The H Word

SCENE. Mitch BERG is in his muddy driveway, replacing a taillight on his truck. Avery LIBRELLE, happily inspecting the contents of peoples recycling bins for violations, sees him, and saunters over before BERG notices.


BERG: Uh…hey…

LIBRELLE: I read your bit on Watler Hudson’s hateful speech calling for genocide against trans children.

BERG: If you’re down to nothing but lies, I don’t think we’ve got anything to talk about…

LIBRELLE: Shut up. You are motivated by pure hate.

BERG: Saying those who disagree with you on *policy* issues act out of “hate” is the mark of a dolt.

Don’t flatter yourself. I won’t risk corroding my soul wasting hate on those who disagree with me. I love those who differ from me – including transgender people – as my savior said to love my fellow imperfect human.

Hate? Get over yourself. If you thought it before, you were delusoional. If you believe it now, you’re manipulative, gaslighting human garbage.

LIBRELLE: Oooh. You’re melting down.

BERG: Maybe if I splashed water on you, you would.


One Morning In The Duchey Household

SCENE: It’s an ordinary morning in the home of Edwin DUCHEY, Proprietor at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”.    DuChey was badly scarred by a childhood in which he was routinely bullied – by much younger children.

He’s sitting in the living room, sorting through emails on his phone, as his partner, Stacey Hinton, Executive Director of “Keep All Racists Eternally Nonplussed”, a white progressive support group and, like DuChey, a commited but unremarkable DFL activist, does much the same.

Their daughter, NIGELLA DUCHEY-HINTON, age 6, crawls into the room on all fours.

NIGELLA: Look, meowther and ffffffffather. I’m a kitty cat!

DUCHEY: (Looks at HINTON). What do you think, honey?

HINTON: Nigella? That’s an important decision, but you know I support and love you no matter what.

DUCHEY: (Looks at his phone). Honey? There’s a clinic in Honduras that specializes in species transition…oh, look, it says “for American progressives!”.

HINTON: Perfect!

NIGELLA: You mean puurrrrrr-fect! (NIGELLA crawls from the room)

DUCHEY: Yes, Nigella!! I’ll book a ticket to…uh, what’s the capital of Honduras, hon?

HINTON: Austin.

DUCHEY: I’ll get on it.

(As DUCHEY scrolls around looking for tickets to Austin, Honduras, their oldest son, Bjorn O’BRIEN – Hinton’s 14 year old son from a previous relationship, walks into the room.

O’BRIEN: I am Napoleon Buonaparte!

HINTON: Do tell, Bjorn.

O’BRIEN: It’s not Bjorn. I am Napoleon. My destiny is to conquer the world.

DUCHEY: So you identify as…Napoleon, the president of France in World War 2w?

HINTON: (Sotto Voce). The Civil War, honey.

O’BRIEN: Identifying has nothing to do with it. I am Napoleon. Could you lend me $500 until Jefferson buys Louisiana from me?

HINTON: Give him my MAPE Credit Union card, Ed.

(DUCHEY fishes card out of his fanny pack and gives it to young Bjorn, who doffs his “admiral” hat in a grand imperial salute before leaving the room)

HINTON: He needs a shower.

HINTON: They didn’t take as many of them in 1895, during the Civil War.

HINTON: Oh, right. Of course.

(Sean KASSEBAUM-HINTON, age 10 and Hinton’s son from a “break” in her and DUCHEY’s relationship, enters the room,

SEAN: Mom? Dad? Can I get some running shoes?

DUCHEY: Sure, son.

HINTON: Not your son. Sure, Sean. What’s up?

SEAN: I want to get in shape so that when I’m old enough I can join the Army or the Marines or something.

(HINTON and DUCHEY sit, blanching in poorly-muted horror).

HINTON: The military?

SEAN: Yes, mom. I want to serve this country. And tanks are cool!

(DUCHEY and HINTON exchange glances).

DUCHEY: Your mother and I will need to talk about it, son.

HINTON: Not your son.

SEAN: OK, Mom and Ed. (SEAN leaves the room)


HINTON: What have we done wrong?

DUCHEY: Well, according to Lt. Governor Peggy…:

DUCHEY: …nothing at all.

HINTON: But this is just so wrong. How have we failed him so?

DUCHEY: Maybe I can get him in to see a therapist…

(COLIN MANDELA DuChey, age 17, Edwin’s son from an earlier relationship, walks into the room)

COLIN MANDELA: Hey, I need the keys to the car and some money for liquor; Terry’s older brother is buying. We’re going to LaCrosse to hit on biker chicks.

DUCHEY: I hear you and believe you. (Digs keys and a couple of hundreds from the fanny pack).

COLIN MANDELA: (Grabs the money). No, stupid. Not the Prius. That’s gay. I want the Jeep.

(HINTON digs keys from purse).

COLIN MANDELA: Later, b*t*hes.

HINTON: It’s part of being a good parent.

