An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
"What we are facing is a conspiracy of sedition, division and destruction of our homeland." --Abraham Lincoln
It's brother against brother... looking at each other through gunsights. Terrible... just a dividing line in the dirt... puts... FIZZ! BING! A bullet enters his face, right at the right cheekbone. It tears a small hole as it enters-- like a large wart-- then it tears through the inside of the skull, coming out through the back of the head... a baseball-sized hole, brain spraying gray matter before the expression of surprise can leave the now-dead face.
“It's terrible. Terrible,” says the president. “The nation is torn apart, but we have no choice, if we're to preserve the union.”
Flash to Riverdale in the Bronx. I'm at dinner with friends-- at a friend's house: shrimp, macaroni with tuna, little pieces of herring with toothpicks stuck through them, flatbread with all kinds of toppings. There is a TV... bigger than my apartment... somehow fastened to the wall. On the TV smiles some dork in a Tuxedo.
Goddamn! It's the fuckin' Oscars. I was looking forward to missing the Oscars, like I miss the Superbowl, and Obama's inauguration. Like I've never seen ET or The Titanic. Like I can't tell Rihanna from Guyana. I live to be as divorced from popular culture as that soldier's brain is divorced from his head.
But here I am. Stuck like herring on a toothpick in front of Hollywood Hell in all it's stinking glitter. The guys on TV talk about some movies. Nothing I've seen, of course. I don't like movies with white people in them.
There's one about killing Osamu Bin Ladin, another about escaping from Iraq, one about a colored guy and slavery and one about Lincoln. War movies all... in their own way. I hate war movies.
I love gore movies. Severed heads and still-beating hearts. I love to watch guys screaming as their balls are ripped off. Gangster movies too: the Chinese mafia taking out a rival gang... fists and bullets. Pow! Pow! Achah! Achah!
But I hate war movies. They're too close to the real world. I don't need movies for what I get in the NY Times. Besides, they remind me of football.
And Lincoln wasn't only in movies about the world of 1860. He's in the real world of now. That soldier in the first paragraph wasn't from the Confederate Army. He was from Syria.
That quote at the beginning of this column? I lied.
It wasn't from Abraham Lincoln. It was from President Bashar al-Assad, of Syria. The two, however, are not much different.
"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery.” That is a REAL quote from Abe Lincoln.
I bet Assad would agree.
FLASH TO THE 1970s: Marshall Tito is my favorite Communist. He's the president of Yugoslavia and will be until 1980. He keeps the various ethnic and religious factions together... without war. Today you have Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovco, and who-knows-what-the-fuckistan. Under Tito, there was only YUGOSLAVIA. He organized the fight against the Nazis. Everybody loves him. He keeps the new country together without war... only with charisma and statesmanship.
Tito is the guy who gives both Russia and the U.S. a big middle finger. Then goes off to make friends with Egypt and India. After he dies, there is chaos and half a dozen tiny fighting countries.
Are there other Lincolns? You bet! A dime a dozen. Saddam Hussein in Iraq, who kept the Shiites and Sunnis in check and created a unified whole from a melting pot of fractious groups. Also without war... until the Bushes invaded and there was chaos.
More? Mao Tse Tung was the Lincoln of China. The Tibetans, The Uigars. The Inner Mongols. They want to secede. Make their own countries. Seek their own destinies... the blue and the gray... It's a war that the current Chinese Lincolns continue to fight.
Vladimir Putin, the Lincoln of Russia, has been fighting the Chechnyan separatists since he took office. And there are more.
You get the idea. But what I want to focus on, with all this Lincoln hullabaloo, is why I wish the Confederacy had won the U.S. Civil War. Fuck Lincoln and his gold-plated Hollywood statues.
Imagine we have the USA and the CSA, a ragged border between the two... following the Mason-Dixon line... leaping upwards over Texas, and Oklahoma. Newer regions join the USA or CSA. California and Nevada stay independent.
The relatively small United States needs the relatively small Confederate States for its cotton, bourbon, tobacco and oil. The Confederate States needs the U.S. for manufactured goods and a few resources like salmon and lumber.
Occasionally, there are trade disputes. The South puts a tariff on paper from the North. The North has a quota... or high taxes... on tobacco and booze.
Slavery disappears in the Confederate States, like it did in the Caribbean, South Africa, and Brazil. The government will try to keep voting WHITES ONLY, and to maintain segregation. Like they did in the U.S. until the 1964 or South Africa until 1990.
World pressure will end all that, like it ended apartheid. By 1990, the world will celebrate the first Negro president of the Confederate States of America... probably before the first one up north in the U.S.A.
More importantly, because what is now the US is in (at least) two independent pieces, neither side develops the power the U.S. now has. The sides join forces for WWII because of Pearl Harbor. The rest of North America (Canada and Mexico) are anti-Axis as well.
Young Strom Thurmond, the 40-year president of C.S.A, threatens to withdrawal Confederate troops from the Pacific front if Truman goes ahead with his plan to drop a new fangled ATOMIC BOMB.
