James Clay Fuller

Things We're Not Supposed to Say

Monday, February 06, 2006

Dawdling; Neocon morality, Republican values

In “Sweet Thursday,” John Steinbeck introduced what he called Hooptedoodles.

They're short pieces that have nothing to do with the story he was telling in the deceptively light-hearted novel, except that they did give you a greater sense of the region in which the book is set.

I've always loved the idea, and have gone back to the book from time to time just to read a favorite Hooptedoodle.

The one about a rabbit wandering onto the firing range at Fort Ord is, by itself, worth the price of the book, if you can find a copy.

Given my admiration for the idea, and an overabundance of stray thoughts, I'm going to introduce a similar idea, which I'll call Dawdles, since dawdling usually is what I'm doing when the ideas pop into my head. (I know, I know; I should wear the aluminum foil helmet more often.)

I have no illusions about being within six or seven classes of Steinbeck, but what the heck. Most of the Dawdles probably will be related to the usual topics of this site, but some may stray off in other directions entirely. Hard to say when one will pop up.

Oops, here comes one now....

I'm afraid this piece is somewhat academic in nature, but it is quite brief.

Through devious means, I recently came into possession of the super-secret “Twenty-first Century Republican Book of Morality and Values.” As a rule, only members of the highest echelons of Neocon leadership are allowed to read, let alone possess, copies of the book. They interpret it for their followers and Republican voters when and however that may be useful.

(That idea came, of course, from their supporters among the the evangelical Christian movement, who decide what the Bible means on any given topic – even if the topic is not included within the Good Book's pages -- and dole out their interpretations to their followers when and how such action is useful.)

The first chapter of the book is very long – 678 pages, to be exact – and deals exclusively with human sexual behavior, in extremely Byzantine and clinical language. It contains minutely detailed sets of rules for what and what is not permissible. Some activities are allowed to members of the inner circles of Republicanism but not to those of lower orders, of course, but the general thrust – if one may use that term – is quite uniform.

Although some of the arcane prescriptions and proscriptions may seem somewhat – peculiar – to the uninitiated, average people need not worry their heads about the details. Anyone interested in currying favor with the leaders of Neocon and the Republican Party as now constituted generally can get by without ever listening to the leaders, let alone getting a glimpse of the book, if he or she follows basic common sense.

In general, if one indulges rarely, only in heterosexual activity, and never has a sexual encounter that doesn't include shame and/or guilt, one will be wholesome enough for Neocon World.

Luckily for the followers of Neocon, the remaining chapters of the book, covering all nonsexual topics in which morality and values may play a part, are brilliantly succinct.

Whether the topic fall under the heading of business, government, elections, war, stewardship of the Earth or any other, no chapter after the core segment on sexual morality is longer than two paragraphs. Most amount to two sentences, which when followed without fail are all you really need to satisfy the requirements of today's Republican Party. They are:

Don't get caught.

If caught, lie.