Words. Just Words.

SCENE: A (probably) fictional meeting at the StarTribune editorial board. Servants bustle about, gathering cocktail glasses and the picked over remains of lobster from the table. Publisher Steve GROVE presides, as David BANKS, Jill BURCUM, Scott GILLESPIE, Denise JOHNSON, Patricia LOPEZ, John RASH, D.J. TICE and CEO Michael J. KLINGENSMITH slowly focus their attention.

GROVE: OK. So someone asked me – what is the current term to refer to an ill…er, to someone who has migrated to the United States without legal authorization?

TICE: It’s been “Undocumented Migrant” for about 20 years now.

KLINGENSMITH: The consensus is that’s too pejorative. We need a new one.

GROVE: No bad ideas, here, people.

BURCUM: How about “trans-national Americans”?

RASH: Oooh, I like that. “Trans-national Americans are real Americans”. (Murmurs of assent)

GILLESPIE: Border victims.

JOHNSON: Oooh, nice.

GROVE: OK. Good ideas, here. We’ll work on it. Now – we’ve had a question about the term “soldier”. Of course, soldiers have guarded this nation’s freedom…

LOPEZ: (hisses contemptuously)

GROVE: I know, I know, work with me, here. That’s the baggage – a lot of the F150 driving “big yard” set…

LOPEZ: ( hisses contempuously again)

GROVE: …think “Soldier” is an honorable term in our society.

BURCUM: ( giggles)

GROVE: So how about this piece here?

GROVE: Any problems using “Soldier” to refer both to someone defending this country…

LOPEZ: ( hisses contempuously yet again)

GROVE: …and a knee-buster for a cartel?

(Uncomprehending stares from the entire board, except for…)

TICE: Uh, that seems…

GILLESPIE: We’re good!

GROVE: OK. Moving right along…

And SCENE

At A History Conference, 2174 AD

SCENE: A conference room in Zürich, Switzerland. An international team of historians is gathered in a conference hall. Behind the panel tabel, a large “Powerpoint 2170” holographic slide displays the title for the session: “Origins of the Second American Civil War”.

PROFESSOR A: Welcome, one and all, to this discussion on the origins of the Second American Civil War. We’d like to start with this presentation from PROFESSOR B.

PROFESSOR B: Thank you. As you know, the origins of the Second American Civil War, 150 years ago, are shrouded in mystery. But we found this exchange on “X”, a “social medium” popular around 2024, that sheds some light on the subject.

(B swooshes his hand in the air, and the holograph advances to show a “Twitter thread”i)

ProgressiveDuke1332: ReTHUGlicons have no policies to fix Minneapolis’s problems.

Mitchpberg: Of course we do. Arrest, prosecute and incarcerate actual dangerous criminals. Make life better for law-abiding citizens. Get rid of impediments to affordable life, like rent control, the Met Council’s idiot zoning policies and city policies about “driving density”. Have a a sales tax holiday. Cut spending, and cut taxes, especially some of the more niggling, punitive taxes like parking meter rates and hospitality taxes, to simulate traffic and business.

ProgressiveDuke1332: Hahaha, mitchpberg think you can eliminate crime by lowering parking fees!

PROFESSOR B: This, I hold, was the beginning of a pattern where nobody in society could communicate about anything.

PROFESSOR C: So, part of America lashed out at the other part as a matter of…

PROFESSOR D: Intellectual self-defense?

PROFESSOR B: Precisely.

(Brow-furrowing and beard-scratching follows)

PROFESSOR E: I mean, it doesn’t not make sense…

(General assent breaks out).

And SCENE

Disappeared

SCENE: It’s a darkened back room at Minnesota DFL headquarters. Ken Martin and an attendant perp-walk a figured in handcuffs with a bag over his head into a room at the faaar back of the building. They sit him down and pull the bag off, revealing Rep. Andy SMITH (chucklehead jagoff, Rochester). DIsoriented, SMITH blinks and adjusts to the dim light as he notices the people around him.

SMITH: Er…who are you?

MAN 1: I’m former state Representative John Thompson.

MAN 2: I’m Representative Dan Wolgamott

WOMAN 1: I’m Representative Brion Curran.

MAN 3: I’m former sheriff Dave Hutchinson.

MAN 4: I’m William Davis, former communications genius.

WOMAN 2: I’m Julie Blaha, state auditor.

MAN 5: I’m Matt Roznowski, , DFL comms guy and tough tough enforcer.

SMITH: Wow. So – what are you all in for?

CURRAN: Same thing as you.

