deadparrot1308_468x333To mark the 40th anniversary of the formation of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and 20th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s (physical) exit from the White House, our poor players strut and fret and proudly present this topical sketch.

Scene: A conservative pet shop. Present day.

A customer enters the shop with a motionless bird in a cage.

Customer: Hello, I want to register a complaint.

Shop-owner: We’re closing for teatime. Like a tea bag?

Customer: Never mind that. I would like to complain about this bird You sold it to me saying it would parrot a bold fresh slice of the new ideas of the Republican Party and the conservative wave of the future.

Shop-owner: Ah yes, the Limbaugh Lemon. Lovely yellow color, don’t you think? That’s our most conservative model. What’s wrong with it?

Customer: This parrot is dead. It hasn’t had a new idea in decades. It doesn’t move. I don’t think it’s twitched since Barry Goldwater swept the South in 1964.

Shop-owner: No, no, its conservatism is merely resting, waiting for a second breath.

Customer: But it’s not breathing in the least. Look my lad, I know a deceased ideology when I see one, and this one’s dead (takes parrot out of the cage and bangs it stiffly on the counter.) It’s a Whig, a Mugwump, a Free Soiler, a Prohibitionist. Time has passed it by. This parrot is obsolete on this plane of existence.

_19-6-06-parrot.pngShop-owner: No, no no, it’s not dead at all. Conservatism and Republicans in general and this parrot in particular remain vibrant. The recent contest with the old warhorse and the moose woman just took a lot out of it, that’s all. It’s knackered. See this lovely yellow head and red state plumage?

Customer: The plumage doesn’t explain why this conservative parrot is stone cold dead. It has no ideas, no concepts, no threads of contemporary thought, nothing! I expected this bird to do something, but it hasn’t come up with a single decent idea since Ayn Rand did the Shag Nasty with Alan Greenspan! It doesn’t even sing!

Shop-owner: I tell you it’s just resting. I’ll wake it up. Wakey wakey wakey! Time for a town hall meeting on health care! (pause) Tea bagging! (pause) Illegal immigration! (pause) Tax the rich! (pause) Floride in the water supply! (shop owner hits the cage) There! You see? It moved! Conservatism is still alive, and so is your parrot!

Customer: No it isn’t. You banged the cage. It simply fell off the perch. This is rhetorical trickery aided and abetted by Newton’s Third Law of Motion. This is not life.

Shop-owner: (strikes the cage again) Hello, parrot! Glenn Beck! Dittoheads! Weekly Standard! Don’t Tread On Me! Neo-cons! Coultergeist! Another war against the little brown people! (shop owner now bangs the cage violently on the counter).

Customer: That is a dead conservative parrot, my friend.

Shop-owner: No, no, he’s simply stunned!

Customer: Stunned?

Shop-owner: Yes, stunned by recent events.

Customer: You mean Americans rejecting lockstep conservative Republican Party ideology in election after election?

Shop-owner: No, you must have stunned the parrot just before he was about to take wing and elect a Republican majority in Congress in the midterms. The Limbaugh Lemon stuns very easily. Don’t you follow the news?

Customer: Now look here, this feathery ideological tart is definitely deceased. You assured me he was just shagged out following a prolonged squawk over That Man’s election. But this parrot is no more.

Shop-owner: He’s probably pining.

Customer: Pining? For what?

Shop-owner: He’s pining for the Fords of Gerald, and Henry. Remarkable bird isn’t it? Lovely plumage.

Customer: This Republican fowl hasn’t moved an inch in generations. Plumage or no, it has contributed nothing for ages. Look (points to bird’s feet) It’s been nailed in this exact same position and couldn’t move even if were alive.

Shop-owner: It’s pining, I tell you.

