Bruce Wayne / Batman


20120408-200428.jpgGrowing up, Bruce Wayne was an attractive young man. With the frame of a sprinter, and a chiseled jawline that would make a Romney son jealous, Wayne couldn’t help but draw the attention of both females and males alike.

And secretly he loved it. He loved it when the girl at the counter would bat her eyelids at him, or when the man in the stall next to him would take a sideways glance that pushed the boundaries of acceptable male heterosexual urinal relations.

Sometimes, long after Alfred had turned in for the night, Bruce would stand in front of his full-length gilded mirror and stare at himself for hours: neglecting to ask introspective questions about the death of his parents, instead distracted by the raw power and rippled lines of his hard, male physique.

He soon realised that good looks and fortune couldn’t bring happiness, beginning a lifelong quest for answers. The obvious place to start was the death of his parents, reflecting his belief that the family unit was key to a stable society.

Through his investigations, he began to build a political consciousness. The state had failed his parents and now it was failing millions of other Americans by squandering money on inept policing and failed social policies that were destroying traditional notions of the family. And how was Gotham’s over-inflated bureaucracy paying for this? By saddling successful businesses like Wayne Enterprises with an ever-growing list of company taxes.

He decided that the only way to fix things was to do it himself. So he stitched together his first batsuit and donated to the Gotham City Republicans, beginning a relationship with the G.O.P that would last to this day.

However, while Wayne was happy to influence politics indirectly, he never contemplated running himself. As an introvert, the idea terrified him – too many unanswered questions remained about his identity to risk the day-in-day-out scrutiny of the 24-hour news cycle.

Hints of the truth would surface over time – through his alter-ego Batman. As Batman grew to love the feel of rubber against his skin, so did Wayne. As Batman began mentoring a young Robin, Wayne found himself appreciating more and more the youthful vitality and teenage bravado that the boy brought to his life.

But instead of embracing the truth, Wayne ran from it.

He poured his attention into Wayne Enterprises and strengthened his ties to extremist elements of the Republican Party. He would host lavish fundraisers, espousing homophobic diatribes to any Party powerbrokers who would listen. Later, as the Dark Knight, he would don his batsuit and vent his frustrations through ugly acts of violence towards downtrodden “criminals” before returning home to drown his sorrows.

This year Wayne Enterprises’ Super PAC has been campaigning strongly for Rick Santorum, under directions from Bruce Wayne himself, who sees the Pennsylvanian as the best hope of advancing his pro-family, anti-gay agenda.

But even if Santorum was to secure the Republican nomination – and eventually the presidency – deep down Wayne knows that his sense of unease would linger. For no matter how many gay marriages Santorum prevents, or how many criminals Batman apprehends, the true cause of Bruce Wayne’s unhappiness remains unresolved…

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Bruce Wayne / Batman

Jessica Fletcher


Cabot Cove, Maine, USA.

High salaries, self-funded retirees and economic comfort.

A strong social conscience and a history of liberalism.

A town in crisis.

While the 80s and 90s saw the federal and state governments wage a hard line war on drugs in big cities and focus on cleaning up violent crime, the people of Cabot Cove suffered. This sleepy little fishing village with a population of 3,500 had a murder rate higher than Johannesburg – with more 2% of the populace falling victim to foul play.

This is a story about a town, its social problems, and its saviour: Jessica Beatrice Fletcher.

Fletcher began life teaching at Cabot Cove High. It was there that her disillusionment with the government began. Funding was down, students were going without what they needed, and teachers like her were left without the means to educate.

She frequently dipped into her own pockets to buy reading materials and lamented that her colleagues didn’t do the same. She was pro-community and felt frustrated by the lack of funding and intense bureaucracy she faced in trying to get any good done. Her vote for Carter in the 1978 Presidential race was the last time she would cast a vote for a Democrat for many, many years.

