MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Biting satire, as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report so uproariously reveal, is often closer to the heart of reality than the "packaged reality" it mercilessly skews.
In the BuzzFlash at Truthout e-mail this weekend, we received our weekly quips from Howard Albrecht, an octogenarian comic writer who staffed many of the top shows of the golden age of comedy during the '50s and '60s. Retired now, Albrecht's audience is his list serve. This Saturday, his package of one-liners included this one: "To help stabilize the region, the US is giving a billion dollars to Ukraine. In an effort to uplift their city, Detroit just declared war on Russia."
Like the cutting remarks on Comedy Central, there is a ring of absurdist truth in Albrecht's sarcastic proposition: if we want to save an American city decimated by national and corporate financial neglect and abandonment, then instead of declaring the city bankrupt, why don't the remaining citizens of Detroit issue a declaration of war against Putin's Russian Federation?
In turn, Putin can threaten Detroit, and the Neo-Cons then -- in order to defy the bear of Moscow -- would urge massive funds be sent to the Motor City.
Of course, Albrecht's proposal was written for laughs, but it raises the point that we are allowing many of our own cities and citizens to collapse into moonscapes of destitution while massively funding nations thousands of miles away merely because the ex-head of the KGB, Putin, growls at them.
The alternative sardonic notion is, of course, the book -- and then movie with Peter Sellers -- The Mouse that Roared. In this '50s story by Irish-American author Leonard Wibberley, a tiny bankrupt European nation declares war on the US. The intention of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick is to quickly surrender and then receive reconstruction aid from the US (based at that time on the Marshall Plan that economically rebuilt Europe after World War II).
Droll wit being what it is, in The Mouse that Roared, the Duchy of Fenwick -- through a series of farcical developments -- actually ends up defeating the US by obtaining an alleged doomsday bomb. The US is forced to sue for peace.
Then again, maybe Detroit should secede from Michigan and the Union and ask Urkaine to annex it. It may be the only way that an American city, a primary economic engine of the US during the peak of our industrial era (and particularly during WW II), can be restored to its rightful status as a vibrant economic community.
Or maybe, going one step further, the Motor City can auction itself on eBay to the highest bidder.
Who knows, Putin might outbid Obama.
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