Friday, July 2, 2010

Cedric and Willa Go to Perez Hilton's Execution

And now for another installment of the adventures of Cedric and Willa, the beautiful and witty fortysomething siblings pretending to be married. Why a short story now? To distract myself from my JulNoWriMo agonies, I guess... Anyway, this one's a hypothetical near-future scenario involving our protagonists, a certain annoying gossip columnist, an infamous tweeted Miley Cyrus picture, a social taboo, a fanatical bunch of "justice crusaders", and a pop star and his fans. Hint: It starts with scandal and ends in war.

Cedric and Willa Go to Perez Hilton's Execution
A Fiction

The corporate news media are at their best when they crucify somebody. Unforgivably liberal people like Al Gore, for instance. Their biggest profits come when they drive celebrities such as Michael Jackson to their deaths. Don't be surprised when they crucify one of their own. Just ask forcibly retired political reporter Helen Thomas. Or the now deposed king of celebrity gossip, Perez Hilton.

Last time we left flame-haired fireball Cedric Thomas III and his blond sister Willa Richter-Thomas, Cedric had just posted his caustic review of Glenn Beck's thriller The Overton Window. The central passage, and therefore the most quoted: "Paranoid, but meh. Too many talking heads. Reads like Fox and Friends with a "Blue Scare" plot tacked on. This will surely get me labelled a Liberal CommuNazi™, but here's my verdict, the most damning of all for a thriller: The Overton Window is unthrilling." Predictably, the comment section below his post is bombarded with the expected protests that confirm his suspicion that Beck's readers, like Tim LaHaye's, see his fiction more as a nonfiction documentary about the future.

After that and the continuing Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the next catastrophe of note was the G20 meeting in Toronto, in which the elected monarchs of the world's largest "capitalist" nations collectively pledged to do things that individually they had no intention of ever doing. Meanwhile, just outside their meeting place, the Toronto police had morphed into an uncanny simulation of a Stalin NKVD personnel-control strike force. The cops violently suppressed the anticapitalist protests, not even bothering to use provokers as the usual lame excuse. For the G20 was the "Gold Soviet" that succeeded the "Red Soviet" when the latter collapsed in 1991, and which would eventually follow it into the trash compactor of history.

But Cedric's concern during this latest police riot was with the Black Bloc anarcho-hotheads. "Anarchists?" he mocked. "As anarchists, they make good police. Which they are. But everybody knows this already. This is our lords and masters' idea of anarchy. Why they didn't go more terrorist than they did, I have no idea. Those other black-clad terrorists, the police, more than made up for it in their riot." For this, he was called a liberal by the cops and a conservative by the anarcho-terrorists.

"Next time," Willa cooed to him, "we need to get the right wing to riot against the G20. It's the NWO, after all." She winked.

But the big news that dominated all the corporate news outlets was the arrest of that annoying pest Perez Hilton — on child pornography charges. He had tweeted a picture, taken by one of his regular paparazzi, of slutty bubblegum pop singer Miley Cyrus bending over to reveal her unpantied butt. The problem: Cyrus was only 17 at the time. The age of consent in the US is 18, and it is enforced with extreme ruthlessness rivalling the rioting riot police in Toronto. This was not about "morality" — whatever that is. This was not even about law. Perez Hilton had violated a taboo. For that, he had to be sacrificed. Smelling blood, the corporate media teamed up with the notoriously extremist anti-child-rape crusader group Perverted Justice to crucify him.

Hilton was not merely going to be sentenced to a harsh prison term and the permanent revocation of his rights, if not his citizenship. The moment he posted the Miley pic on Twitpic, he would be sentenced to eternal waterboarding in Hell.

The trial itself was a riot. Almost a real one, in fact. The Perverted Justice people tried to get the prosecutor to pack them into the jury. They didn't succeed that time; the prosecutor wanted to at least project the illusion of an objective jury. Packing the jury so obviously with an advocacy group aiming at lynching the defendant would destroy the illusion.

During the trial, anti-child-pornography fanatics cheered the prosecution (except when it got too soft for their liking), booed the defense, annoyed the judge, and got themselves banned more than once. Willa had to restrain Cedric from blogging his disrespect for the zealots, since she knew the law was on their side, since they wrote it. She also convinced him to bring his wife Hope with him into the courtroom and make it fairly obvious that Cedric Thomas and Hope Reston are married. Siblings, she said, shouldn't pretend they're married when there's zealots around. The fact that Hope is black exposed the three to potential danger, but fortunately that never materialized. The "mainstream" news media were every bit as obsessed with the trial as their celebrity-gossip "tabloid" counterparts, frequently to the exclusion of actual news stories

When Hilton was predictably convicted, Perverted Justice held a victory party. The news media gave it an air of orgy. The sharks had been sated. Never mind that an appeal had already been filed, or that the snowballing controversy over teenage "sexting" posed a threat to the draconian child pornography laws that Perverted Justice defend so fanatically, or the seemingly unimportant fact that Hilton is gay and only aimed at embarrassing a misbehaving celebrity. Perez Hilton had to be executed; the effigy had been prepared.

Many celebrities who hated Hilton were present, but they were unnerved by the violence the child-porn zealots inflicted on the effigy. Cheering like rednecks at a Klan lynching, the zealots hanged the effigy, then crucified it, then drew and quartered it, and finally burned it. Even the Michael Jackson fans in the crowd were appalled. Inevitably, one of the zealots started screaming at the Jackson fans, calling their hero a child rapist who deserved to die and should have been summarily executed.

"Uh-oh," said Willa. "Now they've done it."

Sure enough, the Jackson fans took offense and defended their fallen hero. This, in turn, offended the child-porn crusaders. Perverted Justice aim not so much to defend abused children as to destroy anyone even suspected of molesting children; they openly brag about the suicides they cause. The two sides defended irreconcilable positions, so inevitably punches had to be thrown. The effigy-burning party soon degenerated into a huge brawl. Perez Hilton had nothing to do with it; this was all about Michael Jackson.

Somehow, Cedric and Willa avoided getting sucked into the maelstrom. Hope, a longtime fan who had actually met Michael Jackson and liked him ("He was a lost soul, not the leering predator these people assume he is," she would later say on camera), punched out a few angry crusaders to defend other, weaker fans. Her husband and sister-in-law, however, watched from the periphery. Willa live-blogged the scene: "When people live for a moral agenda, they have an unerring instinct for charging past the moral high ground once they've seized it. The same people who are now executing Perez Hilton in effigy tried to convict Michael Jackson of child rape only to find their case crumbling in their hands so that only the corporate media now believe them. Right now, as I write this, they are beating up Michael's fans. They are making me feel sorry for Perez Hilton."

The conviction would later be overturned, for two reasons. First, the child pornography cases against "sexting" teenage girls had by then started to collapse. Second, the Miley Cyrus picture that Hilton tweeted had been censored, by Hilton himself, providing the requisite "shadow of a doubt." Naturally, the anti-child-porn organizations protested furiously. But their misbehavior at their proxy execution of Perez Hilton served to underline Willa's point:

"I'm thoroughly convinced now," she told Cedric enthusiastically.

"Of what?"

"We've got to get the TEA Party to riot at the next G20." She winked.

Copyright © 2010 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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