(with apologies to The Onion…)
Due to a tsunami of setbacks in just the last six months, Western Civilization announced last week that it is done trying to maintain any veneer of “culture” on the western world, particularly the United States. With tears in her eyes, a dejected and exhausted Western Civilization stated “At some point, you just have to throw in the towel. I mean, Transformers … twice? And this, after I agreed to look the other way on all those Eddie Murphy movies!”
At a massive press conference held at Hot Pockets Pizza Mini’s Stadium, Western Civilization was joined onstage by Good Taste and Dumbing Down, both of whom appeared haggard despite the refreshment they received from large red plastic glasses of ice-cold Coca Cola. The joint press event had been discussed for months, but it finally came together last week in the hours following the decision to expand the best picture category in the Academy Awards to 10 nominations.
Dumbing Down spoke first, explaining that he was showing solidarity with rivals Good Taste and Western Civilization because attacks on them were causing him to be worked too hard and too often. “The thing that’s different now is that the summer movies are coming out at the same time I’m working on the new fall TV shows. I can’t be everywhere at once!” Dumbing Down explained to reporters, who begged him to talk slower. “I asked for help when I saw that “Year One” and “Bruno” were going to be back to back. They made me handle both of those by myself, on top of my usual chores with reality TV and local news programs.”
Good Taste spoke next, saying that there was no polite word to describe the simultaneous collision of two Republican “family values” politician sex confessions, the publication of a faux Catcher in the Rye and books with content cribbed from Wikipedia, and NBC’s decision to replace scripted drama with Jay Leno for five hours every week. “I mean, there is a term for something like this” explained Good Taste “and it rhymes with ‘muster duck’. But since I’m not a white middle-aged guy standing on a golf course scratching myself as though no one were watching… I won’t use that word.”
At one point Good Taste and Dumbing Down enjoyed a laugh regarding the guest booking for the new Leno show at 10 pm. “See if you can follow me here…” began Dumbing Down, in an ironically smarmy tone of voice. “A talk show needs guests. Guests are people who star on TV shows. By replacing scripted shows with Leno, NBC has just killed at least five TV shows… along with cast members who might have guest starred on Leno.” At this, Good Taste surprised the more sophisticated members of the media by doing a “spit take”. “That dude will be ‘Jay Walking’ all the way to Canada to fill time!” burped Good Taste as he dabbed always refreshing Coca Cola off the face of CN’s Anderson Cooper.
Western Civilization argued that all of this paled in comparison to the decision by the Academy Awards to increase to 10 the number of films that could be nominated for Best Picture. At first the press was confused, because WC was making a real argument and not a fake argument ginned-up to look like something worth watching on a news channel. “No, really, I’m making an actual argument” explained Western Civilization to befuddled reporters. “I’m saying that you can’t fool anybody into thinking awards are for excellence when you allow more room for popular commercial drivel in the nominations. This puts the Academy Award for Best Picture on the same shelf as Motor Trend’s Car of the Year.” Good Taste noted that even the worst car in the world might be used to drive to a video store to rent a good movie produced in another country. Western Civilization was taken with the point and said, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
Much as it was meant to be Western Civilization’s party, many in the media agreed that Dumbing Down stole the show. By moonwalking to the podium, Dumbing Down was able to simultaneously pay homage to Michael Jackson, exploit the media’s appetite for cute video moments, and stay clear of any implications of child molestation. Good Taste had a tougher time with the gathered press after sourly commenting “They’re not moonwalking in Iran right now.”
In the Q and A that followed, there was speculation about life in America following the resignation of Western Civilization. A FOX News representative suggested that bias would return to news coverage, “and it’ll be as plain as the nose on your face.” Good Taste was concerned that without any sense that civilization should strive to maintain some standards, symphony orchestras and operas and dance companies would struggle for support. Only Dumbing Down maintained a positive note throughout the afternoon. “At a time when many Americans are out of work, I’m going to be busier than a—“ It was at this point that Good Taste placed his hand over Dumbing Down’s mouth. Photos of that moment are available on t-shirts at most art museum gift shops.