DUCHEY: The Lieutenant Governor says so.


NYC Was A Gas

SCENE: Mitch BERG Is shopping for a new stove at the appliance store. Focusing on spec sheets, he doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE, who makes a beeline for BERG.


BERG: Oh, whyyyyyhi, there, Avery. What’s…

LIBRELLE: Shut up. The paranoia of you wingnuts is hilarious. Now you’re saying “big bad gummint” is coming for your gas stoves.

BERG: Yeah – I hard NPR saying that, last week.

It’s the latest tempest in a teapot on the internet and in Washington politics – what some have dubbed StoveGate. That is the idea of banning natural gas cooking stoves. The controversy started with a remark from Richard Trumka, a commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission, last month before a consumer advocacy group. He cited health studies about gas stoves.

LIBRELLE: Exactly. Nobody’s coming for your gas stove.

BERG: But they’ve been talking about wanting to ban them for years.

LIBRELLE: (Theatrical sigh). OK, Merg. Are they coming for your gas stove right now?

BERG: You people do this with everything. With CRT in schools…

LIBRELLE: Are they literally teaching your kids a law-school level sociology class, right this second?

BERG: …and bespoke gender…

LIBRELLE: Are they booking your kid for gender reassignment surgery right this second as we speak?

BERG: …or socialism…

LIBRELLE? Are they nationalizing your busienss right now?

BERG: Or gun control.

LIBRELLE: Is there a SWAT team beating down your door, not your neighbor’s door but your front door, looking for your guns right this second?

BERG: …then you call us hysterical.

LIBRELLE: Heeeyyyyy! Hysterical is anti-feminist, and implies that insanity is a feminine trait.

BERG: (Seeing a golden opportunity) Am I telling a woman she’s hysterical right this second?

LIBRELLE: Why, as a matter of fact…

(Gas oven lights off with an exaggerated roar. LIBRELLE walks away by the time the sound dies down).

BERG (to clerk). Did you catch that?

CLERK: I was wondering myself.

BERG: Guess we’ll never know.



SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking around Uptown Minneapolis trying to decide which pop-up brunch joint to go to. Absorbed in thought, he doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE has approached


BERG: Oh,Go…olldarnit, Avery, how have you…

LIBRELLE: Shut up. Why aren’t Republicans condemning Donald Trump’s latest attack on Demoracy?

BERG: Republicans and conservatives are, in droves.

LIBRELLE: But when are they going to condemn it?

BERG: Uh…they re?

LIBRELLE: But when are they going to condemn it?

BERG: While you ponder that, here’s another question: when are Democrats going to condemn their party’s constant erosions of the Constitution and the rule of law? Their efforts to erode Federalism, abolish the electoral college, add states to tack on Democrat Senators, weaponizing the IRS, FBI and DOJ, squat on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 10th and 14th Amendments, circumvent the FIrst Amendment via “public/private partnership” between Big Tech and the Democrat Party, weaponize “Emergency Orders”, pack the SCOTUS?

LIBRELLE. But when are you going to condemn it?

BERG: (Backs slowly away)

LIBRELLE. But when are you going to condemn it?

BERG: (Leaves building)

LIBRELLE. But when are you going to condemn it?

LIBRELLE. But when are you going to condemn it?

LIBRELLE. But when are you going to condemn it?



SCENE: Mitch BERG is out dropping literature for a candidate for the Minnesota state House of Representatives. As he walks toward a door, he encounters Avery LIBRELLE, carrying a shopping bag full of campaign literature.


BERG: Oh, Chriiiiistchurch New Zealand is beautiful this time of year, hey, Avery, how…

LIBRELLE: Shut up. Paul Pelosi was attacked by a MAGAt terrorist who represents the inner id of all Republican scumbags, something that every voter needs to remember as we head towards a midterm election where some polls are showing democracy itself is a threat from slack-jawed, drooling yokels in red caps.

BERG: “Uh, there’s no evidence that DePape was a Republican or conservative in any…”

LIBRELLE: “He was an old man who was attacked, and all you can think is politics?”

BERG: (Glances into LIBRELLE’s shopping bag) Uh, Avery, that’s all Republican literature…

But LIBRELLE is already scampering down the road



SCENE: Mitch BERG has found a cache of hard-to-find chili paste at a Vietnamese grocery store, and is putting a half dozen in his basket. Distracted, he doesn’t see Avery LIBRELLE rounding the corner, wearing an N95 mask.

LIBRELLE: (Muffled behind mask) Mrrg.

BERG: Oh, ffffaaaaercrying out loud, how ya been…

LIBRELLE: (Muffled) Jw Shlll hm nmmr prfmkmmd m kem in crm.

BERG: Jim Shultz, the GOP candidate, has never prosecuted a case in court?


BERG: Huh. OK. Got a list of cases that Keith Ellison has prosecuted?

LIBRELLE: Hm pm Drmk Shmvm m prmm.

