In episodes of the old “Star Trek” TV series — the classic first one with Shatner holding in his gut — there were often stories predicated on the idea that, somewhere, there was an alternative universe that was exactly like the one we knew. Except…. everything was the opposite or history ran backwards (Hitler is thwarted by Abraham Lincoln) or some such intergalactic shuttle bilge.
Science fiction… or is it? Consider the portal into Upside Down World that we all walked through just last week.
Last week members of the Congress of the United States decided they should weigh in on the Terri Schiavo case. Oh, I meant, Republican members. Tom “Get the Ethics Heat off my Own Back” DeLay (R-Texas) and Senate Majority Leader Bill “Not All Doctors are Rational” Frist (R-Tenn) said they and other GOP leaders would labor over the weekend to resolve conflicts in legislation they have been navigating on the behalf of the religious right and thus allow federal courts to intervene in the Schiavo case.
If you viewed the Republican Schiavo maneuvers as a kind of Cirque du Constitution, then a contributing clown was Bay Buchanan. She appeared on CNN to loudly defend the destruction of church/state/judicial walls “in the name of saving a human life.” Apparently the papers in her corner of Upside Down World haven’t been covering the GOP instigated bloodbath in Iraq.
But one event doesn’t prove you’ve crossed the threshold into a topsy-turvy other world. Consider shape-shifter and softball pitcher Larry King.
Juror 11 in the Robert Blake trial, who shall receive no free publicity by name here, is a musician and songwriter who recorded a CD about Blake and the trial over the 12 weeks of his good citizen jury duty. Hours after he helped acquit Blake, Juror 11 was on “Larry King Live” touting his CD. Legal commentator Nancy Grace, who works for King’s employer CNN, “excoriated” (said the LA Times) the former juror for “making money off the blood of Bonny Lee Blakely” (said Grace).
Which is different from the way Larry King makes money, how? King has Juror 11 on his show and lets him tout his CD, said arrangement being legal tender in the trading that is “media” in America. King gets his “get” interview, and stays out of range of any errant blood. Will Nancy Grace inveigh against Larry King and his producers? Not in Upside Down World.
And then, giving us more reasons to love them, there was a topsy-turvy event involving Wal-Mart last week. Wal-Mart will pay $11 million dollars in fines for having hired illegal immigrants to clean floors at stores in 21 states. Not here and there, but in 21 states. For this absurdly blatant insult to labor, to the trust of their customers, to law and the general reputation of American retail business… Wal-Mart will pay an amount of money it takes their corporation less than half an hour to earn back.
As Star Trek’s Mr. Spock would say, “Highly illogical, Captain.” But then Spock was a man who could tell when the physical laws of a cosmos had somehow been turned on their head. He was hip anytime his good friend Jim had been replaced with a doppelganger from a parallel world. Or the religious right, or corporate media, or big box store retail. Now…how to remove the aliens from the ship…?
This Week’s “Know Your News” Quiz
1) The Nixon Library will now
(a) make their displays more truthful.
(b) prove they are not “crooks.”
(c) stop bombing Cambodia.
2) The judge in the Jackson trial is
(a) not allowing lunch breaks.
(b) a fan of “Off The Wall.”
(c) suffering chronic nausea.
3) The president of the William Morris Agency
(a) drives a BMW 900 Series that seats 11.
(b) lost two big clients after dissing them.
(c) is actually 40% bionic man.
1) (a) “You can’t kick us around anymore…”
2) (a) “Try eating the defenses arguments…”3) (b) “Is Ovitz available…?”