The 80s saw Fletcher’s economic circumstances change significantly. The success of her critically panned but best-selling novel, The Corpse Danced at Midnight, elevated her into a higher tax bracket. She welcomed the tax cuts from the Reagan administration, but still gave generously to charities supporting inner-city youth. “We need to do this,” she would often tell her good friend, Sherriff Amos Tupper, “because the government sure as hell will not help these kids out.”

It was her own motivation and disillusionment with government bodies that compelled Jessica to take matters into her own hands. Cabot Cove’s law enforcement and local government were at breaking point – with unlikely, isolated incident murders plaguing the community and causing confusion and widespread moral panic.

But complaining would get you nowhere, thought Fletcher. “Sometimes, we Americans have to roll up our sleeves, and get the job done,” she cried.  “If I see an opportunity to help out my community, I’m going to do it – I’m going to shoulder my burden. We don’t need the government to save us and we certainly don’t need their red tape to hold back the cleaning up of Cabot Cove.”

This is the attitude that made America what it is today… and the attitude that compelled Jessica Fletcher to solve 268 murder cases, armed only with her intuition, charm and matronly instincts.

In the mid-80s, Fletcher became associated with local political groups and began campaigning for local Republicans in Congress. Using her sizable network and celebrity to endorse candidates, she secured the election of several Republicans, always careful to stay away from the crazies and focus on good, fundamental centrists with their hearts in the right place.

She even stepped into the fray, answering the Governor’s call to fill in for an unfortunately deceased Congressman for a few weeks – such was her respect and pull in the local party. That was as close as she’d ever get to ins and outs of the machine, and her brief encounter with the inner machinations of Maine’s legislature left her as befuddled and cynical as ever.

Jessica Fletcher made the world a better place. She saw problems and she fixed them – consequences be damned. She was a Republican, an American and a hero, and the people of Cabot Cove salute her today.

Jessica Fletcher

A HWTV Christmas Special: The Grinch


Every Who down in Who-ville liked Obama a lot…

But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Who-ville,
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated Obama! The whole message of change!
Now, please don’t ask why – the reasons are strange.
It could be that he was a G.O.P. hack,
It could be that Obama’s skin was too black,
But I think the most likely reason to choose
Was the Grinch was addicted to watching Fox News.

But whatever the reason
For holding these views,
He stood there on election eve, hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath
Was busy now, chanting “Change we can believe”.

“He’s a Communist Muslim!” he snarled with a sneer.
“He’ll let gays get married – that’s my biggest fear!”
Then he growled, with his Grinch hairline rapidly thinning,
“I MUST find a way to stop him from winning!”

For, tomorrow, he knew,
All the dads and the mamas
Would line up at booths and then vote for Obama!
And if it was so that he won the election,
The smug liberal elites would have an erection.

And the more the Grinch thought of the Who liberal elite,
The more the Grinch thought: “They’re all fat welfare cheats!
Why, for fifty-three years I’ve owned a small business,
Now they’ll come along and want to tax Christmas!
I MUST stop Obama from claiming the post,
Or the U.S. economy will surely be toast!”

…But HOW?”

Then he got an idea!
A crazy idea!
THE GRINCH
GOT A WONDERFUL, CRAZY IDEA!

“I know what to do!” The Grinch suddenly grinned,
And he made a quick website, a shirt and some pins.
And he chuckled and clucked, “My plan’s done! I’ll explain:
With these t-shirts and pins I’ll campaign for McCain!”

THEN
He loaded some bags
Full of pamphlets and fact sheets,
To hand out to voting Whos milling on main street.

The same sleigh that he’d used to steal kids’ Christmas stockings,
He rode down to Who-ville to start his door-knocking.

In Who-ville he handed out t-shirts and signs
That made fun of Democrats through short, witty lines.
On his blog he wrote pieces that blatantly lied
And made use of fear to bring voters on side:
“Voting yes for Obama would be a grave error:
With his Arabic name, he’d support Muslim terror!”

When voting day came
All the Whos made their choice.
All the Whos went to choose
Who would speak as their voice.

