You know what that means. I’ve been reading Jonah Goldberg again. Here we go, pondering the notion that a few of these teabag types might be right-wing extremists of a certain sort.
I wrote a book on fascism which tried to show that what everybody knows isn’t necessarily true. The idea that soldiers will return from war and become right-wing militants? Well, that has its roots in Fascist Italy, where veterans returned as black-shirted shock troops of “Il Duce,” Benito Mussolini. The only problem with this theory is that what they clamored for was socialism — the socialism of the trenches! — and their leader had earned the title “Il Duce” as the leader of the Socialist Party.
Now obviously ‘socialism of the trenches’ means something like: recover that feeling of unity and common cause we had, in the immediate aftermath of that initial irruption of chaos and disaster, when everyone set aside petty class differences and stood, shoulder to shoulder, against a perceived external enemy.
And it’s obvious that nothing like that could be spiritually akin to – oh, say, Glenn Beck’s 9/12 project. Because Glenn Beck isn’t in favor of socialism.
Let’s talk Texas secession. Like I said, Belle bought me this stack of old paperbacks – because she loves me – and the whole mouldering lot are turning out to be weirdly prescient. First the beaver management, now this.
You can read the back, too.
I’ll just give you a sample from Chapter 5. A bit of background. A flying saucer full of beautiful female aliens has landed, wiping out Alexandria, VA by accident. But they are apparently friendly. These seductive Lyru are welcomed in ‘Biddyland’, as the Texans now refer to North America outside of Texas. (They haven’t actually seceded, but they’ve basically severed social and cultural contact with the rest of the country. Oh, and you have to be able to rope a steer in order to vote. It’s sort of Cowship Troopers, that way.) But all is not well …
David Hull let Lily, the mare, clop along the composition paving with a slack rein while he listened to the radio that was build into his saddle. Crazy Texans, he thought fondly. They’d probably have rigged up a saddle-video, too, if they could think of a way to watch it at a gallop.
Dave had got the news about the Lyru at the office, and now he was listening to a commentary by Panhandle Pete, whom the announced introduced as Texas’ Own Analyst of Current Events.
“Evenin’, Texans,” Pete drawled. “The latest reports of the goin’s-on in Biddyland are disquietin’, to say the least.
“These here Lyru critters, who wiped out two thousand people quicker’n you or me could even draw a bead on a rattler, have now been given the run of the range, so to speak, despite the valiant objections of our own Lone Star congressmen. No good can come of this indecent haste in admitting strangers to the very bosom of our lives.
These gals’ve left plenty of questions unanswered. You probably noticed how they squirmed and stammered when they was asked about their menfolk. What kind of men have they got, I ask you, who’d let women do their dangerous scouting work for them? Or maybe they haven’t got any menfolk – maybe they only seem to be women. But how can we tell if we take them at their word for everything and let ourselves be hoodwinked by a pretty face and a show of leg?
“Fellow Texans, let’s not join the idiot parade. I say to you that these Lyru people have a lot more to make clear before we give them the run of our range – before we let them into Texas to perpetuate [sic] whatever nefarious schemes may be bubblin’ in the black cauldron of a space ship hangin’ up there in the sky …”
Panhandle Pete, in his melodramatic, over-folksy way, voiced the prevailing mood of most of Texas, Dave knew. And more than mere anti-feminism was behind it. It was a natural caution that seemed to be lacking in the love-thy-neighbor philosophy of the females who were running things from Washington.
Dave reined up at a hitching post outside a white frame house set back from the road behind a neat garden. He looked again at the number to be sure he had the right house. He’d expected something more rough-hewn, frontier style, from Frank Hammond, the ex-Pennsylvanian gone Texan.
Frank met him at the porch, holding two highball glasses.
“Time for a drink before dinner,” he said. “Might as well sit out here. Nice evening.”
“Perfect,” Dave agreed, relaxing in a deep chair and looking at the long shadows from the setting sun. “Didn’t think I’d find you in such a pretty place, Frank. Guess I expected more of a bunkhouse atmosphere.”
Frank laughed. “Hardly. Ann would never approve.”
“My wife, She’s responsible for the garden, and for the roast pork you’ll be putting away shortly.”
“I didn’t know you were married. I don’t know why -”
“I know why,” Frank said, “You robably thought I fled to Texas to get away from women. That’s only partly true. There are women and women, and the ones I can do without are the domineering, brassy, this-is-the-way-I-run-your-life kind. Ann’s the other kind, as you’ll see. A man’s woman. And when it comes to her I’m no mysogynist, believe me.”
“Well, sure,” Dave said, “but I supposed women were pretty scarce in Texas as a result of the great migration.”
“It wasn’t quite so great as all that – in its effects, at least” …
[I’ll just skip ahead a couple paragraphs. I’m getting tired of typing.]
“I heard you talking about me behind my back,” she said. “so I spunkily made myself a drink along with refreshers for the fearsome menfolk.”
“Forward woman,” Frank smiled. “Next you’ll be wanting to vote.”
She sat down next to her husband and made a face at him.
“Just so you’re not misled, Dave,” Ann said. “women do vote without hindrance in this county. We’re not entirely medieval here. Furthermore, when I was a girl back home I could rope and brand a steer on Daddy’s ranch long before the big male egos made that a requirement for registration.”
Well, to make a long story short, Sam Buckskin – a Walker, Texas Ranger-type – and his followers save America from the Lyru. It turns out that there are ugly old women aliens – the Crones – holding the beautiful young ones as slaves. The Texans free them. And, in the last chapter, it looks like a male Texan might actually be elected President in the year 2000!
There. That was much better than complaining about the rest of Jonah Goldberg’s column.
(The Girls From Planet 5 was apparently published in 1955, in case you are wondering. My reprint is from 1967.)