BERG: He put Derek Chauvin in prison? Sure – in exactly the same way that I fixed the plumbing in my bathroom. I hired a professional. The prosecuting attorney of record was a private practice lawyer that Ellison hired.

LIBRELLE: Hm rm thm cmmm!

BERG: He ran the case? Sure – the same way the MNDOT Commissioner runs a road construction project. MNDOT guy manages. He doesn’t do the surveying, engineering, or driving the steamrollers. Ellison managed the lawyers. But if he ever went into the courtroom, he was there as an interested spectator.

LIBRELLE: Thm Slmstm gmrm um fm Unumfm stem thmm “hm brm hm ekfpmfmm em m lorr tm br emrm deh”!

BERG: The Solicitor General of the United States said he”brought his experience as a lawyer to bear every day”? Perhaps. But that didn’t make him a prosecuting attorney. He has never sat at the prosecution table in a trial.

Long story short – do you list of cases where Ellison has been an actual lawyer of record for the prosecution in a criminal case?

LIBRELLE: Duh ym hem umm frm Schlmmm?

BERG: Do I have one for Schultz? No – but he’s never claimed to have one, and he’s not the one using his vaaaast courtroom experience to try to separate himself from Schultz.

So – you have that list of cases for which Ellison has been the prosecutor of record?

(Brief pause. Then LIBRELLE’s face goes red, and steam starts shooting from under the N95).

STORE CLERK: Did he…er…sh… (BERG shrugs shoulders) did this person try the chili paste?

BERG: You’d think.


Somewhere In Hollywood, Tomorrow Morning

SCENE: At a studio at “Yoicks”, a new streaming service. On one side of the table, Bernie BRICKMAN, head of development for Yoicks, sits, brow furrowed, reading a script. By his right elbow sits Beyonce CAPRIÉ, his assistant.

Across from him is Ashley KLEIN, age 27, graduate of Oberlin’s screen writing program, veteran of the writer’s room at several streamcasts – Cringey, Can You Hang and Millennial Hellscape Bachelorette.

She’s pitching script for a new show…

BRICKMAN: …Sounds Like A You Problem. Cool.

KLEIN: Gen-Z angst and hopelessness meets post-Covid dystopia in a world shaped by Trump.

BRICKMAN: I like it! Let’s see. So we’ve got…

KLEIN: The show follows the ongoing life, love and adventures of Isabella “Izzy” Cohen, 26 years old, from Darien Connecticut, a graduate of a small liberal arts school who works at a social justice non-profit (CAPRIÉ makes a check on a checklist), and as she navigates the modern world of work, love and society.

BRICKMAN: So the cast of characters…

KLEIN: Yep. Roommate Queen Jenkins, her high school and college classmate, valedictorian at both, majored in Afro-American studies, and is the youngest woman on the partner track at her downtown law firm (CAPRIÉ makes another check on the checklist), who’s navigating a complicated relationship with her boyfriend and supervisor, junior partner Geoffrey Belcher, a former Ivy League lacrosse player – which is complicated by her friendly and occasionally intimate relationship her her and Izzy’s other roommate, Natasha Kim, a genderqueer Asian woman of color (CAPRIÉ makes yet another check on the checklist) who works as chef and caterer, and is a closet alcoholic (CAPRIÉ makes another check).

BRICKMAN: And Izzy’s love interests…this Kyle Dershowitz…?

KLEIN: Kyle is sort of a neurodivergent child-man-child (CAPRIÉ makes another check on the checklist), lost in the world, clinging to Izzy as his only real link to the heterosexuality he is so clearly uncomfortable with (CAPRIÉ makes another check on the checklist). He loses his job as an executive assistant to Izzy’s in the first episode, and has to go to work at Natasha’s catering company, and he thinks he’s good at it, but he is just terrible, and realizing that sends him into spiral.

BRICKMAN: I see Dershowitz as sort of a Woody Allen type character…

KLEIN: Yes, only less masculine, especially after Izzy meets her other boyfriend, Tyrone Marley, a Jamaican-American bicycle messenger and rapper (CAPRIÉ makes another check on the checklist). The love triangle is the big conflic

BRICKMAN: And Queen tells Izzy to follow her truth…?

KLEIN: Yes – but the twist is, Izzy has no idea what her truth, or any truth, is (CAPRIÉ makes another check on the checklist).


KLEIN: Could get dark (CAPRIÉ makes another check on the checklist). .

BRICKMAN: So, Beyonce – where does that leave us?

CAPRÉ: (Adjusts her glasses) It appears it checks every box on the modern young adult streaming dramedy checklist.

BRICKMAN: Awesome! Let’s talk directors!


When I Fight Authority, Authority Always Wins

SCENE: Mitch BERG has just ordered at a food truck, and is waiting for his order to come up. Avery LIBRELLE steps around the corner. BERG visibly ponders abandoning his food and slipping away – but LIBRELLE sees him first.


