Monday, February 11, 2008

End of the World Saga

The posts below this one are in reverse order, not chronological order. Basically, they detail the gradual breakdown of civilization.

The sequence is:

* End of the World News
* War, mmm-hmm
* The Bottom Line
* Buy me some peanuts and
* The fear of fear itself
* John McCain is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most...
* The fear of the fear of fear itself
* This just in
* Economic Sacrifice

Sunday, February 10, 2008

End of the World News


ERIC: In today’s news, things are bad. This just in, they’re very bad. Wait a minute. They’re even worse. In fact, we’re all doomed. I’m sorry. (stands up) I need to be with my family.

Leaves studio with dignity.

JENNY: And now the weather!

Shot of tidal wave.

War, mmm-hmm

INT, WHITE HOUSE. PRESIDENTIAL CABINET gathered around conference table. They look at PRESIDENT BUSH (O.S.) with horror on their faces.

CONDI: But … sir. you can’t invade Iran. You can’t. We don’t have the troops. We don’t have the funding. You’ve got ten months in office. The numbers don’t add up.

PRESIDENT BUSH sits hunched with his jaw jutting out like “Sling Blade.” He’s actually holding a sling blade. Some folks call it a Kaiser blade.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Numbers. Mmmm, well sir, I reckon God hates numbers. That there feller in the Bible counted up the troops ‘fore he invaded some place, mmm-hmmm. I ferget what his name was. God got mad at that feller, mmm-hmm. God smote him or some such. I recokon God is set against fellers doing sums like that. That there’s the opposite of faith, mmm-hmm. Faith is more like … doing something stupid cause God told you to. I reckon I’m a man of faith, mmm-hmm. You fellers best be too.

He lifts his sling blade threateningly.

CABINET: Oh yes. Yes sir. Yes Mr. President.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Jesus told me to invade Iran, mmm-hmm. We best do what He says. I know it’s stupid, mmm-hmm. I reckon I don’t wanna get myself smote, whatever that is.

CABINET: Oh no. No sir, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well. All right, then. I’m tired. Good night, then.

CABINET: Good night, Mr. President.

He shuffles down the hall, still holding his slingblade. He passes a Cylon centurion, Laura Bush, bound and gagged inside an animal cage, and the burning painting of a church from Rosemary’s Baby. He reaches his bedroom, goes in.

Hold. Air raid siren. (OS)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Bottom Line

ENRIGHT: I’m George Enright.

FRUM: I’m John Frum.

ENRIGHT: We’re here to talk about the economy.

FRUM: We’re economists. We have no other skills.

Dead air.

ENRIGHT: Well, talk about the economy.

FRUM: You first.

ENRIGHT: No, you.

FRUM: Christ, do we have to?



ENRIGHT: Ask me a question.

FRUM: OK. Do you think we’re sliding into a recession?

ENRIGHT: No. No, of course not. There’s no reason to. Unless we start thinking about a recession.

FRUM: Let’s not think that.

ENRIGHT: I wasn’t.

FRUM: Well, don’t,

ENRIGHT: That’s almost as bad as thinking about a depression.

FRUM: That’s unthinkable.

ENRIGHT: And it’s also depressing.

FRUM: Ah. So what you’re saying is--thoughts about a possible depression might have a negative affect on consumer confidence. Thereby creating a depression?

ENRIGHT: Yes. Even that thought has a negative effect

FRUM: You mean, thinking about the possible depression resulting from the negative effect on consumer confidence of thinking about the possibility of a depression might, in turn, reduce consumer confidence?

ENRIGHT: Yes. And also create a depression. Possibly. You forgot to mention that.

FRUM: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself?

ENRIGHT: Yes. We should be very afraid of the fear of fear itself.

FRUM: It could create a new depression.

ENRIGHT: Yes. Exactly. A new Great Depression.

FRUM: Even worse than the last one?

ENRIGHT: Much worse. A Greater Depression, so to speak. But not it’s not going to happen.

FRUM: Not if we keep thinking the right thoughts.

ENRIGHT: Happy thoughts.

FRUM: Good thoughts.