“I didn't want us to get into this war in the first place,” he says.
The bomb is never dropped. Japan surrenders anyway.
There is no Vietnam war. Although the U.S. wants to invade, the C.S.A wants no part in the invasion.
“We suffered our own invasion,” says C.S.A. president Strom Thurmond in 1966. “We don't want to be part of another one.”
After WWII, the CSA follows a policy of isolationism that would make Ron (or Rand) Paul proud.
Over time, the cultures develop along lines similar to the present. The CSA adopts Evangelical Christianity as the official state religion. The USA, following its constitution, maintains separation of church and state.
There are generally friendly relations between the two countries. People bunch in the North-- and in the new M.P.R.C (Mellow People's Republic of California). Texas Oil lets the CSA thrive, though the destruction left by the civil war, and the lack of advanced training of the former slaves, leaves a greater gap between rich and poor.
Something interesting also happens. Since the Civil War followed on the heals of the Mexican American War. The newly independent CSA says they had no beef with the Mexicans. The attack on Mexico was by the USA-- that country up North. California is already independent, so it's lost to Mexico. Arizona and New Mexico are just desert anyway. Who needs those places? Give 'em back to the Mexicans, the CSA urges the USA. We'll support Mexico until you do.
Thus a great new friendship is established between Mexico and the CSA. Travel between the two countries opens. No passports. No visas. As easy as crossing into Canada to see Niagra Falls used to be.
After World War II, the USA looks East, while the CSA looks South. Franklin Roosevelt, already pals with Stalin and Churchill, embraces Russia in a Grand Coalition. The USA continues to expand its welfare and social services and Russia continued to expand its personal liberties and access to pornography.
There's never a cold war. No one attacks the World Trade Center because the US does not have the power to wage the anti-Muslim wars that make Al Quaeda want to attack in the first place. The world becomes a happy and peaceful place from the end of the second world war, right until... well... right until now.
It all would have happened if it weren't were for fuckin' Lincoln. If only John Wilkes Booth were a few years earlier. The Oscars be damned.
ENDNOTES: [email subscribers (firstname.lastname@example.org) or blog viewers (mykelsblog.blogspot.com/) will get live links and a chance to post comments on the column. Your zines, Cds/records, and... er... private videos... can and should be sent to me at: Mykel Board, POB 137, Prince Street Station, New York NY 10012]
-->Is it only me? dept: ABC NEWS reports that the U.S. census bureau is dropping the word NEGRO starting in 2020. Now, all that's left is me and the United Negro College Fund. Quick, I'd better send a donation!
-->Jailbird pal Kyle sent me an article about Samsung TVs. Their build-in cameras allow outsiders to gain "root access" to the TV. Remember in the book 1984, at the end, Winston Smith finds the camera behind a picture in the wall of his apartment? Now, it's not only that bedroom picture you have to worry about.
-->Oh no dept: Could it happen in Scandinavia? Home of my favorite governments? Well, according to the local paper, Iceland will "become the first Western democracy to ban online pornography." Yep, official government censorship... like in China. I fear it's the beginning of the end. Watch the Republicans change their tune about the evils of Scandinavia once those blonds ban porn.
-->My kind of city dept: On Feb 4, 2013 Charlottesville, Virginia became the first city in the US to pass a resolution against the domestic use of drones. It also calls for Congress and the state of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information from domestic drone use from being introduced into a Federal or State court. Furthermore, they want to prohibit drones equipped with anti-personnel devices, so people can not be killed remotely.
Hmmm, killing people remotely, trial by missile, who'd want to do something like that? It's hard to imagine, huh?
-->Legitimate targets? Is that like legitimate rape? dept: Reason.com reports that a US Army officer said Afghan children are “legitimate targets.”
"It kind of opens our aperture," said Lieutenant Colonel Marion Carrington. "We're looking for children with potential hostile intent." he added.
-->Ah Michigan, how you've devolved dept: Progressive Magazine reports that Michigan lawmakers proposed an amendment to the state's income tax code that would allow pregnant women to claim their twelve-week or older fetuses as "dependents." These same legislators pushed to cut a tax credit that applies to actual already-born children.
-->School? Prison? What's the difference dept: Wired.com reports the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, suspended a student for refusing to wear a tracking device. It was a leg bracelet similar to the ones used on probationed criminals. Since the school's funding is based on student attendance, they use the trackers to prove students are in class. As of this writing, a judge has temporarily reversed the suspension.
-->Students with balls dept: Censorship News (www.ncacblog.wordpress.com) reports that the school administration of La Salle University told the student newspaper that they had to run an unflattering story about the school "under the fold." (That means the part of the paper that's hidden when it's folded on a newstand or in a newsbox.)
The newspaper, the COLLEGIAN, printed the next issue with a blank top half, except for tiny print instructing readers to "SEE BELOW." Ten punk points guys!
You can see Mykel's almost functioning website at www.mykelboard.com.