BERG: Oh, godododoooood golly, Avery, it’s great to see…

LIBRELLE: Shut up. The Supreme Court just took us down the road to authoritarianism.

BERG: Let me guess. The Dobbs case…

LIBRELLE: …was a blow for tyranny.

BERG: Quick question for you, Avery. Six unelected justices, fifty years ago, making up law out of whole cloth…

LIBRELLE: Democracy!

BERG: Thousands of legislators, and 435 Congresspeople, directly representing millions of voters?

LIBRELLE: (Hisses) Tyranny!

BERG: You do realize these series of satirical sketches barely qualifies as parody, anymore, right?


Over And Over

SCENE: New York governor Kathy HOCHUL is meeting with members of the state assembly.

HOCHUL: The Supreme Court just said we can’t tire person‘s right to keep in bear arms to a completely subjective evaluation of their reasons to want to carry one.

We need to devise a less subjective and arbitrary system.

We need ideas. Go!

ASSEMBLY: how about we have state bureaucrats browse through applicants social media records?

HOCHUL: that sounds like it will be a slow, completely subjective and arbitrary bureaucratic nightmare that will wind up as yet another losing court case.

I love it!


Doooooooo Something

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is at the Mississippi Market co-op buying catnip.  His head on a swivel to try to avoid progressive crazies, he’s trying so hard to be careful.  But despite his best efforts, he walks around a corner and practically runs into Avery LIBRELLE.


BERG:  Oh, for fuuuuuu…ll disclosure, Hi, Avery…

LIBRELLE:  Yet another mass shooting.   It’s time for a conversation about guns.

BERG:  Uh, you mean “monologue”, right?

LIBRELLE:  Ha ha.  The problem is, the right never offers any alternatives.  That’s our big frustration.

BERG:  I see your “frustration”, and raise you one; the frustration on the right is that the left keeps saying “the right offers no alternatives”.   Fact is, we offer them constantly. The left refuses to discuss them honestly.

LIBRELLE: Prove it.

BERG: You asked. Here we go.

For starters: enforce existing laws – especially the ones that are objectively proven to work. Putting gun criminals in jail deters more gun crime. Yet here in the Twin Cities, the two big-county prosecutors have *never*, not once, used the sentencing enhancements that statute allows for gun crimes. *Not once*.

Second: Intervene with youth at risk of getting sucked into gangs.

Third: Fire the US Attorneys that refuse to prosecute straw purchasers. There are *many* of them. Chicago’s already bad violence became much worse after the USA for Northern IL publicly announced he didn’t care to prosecute straw buyers. “Entrepreneurs” shortly started making a pile of money buying guns in Wisconsin and Indiana and selling them to bangers. These USAs need to be fired (that’ll take a GOP president, of course).

Fourth: Start talking honestly about empirical evidence. For example – in 1,000 school districts nationwide that *allow* teachers and staff to bring their own firearms to school, strictly concealed, there has never been a shooting on school property during school hours. This responds to the *fact*, determined by the Secret Service after Columbine, that spree killers very intentionally avoid targets where people unknown to them (i.e. not security guards or cops) can resist them; there’s no way to plan around them. The left reacts with horror – “teachers are about *teaching*, not KILLING”, but they miss the point; not a single teacher or principal or janitor needs to carry single gun; the threat alone is the deterrent. The only response is pure emotion – as if living in an oppressive state of panic about potential spree killers is better than the notion that somewhere on campus, someone with a clean criminal record and decades of incident-free carry might have a gun on ’em. That’s just one of many.

Another thing we learned at Columbine – the best thing to do with a spree shooter is to resist, as lethally as possible, immediately. (It doesn’t in fact matter if that resistance comes from a cop, a guard or a good guy with a gun – but SOMEONE has to put a threat of death in the shooter’s face asap). As we saw in Uvalde (and at Parkland before it), not all cops got the word. Waiting around for a spree killer to negotiate doesn’t work. (Salutory fact; when a spree killer has 20 minutes as at Parkland, or an hour as at Uvalde, the AR15 doesn’t matter; someone could kill 20 people in an hour with grandpa’s break-open shotgun, a cowboy six-gun, or a muzzle-loading musket). Anyway – push policies that favor aggressive self-defense and police response.

Fifth: You want a “red flag law”? Do one in good faith, one that involves more than an easily abused ex parte hearing that serves mostly as a medium for ex-spouses’s revenge, one that allows the subject to defend themselves, with results more useful than taking a suicidal or dissociative person’s guns and leaving ’em alone,

Those are things that people on the right *constantlty* reiterate, and have for decades. I’ve been an activist on this issue for almost 30 years, and our line *has not changed*.

And yet people on the left keep repeating “if only the right had any alternatives”.

All due respect, it’s not true, and it’s getting old.

LIBRELLE: (Mock sleeping, Librelle makes an elaborate show of waking up). Like I said, no alternatives.