SMITH: Uh…what’s that?

HUTCHINSON: Keep you out of sight.

SMITH: Why?

BLAHA: So the media doesn’t accidentally get curious and cover any of us.

THOMPSON: RIght about now, you’ll be…

(DAVIS pulls up SMITH’s twitter account)

DAVIS: Just like they did for me.

Everyone nods, goes back to quietly passing the time.

And SCENE

For Want Of A Strongly-Worded Sign

SCENE 1: It is Constantinople, 1453. The Ottoman forces under SULEIMAN THE GREAT have breached the inner wall of defenses, on their way toward changing the city’s name to Istanbul. SULEIMAN and GENERAL KARAKÜL are standing in the breach, as troops stream past, on their way to loot, rape and pillage.

KARAKÜL: “Go forth and seize what you will, and burn the rest, for you have earned it!

SULEIMAN: (Looking at a sign, in Greek, just inside the wall). Uh, just a moment. The sign says “No raping, looting, pillaging or burning”.

KARAKÜL: Ooops. Good catch, your excellency. (Yelling to troops) Check that. No looting, raping or pillaging!


SCENE 2: Nürnberg, Germany, 1934. The leaders of the recently-empaneled German “Emergency Cabinet” led by Adolf HITLER, are walking from a meeting to a small vegetarian cafe for lunch, discussing their plans now that they’ve achieved complete control of Germany.

HITLER: So, we’ve agreed. The campaign for Lebensraum and the final solution to the “Jewish Problem” must proceed in parallel…”

RUDOLPH HESS: Uh, Mein Führer, before we go too far on that, check that out.

(HESS points at a multicolored sign on the wall next to the cafe.

HITLER: “In this haus, we believe that science is real, that nobody is illegal, that Jews are Human…”

MARTIN BORMAN: D’oh.

HITLER: That changes everything. Maybe we should just work something about with the Poles about Danzig…


SCENE 3: Minneapolis. It’s 1AM on a Saturday morning. Inge SVENSSON and Guiseppe MORELLI, two young hoodlums with arms laden with bottles of cheap vodka and drug syringes, are walking onto the Green Line platform at Stadium Village.

MORELLI: Damn. I need a fix.

SVENSSON: Me too. And I feel like groping some chick.

MORELLI: Groping, my a**. I need to get some.

(A Green Line train with few passengers pulls up to the stop)

SVENSSON: I like how you think my good man. But first, I gotta take a dump.

MORELLI: Don’t be a pig and do it here. Do it on the train. And hurry – my back teeth are floating. Also, I gotta get high.

SVENSSON: Oh, s**t. Wait. Read this:

(Both men scrutinize the sign).

MORELLI: No pooping, peeing, drinking or drug use?

SVENSSON: Dammit. Now we gotta find a restaurant.

MORELLI: The Metro cares about that stuff now? Who knew?

And SCENE

The Real Victims

SCENE: Mitch BERG is leaving a guitar shop on Selby Avenue after dropping off an instrument for some repairs, when MyLyssa SILBERMAN, reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, steps out of a chi-chi coffee shop.

SILBERMAN: Merg.

BERG: Oh, hey, MyLyssa…

SILBERMAN: Terrible, what’s going on in Gaza.

BERG: Yep. 1,300 Israelis massacred, thousands of Gazan human shields dead, hundreds of Israeli soldiers killed…

SILBERMAN: Dozens of journalists killed in Gaza by Israeli forces. It’s terribly dangerous for journalists.

BERG: er, yeah. I suppose that’s a problem too. But, as in World War II, if you’re where the action is, there are dangers.

SILBERMAN: World War II killed dozens of journalists.

BERG: Right. And between 30 and 50 million other combatants and civilians.

SILBERMAN: And dozens of journalists.

BERG: And during the New York Draft Riots of 1863, which killed thousands, especially black and immigrant New Yorkers…

SILBERMAN: Rioters besieged the New York Times building and killed several journalists.

BERG: When the Titanic sank, it was a tragedy that…

SILBERMAN: …two journalists died.

BERG: But it’s not like they were singled out. I mean, they were on a ship…

SILBERMAN: Aren’t you listening? Journalists died.

BERG: Right. So – Rwanda…

SILBERMAN: Journalists were murdered!

BERG: Hmmm. And during the Minneapolis riots, the biggest outrage was…

SILBERMAN: Journalists getting pepper-sprayed and shot with rubber bullets. And some government officials didn’t respond to our requests for interviews.