ENRIGHT: It’s a good day.

FRUM: It’s a very good day.

ENRIGHT: It’s not going to happen.


ENRIGHT: No depression.

FRUM: No depression.

ENRIGHT: I believe in fairies.

FRUM: I believe in fairies.

They clap desperately.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Buy me some peanuts and


MARK McGWIRE: Yes, I take steroids. Fuck yes!

He stands up, then leaps on top of the table. He makes two fists. His muscles bulge, ripping his shirt like the Incredible Hulk. Screams, people running in panic.

He leaps to the front of the hearing room, grabs a screaming Congressman, than rips him in half.

He stands, triumphant, like a barbarian figure in a Frank Frazetta poster. Holding the bloody, severed head of the ex-Congressman.

MARK McGWIRE: Behold your future. I am not like you! I am beyond you!


JENNY: A surprising development in the world of sports.

The fear of fear itself

INT, STUDIO -- "THE BOTTOM LINE" SET. ENRIGHT and FRUM are rocking back and forth and chanting compulsively.

ENRIGHT: No depression.

FRUM: No depression.

ENRIGHT: How long have we been doing this?

FRUM: I don’t remember, but keep doing it. No depression.

ENRIGHT: Why are we doing it?

FRUM: It’s a basic economic principle. No depression.

ENRIGHT: What principle?

FRUM: Don’t think the bad thought. Then the bad thought won’t happen.

ENRIGHT: But isn’t this magical thinking?

FRUM: Yes. But magical thinking is what we need right now. No depression. The stock market function in terms of herd behavior based on irrational impulses. They teach that at Harvard. Therefore it’s true.

ENRIGHT: But isn’t the economy strong?

FRUM: In what sense?

ENRIGHT: Actual wealth.

FRUM: Wealth? This is no time for technical jargon! Define your terms, sir.

ENRIGHT: Wealth. As in natural resources, human potential, technology…

FRUM: I’m not following you.

ENRIGHT: Things that are actually worth something.

FRUM: Oh that! Wealth. Yes, I see what you’re driving at. On that basis, yes, the economy is strong. In terms of mere facts, yes. If you’d gone to Harvard like I did, you’d understand such rational thinkling is irrational in terms of herd behavior. That’s like reasoning with cows. No, it’s only a boat horn. Don’t go over a cliff. Cows are stupid. You don’t spook the cows. You don’t stampede the herd. That’s all there is to it.

ENRIGHT: I’m not stampeding the herd.

FRUM: I’m not stampeding the herd.

ENRIGHT: Everything’s fine, folks. But, if there is a stampede.

FRUM: There won’t be. No depression.

ENRIGHT: But if there is …

FRUM: That’s impossible. Well, highly unlikely.

EXT, DAY. Antartica, the Ross ice Shelf. A line of penguins dances across the ice. The ice cracks. They fall into the sea. Polar bears devour them.
Vast sheets of ice fall into the ocean.
Revealing …
The flying saucer from “the Thing.”

THE THING emerges from the saucer. It stands on top, released, triumphant. A singing PENGUIN scuttles by. The THING shoots out a pseudood, snaps it up into its maw, and devours it. The THING grows.

ENRIGHT: All I’m saying. If ...

FRUM: It is all you're saying. You’re a broken record!

ENRIGHT: In the unlikely scenario there is a stampede …

FRUM: There won’t be! Stampede? No depression. That’s like saying the sub-prime loan share of the financial market could crash that entire sector of our economic system. You’re dealing in fairy tales!

ENRIGHT: Even so. What could cause a stampede.

FRUM: Nothing!

ENRIGHT: Nothing?

FRUM: Nothing. Unless, I don’t know, economists such as ourselves keep talking about the possibility.

ENRIGHT: Of a stampede?

FRUM: Of a new great depression. A mindless panic.

ENRIGHT: You're saying we start it?

FRUM: Yes. Hypothetically.

ENRIGHT: How do we start it? Hypothetically.

FRUM: In the mind, of course. You and I have planted the seed.