BERG: Exactly.


An Interview With George Orwell

SCENE: The set of a tony TV talk show; black background, two chairs, end table with two glasses of water. Mitch BERG is interviewing George ORWELL, back from the great beyond.

BERG: Mr. Orwell, one of your great quotes from 1984 was “He who controls the past, controls the future. He who controls the past, controls the present”.

ORWELL: Quite.

BERG: So when you see today’s American Left saying things like this – a woman who specifically called for shutting down schools, even as the science piled up that children and their teachers were safer from a public health perspective in school than at home, that most of Europe recognized this well over a year ago, and that fought hard to stay shut down long after most of society had re-opened, but then went out in public to say…:

ORWELL: Oh, I see things like that, and so much more, and I say to myself “George, you were such an impish young pollyanna back in 1948”.



SCENE: Mitch BERG is standing in line at Kramarczuk’s Deli in Northeast Minneapolis, checking his email on his phone as he waits for an order. Distracted, he doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE walking in the door.


BERG: Aaaaah, sssssschto Novovo, Aver…

LIBRELLE: Why are you here?

BERG: I’ve been coming here for 30-plus years.

LIBRELLE: What? You support the right of a beleaguered people who are surrounded on three sides by an authoritarian regime who has tried to murder them all in the past, who’ve launched yet another campaign of terror, and is carrying on a plucky campaign of resistance against overwhelming odds, tapping immense civil spirit to fight back against an authoritarian invader who vows genocide against them?

BERG: You’re referring to Israel?

LIBRELLE: (Mouth flaps open like a trout)

CLERK: (To BERG). Order up. (Puts wrapped sausage on counter. Turns to LIBRELLE). Er, your order sir…er, ma…(Looks at BERG, in a visible panic. BERG shrugs.)

LIBRELLE: (Mouth continues to flap)

BERG: Have a great day.

(BERG walks out. And SCENE).

Foreign Relations

SCENE: Mitch BERG is at a coffee shop. He orders an egg souffle – the last one in the fridge. As the CASHIER is giving him the egg souffle, Avery LIBRELLE steps, unbeknownst to BERG, up into line behind.


BERG: Oh, fuuuuuuor criying out loud, how ya been…

LIBRELLE: President BIden is showing the value of having a season hand with decades of experience in foreign policy in control.


LIBRELLE: (Ignoring BERG for the moment, speaking to the CASHIER) I’ll have one of the cheese and onion egg souffles).

CASHIER: I’m sorry, ma’…er, si…er (Looks at BERG, terrified. BERG shrugs shoulders) …uh, we are out. We just sold the last one.

LIBRELLE: (Looks at BERG). So you got the last egg souffle.

BERG: Yeah, sorry – they are apparently lo…

LIBRELLE: I wanted an egg souffle.

BERG: I know, right? They’re keto, and they’re…

LIBRELLE: We need to sort this out.

BERG: I mean, I’m sorry. I didn’t plan it this way.

LIBRELLE: We need to reach a negotiated settlement on this impasse.

BERG: I mean, I already have it. I paid for it, I’m about to eat it. What “negotiated settlement” did you have in mind?

LIBRELLE: Someone needs to remove you from this coffee shop, and leave me the egg souffle.

BERG: I find your terms unacceptable.

LIBRELLE: Perhaps you need to just disappear.

BERG: You’ve followed a bag negotiating strategy with an even worse one, one that might be chargeable as assault.

LIBRELLE: It was just a harmless ad lib from my internal monologue.

BERG: Sort of like our putative President’s negotiating style.

LIBRELLE: Hey. That was a Biden joke. And you should talk; your Saint Ronald did the same thing when he told the Soviets to tear down the wall.

BERG: Calling for real estate improvements aren’t the same as asking someone to disappear the leader.

LIBRELLE: What are we going to do about the souffle?

(BERG takes a big bite).

LIBRELLE: Fascist!

BERG: (Muffled, with souffle in his mouth) Naturally.



SCENE: Mitch BERG is having a glass of wine at the bar in Whole Foods in Saint Paujl, after a day of vigorous shopping. Lost in the reverie, he doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE has walked in.


BERG: Oh, shhhhhuuuure enough, it’s Avery. Long time no see. What’s u..

LIBRELLE: Marsha Blackburn asked Ketanji Brown Jackson a stupid, badgering question at her confirmation hearing to be the best Supreme Court justice ever.

BERG: Best?

LIBRELLE: She is the most qualified jurist in history! The Washington Post showed it! Pictures, being science, never lie!

BERG: Well, not so much.

LIBRELLE: I never read National Review.

BERG: Clearly. So why do you think it was a “stupid, badgering question”?

LIBRELLE: It’s purely politicized, and she’ll never have to rule on that. “What’s a woman?” Mitch, please.

BERG: First: SCOTUS hearings, politicized? Bring that up when Robert Bork, Janice Rogers Brown, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett are up for confirmation.

