Dear Political Lady,
Although I grew up in a community of leftwing activists who respected people of all colors and creeds, I never felt like I “fit in.”
Maybe it was my wacky behavior and big red nose. Or my garish whiteface, purple eyebrows, and bright orange hair. Maybe it was because I shunned normal kids’ clothing, like jeans and sneakers, in favor of polka-dot jumpsuits and size 47 high-button shoes. I don’t know.
One time, my parents took me to Washington to join the throngs protesting another U.S. military buildup. Suddenly, I vanished. The family searched for hours until they found me at the Pentagon — begging to be fired out of a cannon.
My parents decided to take me to a lecture by Noam Chomsky, thinking the radical pundit would “wipe that smile off my face.” The speech went well enough, but during the reception, when I was taken to meet Professor Chomsky, I ran amuck.
The next morning at breakfast, my family examined the evidence: it was I who had shaken Noam Chomsky’s hand with a joy-buzzer; I who put the plastic vomit on Noam Chomsky’s chair; and it was my unicycle Noam Chomsky drove over repeatedly in the driveway. We had to accept the truth.
I was a clown. A bourgeois, imperialist clown.
My parents banished me to a tent in the backyard and forced me to entertain at upper-class children’s birthday parties. I’ve been doing that over 20 years, now. The money’s OK, but I’m tired of being laughed at. I need to know there are others like me. Please help!
Dear Tragic Knucklehead,
You poor thing — what a horrible way to find out the Left has no sense of humor. But I wouldn’t give up activism if I were you, dear. Have you thought of starting a Clown Liberation Front? For you do not suffer alone.
Oppression, thy name is “Clown.” [Note empowering capital “C” here.] Yes, down through the ages, Clown-identified Clowns have been the “WOO WOO WOO” that dare not speak its name. And, while the Left can be cruel, let’s not forget the world of Capital, where Clowns are exploited in laboratories to check product reliability.
There’s the “Tested-on-Clowns” makeup, for example, and the Clowns who get whacked senseless during product inspection at rubber-chicken factories. Countless Clowns have also developed diabetes from having pastries thrown in their faces for hours each day. All that suffering, just so Jell-O can perfect its pie fillings of shame!
Yes, every time someone squirts seltzer down a Clown’s pants, or takes a board and cracks a Clown on the wazoo, the Free Market chuckles.
For too long, Clowns have been forced to ride in the back of the Volkswagen. Well, no more shall you work for cheap laughs — those laughs must come with Union wages, a 401K, and dental. It’s time to step up and ask these bozo-phobes: “What part of ‘WHEEEEEE!’ don’t you understand?”
Be firm, dear, but not strident. Explain to your public that, if they don’t “get it,” some of them may find themselves flopping around in a Rite-Aid dumpster with their funny bones broken.
Dear Political Lady,
As a single lesbian, I have struggled for 20 years to do my art. Because my paintings have brought in almost no money, I’ve held a part-time job that barely pays for a no-frills health plan. I may be poor, but I’ve always known my life and work are my own.
My problem is, I just got a letter from Aetna, saying my premium’s going up $95,000! I can’t possibly pay that — but what if I get sick? I feel so useless, so expendable.
Dear Useless and Expendable,
You could die alone in the gutter — OR you could die in a $7,000-a-day hospital bed, surrounded by high-priced doctors and loving medical equipment. That’s what it means to live in a Democracy, dear: you get choices. And if you can read between the lines of Aetna’s letter, I bet you’ll find the healthcare industry is offering you even more options.
Let’s see, you can: (1) give up your art and get a decent, full-time job; (2) realize there are no decent, full-time jobs and move to Cuba; (3) give up your art, join the U.S. armed forces, go to Afghanistan, become horribly maimed, and return home to spend the rest of your life in a VA hospital; (4) keep making your art, and marry the first heterosexual movie star who asks you; (5) LIVE your art by dressing in IV tubes and bedpans, getting Michael Moore to film you as you blow up Aetna headquarters, then spending the rest of your life in some sort of state asylum. Each of the above options would provide for your healthcare needs in the foreseeable future.