FRUM: Fear. Exactly. The seed of fear. Archetypal images of the Great Depression, breadlines, crazy old grandpa who always saved string. We keep talking about it. Before you know it, all those hard-working speculators out there who keep our imaginary economy growing think their lucky streak is over. Oh no! The woman in the black dress touched the green felt table the wrong way! It spooks them. The fear we’ve planted germinates. The fear grows.

ENRIGHT: Fear. The one thing we fear.

FRUM: No. that’s the fear of fear.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

John McCain is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

JOHN McCAIN as a little child approaches a daisy. He plucks it.

CHILD: Ten, nine, eight, seven ...

Atomic blast.

McCAIN comes back to consciousness, strapped to a hospital gurney in an underground lab in Vietnam.

DR. YINGTONG: Hello, Mr. McCain. As you can see, we are aware of your greatest fear.


DR. YINGTONG: Yes. (smiling) You are here with us, Mr. McCain. You have been here all the time. You will always be here. Now. Please answer a simple question. (holding up a daisy) How many petals remain on that flower? Answer the question, Mr. McCain.

McCAIN: Lieutentant Commander McCain!


McCAIN: Lieutenant Commander; John McCain; serial number 624787.

DR. YINGTONG: Please. A soldier in an illegal army is a soldier who does not exist. You must awake from your delusion, Mr. MCCain. I am a doctor. I am here to help you.(gestures) The truth will set you free, Mr. McCain. As you can see, you are not alone.

McCAIN sees HILLARY CLINTON and BARACK OBAMA, also strapped to medical tables.

OBAMA: I hate white people. Fuck all you cracker motherfuckers!

HILLARY: I’m smarter than all of you! You’re all a bunch of idiots!

DR. YINGTONG: They speak only the truth. They are free. Soon you will be free, Mr. McCain.

HILLARY: I like men. I like women too. So the hell what?

OBAMA: Reverend Right was right. America done fucked this planet up. You think God likes that shit?

DR. YINGTONG: How many petals, Mr. McCain. How many petals?

The fear of the fear of fear itself

ENRIGHT: What happens when the seed of fear sprouts?

FRUM: A giant metaphoric fear tree grows.


FRUM: Oh? Well. The fear tree spooks the herd.


FRUM: The herd goes over the cliff, of course.


FRUM: The stock market dives. Consumers stop buying things and America run out of money to pay the interest on the money we’ve borrow from China to pay for crap we don’t need we’ve already burned up.

ENRIGHT: Well that’s their problem!

FRUM: Well, no. If that happens, they’d stop making stupid crap for Americans. The Chinese economy would slip into a depression. The Chinese, of course, would call in their loans. Thereby plunging the world into the Greater Depression.

ENRIGHT: We could stiff them.

FRUM: No we couldn’t.

ENRIGHT: Why not?

FRUM: I don’t know. They don’t teach that at Harvard. It’s some complicated three-card monte game involving t-bills. I think the money’s in Switzerland.

ENRIGHT: We could always start a war. Another war.

FRUM: No. We’ve used up our credit limit.

ENRIGHT: What’s our best option?

FRUM: Human sacrifice, of course.

They exchange dark looks.


FRUM: Hmmm.

ENRIGHT: I was thinking the same thing.

They leap on each other, grapple. Static.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

This just in

EXT, DAY, LONDON. ERIC, the BBC NEWSREADER, running through the wasted, burning cityscape —
28 Days
with a dash of
Lord of the Flies.

ERIC: In economic news, everything’s gone, at least on this sceptered isle. The crops have all been burned. Computers, books, all records of human civilization from the last 5,000 years have all been smashed. Leading economic analysts see a solution to the problem. Human sacrifice.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Economic Sacrifice

ERIC: I’m speaking with noted economist, George Enright, who is now trapped inside the giant Wicker Man. Current trends indicate, he will soon be set on fire. Leading cultists feel this will have a positive effect on crops and the weather.

THE CULTISTS dance in a frenzy.

ERIC: George Enright. What is your analysis of the current situation?

ENRIGHT: I don’t want to die!

ERIC: Clearly not.