And when counting began,
The old Grinch watched in shock
As red states turned blue in a big solid block.
Both north Who and south Who, black purple and green Who,
Had voted the Democrats back into the White Whouse.

And the Grinch, watching Bill O’Reilly on TV,
Sat puzzling and puzzling: “Just how could this be?
He’d won with all races! He’d won with the old!
He’d won despite Biden not doing what was told!”
And he puzzled three hours, `til his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“The economy is already rot to the core!
Obama will only serve one term, for sure!”

And what happened then…?

Well… in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch’s prediction
Came true on that day.
Despite promising change with the cry “Yes we can”,
The partisan senate blocked Obama’s plans.
From health care to climate change,  schools and the war,
Obama’s ideas mostly failed to become law.
But what hurt him the most was when banks did foreclose,
And while Whos lost their jobs, CEOs’ pay? It rose.
And as Occupy Wall Street became more of a movement,
The Grinch laughed to himself, “It’s the economy, stupid!”

A HWTV Christmas Special: The Grinch

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Leonardo

A born leader, Leonardo has always felt a sense of responsibility – not only for his brothers, but also for humanity.

“Sure, Master Splinter taught us to be ninja teens. But he also taught us that sometimes democracy can be more powerful than swords when it comes to helping people – and mutant amphibians – achieve a better life.”

Leonardo’s progressive tendencies naturally pushed him towards the Democrats. A big Obama fan, Leonardo likes to think that there’s a bit of Obama in him, in his even-handed approach to leading the turtles.

Sometimes, after a hard night of battling Shredder’s foot soldiers, he switches on CNN and finds solace in Obama’s own struggle to make inroads in Afghanistan. Yes we can, he thinks to himself.

Donatello

When the internet age arrived, Donatello was in his element. Having “done machines” for years, the world of email and online bulletin boards came naturally to the technologically talented turtle.

His net buddies provided the intellectual stimulation his brothers never could, and he spent hours in online chat rooms, where he was exposed to all sorts of wacky ideas.

One of these was Ayn Rand’s theory of Objectivism, and it wasn’t long before Donatello’s voice could be heard resonating around the sewers, espousing radical libertarian ideas that he’d picked on some underground website.

During such rants, the other turtles just roll their eyes and ignore him, knowing that if every turtle was left to pursue their own self interest, anarchy would prevail (duuhhh!).

Raphael

“You can take my sai – when you pry them from my cold, dead flippers,” reads the sticker on Raphael’s bedroom door. A member of the NSA (the National Sai Association), Raphael has been a strong advocate of the right to bear arms.

His unwavering views on the second amendment are matched by his equally black and white positions on abortion and gay marriage, and he has been known to go into intense fits of rage when Michelangelo teases him about being a closet homosexual.

Raphael has voted Republican since he was eligible and recently filled in for Chuck Norris at a celebrity martial arts demonstration, raising money for GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry.

Michelangelo

Although known as a “party dude”, parties of the political kind have never interested Michelangelo; he has often said that he’d rather eat an anchovy pizza than watch a presidential candidate debate.

Despite this, recently Michelangelo has become more politically aware. When Herman Cain, President of Godfather’s Pizza, entered the 2012 Presidential race, Michelangelo thought he finally had a candidate he could support.

However, since learning about Cain’s border protection policies, Michelangelo has become deeply critical of Cain (and Godfather’s Pizza). In his own act of political protest, he has sworn never to order from Godfather’s again, despite really loving their super taco deep-dish.

Recently, he has been hanging out at the Occupy Wall Street protests, wowing Brooklyn hipsters with his old school skating moves.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Ray Barone


For some people, life is tough: a never-ending series of uphill battles and shoveling shit. In these people, the fires of constant struggle forge iron political wills and steely resolves for change.

Ray Barone is not one of these people.

Growing up on Long Island in the 60s, Raymond enjoyed a comfortable middle-class upbringing. Benefitting from the Keynesian economic policies of America’s “golden era” , he received a high quality education, and although never shining academically, excelled at sports.