Wake up and smell the hand sanitizer, dear. Society isn’t rejecting you; it’s only pushing you to open up new vistas — vistas that hate you, as a queer person and artist. So cheer up. Once you have sacrificed your life to obtain a reliable health plan, you can afford to contract a virulent, incurable disease to make your sacrifice worthwhile. Salud!
Susie Day lives in New York City where she writes a humor column for feminist and gay publications. She has also written on U.S. political prisoners and labor issues and thinks her girlfriend, Laura Whitehorn, is hot stuff. Can’t get enough of Susie? Read other pieces by Susie Day in MRZine: Susie Day, “Fugitive Offers Reward for Rumsfeld’s Capture” (22 July 2005); “Street Life of a Mad Activist” (28 July 2005); “Waiting for Karl Rove” (9 August 2005); “A Child’s Primer of Intelligent Design” (24 August 2005); “The Flood This Time” (19 September 2005); “Things That Rise Up in the Night: A Howl-oween Treat” (18 October 2005); “President Salutes Anonymous Red-Baiter” (14 November 2005); “Conspicuous Consumption of a Mad Activist” (11 December 2005); “2006: The Year in Horrorscopes” (9 January 2006); “Visiting Herman” (7 February 2006); “Savior Self” (6 March 2006); “Pinko Plague Panics President” (4 April 2006); “Seymour Hersh and the American Brain” (2 May 2006); “Identity, Class, and Bite Me, David Horowitz” (30 May 2006); “Bugging Hillary” (19 June 2006); “Back in the USSA” (24 July 2006); “News from the Back of the Front” (21 August 2006); “Barbie at the Barricades” (20 September 2006); “How to Stay Out of Gitmo” (18 October 2006); “Ted Haggard and the Church of the Down-Low” (13 November 2006); “Police Gun Down Another Rich White Man” (11 December 2006); “Consuming Karl” (6 February 2007); “Anna Nicole Smith Bombs Iran” (6 March 2007); “Peter Pace Porks a Peck of Pinko Perverts” (2 April 2007); “Jesus Christ Weds Pat Robertson” (30 April 2007); “U.S. Troops Out of . . . ME” (30 May 2007); “Killer Lesbians Mauled by Killer Court, Media Wolf Pack” (27 June 2006); “Apartheid Americana” (23 July 2007); “Peace Movement Overthrows Government, Cheney Dies” (20 August 2007); “Honey, I Shrank the Military (Or, Who Put the ‘Pet’ in ‘Petraeus’?)” (21 September 2007); “Poppin’ Fresh Declares Martial Law” (13 November 2007); “Miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue: Santa Confirmed as FBI Head” (10 December 2007); “Croakin’ on Hudson” (7 January 2008); “Our Blob in the White House” (4 February 2008); “The Revolution Will Not Be Workshopped” (3 March 2008); “Ask Ms. Liberty: Advice for the War-Torn” (1 April 2008); “Gone with the ‘W'” (27 May 2008); “Sex sans the City (A Post-Marxist Preview)” (23 June 2008); “Jesse Helms and the Theater of the Depraved” (27 July 2008); “Pre-Election Attack of the Pro-Life Killer Fetus!” (15 September 2008); “The Mad Activist’s Declaration of Codependence” (13 October 2008); “Obama Picks Bill Ayers as Secretary of Defense!” (10 November 2008); “Proposition 1984” (8 December 2008); “Unconditional Luv 4 Sale” (5 January 2009); “No Justice, No Coat” (2 February 2009); “Lines in the Sand: The Mad Activist Writes Gaza” (2 March 2009); “Bernie Breakout Shocker! Madoff Almost Made Off!” (30 March 2009); and “Economy Blameless! No. 1 Cause of Layoffs: Employees!” (27 April 2009) .