Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hobgoblins Wanted

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
H.(enry) L.(ouis) Mencken, 1880 - 1956

The U.S. Department of Fear and Emotional Engineering is seeking video presentations from parties interested in serving as the new national or international bogeyman. After the supposed recent death of the last bogeyman, Mr. bin Ladin, it was decided that a fresh face was needed to prevent the public from falling back into complacency.

Video submissions should be no more than three minutes long and provide their own translations if recorded in a foreign language.

A Muslim bogeyman is the preferred model, but all entrants will be considered. Perhaps you might have a gift for presenting yourself as a "Mad Russian",  "Sneaky Jap", "Ruthless Hun" or "Savage Redskin."
Video submissions should avoid the use of obscene or vulgar language since it is desirable that the videos can be broadcast on national news for greatest effect.

If you are an inexperienced bogeyman, it is best to make threats that you can later claim for yourself. An experienced candidate would not make a statement such as, "We're going to blow up the Eiffel Tower." since it would cause a loss of credibility when it didn't happen. It is much better to say something like your organization is going to derail a train, cause a plane to crash, set wildfires, or cause some unspecified bridge to collapse. These things occur all the time, and subsequent to the event you can claim responsibility for your group, thereby gaining valuable credibility.

Be sure to make demands that you know will not be met, such as the U.S. pulling out of Saudi Arabia, Japan or South Korea.

Be certain to have a good costume. If you want to be a Japanese bogeyman, consider dressing as a ninja. An East Indian might consider a turban and a kukri knife as suitable props, whereas a Russian might want to wear a Joe Stalin jacket and speak with a heavy Russian accent. German candidates might consider a Sam Browne belt and jackboots, but the Nazi/Fascist theme should not be overdone since it has been over used as a template for villainy

If you want to use a nickname such as "Carlos the Jackal", it's best to use a name that inspires fear: "Muhammad the Cobra". is better than "Isoroku the Rabbit." A general rule - not ironclad - is that reptiles are better than birds or mammals; "Elmer the Duck" isn't a good selection

Be serious in your presentation. Smiling is reason for disqualification as is an obvious disguise such as nose-glasses. Fake beards are acceptable as long as they look real.

Candidates need not worry about having actual experience. If you are selected, the next oil well disaster, high rise building fire, political assassination, train derailment, boiler explosion, ship sinking, Somali pirate incident, or some such eventuality will be credited to you.

To enter, send your video to Department of Fear and Emotional Engineering C/O conlysullivan@yahoo.com

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