The sixties and seventies went by in a whirlwind of little league games and mama Barone’s pasta bake, supported by Frank Barone’s salary as a bookkeeper.

When he got his first chance to vote in 1980, two years of rising inflation and a recession under Carter had largely gone unnoticed by Barone, the only lifestyle change a few extra dollars on gas to commute to his new job as sports reporter at the New York Newsday.

It was the influence of Frank Barone, Korean War Vet and tax accountant rather than a strong anti-Carter sentiment that pushed him towards voting Reagan, but then again, who didn’t? He voted for Reagan again in ’84 , and for Bush in ’88 but swung to Clinton in 1992.

In 2003 while sitting in bed watching ESPN, to her dismay, Debra Barone discovered that her husband had voted Bush in 2000 after interrogating him about an offhand comment he had made about Gore being a “sissy”. According to Ray, he had voted for Dubya “cos I dunno, he seems like a good guy who I’d watch a game of football with.”

Debra, one of two girls brought up in a well-to-do Catholic family, had fallen in love with the Democrats at an early age, instantly smitten with JFK, who would become a role model during her teenage years.

In 2004, Debra, this time aware of her husband’s past voting record, guilted Ray into voting for Kerry. In the immediate aftermath of the election, Raymond whined incessantly that Debra had “made him choose the loser.”

Raymond’s vote for Obama was sealed after his Newsday colleague sent him a YouTube clip of the candidate sinking a three pointer while touring Iraq.

Ray Barone

Cinderella


One of the great contradictions of modern politics is the practice of individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds voting against their best interests. Thanks either to a desire to escape their social circumstances, or xenophobic, scaremongering tactics of the right, rural and urban poor have demonstrated an irrational tendency to vote with their misguided hearts, and not with their impoverished heads.

Cinderella’s ambitions knew no bounds. Despite her poor social circumstances, she dreamt big and was critical of those around her who saw welfare as a means to an end. Her sisters, thought Cinderella, were typical examples of ‘trash’ – keen to have a good time, blow their time and money on drinking and men, and content to settle below a glass ceiling which would never see them ascend to greater heights than their parents – who had been equally as impoverished growing up.

One problem with Cinderella’s world view was that, like so many of the unprivileged, she herself was caught in the poverty cycle. She didn’t receive a quality education and found it impossible to find work. This she blamed on bad luck and her family’s insistence on locking her in a basement to perform chores. She failed to see her family’s fortunes for what they were: typical of a system that lacked a social safety net and which favoured the rich through lucrative tax breaks.

Cinderella wanted better for herself and better for her future family. She always voted Republican, seeing the Democratic Party as a champion of the institutional welfare she found despicable and damaging to society. She went door knocking for local candidates and was frequently abused on election days by the majority working class, Democrat-heavy area she lived in. “GOP bitch,” they would yell. “Fascist slag,” others would say. She would take it all with a smile, knowing that her time would come, and that she would one day leave behind the small thinkers of her village.

Upon ‘marrying up’ (as she put it), Cinderella’s world view was validated. She knew she deserved better and saw the union not as an accident of circumstance but as something she deserved. She threw herself into the Republican Party, hosting fundraisers and using the Charming name as a means to support candidates both at a local and national level. She became a key Faraway Kingdom booster whose soirées were as notorious for their fundraising power as they were for their canapés.

All the while, however, she could never quite escape her roots. Even as her profile grew and grew and her reputation sparkled, Cinderella still endured taunts behind her back at fundraising events, with frequent whisperings of “gold digger” and “social climber” levelled at her by her new-found friends.

And while she was annoyed by these taunts, she could see their point. She never argued that the shoe didn’t fit.

Cinderella

The Breakfast Club – Part 2 of 2


On 24 March 1984, five teenagers spent the day in detention at Shermer High, Illinois. It would change their lives and their politics forever.