LIBRELLE: Those people were all in the past…

BERG: Exactly. As to never having to rule on that? Perhaps. But answering “what is a woman?”

LIBRELLE: It was an unfair question for which she had no time to prepare.

BERG: (looking at watch). A woman is an adult human with two “X” chromosomes. Three seconds. No prep time. And I didn’t even go to Harvard Law School.

LIBRELLE: She will never have to rule on what a woman is.

BERG: Perhaps. But she’ll be asked to rule on questions where much of the population does know what the answer is; the fact she’s willing to equivocate on something this comical, to keep the “progressive” wing of her party happy, is a very bad sign.

LIBRELLE: There are no such quesitons in the law! Its science!

BERG: When does human life being?

LIBRELLE: I don’t know. I’m not a doctor.

BERG: When do community standards violate free association?

LIBRELLE: I don’t know. I’m not the community.

BERG: Huh. When does the right to free speech interfere with private property rights?

LIBRELLE: I don’t know. I’m not a professor of rhetoric.

BERG: Huh. What does the phrase “Right of the People” mean?

LIBRELLE: I don’t know. I’m not a law professor.

BERG: A SCOTUS justice will be ruling on any or all of those things, including in the next term.

LIBRELLE: I don’t care. It was still a stupid question.

BERG: Nah. It fixed the front lines in the culture war – the issue beneath all the other issues in the upcoming mid-terms. And it showed which side are the metaphorical Russians, and which are the figurative Ukrainians.

LIBRELLE: Bla bla bla. So where are the avocados?

BERG: I don’t know. I’m not a grocer.



SCENE: Mitch BERG is paying his tab at a Korean restaurant. As his card is running, Avery LIBRELLE walks in. Waiting for his card, BERG desperately tries to make himself as small as possible. But it doesn’t work.


BERG: Oh, shiiiiiiiiitake mushrooms made the perfect kimchi for the Galbi, and how the hey, Avery…

LIBRELLE: You had Covid?

BERG: Not that it’s any of your business, but yeah, I did. The original version.

LIBRELLE: So you were a negligent person who allowed yourself to get sick, endangering everyone around you.

BERG: So you think people who catch Covid bear some culplability…

LIBRELLE: It shows they don’t care about the poeple around them, and have depraved indifference to the suffering of those around you.

BERG: You haven’t heard, have you?

LIBRELLE: Nonsense. Probably. What?

BERG: The news.

LIBRELLE: What news?

BERG: Governor Klink…er, Walz, and most of his family, have tested positive for Covid.


BERG: And that’s after having all the vaccines and boosters, and apparently being able to go through hard-to-get tests like they are a bunch of gang-bangers burning through ammo.


BERG: So – what do you have to say?

LIBRELLE: The Governor is contributing to herd immunity, and is a hero.

BERG: Just like me.


BERG: Merry Christmas, Avery.

LIBRELLE: Hey, that’s triggering!

(But BERG is already out the door)


Compare And Contrast

SCENE: It’s the studio at Minnesota Public Radio. MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, is guest-ghosting “MInnesota Insights”, a program of insights about Minnesota,. She is interviewing Gretel STROMBERG, Executive Director of “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”.

SILBERMAN: So, big news in Los Angeles. The city is banning gasoline-powered leaf blowers. What’s your take on that, Gretel?

STROMBERG: (sounding audibly giddy). I could hardly be happier! That noise every fall just drives me crazy. And sturdies show that a leaf blower creates a biggest carbon footprint in an afternoon than a car driving from Minneapolis to Fresno.


STROMBERG: But it’s also the fact that it’s just a horrible sound.

SILBERMAN: Oh, same for me!

STROMBERG (sounding like she’s trying to head off a faux pas), let me say that what I’m saying is from the perspective of a white woman of privilege…

SILBERMAN: Of course…

STROMBERG: Because white woman privilege is huge and powerful.

(Scene cuts to a community clinic in Coleraine, Minnesota, where Angela PULJUU, an LPN, is driving home from a 12 hour shift in an assisted living center)


(Scene cuts to a tony home in Deephaven, facing Lake Minnetonka. Karen BERHEIM-WOLD, part-time realtor, ex-wife of a successful entrepreneur and current trophy wife of a bank CEO, is having a cup of Nespresson in her three season porch overlooking the lake)

BERHEIM-WOLD: That is so true.

(Scene cuts to a small farm in Goodhue County, where Janelle HELMBACHER is looking at price hikes in the meat aisle at the local grocery store)

HELMBACHER: What, now?

(Scene cuts to an opulent mansion in Chicago, where for whatever reason Oprah Winfrey is listening to the live stream)

WINFREY: Testify!

(Scene cuts to a school bus in South Saint Paul, where teachers aid Pauline SCZEPANSKI is wrangling a bunch of junior high kids who have gotten un-used to being around kids or following rules).



