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The emperor is still naked

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Politics – August 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Martha and Ed,

Boy, June was sure a bonus. Not only did Martha personally respond to my letter, but the garden came in strong, I quit my non-profit job to have more time to go broke as a crafter, and this year’s first batch of homebrew exploded out in the well-shed, sounding like a war zone and making a mess of shards.

Well Martha, I don’t know if I misunderstood you in print or you misunderstood me or all of the above. I enjoyed your tale about subduing the corrupt law enforcement crew, but I’m not sure I’d take it as evidence of a trend. I hate to sound like a pessimist in the face of your optimism, but there are millions of Americans who might have had a tough time pulling off such a coup, not having your advantages of being white and educated, or for being dissidents in that they indulge in certain substances. As for dissent being legal, the people who got shot and gassed last winter in Seattle might doubt it. Money, property, business, consumerism are more legal.

I won’t call you a coward if you think you see the fascist state arising and decide to duck out, but Central Colorado may well be the last place you see it happen. I’ve already chickened out of New York and California. Density breeds contempt. They may not fly the swastika but it’s money uber alles all the way. I just found a copy of The Bonfire of the Vanities (Tom Wolfe, no relation) to remind me of all I’d hoped to forget about money, cops, lawyers and justice. The book passes for fiction but is really an accurate zoology of every viper, scorpion, toad and fruit-bat who in real life must constitute a larger voting-bloc than those of us lucky enough to live here in the Rockies where there’s time and space to be civilized. Having spent some of your younger years near Detroit I’m sure you know the score.

We hope that with education and the free flow of information and ideas that the human spirit will eventually lift itself out of the gutter. Oddly enough I encountered two misinformed humans last month, locals. One believed that Jews circumcise their men at age 13, the other was convinced that Jews butcher meat by skinning it alive. Fallacies from the Dark Ages persist. Sure there has been progress, but I can still wish for more.

We frequently hear that no time or place on earth has been as good as millennial America. Maybe so, but the Emperor is still naked despite his new clothes. Just a friendly reminder from a troublesome kid. Look back to Clan of the Cave Bear. They all shared the load, that was justice, but somebody wanted a bigger cornfield, a taller altar, divisions of labor, management, and priesthood came into being, welcome to Babylon, slave. Consumer ├╝ber alles. Illiterate? That’s your problem.

Here in northern Saguache County, strangers still wave as they motor past one another. Maybe it only happens where the economy is “depressed.” People can be kind-hearted when there’s little to fight over.

Maybe there should be a write-in campaign: Andrei Codrescu for president. We’ve tried Democrats, Republicans, Yankees, and Southerners. A good dose of sardonic Romanian humor might be just what we need.

Slim Wolfe

Desolation Row, Colorado