Andy Clark – The Athlete

After spending the day in detention with his fellow Breakfast Clubbers and hooking up with Allison, Andy made a fundamental decision: no longer would he be ruled over by his domineering father. Soon after, he ditched the jock jacket for a leather one and the Sting albums for Spingsteen. Over the next four years, his renegade streak would grow, culminating in the ultimate act of rebellion in 1988: Voting for Michael Dukakis. His hardcore Republican father was furious – just what Andy had bet on.

What started out as an act of teenage rebellion soon grew into a full time obsession. After gaining entry into Northwestern on a wrestling scholarship, Andy joined the College Democrats and devoted his time to recruiting more members through his jock connections. While he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, he was a good-looking, popular and had an individualist competitive streak honed over years spent on high school wrestling teams.

He soon became the president of the College Democrats and after college got a job in the office of the Cook County Democratic Party, where he continues to work today as chief recruitment coordinator. He counts he day he met Barack Obama as his most exciting, when the then Senator travelled to Cook County as part of his 2006 book tour.

Allison Reynolds – The Basketcase

After Claire gave her a makeover and Andy made out with her, Allison had an awakening.

It turned out that life wasn’t as black and white as she’d thought. You didn’t have to eat Cap’n Crunch and Pixie Stix sandwiches to get noticed. Putting on a little makeup wouldn’t make you a whore. Life was a kaleidoscope of grey and there was nothing wrong with treading the pragmatic middle ground.

After matriculating, she attended Chicago State, where she studied English and political science. Lunchtimes were spent sitting on the lawns sneering at the radical left students with their endless causes to rally behind. Allison also joined the politics society, where she became fascinated with theories of the Third Way, believing that the end of the Cold War would signal the death of the old left/right dichotomy and the beginning of post-partisan politics.

With her political consciousness now fully developed, Allison graduated and took up a job in middle management at the Chicago Department of Sanitation. Despite her parents’ protestations, she purchased a modestly priced apartment in the suburb of Humboldt Park, insisting that it was “pretty safe now” (and besides, she loved Puerto Rican food). Allison voted for Clinton in ’92, hopeful that he would restore balance to America through his modest realignment of the tax system. She was largely satisfied.

In 2000 she voted Gore and had strong hopes for Kerry in ’04 but was once again sorely disappointed. In 2008 she finally had the ultimate Third Way candidate. Obama would usher in an era of post-partisan, post-racial politics

Today, she has niggling concerns about the success of the post-partisan project, but consoles herself in TED videos online.

Brian Johnson – The Brain

Brian Johnson’s upper middle-class family had pushed him to the brink of suicide and the Breakfast Club helped him to see it. He came out of that day repulsed by what he saw as a glaring double standard in his parents’ liberal values system – while dinnertime conversation in their comfortable Georgian- era home often centred around helping the starving kids in Africa, his parents seemed oblivious to the emotional hunger of their own child. All of the sudden, his parents, and the liberal “elite” more generally, seemed to Brian to be a bunch of walking contradictions.

From this moment on, he vowed to devote his life to showing up the champagne-sipping, liberal elite for what they were: hollow, godless, and haters of America.

Upon graduating from the University of Chicago summa cum laude in law, Brian went on to a successful job in a top tier law firm, where he specialised in corporate litigation. In his spare time, he authored papers with titles such as ‘Clinton’s wasteful spending and why the liberal elite must be stopped from destroying America’. Gradually, the language became stronger and when the Clinton sex scandal erupted, Brian was there, pen at the ready. The result? A 3000 word polemic that was widely circulated in Republican think tanks: ‘The Clinton affair, family values and how the Republican Party can take back America’.

It was wildly successful and following its release it was rumoured that Karl Rove personally approached Brian to advise President Bush. He has opted to stay out of the White House to remain in the corporate world, where he continues to publish anti-liberal essays, online at: http://www.freedomlovingamerican.org.

The Breakfast Club – Part 2 of 2