Feed Your Head

Mort Sahl is an American satirist who for many years made a career of walking on stage with a newspaper; he then proceeded to consult the headlines, in order to effectively mock the day’s political news.

It is said that Sahl retired sometime during the Nixon administration, having glumly concluded that the news was now satirizing itself: there was no longer any place for nohim. The political world had become so absurd and unsane, the news itself had usurped Sahl’s former role. A great Tear had occurred in the fabric of Reality, so that it was no longer possible to discern the Real, from the Joke.

The Sahl-retirement story probably isn’t true, but it should be. Richard Nixon, for instance, couldn’t possibly have been Real. And Sahl no doubt sensed this. Nixon was instead a character from a Robert Coover novel. Nixon was followed into the presidency by a former football player who never wore a helmet and who fell down the ramp whenever Air Force One landed. Next came a born-again nuclear-powered peanut farmer. Anyone who previously had pitched a work of fiction featuring as president a born-again nuclear-powered peanut farmer would have been shown the door. On the grounds that such a thing strayed just too far from the Real. Then, Ronald Reagan, who was clearly impossible, an Alzheimers-afflicted animatronic-being escaped from a Disney lab.

With Reagan’s successor, that’s when they really started getting obvious about it. Whoever “they” might be. With George I, who, in his convention acceptance speech, said “read my lips: no new taxes.” Even though he had no lips. Once in office, this comedic character indulged in absurdities like hauling a big bag of crack cocaine into the Oval Office, there to display it to the American people. Not even all the many pounds of Peruvian Marching Powder in the offices of Saturday Night Live would have inspired that show’s writers to concoct a president who played with a bag of crack during a nationally televised presidential address. George I they followed into office with an insatiable six-foot-tall penis. And, in the course of things, we were expected to believe that, in the late 20th Century, the political class of an entire nation would devote 18 straight months to minutely tracing every peregrination of this penis. Just as we were next expected to believe George II was the son of George I, when it was clear the man was actually Andy Kaufman.

And the nonsense continues to this day. Where, during the arc of Kaufman’s presidency, the two men on all the planet identified as America’s premier boogeymen were Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. So they next roll into the presidency some guy named Barack Hussein Obama. No one could make up such a thing. And no one has to. Because it is Reality.

Of course, it is not only in politics where the Joke is inseparable from the Real. Which brings us to the hideous photo from which you are averting your eyes, above. Here, we are expected to believe that humans shall soon stroll the streets wearing “food helmets,” a.k.a. the Algaculture Symbiosis Suit. Instead of whistling while they work, humans shall grow algae, with their breath, piped into a series of wormy tubes draped all over their heads. Then, at the end of the day, the algae, they shall eat it.

[The suit] grows food while wearers go about their daily business. A series of tubes, placed in front of the mouth, capture carbon dioxide and feed it to which is Reala constantly growing population of suit-embedded algae. But algae needs sunlight to grow, right? Easy, the wearer just needs to sit by a window or go outside.

You probably consume more algae than you think. That sushi you had last night and the ice cream you had for dessert, even the mayonnaise you spread on your lunchtime turkey sandwich—all have derivatives of algae.

“Algaculture designs a new symbiotic relationship between humans and algae. It proposes a future where humans will be enhanced with algae living inside new bodily organs, allowing us to be semi-photosynthetic[.]”

Yesterday came news that Science Men are now guesstimating that some 8.8 billion Earth-like planets exist in this galaxy. Out there in the dimmer precincts of the intertubes, humans immediately began wailing: “if there are so many Earth-like places out there, which must have lifes on them, how for come none of these lifes have contacted us Americans?”

The answer to this is both simple, and obvious. Intelligent life in this universe is deliberately eschewing direct contact with the human species. Until such time as said species get its Reality straight. And so no longer indulges in such weirdsmobiles as the Algaculture Symbiosis Suit. Or Richard Nixon.

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When I Worked

November 2013

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