By Edmund L. McKormack
Episode 1: The Misfortunes of War
The short, moderately disheveled man that exited Wallcreek Township’s concrete and glass bastion of delusion evoked many adjectives from the few people that actually took notice of him: owlish, dogmatic, pedantic and unworldly to name a few. Pensively staring at the impressive edifice that served as the operational base of Wallcreek’s most militantly leftwing newspaper; Theodore Stephanolus pondered how much longer he would be employed as a research assistant at the Wallcreek Clarion. Eventually, he turned from the carefully crafted facade and resumed his dejected shuffle toward the corner bus stop.
The afternoon would have been taxing for a political moderate. For a committed, fanatical Progressive; the degeneration of a discussion about the failure of the President’s war policies had become positively vitriolic.
There were Russian encroachments into Crimea and the Ukraine. There were terrorist massacres in Paris that left the alleged leader of the Free World wringing his hands and blathering about a non-existent community of 21st Century Nations — as ISIL and Boko Haram rampaged in the Middle East and Africa. Even more embarrassing was watching the American President hold forth about the severe rebuke he was giving ISIL terrorists by attending a Climate Change social gathering in Paris (even as the terrorists plotted an attack on American soil).
But this was not the war that shortened the tempers and troubled the sleep of the Clarion’s research committee. It was sit-reps regarding the War on Women that drove their pharmacy co-pays for Celexa and Xanax straight through the roof. The unpalatable truth was some of their following were beginning to see through the happy talk and actually stray from the carefully constructed intellectual pens Progressive strategists like Theodore fabricated for them. And this was simply intolerable.
Pulling his ivy cap lower on his head, Theodore thought back to the onset of the decay: to the whiny Congressional testimony of Georgetown Law Students that found the expense of birth control pills so onerous that working taxpayers (mostly unable to afford tuition at a community college; much less at Georgetown University) should be forced to fund the contraceptives for their sexual escapades through Federal taxation. But the insurrection became horrifying with the revelations about trafficking in fetal body parts by Planned Parenthood. How outraged he had been to hear members of the Progressive Stable question the insipid denials of the president of Planned Parenthood. Even a few weeks later, when they admitted taking money for harvested parts of babies bodies, he found it appalling that his carefully orchestrated lies were not being believed. Strategists like Theodore spent untold hours attempting to assure the Faithful was a choice, a woman’s health issue, a civil liberties issue, — anything except what it really was: a baby. No raising the issue of the morality of killing unborn babies because they were an inconvenience and selling their body parts for profit could in no wise go unchallenged!
Shivering as the wind chilled everyone in line at the bus stop, Theodore admitted he was glad he lived with his sister, Manfreida, the Femme Supremacist. Pooling their salaries allowed them to just make ends meet and freed time for their never ending fight against Truth, Justice, and the American Way. As things stood, it was taking more and more a toll on his social skills to convince the Progressive Faithful to believe in the hot air and empty promises he and his colleagues passed out like balloons at a carnival regarding life in the coming Socialist Utopia.
Shivering as a frigid gust blew under his coat collar, he abandoned himself to self-pity: ‘At least Superman had a city of phone booths available in which to change,’ Grumbling mentally, Theodore continued, ‘In this New Age of cell phones and internet, I’m forced to use public restroom stalls, and the back-sides of garbage dumpsters.’
Admittedly, it was tough constantly waiting for the moment to jump into a restroom and emerge seconds later in his hoody-footy hero ensemble, which Manfreida once told him (in the midst of a quarrel) made him look like Ralphie in a Christmas Story. Still, when he emerged as Progressive Man, when he heard the crowd’s exclamations; the rush was beyond words:
Up in the Sky!
It’s a moth!
It’s a drone!
Its PROGRESSIVE MAN!
He’s everywhere! He’s everywhere!
Difficult and tiring as the afternoon had been, he’d promised Manfreida he would attend her lecture at the local high school Girl’s Hygiene Class. He had, after all, compiled most of the data for her lecture notes; exhausting his authoritative sources on the Internet. Indeed, after speed-reading two complete articles on Mother Jones website and five more on Huffington Post, he’d spent several hours surfing Wikipedia looking for data.
‘No,’ he thought despairingly, shivering as he waited for the typically late bus, ‘I haven’t a choice. I have to go.”
