by Clarence Brown
American Reporter Correspondent
September 4, 2002
SEATTLE, Wash. -- Dr. Soup, who never saw an iced drink he didn't like, has been inspired by his refrigerator to invent a new and much more efficient way of dealing with the irksome congestion that the flying public must endure on the ground, once the plane has landed.
Everyone is familiar with the scene: the aisle jammed with people, many of them so obese that they had to pay for a block of seats, and all weighed down with armloads of what has been aptly described as carrion luggage - roadkill from the great highway in the sky.
Once the inventor's patent and licencing details are settled, and once Southwest has demonstrated its feasibility, whereupon all the other airlines will fall - excuse me - hurry to stand in line, this annoyance will be a thing of the past.
Dr. Soup's plan is simplicity itself. Ten minutes before the plane lands, passengers will retrieve all their impedimenta from the overhead bins, beneath the seat in front, &c., and then sit quietly in their seat (or seats). The plane lands, taxies to the assigned gate, the roof of the thing opens, and a giant device then expertly twists the fuselage, causing the passengers, with their luggage, to pop like so many ice cubes out of their seat (or seats). You see now where the refrigerator figured in his inspiration.
Any passenger too heavy to pop must then fly on to Phoenix or Atlanta.
If he flies on to Phoenix and will still not pop, he is adjudged to be a non-poppable, and will be removed by technicians skilled in the work of scraping archeological evidence from fossil remains.
If he flies on to Atlanta ... God help him.
Georgia - I speak as a South Carolinian - is not a state that looks smilingly on the helpless, unless, of course, he is the Governor.
Which brings us, by the ironclad illogic of Ink Soup, to the question of politicians in general.
Why on earth do we detest them? They are our own children, our creatures. We are not their victims, they are ours.
Winston Churchill said that democracy was the worst of all governments ... except for all the others. This is right. It is we who condemn politicians to their ghastly fate, in part so that we can congratulate ourselves on not being politicians.
But it hardly means that representation--in the legislature, the judiciary, the executive - is a real mirror of those represented.
For the elected are, in a slightly tonier phrase, the elite. They get away with things that we allow only to movie stars and other gorgeous people, such as columnists.
John Kennedy seems to have suffered from certifiable satyriasis while in the Oval Office - and has it occurred to no one that a Rectangular Office might be less suggestive to our Chief Executives? - where his serial philandering made Clinton look like a celibate hermit bent on lifelong virginity.
All politicians are phonies, in a way that you and I, dear reader, need not be, for our fate does not depend upon the wholly unnatural approbation of the majority. Well, yours doesn't, I hope. As for mine, I have tenure. Vide infra.
Clarence Brown is a cartoonist, writer, and Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Princeton University.