ENRIGHT: This wasn’t supposed to happen.

ERIC: How did it?

ENRIGHT: Frum! That Chicago School BLEEP. He betrayed me! He was sleeping with my wife.

ERIC: Ah. May I safely assume you felt that John Frum’s immolation inside this effigy would better stimulate the current economy? Had that, in fact, been your plan?

ENRIGHT: Yes, exactly. I mean no! It wasn’t my plan! No!

ERIC: Whose plan was it?

ENRIGHT: The Money God.

ERIC: I see. The Money God.


ERIC: It was his plan?


ERIC: He told you to build the Wicker Man? And place John Frum inside this effigy?

ENRIGHT: That’s what the Money God told me!

ERIC: It’s a bold exciting plan. You brought this proposal to the cultists?


ERIC: Clearly, your – sorry—the Money God’s proposal was altered without your knowledge. How …

ENRIGHT: That’s not all the Money god told me, you fool. He… he also said, uh, beware, your crops will fail if you kill me. He said that too and, uh. George Enright is the …

ENRIGHT realizes he’s making the sale to the wrong person. Starts shouting to the mob of CULTISTS.

ENRIGHT:(shouting) George Enright is the prophet of the Money God! Don’t kill George Enright! Your crops will fail! The breasts of your women will not give milk.

ERIC: A compelling argument. But what of the national rail system?

He starts to walk away. The hand-held steadicam tracks with him.

ENRIGHT: And the dragon will eat the sun! And he also said …

ERIC: Final words from George Enright.

ENRIGHT: (pointing at BBC crew) Kill! Kill them!

ERIC: Additional words from George Enright. But words alone …

INSANE CULTISTS rush the news crew. ERIC whips out AK-47, blasts the first wave. They fall back.

ERIC: Aren’t as effective as this AK-47. Also a compelling argument. But how long can this method of pursuasion last? Like food and lithium batteries, bullets are part of a complicated product stream. A stream which has been …

Screams. Crackling fire. (OS)

ENRIGHT: No! Please don’t kill me … please! You can’t!


ENRIGHT: I am… I am the prophet of the Money God!

ERIC: Keep moving. Steadily. Don’t run.

ENRIGHT: Please! For your own sake. You will anger the Money God!

He screams.

ENRIGHT: It isn’t me you want! Kill those guys from the BBC!


ENRIGHT: Kill! Obey the money God! He will protect you from their firestick!

ERIC: He lies!

ENRIGHT: Kill! I am the prophet of the Money God!

ERIC: The Money God is a false god! And you are a false prophet!

ENRIGHT: Kill him!

ERIC: There is no Money God. There is only the All-Seeing Eye!

ENRIGHT: Blasphemer! Obey the Money God!

ERIC: No! Obey the eye! Bow before the eye! (show him the eye)

The frame changes, as if cameraman has lifeted up camera so the CULTISTS can see it. The CULTISTS move forward, hesitate.

ERIC: Behold! The Eye! The one true God!

They fall to their knees.

ENRIGHT: No! No! Oh God get me out of here! (screams)

Crackling fire, the Wicker Man collapsing in on itself. The CULTISTS stand, confused. Begin slowly advancing on the news crew.

ERIC: Blessings to you all, good people. Blessings in the name of the Eye!

CULTISTS: Blessings in the name of the Eye!

ERIC: (whispering to cameraman) Keep backing up. (shouting to mob) No, not you. I didn’t say get up. Stay where you are. Don’t look at the Eye. For it is the Eye that looks at you.

CULTISTS: It is the Eye that looks at us.

ERIC: If you look at it the blessings won’t work.

CULTISTS: If we look at it the blessings won’t work.

ERIC: Splendid. Well, we go to spread the good news of the eye.

CULTISTS: The good news of the eye.

ERIC: And will someday return. With cargo. And solid gold lollipops!

CULTISTS: Solid gold lollipops!

ERIC: Well. Cheers.


ERIC: I think we can run now.

They start running.

ERIC: A surprising development from the former township of Cliffton Wells. As you can see, the current state of affairs is unpredictable.