Customer: It is not pining! Nor is it opining! Conservatism, the Republican Party and this bloody yellow parrot have passed on! This parrot is no more. Its belief system has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to meet its maker. It is bereft of life. This parrot is stiff. Its metabolic process is now history. Conservatism has kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil and has joined the bloody choir invisible! The Republicans are in wholesale rigor mort! This parrot is an ex-ideology.

Shop-owner: So let’s replace it then.

Customer: (mollified): Now you’re talking sense.

Shop-owner: How about a nice blue dog?

Customer: Does it talk?

Shop-owner: No, but I’ve got a lovely Newt that won’t shut up.

Boyd Lewis

Boyd Lewis

New Orleans family. War baby. Family moved a lot. Secondary and college education in Memphis, TN. Just before 1967 graduation, commissioning and tour of leafy, lovely Vietnam, banged up in auto accident. Decided to go into journalism. Tennessee mountain weekly, small Mississippi daily and nearly three decades in Atlanta. Black and alternative newspapers, freelance photojournalist, public radio news and documentary producer, news writer for CNN. Married Deborah James, followed her to Los Angeles for job. Quit the dismal trade and became middle school English teacher in LA barrio school. Quite happy.

  1. Customer: Wait I have an idea. I’ll keep the parrot and raffle him off for $10 a ticket. I can sell 1000 tickets and make $10,000 less the $100 I paid you for the parrot.

    Shop-owner: What will you do when the winner comes to collect his parrot and complains that he is in fact dead?

    Customer: I will return his money.

    Ain’t capitalism great!

  2. Kudos for advancing from your empty racial polemicizing but I’m wondering how you actually define conservatism (apart from the false plank of racial emnity)? And further how you define the liberal alternative? This parody represents the rejection of an ideology but does not represent an ideology of itself. Or maybe it does?

    Post-modern cultural thought uses irony and iconoclasm as its fundemental means of expression which is why this aesthetic so hollow and devoid of meaning. Post-modernism rejects traditional artistic verities but the rejection of standards is the end in itself. The postmodern orthodoxy is relativism, the rejection of sense and reference in favor of rendering meaning from the arbitrary. “Anything goes,” if you will provided that it goes against established practice.

    Stardards require discipline, heirarchy and structure — the concepts which most repulse you and against which you rebel. I believe your political notions are similarly post-modern in this respect, hence the use of sarcasm and parody. You substitute the artistic expression of your beliefs as the beliefs themselves. You offer nothing as means policy discourse with respect to allocation of scarce resources and the proper role and function of representative government, which ultimately what a reasonable political discussion requires. Hence the discourse is meaningless and lacking value. Just a series of random scribbles, much like a Jackson Pollock painting.

  3. Terri Evans

    Squawk, Squawk, Brenden. Do you need a cracker? Or are you a cracker?

  4. Brenden
    It’s just a harmless parody, mate. All parody is meaningless and lack value as it has since the days of Jonathan Swift. A sense of humor would help your outlook wonderfully well.

  5. Granted it does not contribute to the substantive discourse, but I thought it was all about humor… entitled a “sketch, ” as in comedy sketch. I was entertained. Maybe I wouldn’t chuckle if I identified with the current icons of “conservatism.”

    Does the patch in the photo really exist?

  6. I would imagine “Brenden” lost his sense of humor after your first two racially charged posts to “LIKE THE DEW” with the sub title “A Journal of Southern Culture & Politics”. Like he, most other people from the south are trying to improve and change stereotyping as racist and bigots and uncultured idiots. Then people like you, that don’t embrace your southern heritage, try to make the south seem to be still ignorant in thought and brother hood. When your neighbors in California ask about your back ground do you include being from the south or are you afraid all they will hear is banjo music playing the theme song from “Deliverance”? You mentioned your Father in one of your post as he struggled with background and foresight. Well my Father was “Addicus Finch” and would be 100 years old this month and this week.

  7. Reference to my Father should include he EARNED respect from black and white Americans alike and did not demand it like some do.