Continue reading


SCENE: Mitch BERG is eating a skewer of souvlaki at a local greek joint when Avery LIBRELLE walks in. BERG tries to hide behind a menu, but LIBRELLE sees him, walks over.


BERG: Oh, hey, Avery…

LIBRELLE: You people are so paranoid!

BERG: OK, I”ll bite. How, this time?

LIBRELLE: They’re not teaching Critical Race Theory in schools.

BERG: Do tell.

LIBRELLE: Critical race theory is taught in law schools and sociology programs.

BERG: Y’know, this reminds me of the conversation I have with anti-gunners, condescendingly cooing “nobody’s coming for your guns.

LIBRELLE: More paranoia. Nobody’s coming for your guns

BERG: Right. So I point out that politicians say that that’s exactly what they’re going to do – Joe Biden said it himself on is campaign website…

LIBRELLE: That’s just talk, not policy…

BERG: Right. That’s the inevitable next line. So I point to gun control legislation jammed down in New York, Colorado and Virginia in the past few years, and they say…(motions toward LIBRELLE)

LIBRELLE: They’re not coming for your guns right this moment.

BERG: Right. According to you all, I can’t be concerned about gun control until there’s a BATFE agent beating down my door with a photocopied warrant.

But let’s get back on subject. CRT…

LIBRELLE: Isn’t being taught.

BERG: The VIrginia Department of Education says it is.

LIBRELLE: But you can’t prove that it’s being taught in classrooms!

BERG: Teachers are most definitely teaching students that America is inseparably and irredeemably rooted in racism, that “whiteness” and racism are inseparable, that the police were originally an extension of Slave Patrols, and that the Second Amendment was framed to defend slavery and nothing more. All of which are part and parcel of CRT.

LIBRELLE: Again, CRT is taught in law schools and post-secondary education.

BERG: So none of those things are taught in schools.

LIBRELLE: Of course they are.

BERG: And they are all inseparable from CRT.

LIBRELLE: No. Its not CRT.

BERG: What is it, then?

LIBRELLE: It’s a theory about race, that criticizes.

BERG: But not CRT?

LIBRELLE: Of course not.

BERG: (looks down at menu). Look at how the price of pita has gone up…

LIBRELLE: (Looks down) Huh?

But BERG has slipped away.


Fair Enough

SCENE: Mitch BERG is riding his bike down a suburban street when Edmund DUCHEY, riding a recumbent bike, pulls out onto the street to cut BERG off. Duchey is proprietor at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “”, and was badly scarred by a childhood in which he was routinely bullied – by much younger children


BERG: Jeez, you little feeb, you’re driving like a crazy f***.

DUCHEY: You wingnug ammosexuals want to carry guns at the state fair?

BERG: It’s got little to do with carrying anything, anywhere. It’s about a government body being able to arbitrarily restrict law-abiding citizens civil rights in violation of state law.

DUCHEY: Hah! Stupid ammosexual! The State Fair is a private corporation!

BERG: A private corporation that had its own police force, with arrest power? Which has called itself a part of state government in its own court filings for over 100 years? Seems like a bit of a stretch. And Minnesota statute is fairly clear that state governments, outside the judiciary, aren’t allowed to bar law-abiding citizens from practicing their civil rights.

DUCHEY: Stupid wingnuts. So you want to carry your guns, so you can intimidate people at the fair?

BERG: First – thanks for confirming Berg’s 16th Law of Cognitive Dissipation. Second: “intimidate”?

DUCHEY: People walking around with guns on their hips, or an AR47 slung over their shoulder, are by definition intimidating.

BERG: I could meet you halfway, if you were smart enough to realize it; open carrying in a crowd is a little tactless. I’d never do it. But the ones who have permits are not the people you need to worry about, and the only time criminals carry openly is when they’re pushing it in your face to rob or carjack you. But again, this isn’t about your feelings. This is about the law, and whether we make the state follow it.

DUCHEY: So you want to carry your little gun concealed? You wingnuts will probably shoot your p****rs off.

BERG: And further down the Berg’s 16th Law rathole we go. But I’ll tell you what – there are over 300,000 carry permittees in MInnesota. If we were having accidental shootings in any significant numbers, you’d be hearing about it.

And when I did carry, it was like a .380. I’d need more like a 10 gauge with slugs. No way to conceal that. Now, for you, a .25 ACP should do the trick.

DUCHEY: Was that an insult?

BERG: As far as you know, it’s a diagnosis.

(BERG pedals around DUCHEY, who sits, puzzled)


Let’s Cool Things Down

SCENE: A conference room at “Minnesotans for All Progressive Causes” – a non-profit group financed by progressives with deep pockets – for the weekly message coordination meeting.

MyLyssa Silberman, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, waits in the conference room along with Betty Rae Torstengaardsen, senior staff writer at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog ““, sit, along with Mesme PHURPHY, elite objective political reporter from WCCO-TV They nervously check their watches.

