Part TwoIf you haven't read Part One, this next part—Part Two—won't make much sense. Click here to read Part One.
"Professor Garrett?" I interjected raising my hand.
"Yes, you have a question?" the professor responded, a look of expectation upon his face.
"Well... I just have a few questions about today's topic. In this first day of class, you've gone over the expectations, rules, and procedures for conducting an interview with a bystander, a witness, and an official, in that order. We're supposed to remain calm, stick to the facts, and ask clear and concise questions to draw out the most relevant facts from the interviewee. I get that, but when do we go over the part where we learn how to spin those facts completely around because we want the audience to receive a totally different understanding? When do we learn how to shape reality? Isn't the narrative more important than stupid rules and inconvenient facts?"
"Mr. Anderson, we don't shape reality, we report it."
I looked over at the guy to my left. "Am I in the right class? Isn't this Journo-List 101?" He nodded his head yes. "Professor," I said, "I'm on your side. I'm one of the good guys." I looked around the room and with everyone watching me I asked them: "Ok, I'm a loyal Democrat. My father was a Democrat and his father before him. What's going on here? Can we just cut through all this distrust and get to the part where we learn how to eviscerate a neocon?"
Professor Garrett arched one eyebrow at me in scornful disbelief. "Come now, Mr. Anderson. If you're such a stalwart comrade in arms on the side of goodness and equality, pray tell us all how you come here today such a loyal Democrat and yet nobody knows you? When I saw your name on the roster I became suspicious so I asked around. You've never been to a CPUSA rally. You've never been spotted at an FSP meeting. Nor at For a Better World, nor at Heatwave CAF, nor Freedom Road. You haven't been seen at MIM, LRNA, or SDUSA. As far as I can tell, you don't even show up at PETA pep rallies or even Green Peace townhalls. Now given all these facts, why should we believe you are who you say you are?"
"You want to know what I think?" he continued. "I think you're nothing but a dirty conservative spy! You just thought you'd sneak in here and find out how we do it, how we shape reality. You probably think you can come in here and learn how to unshape our reality! Don't you! DON'T YOU!!!"
Professor Garrett's rage-filled face had turned a dark ugly purple. His eyes glared hugely and his lips were pulled back showing yellowed teeth in an insane rictus of outraged animal fury. He was Jack Torrance in: The Shining. He was an unhinged Hannibal Lecter. Cold fear washed through me. To be undone so quickly nearly caused a flood of hot urine to erupt from my spasming bladder. My mouth opened and closed as I struggled for something to say, anything to say.
"I am a Democrat I am! Okay, yes I lied about my family. I'm sorry. They're all like you said, horrible filthy Republicans and Bitter Clingers. For years they kept he locked in my room with nothing but a Bible and a poster of Ronald Reagan on the wall. How I learned to hate that grinning face. I never learned how to be a Democrat. They never let me go to a regular public school. I never got the chance to learn where to go and who to talk to and what I was supposed to think. But even though I've never been one of you, still I feel like I am one of you. I am a comrade you just have to believe in me. I'll prove it. I'll do anything. Please?" I begged them, the professor, the whole class. In that moment I buried away my sense of truth and right and goodness. I buried it deep in some forgotten corner of my mind. I became in that moment a true progressive liberal and I let them see that shine of pure evilness gleaming refulgently from my eyes.
"You'll have the chance to prove it," promised Professor Garrett. He handed me a card. "Show up there on Saturday for the beginning of indoctrination. If you really want to be one of us, you'll have to learn to think as we think, to believe as we believe, to see reality as we see it. The ones at this camp...they're good at what they do. They can help you if you want it. If you want to become one of us, your mind must first be shaped.
Time counts and keeps counting. The days blending into weeks and months and years, calendar pages falling away like leaves from the branches of a tree.
The struggles I overcame, the hurdles I leaped, the traps I avoided were too numerous to imagine, certainly too numerous for words to describe. Suffice it to say that finally everyone believed I was a true progressive. I believed it too. I had become one of them. This was necessary. Like a scene from some backwater place lost in time, when you get out and ask how to get from point A to point B, the kindly old man just laughs and tells you that you can't get there from here. It was just like that, trying to get a job and credentials from the Mainstream media without being a liberal. It just isn't possible unless you become heart and soul a real liberal first.
In time, I no longer thought of myself as a Christian. I no longer believed that a person was responsible for their own mistakes, or for their own triumphs. It was not me who did that, it was the nation. It was the schools, the roads, the bridges, the endemic racism and social injustice. I learned that even though I was born with evil white skin, I didn't have to stay evil.
I no longer believed that a family should consist of a married man and woman raising children by taking them to church, praying with them, helping them through tough times as they strive, learn, grow, and finally leave to go have a family of their own. Instead I grew to understand that it is the state that raises everyone. It is the state that helps people when they find themselves in difficulty. I was taught where to go, who to talk to, what lines to wait in, I was no longer a conservative spy, I had in truth become a liberal...although truth had nothing to do with it.
Now you wonder? Whose words are you reading today? Who is this person who allowed himself to become brainwashed into liberalhood and moral equivalency and the populist voicing of every demand free from responsibility, free from worry, free from needing to work for a living? I realized finally that my worries were over. I didn't have to worry about a paycheck. I didn't have to worry about rent and utilities. I had been set free from all responsibility and yes, there was a price—such a small price—I was no longer free to make my own decisions. The state would do that for me from now on. I had allowed them to enslave my mind so that I could spend my life free from having to work.
This is a terrible ending you think? I had set out to interview Chris Matthews and a chain of good-intentions had led me ineluctably out of the frying pan and straight into the grinning embrace of Satan in his fiery hell. There's just a little bit more to this story. There's some good news and some bad news. Do you remember that quote from George Orwell's 1984?
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.The good news is that before I ever went to that first class, before I ever even signed up for that class, I had already given full power of attorney to my parents. I'd signed away my rights because I knew that probably when I'd been fully indoctrinated and assimilated within the Democrat-University-Media Complex I would no longer be competent to make my own decisions for myself. That's right! The state thought it had taken full ownership of my mind, but I'd already sold it to my parents first. After a thorough deprogramming, I'm almost back to normal. Every now-and-then little bubbles of insanity pop out, kind of like Tourettes Syndrome: Tax the rich! My body My Choice! But all-in-all I'm mostly back to normal.
The bad news is that I'll never get that interview with Chris Matthews. He no longer exists. His body is still walking around and his mouth is still endlessly regurgitating the progressive pap of utopia and slavery to the state, but his mind has long ago atrophied into a smooth gray lump. Interviewing a cow would provide vastly more insight into life and ultimate philosophies. Sadly, I guess we will never know whether or not Chris Matthews believes in Santa Claus. But sometimes, I like to think that somewhere deep inside of Chris, somewhere in that tiny gray lump that is all that remains of his brain, his little-child-self is still playing and laughing as Santa laughs along with a jolly ho-ho-ho!