  8. I’m just curious if Boyd has any actual, legitimate political beliefs informed by something other than wry sarcasm, baseless insults or gross exaggeration. I haven’t lost my sense of humor as such, but I do feel obliged to refute ignorant polemics, illogic, contradiction and facile ad hominem arguments. Don’t try to suggest that posts like these are all just innocent fun: Your explicit goal here is to declare conservatives as a social enemy informed by ignorance and “Another war against the little brown people!”

    Again, Boyd has no problem calling Conservatives racists because that’s the outraged path to achieve his political end. That this line of argument causes people to irrationally fear each other based solely on skin color does not trouble Boyd. His goal is prove that the American social structure is inherently racist by stoking the sort of paranoia that naturally would lead to racial strife. Boyd accepts the social harm his arguments perpetuate because it advances his goal of up-ending the social order he perceives as unjust. Blood in the streets be damned.

    Initially I offered criticism of such arguments to discover if authors like Boyd here have a alternative point of view to inform my political decisions. I’ve questioned his premises. I would say I’m disappointed but I have indeed discovered something else: that for the most part, all of the political essays on this website are designed solely to foster outrage through emotive arguments against a perceived cultural elite. You define this cultural elite as the unjust wealthy who maintain social castes at the expense of exploitable minorities, merely for the sake of exploiting them.

    I discovered the sense of abandonment and powerlessness that informs your arguments. I understand why you are, above all, afraid: technology rapidly makes job skills obsolete, political corruption is endemic, cultural priorities change along with wasteful international conflict, etc. Responsible citizenship requires study and effort at an unprecedented level, and some of you have been left behind. Many institutions we relied upon to aide us, like the media, merely emote and divide rather than inform — advancing arguments like Boyd’s with which we are now very familiar.

    Unfortunately contributors advancing notions, like Boyd’s, of social plunder should note that such notions are self-defeating. If the social heirarchy is inherently unjust and the citizenry is an exploited victim class: how can it be improved?

    In reading your essays, I think most of the advocacy amounts to investing hope in political leaders to transfer the wealth from the unjust accumulators to the citizen-victims. Such thinking is naive because any political leader you hope for would naturally spring from the unjust cultural elite that enslaves you. Such a leader obviously would transfer wealth only in the interests of the corrupt heirarchy. That is what we’re seeing today, and have experienced for some time.

    I agree with you that the political system is metastatically corrupt and there is cause for despair. So we must limit its influence and the damage it causes by constricting it any way we can. This was the founders’ wisdom in drafting the Constitution, to limit the political elites’ influence in the citizens’ lives. The answer to succeeding in a competitive society is limiting barriers to competition presented by corrupt static elites.

    Now that was pretty funny, huh?

  9. ” Brenden…A sense of humor would help your outlook wonderfully well.”

    yes, but…the hopelessly bigoted writer of this article seems to be lacking in that department (humor) as well. at least brenden knows he’s not funny. but, excuse me. think i’ll go watch some python, or listen to limbaugh. at least they’re entertaining.

  10. Boyd Lewis

    Brenden et al
    For God’s sake, people, it was just a comedy sketch about a parrot.
    Citizens of totalitarian societies aren’t allowed to be funny (satire, parody and sarcasm get you sent to the gulag or the camps). This may explain why there are no comics of note on the conservorepublican side of this society. The emphasis on orthodoxy and uber-kontrol by the Right Wing allies them more with totalitarianism than anything liberals or lefty radicals could ever dream up. Case in point: Dennis Miller. His rants in the 1990s were brilliant gems of leftist anarchy. After 9/11/01, Miller’s humor turned bitter and was put in service to the conservative agenda of George W. Bush and his career went into
    the toilet quicker than a cup of Tidy Bowl. Fox News has tried topical comedy shows but they achieved hilarity only for their feckless ignorance of pop culture and the line between being funny and being mean.
    C Smith opines that I try to hide my southernness out here in lefty, queer, multicultural California. No way, Ho-say. I proudly trot out my previous life in Atlanta, New Orleans and Memphis and make sure these folks know that the best elements of America come from southern roots (literature, neighborliness and the civil rights movement among them). But I don’t gloss over the South’s historic thickets of snakes (most politics, some religion and Establishment Racism). I tell these wild-eyed Californians that the South is just like the rest of the U.S.A., only more so.

