Friday, September 11, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Materialism is the ideal that there are no ideals

[XINHUA sits on one side of the booth in a pink tuxedo. He looks identical to GARY, even in skin tone and the fold of his eyes, yet he has that vague Asianness about him that white people cannot articulate but makes them think he is secretly a ninja. SAMID sits to his left in a pink tuxedo. The planetoid PLUTO, shrunken to the size of a basketball, levitates near the window part of the booth, wearing a “WHERE IS GARY?” t-shirt. CHESTER A. ARTHUR sits alone on the other side of the booth, wearing his usual finery.]

Former President Arthur: The new president is a pragmatist. Look at that stimulus bill. The man gets things done.

Xinhua: My colon gets things done. Just because you do things doesn’t mean you suddenly stop thinking and having ideals. You do things because you’re working towards some idea.

Pluto: Idealism is bound for failure. It deals with what you want rather than what is; it deals with a world that doesn’t exist. Unrealistic nonsense.

Samid: This again. Materialists insult idealism for referring to a world that doesn’t exist, and they have to because their philosophy insults itself by referring to a world that does. Materialism itself is the pettiest idealism: the ideal that there are no ideals. It negates itself even as it insists that we ignore right and wrong, ought and should, let babies starve, the sicker grow weak and wars be fought.

Former President Arthur: Most wars are fought for ideas.

Xinhua: I’m pretty sure wars have been waged for materials. Let me call Africa and get back to you.

Former President Arthur: Only because they had ideas of what to do with those materials.

Samid: Stockpiling disproves that. People build up wealth they have no plans to use.

Xinhua: Because of conscious or unconscious ideas of comfort and security in having those materials. Again, idealism.

Pluto: You realize in arguing for idealism you’ve just said all bank robbers and strip miners are idealists?

Samid: There shouldn’t be a conflict between the two forces. We have ideas about materials. Pragmatism can be put to work for better things, but a world run on it will see high suicide rates. You’ll go insane if all you are is practical.

Pluto: You’ll also eat with greater reliability.

Former President Arthur: Ideals will not feed babies or cure the sick, but they will tell you that you should.

Samid: Without the imaginative compulsion, there is no use for pragmatism, just as there is no use to be effective at anything unless you first admit the appeal of doing it. To pretend that anyone is not made up of some parts pragmatic and some parts idealistic is unpragmatic.

Former President Arthur: If you sincerely believed in the merits of pragmatism, you would not have made your case on such abstract and therefore idealistic grounds. Evidence wins the hearts of a hundred men before one can read the caption.

Samid: You, sir, are a formidable opponent.

Former President Arthur: Thank you, my boy. Now can someone tell me why Gary’s been replaced by a Chinaman?


  1. Superbly witty and entertaining…it seems that the world needs more imposters – I suspect the real Gary is fishing with Putin.

  2. not a good idea to swim with the fish..on another need to write more about adultery..another note you need to take your comments moderation off so i can really let em rip..c'mon you can always delete later..coward..

  3. I would turn off moderation if there was a way to be e-mailed whenever comments appear. I like to be notified so I can read them. There are a lot of posts on this blog and it's impossible to navigate them all searching. Do you know a way?

  4. tit should still send an email does w/me try it


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