Eventually, Gretel Stromberg Executive Director of “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, and Inge “Lucky” Carroll, Executive Director of “Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes”, enter the room.

CARROLL: (Looks at Silberman and Torstengaardsen and Phurphy, clears throat).

SILBERMAN, PHURPHY AND TORSTENGAARDSEN: (quickly rise from their seats)

STOMBERG: Be seated. (All sit, with STROMBERG at the head of the table). Americans are rejecting the term “insurrection” to describe the January 6 riot. We need to come up with another term.

PHURPHY: How about ‘genocide’?

CARROLL: Love the energy, Mesme, but it might be a bit of an overreach.

TORSTENGAARDSEN: I mean, ‘riot’ pretty much sums it up.

(STROMBERG and CARROLL cough nervously).


SILBERMAN: ‘Coup’ usually implies the elites seizing control. ‘Insurrection’ implies a sustained, military campaign, like the Viet Cong or the IRA.

STROMBERG: I’ll go with “Putsch“.

(The three “journalists” sit, somewhat agape. Finally, SILBERMAN speaks)

SILBERMAN: So – a term that, outside a very thin film of political science and history academics, refers in American English solely to Hitler’s abortive 1922 Munich coup attempt?

(The three “journalists” look at each other)

PHURPHY: Works for me.


SILBERMAN: I hear and obey.

STROMBERG: (abruptly rising) Make it so. (Leaves the room with CARROLL).



SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking, sans ceremonial mask, into the Target on University Avenue, trying to calculate the number of people without masks in mandate-free, Karen-rich Saint Paul. Focused on numbers, he doesn’t notice as Avery LIBRELLE, wearing three masks, walks around the corner.


BERG: Oh, ssssshhhhhhhhut the front door, how ya been, Avery?

LIBRELLE: Nobody is coming for your guns.

BERG: Democrats nationwide, including in Minnesota, are trying to.

LIBRELLE: Are they at your door taking your guns right this minute?

BERG: Er, no

LIBRELLE: So they’re not coming for your guns.

BERG: So if they’re not coming for my guns in five minutes, but not literally carting off my gun safe right at this moment…

LIBRELLE: Then you’ve got nothing to complain about.

BERG: Huh.

LIBRELLE: But the whole “Second Amendment” thing is just a conspiracy to sell more guns and ammo. It’s to profit from fear.

BERG: Huh. So the firearms and ammo industries staged “gun control” panic to improve their market.

LIBRELLE: Exactly!

BERG: So if that were the case, wouldn’t the firearms and ammunition industries have made sure they were ready to supply the immense demand?

(But LIBRELLE has already wandered off to badger someone who’s not wearing a mask.


SCENE: Mitch BERG is biking through Como Park when he hears some muted sobbing. He looks toward a park bench, where he notices Avery LIBRELLE sitting, wearing four masks, which are becoming slowly soaked in tears. BERG visibly hesistates, but his sense of compassion overwhelms his reflexes. He gets off the bike and walks over toward LIBRELLE

BERG: Er…hey, Avery…

LIBRELLE: (Stifles a sob) Stay at least 12 feet away!

BERG: Nooo problem. What’s the matter?

LIBRELLE: I…I don’t know. It’s just that with the CDC suddenly scaling back mask mandates, and Governor…

BERG: Klink

LIBRELLE: …Walz ending mask mandates early, I just feel…(sobs again)I.

BERG: How?

LIBRELLE: Strangely… empty.

BERG: Like part of your purpose in life has been removed.k

LIBRELLE: (Small sob)

BERG: Like all your moral authority has been snatched away.

LIBRELLE: (Bigger sob)

BERG: Like you’ve lost your only response to that evolutionary instinct you have to respond to what you see as an existential threat – a sabertooth tiger or a famine or Pearl Harbor? That you’ve had your power to fill the void left by generations of plenty, safety and security has been ripped from your life?

LIBRELLE: (Wracked with a convulsive sob).

BERG: (Lets LIBRELLE cry a bit, then) Well, the good news is, most people have been vaccinated…you’ve had your vaccine, right?

LIBRELLE: (mustering some irate composure). Of course.

BERG: Well, there. you…

LIBRELLE: Twelve doses.

BERG: (jaw flaps in breeze for a moment before he shakes it off). Makes sense. To go with the four masks.

LIBRELLE: It’s six.

BERG: Of course it is.


On “Hockey Night In Vermont”, Soon.

PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER: “Gascoigne checks O’Reilly into the boards…”

COLOR GUY: “Oh, wow. Cheap hit, there…”

PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER: “Aaaaand off come the gloves. We’ve got a donnybrook going here”

COLOR GUY: “Hockey used to be such an artistic game. How far hockey has fallen, since it’s first ever fight, last January 7”.

PLAY BY PLAY ANNOUNCER: “RIght you are, Guy”.