  11. Amazing at the characterizations added to my comment but then again I’m not trying to be Furman Bisher. Selah to you Boyd.

  12. Boyd Lewis

    “Then people like you, that don’t embrace your southern heritage, try to make the south seem to be still ignorant in thought and brother hood. When your neighbors in California ask about your back ground do you include being from the south or are you afraid all they will hear is banjo music playing the theme song from “Deliverance”?
    –direct quote, C. Smith.

  13. “For God’s sake, people, it was just a comedy sketch about a parrot.”

    You can hide behind statements like these but “you lie,” Boyd. The commenter accurately points out that you, Boyd, are a racist, of a peculiar, contemporary, politically-biased kind. You’re fundemental belief is that an elite, conservative class of whites runs the world. This is false. If we were to separate blacks from the overall U.S. economy, they would of themselves comprise the seventh largest economy in the world. How did these descendants of slaves obtain such an incredible affluence? Diligence and hard work in a society that had an interest in sharing in their talents and success.

    My particular problem with you, Boyd, is that your willingness to exchange the monumental gains we’ve made in our culture for your narrow political ends. I cite myself as an example. I realized in college the demographic trends in our country and earned a degree in Spanish to become more competitive in the marketplace. I communicate fluently in Spanish and I was rewarded for my efforts. Yet your constant stoking of brown-against-white warfare in this country undermines my efforts, stokes irrational racist fears and commits actual harm to our diverse Americal social fabric. You want the very people I spent great effort and money to share our mutual human experience to rise up in revolution against me because of the color of my (and your) white skin.

    Since Sumpter, integration in this country occurred at the point of rifle. But in the last 30 or 40 years, people like myself have made conscious efforts to leave the old, irrelevant bigotry of the past behind us in the spirit of mutual, uncoerced exchange and improvement. People like you, Boyd, traffic in tired bigotry of 80 or 90 years ago to obtain narrow political advantage. You are scum.

    Please, Boyd, dispense with your, “it’s all just harmless fun” routine. It’s not. You’re trying to destroy this country. Please stop.

  14. “C Smith opines that I try to hide my southernness out here in lefty, queer, multicultural California.”— This was Your deffinition of “neighbors in California”!

  15. Cliff Green

    Brenden: You owe Boyd Lewis an apology for calling him scum. It is fine to disagree with him, but this slur was uncalled for.

  16. Boyd Lewis

    Brenden and C. Smith
    Neither one of you has the slightest idea of what I’m talking about.
    When entering a battle of wits, don’t enter it unarmed.
    Selah, over and out.

  17. Anyone who tries to drive these racial animosities to turn this greatest of all nations against itself to destroy it — a la Slobodan Milocevic — is scum. I make no apologies for stating the truth.

    I’ll match wits with you any day, Boyd. Any effing day!

    Bring it on!

  18. Brenden sorry Boyd used my name in the same sentence with yours. I’m no match for either of you guys. MENSA kick me out just after my altzhiemers diagnosis.

  19. Lee Leslie

    Enjoyed the piece. Am reminded how tired I’ve become of cleaning the droppings off the newspaper. Thinking of getting a cat.

  20. Lee a cat box is ten times worse than a pooped on news paper. I would think you of all people would encourage different points of view to attract more members. What happened here was left over from Boyd’s previous posts and not about this one article. A media type forum should offer all sides of any public question and not try to push one aspect of thought. To do this will limit membership. Lee you and Brenden had an online debate on healthcare that I wish everyone in the USA could read and make a decision for them selves. I see myself as an independent which is really someone that follows the side that makes the best arguments for their side. (weak and wimpy huh) More of us in the USA than I would like to admit. You are correct there should be no name calling or malicious sarcasm.

