannot swim in the air.

But then after the Patriot Act, these individuals are now at a premium. Former communists, or just simple separate former citizens of China or the Soviet Union who had been fully assimilated into being good citizens in either form of Totalitarianism, are a perfect match for the kind of state bred paranoia Real Power in America wants. And former communists in either country are not the kind of people who just sit back and relax–they seek positions, particularly of petty authority, where they operate within the former mentality of their former assimilation. But then States and bureaucracies have more in common with each other universally internationally than they do with the people they allegedly serve, no?

Former German Nazis operated very well in the United States and the Soviet Union. Gestapo helped build the East German State Police. Nazis science gave us the steroid monstrosities of the East German Women’s Olympic Swim Team in the 70s. Alien mentalities operating at the level of any petty authority, particularly when Totalitarian Communist, are the greatest threat to the security of the United States, or more specifically, the freedom of its People. Do we really want to become more like China or the Soviet Union in any way? Why then allow former communists to lie to us about how they were coerced into being members of the Communist Party. No Russian ever coerced a Jewish person into being a member of the Communist Party; that seems counter-intuitive, but then stranger things have happened, and as one of our dogmas in America has been that where Ashkenazim are concerned, nothing but the strangest things have happened, and any exaggeration automatically becomes a given in the rhetoric of historical suffering, the rhetoric of historical Jewry in its plight against the endemically Anti-Semitic Europe that has become or had become one of the cliches of our most trite historicizing, which is not to suggest that Jews have not suffered, both Anti-Jewish and Anti-Semitic opposition, repression, antagonism, hatred, loathing, dislike, distaste, oppression, pogroms, violence, indifference, condescension, contempt  . . . and I am drawing a distinction between historically verifiable Anti-Jewish contempt from the virulent forms of Anti-Semitism that recurred in Europe in the post-Napoleonic phase of European history, particularly how it manifested itself in solidifying of Nation States and the waning of Aristocratic Europe; any enduring monarchies in Europe suffered (yes, suffered) the revision, the restructuring of itself under the pressure of the rise of bourgeois democratic European administration. But back to Jews in the Soviet Union . . . members of the Communist Party could not be members and not do very dirty things to others,whether it was others like themselves—especially if it were other Soviet citizens like themselves; Jew hurting Jew, Ukrainian, Ukranian, Uzbek, Uzbek. Having been a member of the Communist Party to get a better paying job has become the joke of refugees from China or the republics of the Soviet Union.

Putin’s Russia has its young Russian adherents, I guess as did Franco in Spain, Pinochet in Chile, Mussolini in Italy, et cetera et cetera. With China leading the world in sexual slavery, female suicide (an average of 500 women per day) and suicide in general, I guess repression is custom; it might have become for some as Chinese as Taoism or Confucianism. We must not forget the forced abortions in China when the fetus is female. Forced abortions are as oppressive to a woman and her right to choose as would be the unavailability to have an abortion here in the states—a repressive current from the lunatic wing of the Republican Party seeking to manifest itself in law makes me no more comfortable than former members of the Communist party from China or the former Soviet Union do. And we still tend to think that Muslim societies lead the way in the world in the matter of misogyny; but the time has not yet come to revise entirely our attitudes toward the treatment of women in some west African Muslim societies, nor should we turn a blind eye on systemic violence and atrocities perpetrated by Muslim fundamentalist groups against Christians because President Obama chooses to do so . . . and do not tell me that there are not many Muslims here who are  misogynist and homophobic right behind any atrocity committed against women who seek to have a safe medical procedure to induce miscarriage or when gay couples wish to express love, affection, desire, the wanting-to-fuck that comes from physical attraction—yes, again, desire and love.

I am not joking when I say that you must beware of the totalitarian mind–it is as un-American as Satanism is anathema to a mono-theist. My friends–be very, very wary. But do understand that every individual has the potential to be either exception to, or example of, the rule; not that I give a fuck about that when I am condemning anyone in my mind, never the presumed-innocent courtroom we cling to out of vanity and hope when we watch TV.

Monologue  V

Jingo

Now Live Free or Die, I understand–what I do understand better is that we must live Free the American way and any alien mentality in the mind of our democratic body politic, contrary to the best impulses of American freedom, should die, simply by us not fostering or nurturing this alien mind. This, of course, must come from a higher calling or election, if you will, in literacy. American democracy is able to manage the best impulses of the human humane, not as the totalitarian which manages the pettiest drives and impulses of the vengeful and vindictive mind. All personal violent impulses under totalitarianism are channeled into State oppression; you cannot think that anyone thinks enough or adequately enough or tenaciously enough to countermand the totalitarian control exerted on the individual, how the individual is pressured, pushed upon, set upon, cracked, broken or crushed; the pieces of you are then picked up and rearranged according to totalitarian needs and designs, sometimes pieced together with the fragments of others.