Manfreida was concluding her prepared remarks as he entered the lecture hall. As Theodore finally located a seat at the back of the gymnasium near the boys restroom entrance, she fielded her first question.
Student: “Ms. Manfreida, I’m somewhat confused. My mother served as a nurse in Vietnam and she told me some things about war. ISIL in Libya, Boko Haram in Africa, the terrorists in Paris and stoning for adultery in Iran sound much more like a war on women to me than the whiny complaints you outlined in your lecture”.
Manfreida: “Your problem, young lady, is you listen to too much Fox News. All those stories are irrelevant. They are at worst Neocon distortions of the inexplicable actions of a few extremists.”
Theodore’s indignation rose as he thought, ‘What’s the matter with students these days. Have they no respect for those of us who know what’s best for everyone else?’
Student: “Actually, I read about this in the BBC. And more to point, while I have heard opinions I did not agree with, I have never heard an outright lie stated as fact on Fox News; which is something I cannot say for MSNBC and NBC.”
‘You’re just too inexperienced to recognize the brilliance of what we’re advocating,’ Theodore thought as his sister began speaking.
Manfreida: “You just don’t recognize the lies. Of course Fox News lies. Debby Wasserman Schultz says so. Nancy Pelosi says so. Harry Reid says so. Everyone agrees Fox News lies, except a few Right-Wing extremists and chauvinist males.”
Student: “Can you tell me one specific lie asserted as fact from Fox News?”
Manfreida: “I don’t watch Fox News. I don’t have to drink poison to know its poison. And for all your irrelevant pedantry about ISIS and Boko Haram; I assure you the war on women in America is real!”
Student: “Ms. Manfreida, pedantry is defined as excessive concern with minor details and rules. Kidnapping, raping and slaughtering women and their children do not sound to me like minor details if you are lecturing about a war on women. I’m sorry, but the only war on women I see in America is being perpetrated by the President’s policies. His foreign policy of tuck your tail between your legs and run whenever an adversary yells boo will inevitably precipitate a war. When their children and grandchildren begin arriving home in aluminum caskets, having been drafted and sent to fight because of the policy failures of this President. Then they will see a real war on women and it will be too late.”
Manfreida: “There absolutely is a war on women! Look how hard they are trying to keep Hillary from being president, just because she’s a woman. All those allegations about favors for money, her email server, her activities surrounding Benghazi are just lies concocted by Fox News to prevent her from becoming America’s first female president!”
Student: “While I believe being a woman should not automatically disqualify someone from the presidency, I also believe it does not automatically qualify them for it. Especially if there are questions of honesty and integrity involved.”
At this blatant example of failure to dazzle a student with her brilliance, Manfreida’s chipmunk cheeks flushed and her eyes bugged nearly out of their orbits -- and she began to twitch. Suddenly, she fell to the floor, foam dripping from her mouth. As she convulsed rhythmically behind the podium, Theodore ran into the boy’s restroom and ducked into a commode stall.
Moments later, emerging in his hoody-footy hero costume as PROGRESSIVE MAN, he rushed to the gymnasium entrance and began yelling for the EMTs to hurry; for like most Progressives, talk was always the preferred mode of action. A short time later, the EMTs put Manfreida on a gurney and began rolling it from the gymnasium. As they neared the exit, she roused briefly. Flailing her arms about and shouting “Fox News Lies! Fox News Lies!” she was faintly reminiscent of Charlton Heston shouting about Soylent Green at the close of the movie. Riding with his sister in the ambulance, they were almost at the hospital when Theodore realized he had a serious problem. He had to return to the boy’s restroom to retrieve his clothes — and he had no bus fare. He would have to walk through Wallcreek in his hoody-footy hero costume. It was shaping up to be a long night for the forces of Revolutionary Progressivism.
Join us next month for another episode of the Real Great Adventures of Theodore Terrific with Mighty Manfreida the Femme Supremacist as they fight their never-ending battle against Truth, Justice, and the American Capitalist Way.
The Real Great Adventures of Theodore Terrific and Mighty Manfreida, the Femme Supremacist
Episode 2: Manfreida’s Crusade at Wallcreek High
By Edwin L. McCormack
Where are you, Theodore? You promised to be here. So help me, no matter how much like a bunny you look in that stupid hoody-footy hero costume, I swear I’ll punch you in the nose if you don’t get here soon! The thought sped from the platform of her limbic system along the neural tracks and synapses as Mighty Manfreida brought her prepared remarks to a close and paused momentarily before inviting questions.
