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Friday, November 23, 2012

My fictional account of an afternoon with Chris Matthews

Part One:

I was standing there on E. Kirke Street in Chevy Chase Maryland, an affluent small town several miles from Washington D.C.. In front of me was the impressive home of Chris Matthews.
According to census data at Maryland-Demographics.com, 1,953 people lived in Chevy Chase Village as of 2010. Of those nearly 2,000 residents, 10 were black. That’s right — ten. As in, one-half of one percent. Ninety-three percent of its residents were white, the remaining percentage other minorities.
All I wanted was a few minutes of Chris Matthews' time, just a quick interview. I wanted to feel him out on his political ideology. What I was really hoping for however, was a "gotcha" moment. This would be some word or phrase that I could take out of context and transmogrify into a foolish-seeming gaff or even perhaps—though I only dream it—a full-blown scandal!

"Chris....Chris....Chris....do you believe in Santa Claus?" My plan was to hook him with some soft-ball questions and then hit him in the flank with a subtle booby-trap question.

Chris looked angry that I was bothering him in front of his house. He didn't seem to want to answer my questions. He had many questions of his own. "Who are you? Who do you work for? Why do you imagine you're important enough to waste my time. Don't you know who I am? I shape reality for millions upon millions of people who get their news from MSNBC. Who the hell are you?"

"Oh Mr. Matthews, you're right. You're right. I'm not worthy of standing in your glorious presence, but I was hoping that even though I'm nothing but a worm, if I groveled obsequiously enough, perhaps you would deign to grant me the magnificent boon of answering a few questions?"

Chris leaned forward pugnaciously. "First you’re gonna answer my questions, pal. Who are you?" he demanded.

But do you know, that this old One-Eyed Jack was so smart and so slick, that I thought up a lie and I thought it up quick. So I said: "Tim Anderson from Upper Sandusky; I'm a Level-Two Superuser at Huffington Post."

He looked surprised for a minute, then asked me for my Huffpo screen name. "The name I picked is kind of weird so don't judge me," I said. "My screen name is 'Monkey'."

"munki?" asked Chris.

"No, Monkey," I corrected.

He looked at me for a minute then he said: "I know munki, and you're not her."

"Do you believe in Santa Claus?" I asked, again.

"I don't know you and I'm not answering your stupid questions. If you don't get out of here I'm calling the cops," Chris Matthews threatened.

What was I to do? I see reporters camped out in front of houses all the time on the news and apparently there is some kind of constitutional right that they have to do this. So I say, "I'm a reporter. I'm allowed to bother you. This is a public street and I can stand here. 'Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.'" I quoted at him.

"What paper do you work for? What channel are you on? What radio station? You're not a reporter; you're a nobody, and right now you're a nobody who's going to jail!" And with that, he marched back inside his house. Meanwhile I stood in the street, nervously, wondering whether I really was going to go to jail. It all hinged on the question of what a reporter really is. If a reporter is someone who relates facts of one kind or another to a group of people on a regular basis then yes, I'm a reporter. If a reporter is someone who reports news for television, radio, or a newspaper then no, I'm not. I didn't have to convince Chris Matthews of my reporter status, I had to convince the cops that were soon going to show up.

Not surprisingly, the cops weren't willing to accept my reporter status and they moved me along. They were polite, but they left me little doubt that if I didn't leave immediately I would be arrested. My poorly thought out mission to interview Chris Matthews would require a little more planning. First I would need to gain credentials. Apparently, unless you are officially presented with a valid certificate of authentic membership within the Brotherhood Of Official Reporters [BOOR] you are not in fact a genuine reporter and therefore have none of the "press" privileges that allow you to annoy anyone you want, anytime you want, for as long as you want, by camping out in front of their house.

As I was to later discover, the path to membership in BOOR was fraught with obstacles and great peril. I contacted newspapers, radio stations, and television stations galore. They all told me that they only hired people with at least a bachelor's degree in journalism, and even if I had one of those, they still weren't hiring. The answer seemed simple: unless you're already a reporter you can't be a reporter. I thought to myself: is this interview with Chris Matthews really worth going through all of this?

But then I thought about our nation's illustrious history. I thought about my forefathers and their heroism, their valor, their absolute refusal to accept second class citizenship. Nation Hale's last words before he was executed by the British were that he regretted that he had but one life to lose for his country. Patrick Henry declared: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Finally, I thought about the words of Thomas Paine: "These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

How could I, when witnessing the on-going and deliberate destruction of my beloved country, shrink from this modest hardship? Yes, a college degree would cost many thousands of dollars more than its value. Yes, if I would succeed, I must lie and lie with every breath, parroting the liberal party line. I must live it and breathe it in and exhale it out. Envy would be my calling card, deserving that which I'd never earned would become my argument, and red-eyed fury would become my only rebuttal. To earn this journalism degree I must become a liberal, but to become a liberal I must learn to believe that the ends justify the means, while neither forgetting that I never desired those ends, nor would those means ever be justified. Obviously, the first step necessary before filling out that college application was going to have to be a re-read of the classic by George Orwell—1984.
To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself – that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved the use of doublethink.
To be continued...

Yes I know. Don't you hate that? I wouldn't do it, but this post is already too long. So tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, ladies and gents. Same bat time, same bat channel...Click here for the rest of the story.

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