There is a crisis in civilization at hand, oh my friends, and we are not exactly prepared to defend democracy and freedom the way we need to, which is what allows the lunatic fringes of our politics to assert themselves more loudly and boldly, to the detriment of the freedom they purportedly are defending. Yet I find many of America’s liberals as scary and as stupid (not quite as semi-literate) as are America’s conservatives.

All enemies foreign and domestic, but now the foreign is domestic. The Constitution needs defending, but the literacy sponsored in our Public Schools mismanages that. We have to oppose totalitarian communist mentality as we need to oppose any imposition of Sharia Law. Sharia Law used to enforce misogyny cannot be permitted under the pretext of religious freedom. Misogyny is not a First Amendment right. If Muslims cannot get on board with Western Democracy–they must be brught under the Constitution of the United States–Sharia Law is not above the Constitution . . . and I oppose any Muslim who seeks to circumvent the Constitution of the United States in order to control his daughters or wives because you the assholes have more than one wife here both or more collecting welfare–now that shit has got to stop.

Totalitarian Communist mentality is not an alternative for American democracy either. The Constitution of the United States must remain above Sharia law and above all alien ideologies; it is above, before and after Sharia law in all matters social and political and interpersonal–if Muslims cannot get this, then maybe they need to find a fucked-up Muslim Theocracy to live in. If someone wants to keep it in his living-room, okay, but not where misogyny becomes the rule of raising his daughter like too many of the Pakistani peasants in my neighborhood

But as soon as any Muslim man must abide the laws of American democratic society, which extends to teaching his children not to chase and taunt western women for how they dress, which too many Pakistani parents do not do in the building complex I live in in Brooklyn. I see too many times, Pakistani Muslim children running after women as they walk a hundred feet behind or so taunting them for how they dress–I have to say something because this is not a Muslim theocracy, nor is it Pakistan where it seems virtually acceptable for a brother to kill his sister for eloping–these are all of piece.

This is the United States of America, and if semi-literate, under-educated, Christian Fundamentalist lunatics are a threat, then so are some Muslims and Communists that both have very much in common—and if the fundamentalist nuts ever get with the Muslims in their hateful conservatism—the end of democracy is right at the gates and we are opening the gates for the barbarian hordes. Neither Sharia Law nor any totalitarian communist ideology has anything to teach me about freedom and democracy. We are the last best hope for human kind, and unless we understand what this means and the responsibilities inherent, we are going to fail at advancing civilization.

The Soviet Union was not a half dozen of whatever donuts you like while America was six of the same. And I am sorry–in the matters of democracy and freedom, the Bible or Holy Qu’ran are not before the Constitution of the United States–Torah is neither before nor above the Constitution of the United States. In all matters social and political the Constitution of the United States is alpha and omega. If we sponsored the kind of literacy that went into writing and creating the Constitution, we might actually read it and understand it and be better able to defend it, but we do not, unfortunately. Let me just say again that neither the Soviet Union nor China has anything to teach us in the matters and manners of democracy and freedom. This is simply stated, without hyperbole. I take this to be self-evident and not a matter for debate. I do not have to embrace the devil to prove Christian principles. Live free or die–another to be or not? We need not die to live free. Yes, defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, but with intelligence, advanced literacy, reason, rationality and sobriety. A tall order, of course, but the last best hope for civilization is a great demand.

The End of the Monologue Series

Post Script to the Actor:

If I may be allowed to act the part of a pretentious playwright/director: suit action to word and word to action. You know where that is from and what it means, what the rest of it is, from Hamlet’s advice to the players before they will perform the next day the play within the play, The Murder of Gonzago . . .

I know this story of the playwright who has written monologues in trade on the theme of a jingoist speaking one jingoistic diatribe after another; I know this from a good friend who had copies of the playwright’s pieces separately collected, from which I made copies and re-collated to suit my purposes here. They were performed once by an actor whose name I do not know, but if you look up the Brecht Theater in New York’s East Village, you probably will come across some of the playbills self printed in their small thirty seat venue. The playwright had also acted as assistant director as well as stage manager and set designer, actually painting the sets himself sometimes when there was no one else there to do so before a performance. Sometimes he would perform several roles in the operations of the theater; the theater group being one kind of set of actors on the social stage . . .

I would like to thank the reader for his or for her patience, as I would also like to thank my editor and my publisher who have agreed to publishing this (or these) in their Review as is, which is as written, which was as delivered to me in copies not directly from the playwright’s hand, as I have already mentioned above, but from a friend of the playwright who I met through a mutual friend one evening, I forget actually how long ago, somewhere in an apartment in the area of Manhattan-side  DUMBO . . . photo-copies are exact copies unless something gets clipped at the edge of one of the pages and something therefore transcribed is either correctly or incorrectly inferred where it is not the subject of a guess, although I do not know exactly why I am saying this because it should be apparent that what was clipped and then entered is either correct or incorrect by context; syntax determining the accuracy of the choice. Nonetheless, nothing was clipped in the photocopying of the pages.

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