The “No” Machine
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, Mrs. Jack saw an internet ad for a combination radio/flashlight which was powered by a hand-crank generator. Having been through the post-hurricane power outage, my own home version of Mrs. Gadget thought it would be good to have such a contraption for the next time. Being further lured by the “free” price tag and S&H of only $5.95, my dear wife promptly placed “our” order, of course, supplying the asked for personal information required for this “amazing” “free” offer. In a few weeks the low-tech piece of Chinese technology arrived at our post office—we are not provided with front door delivery by the Postal Service – which is some four miles away, thus adding the cost of last summer’s expensive gasoline to the “free” price. Check the profits of Exxon/Mobil to see who else earned some money on the deal.
Upon getting said package home, my tech-savvy wife tore into the box expecting more than she found. In fairness, the hand crank worked and the flashlight worked, but the radio portion of the contraption did not allow easy tuning across the dial in search of a station you might choose to listen to. And since the radio was the most useful part of the package after the power is out and the batteries run out, Mrs. Jack deemed the whole experience to be a mistake and returned the thing to its box, hiding it away from my prying eyes and “forgetting” to mention any of it to me. We have been together for almost 35 years now, and this behavior is something I have learned to live with and have come to find charming. You know how easy we liberals are.
Shortly after the election of Barack Obama, Mrs. Jack began getting annoying phone calls from people representing Newt Gingrich, asking her to participate in surveys, and of course to send money to his “righteous” cause of fighting the evil Barack Obama. We were both surprised and curious as to how Mrs. Jack — an Obama delegate at our County Democratic Convention last summer — had somehow made it onto Newt Gingrich’s list. While I took a certain perverted pleasure in the fact that they were wasting both money and volunteer time on a Democrat, Mrs. Jack was not amused. After several interruptions of both dinner and her “shows,” Mrs. Jack finally erupted in one of her rare screaming rants at some poor woman who actually thought she was doing something good in working for Newt Gingrich. Well, Mrs. Jack quickly disabused her of the notion that our phone number was in any way anything but a “wrong number” for anyone pushing a right-wing agenda or politician.
It took a few more such incidents for the Gingrich people to stop calling, but somehow other right-wing folks who are pushing their “no” agenda got hold of our phone number and began calling Mrs. Jack at all hours of the day. The barrage was unrelenting, and no matter how much she protested her innocence of any right-wing sympathies, they just kept on calling. And then the mail started. Once again, Newt Gingrich’s group led the way, stuffing our mailbox full of anti-Obama propaganda, and of course asking for money to help their “worthy” cause. Now, I want to be clear that all of this was before Obama even took office. I know it’s naughty of me, but I kept smiling my wicked smile as I tried to smooth Mrs. Jack’s considerably ruffled feathers by pointing out how much they were wasting on glossy mail-outs and postage in the ridiculous assumption that because we lived in Texas, we must be supporters of their agenda.
Then other right-wing advocates joined the junk-bombing of our mailbox including a magazine called “Newsmax” which seems dedicated absolutely to the undermining of our President on every issue both governmental and personal, real and imagined. At this point Mrs. Jack’s feathers absolutely refused to lay down as she became very difficult to live with. I guess the people over at Newsmax thought they were doing a good job of stirring up what they thought was an easily-led country woman in Texas and bringing her to their aid. Instead they unleashed the beast in a very peace-loving woman who is adverse to even killing a rodent, and don’t get her started on hunting and gun issues – which they did.
The whole thing begged the question in my mind: Where did these crazies get our name and address? In a fit of rage, Mrs. Jack picked up the phone and called the folks over at Newsmax to make them stop sending the magazine to us, telling them that she hadn’t ordered it. They informed her that it was a complimentary gift for her ordering of the radio. Oh, man! Let the outrage begin! What had been smoldering coals of resentment soon erupted into a fire that threatened to burn our double-wide to the ground. Not only did the “fine” folks over at Newsmax continue sending their expensive glossy monthly to Mrs. Jack, the phone calls started all over again.
Finally, fearing for her blood pressure, I decided that I had to come up with some way to calm my dear wife down. She no longer merely disliked all things and people Republican, she was hellbent on personally seeing to it that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, were “duly punished” for their wrongdoing over the past eight years. I believe that despite her anti-capital-punishment mentality, she was ready to go to the max to rid the world of all the evil Republicans that exist thereon, and Guantanamo looks like a cakewalk in comparison to her plans. So I thumbed through the most recent issue of Newsmax, March 2009, which claims to be “independent” and “American” – no kidding, it says so right on the cover. I guess it is the magazine of “fair and balanced” like over at FOX NEWS. What I found that interested me most were the advertisers who pay to bring this unwanted free publication to my home once a month. I explained to Mrs. Jack that the best way to fight back was taught to us by the Religious Right some years ago when they began boycotting companies that supported “liberal agendas,” especially ones involving sexual issues.
So who leads the list of advertisers I found there? Why it’s MaxODerm. You know, the over-the-counter male enhancement product. Why is it that so many conservatives are sooooooo interested in male enhancement products that promise a cure for erectile dysfunction? BECAUSE THEY ARE DIRTY OLD MEN! GROSS! Joining this disgusting little company in pushing right-wing propaganda into the mailboxes of Americans is a vitamin company called LifeSource, that proclaims itself to be “a vitamin company that answers to God in all we do.” I wonder if they offer anything to help dirty old men have sex with their secretaries? Adding to the health concerns of right-wing readers is an ad for Thompson & Co., Inc. which offers premium handmade cigars. I guess they have forgiven the role played by a premium cigar in the Clinton/Lewinsky matter. Once again: GROSS! There was even an article in the pages of Newsmax entitled, “Smokin’ Cigars” which proclaims that cigars “remain one of life’s more affordable small luxuries.” COUGH! COUGH! Could this be the beginning of a conservative push to open up relations with Cuba?
However, the biggest advertiser of all was Newsmax Magazine itself. It had endless ads both large and small – including one of those annoying card-flap inserts for the above-mentioned radio – offering all kinds of “handy” devices to keep you safe from the bad guys if only you would subscribe to the magazine. In fact, almost every ad was directed at older Americans, pushing the “fear agenda” the right-wingers have used so deftly to their electoral advantage over the past eight years. Unfortunately, I was unable to find anything to boycott because they didn’t advertise anything I would waste my money on anyway. So much for the boycott idea.
From cover to cover this publication is chock full of fear-mongering propaganda against the Obama Administration. Yet, it is packaged as a glossy mainstream news mag that might have some semblance of journalistic integrity. Do not be deceived! It is just a printed version of FOX NEWS brought to us by those who hate a functioning government and see it as some sort of threat to their well-being. But if you need a good laugh once a month, check it out. It’s a hilarious, twisted view from the right that you can read in your bathroom. And just in case you run out of TP, it may serve some other purpose!
So as the right wingnuts try to shout us down, and use their overflowing coffers to jam our telephones and mailboxes with their propaganda, remember that we live in the nation of free speech. Thank God for that! And let them whine and rant. Their ridiculous harangues are falling on deaf ears since 80% of the American people have had enough of this kind of politics for the sake of politics. Die-hard Republicans, mostly in the South, seem to like dry cornbread, and because their milk is spilled, all they can do is keep on choking it down.
Now, for a rousing exchange on “free speech,” I direct you to Willpen’s World, where you will see a dear woman much like my own Mrs. Jack, who has had enough. Read the comments, because she sparked quite a back and forth on the issue. Until then, avoid dry cornbread and…
KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!