As she was about to select from the two or three elevated hands that indicated questions; Theodore hastened into the room. Searching for a seat, he took the only chair available, by the entrance of the Boys restroom. Still, Manfreida was gratified by his arrival, despite the fact he looked somewhat like a forlorn restroom attendant at a public bathhouse. Returning to the situation at hand, she picked a student who rose to ask articulate her question.
“Ms. Manfreida . . .”
That’s a nice start, Manfreida thought, shows respect for those of us who know far better what is best for everyone.
STUDENT: “Ms. Manfreida, ISIS is slaughtering women and children in Syria and sells captured Yazidi women as sex slaves. Boko Haram straps remotely detonated explosives onto women and children and blows them up in crowded market places in Africa. Iran hangs women for allegations of adultery. My grandmother was a nurse at a field hospital in Vietnam and she told me a bit about war. These acts sound far more like a war on women then the whiny complaints you outlined in your lecture.”
MANFREIDA: “Young Lady, women are persecuted everyday in America.” How dare this denizen of Generation Selfie challenge me like this, Manfreida thought. "There is a glass ceiling imposed over women in America by a vast male conspiracy depriving us of our entitled status just because we are women. Your problem is you’re listening to Fox News. Their stories are mostly lies, or at worst gross distortions of the tragic and inexplicable actions of a few misguided extremists. Have you no respect for those of us more highly educated and therefore better equipped to know what’s best for everybody than you?”
STUDENT: “Actually, I read this on the BBC World Service. But, more to the point, while I occasionally listen to Fox News; I have never heard them assert a lie as truth — something I cannot say for MSNBC and NBC. I’ve heard opinions I do not agree with, but they’re clearly opinions.”
MANFREIDA: “You are just too inexperienced to recognize the lies. When you’ve lived long enough you’ll grasp the brilliance of what we’re advocating here. Of course Fox News lies. Nancy Pelosi says so. Debby Wasserman Schultz says so. Hillary Clinton says so. Everyone says so except a few Right- Wing neocons and male chauvinist extremists..”
STUDENT: “Would you tell me one specific lie asserted as fact by Fox News?”
MANFREIDA: “I don’t watch Fox News. I don’t have to drink poison to know its poison.” Manfreida was now unable to keep the irritation out of her voice. “Fox News lies! Everyone knows it, just as every educated person knows the war on women is real! And all your pedantry about ISIS and Boko Haram doesn’t change it one bit!”
STUDENT: ”Ms. Manfreida, pedantry is defined as excessive concern with minor details and rules. Kidnapping, raping and slaughtering women and their children do not sound like minor details if you’re lecturing about a war on women. The only war on women I see in America is the one waged on them by radical Left. The Progressive doctrine of tuck your tail between your legs and run whenever an adversary yells boo is going to precipitate a war. When their children and grandchildren are drafted to fight the conflicts their policies wrought — when their children and grandchildren begin returning to them in flag-draped aluminum caskets; then America will see what a real war on women involves — when it’s too late.”
At this, Manfreida’s eyes nearly popped out of their orbits as her face began to twitch and she suddenly fell to the floor. Foam dripped from her mouth as she convulsed rhythmically behind the podium. In all the commotion, Theodore ducked into the restroom, emerging from a commode stall moments later as PROGRESSIVE MAN and rushed headlong toward the gymnasium entrance.
When the ambulance arrived, he vociferously scolded the EMTs for being slow to respond, for fuss and clamor is always the preferred course of action among radical progressives.
Putting Manfreida on the gurney, the EMTs began rolling her from the gymnasium. As they neared the exit, she roused; flailing her arms about and screaming “FOX NEWS LIES! FOX NEWS LIES!”— Faintly reminiscent of Charlton Heston shouting about Soylent Green at the close of the movie.
Exiting the ambulance as the EMTs wheeled Manfreida into the Emergency Room, Theodore realized he had a problem. He had no bus fare and his street clothes were in a stall of the Boys restroom at Wallcreek High Gymnasium. It was destined to be a long night for the Heroic Forces of Revolutionary Progressivism in Wallcreek.
Join us again next month as Theodore Terrific and Mighty Manfreida the Femme Supremacist wage their never-ending crusade against Truth, Justice, and the American Way.