  21. Brenden, after reading all the way through the comments, I must say I agree with you and feel that the strong undercurrent of the “humor” of the parody is both devisive and insidious by design. I do believe that it’s an attempt to side step the considerable effort of waging our controversies at the level that the love of truth inspires. I appreciate your thoughts and your ability to articulate them in a manner that I think I understand.

  22. Cliff Green

    OK, I challenge all you English-speaking people out there to decipher for me Jack’s sentence: “I do believe that it’s an attempt to side step the considerable effort of waging our controversies at the level that the love of truth inspires.”

  23. Cliff Green

    Brenden: How in God’s name can you equate Boyd Lewis with an international criminal like Slobodan Milocevic? Are you that stupid, or that heartless? Pick one, then live with your choice, for there is no other way out of your intellectually corrupt position.

  24. Similar political strategies. Divide the populace based upon irrational ethnic paranoia. Emote against your enemy’s cultural profile. I’m not saying Boyd is calling for people to run out into the street to kill one another. Still he doesn’t care that his unending brown-versus-white racial grudge mongering plays upon ancient ethnic animosities that, in other times and places, have led to bloodshed. We’ve already spent a lot of blood, treasure and effort to overcome these problems. Let’s not go back.

    Running around calling whole groups of people racists to score political points is a very dangerous game. I don’t know why so many on the left think they can do this so flippantly and then act surprised when the people they accuse — who aren’t racist — become outraged and offended. I further don’t understand why folks on the right put up with this garbage and don’t push back against the ignorant, destructive fools to traffic in this nonsense. Anyway, I’ll do my pushing back here I guess on behalf of my fellow tea drinkers.

    Cliff you’ve repeated the lie that the Tea Party movement are mostly a bunch of racists. I disagree, they’re mostly people tired of the unending corruption emanating from the political class on all sides as the country spirals into an economic abyss. The plundering political class digs that hole faster each day. The people in charge cannot be troubled to pay their taxes. There’s a whole long list of reasons to be very perturbed at the federal gov’t and to worry about the direction it’s heading. It must be stopped. Most folks don’t give a damn about the demographic particulars of the man in charge because we’ve got real problems to deal with, not false racial polemics.

  25. Cliff Green

    Brenden: I have never “flippantly” accused anyone of being a racist. If someone on this site posts a statement that does not apply to you personally, there is no reason to “become outraged and offended.”
    If you read through some of our past exchanges, I believe you will find that we agree on some some important points. In fact, I agree entirely with your statement that “there’ a whole long list of reasons to be very perturbed at the federal government and to worry about the direction it’s headed.”
    We may come at this from somewhat different directions, but that’s what makes the world go ’round.

  26. Quoting you here Cliff [to me], from Boyd’s last (he brings out the best in people. And I see he’s a teacher. Joy!):

    “You’re not a racist. OK. But most of those tea baggers in DC were either racist pigs or too stupid to know that the racist pigs on Fox News and at Premiere Radio Networks were using them to achieve their own fascist ends.”

    Cliff, you and Boyd have no problem throwing out the moniker racist. You have no idea of the damage your doing. Were that you two were the only ones. Many millions of thoughtless morons are similarly waiting upon any pretense to call Barry’s critics racists as a political club, and as an inflammatory non-sequitor to a discussion about public policy. A LOT of people disagree with Barry. So if half the country believes the other half is racist, well, do I need to make an oil painting for you? If you keep throwing logs on this bonfire, eventually we’ll all get nice and toasty. And it’s the damned so-called free thinking liberals advancing this line. If you could spend the irony we’d all be billionaires.

    You want a call someone a racist, fine, but you are obliged to prove your ca

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