Academic journal article et Cetera

Adventures in the Spin Trade

Academic journal article et Cetera

Adventures in the Spin Trade

Article excerpt

IN THE 23RD CENTURY, what had once been called The State was now called The Corporation, a megalithic organization that enveloped much of Earth's North America and spread far into Space. In the previous century, power brokers had stopped using weapons of hyperdestruction because such weapons often destroyed the very assets those rapacious rulers sought to acquire. Now, the weapon of choice was the hostile takeover, which required persuading, bullying, and manipulating the stockholders. Thus, the real power was in the hands of those who controlled words.

Dictator Mack E. O'Wally had long admired and tried to emulate such notable 20th Century spin doctors as Sir Winsome Churlish, F. J. Kennybunk, Clint Billious, and Gorgeous Brush. He also tried to avoid the mistakes of the logical Galled Bore and the plain-speaking Blond RazeCain. O'Wally's bibles were Adventures in the Spin Trade by Dylan Thomodopolus and Distortions for Dummies: How to Make Your Lies Convincing by Believing Them Yourself.

O'Wally had anxiously prepared for the referendum that would decide his fate in balloting conducted on the InterPlaNet. If he won, his hostile takeover of EuroEngland would succeed. He would then own most of Earth's northern hemisphere and twice his current assets in Space. If he lost, he'd lose everything. Aboard his Executive Space Ship My Air Force One, O'Wally had moved into an escape pod in case the election went sour. He didn't altogether trust the crooks at Panhandle Pollsters he'd hired to hack in and give him extra votes if he needed them.

Some historians say that a speech by the famous clone Pang Lawws had turned voters against O'Wally's plan and thus caused his downfall. Others say differently, and deny that O'Wally had a downfall at all.

The record does throw some light on this much disputed historical controversy.

O'Wally had given long-standing orders which banned holocasting of speeches by the opposition. Soon, he would give his own key speech. Then the electronic voting would begin. Meanwhile, he told central control to rerun his political speeches on all channels, including the shopping networks and virtual porn channels. Then he swallowed a short-term sleeping pill and took a nap.

Dolly Darling, the genius Clonemaster who had created the clone Pang Lawws, had become deeply involved in the people's struggle for freedom and democracy. She did not seek power, but she loved Pang and abhorred a system which oppressed almost everyone and often terminated clones.

While O'Wally napped, Dolly and the beautiful sisters Reggie and Veggie backed into holocaster control and blocked the signal carrying his speeches. Throughout Corporation territory, holocasters blanked out. As she worked, Dolly felt distracted by guilt: Pang thought he was in love with the Princess Graceful. But - and for this Dolly felt responsible - the Princess Graceful did not exist.

When holocasters shut down, the ensuing silence gave much of the population a sense of dread and foreboding. They were not used to such an absence of overpowering imaging, noise, and sensations. This surreal hiatus went on and on.

People looked at one another in confusion. Some said it was the end of the universe. Others said, no, it was Armageddon. Technicians at central control struggled without success to restore the signal of an O'Wally speech rerun. An executive who'd once opposed setting up centralized control began to crow I told you so. Several executives resigned. One committed suicide by jumping into an airlock and decompressing.

After a time, Dolly hacked in picture and sound of the beautiful Reggie, who briefly introduced the clone Pang Lawws, alternative candidate for Corporation CEO. Dolly omitted special effects. Pang spoke live, not using a holoprompter. Without the usual electronic enhancements, his image seemed ghostly and far away.

Perhaps you know me because of my involvement with bringing back pure baseball. …

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