BERG: And the destruction of East Lake Street and University Avenue, the Third Precinct, and much of civil order…

SILBERMAN: (Yawns broadly). Sorry. I really have to get to the Society of Professional Journalists meeting

BERG: No doubt.

(And SCENE).

One Day At Big Left (TM)

SCENE: It’s a planning session at Big Left (TM), the central planning organization for leftist, “woke”, “progressive” groups. Avery LIBRELLE, Cat SCAT, Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK, Stephanie Marie ANNAN, Edmund DUCHEY, Evan Micah BRYAN, Inge “Lucky” CARROLL are gathered around a conference table.

ANNAN: We need to come up with something around which we can unite people against the racist genocidal colonizers.

LIBRELLE: Walmart?

ANNAN: No, not this time. We’re talking Israel.

CARROLL: Yes. What can we do to focus the attention of the world on the slaughter of innocent people by the white supremacist colonizer Jews…

BRYAN: Zionists

CARROLL: …Zionists?

SCAT: Maybe go to Gaza and demonstrate?

(There is a brief, pregnant pause before the discussion resumes)

BIRKENSTOCK: I’ve got it! Let’s demonstrate in front of a childrens cancer hospital!

CARROLL: Yes! That’ll show the Jews…

BRYAN: Zionists

CARROLL: ..Zionists that we mean business!

ANNAN: I (claps) love (claps) it!

DUCHEY: (perusing cell phone) Oh, no. Look – it’s been done:

CARROLL: Dammit!

ANNAN: OK – but we’re on the right track!

BIRKENSTOCK: OK – maybe we picket a no-kill animal shelter?

ANNAN: I (clap) LOVE (clap) IT!

And SCENE

Mirthy

SCENE: Mitch BERG is loading some garage junk into a truck. He doesn’t notice Avery LIBRELLE, whjo is walking up the alley writing down the addresses of homes without handicap parking spots.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: Uh…

LIBRELLE: Christian Nationalists can’t handle freedom of religion! They’re having a cow and melting down over a Satan Club at a school!

BERG: Huh.

LIBRELLE: What do you have to say about that?

BERG: Other than “Satanism is a religion in exactly the same way as “The Onion” is, only even less funny? It exists only to mock faith. Well, to mock Christianity. It’s not a worldview. It’s a running adolescent jape.

LIBRELLE: You’re gonna crrrryyyyyyyyyyyy…

BERG: So, if a school had an “Amos and Andy” club, or a “Speedy Gonzales” club, or an “Apu” Club, or a “Boring Basketball” club, do you think Blacks, Latinos, Indian-Americans or women might take umbrage?

(But LIBRELLE is already skipping, literally, down the alley.

And SCENE>

A Pattern

SCENE: Mitch BERG is walking to his parked car after a political event in downtown Saint Paul. As he walks past a near-empty office building, MyLyssa SILBERMAN, Reporter for National Public Radio’s Saint Paul bureau, covering the “Fake News” and “Diversity” beats, steps out.

SILBERMAN: Merg!

BERG: Er, hey, Mylys…

SILBERMAN: In recent years, you’ve pounced on Demcorats for saying “tut, tut, nobody’s coming for your guns…”

BERG: ….and pointing the reams of legislation that shows that they are, but that that’s not good enough unless there’s actually a cop beating down your door.

SILBERMAN: Uh…

BERG: If the cops are busting down one’s neighbor’s door, I should shut up because they’re not storming my house yet. Point being, the progressive line on all outrages against freedom is “If it’s not happening to you right this second, no matter how imminent, then it’s not a threat”.

SILBERMAN: Don’t you think that’s a bit unfair?

BERG: You tell me:

SILBERMAN: Not sure I get your point…

BERG: Yeah, I don’t imagine you do.

AND SCENE

Przioritiesz

SCENE: It’s September 1, 1939. In the command post of the Republic of Poland Armed Forces. Poland’s Minister of War, Jozef BECK, and the Marshal of the Polish Military chief Marshal Edward SMYGŁY-RYDZ, General Szymon NOWACKI of the Armored Force,, are at the center of a gaggle of staff officers, poring over a wall full of maps showing a dire situation.

SMYGŁY-RYDZ: The Germans have cut off Gdańsk, have broken through west of Krakow, and are threatening to cut off the Poznan Army.

GENERAL NOWACKI: Marshal, we’ve got the Seventh Armored Brigade in reserve. They could hit the breakthrough from the flank.

SMYGŁY-RYDZ: We’ll need the Sixth Corps to support them on the left.

STAFF COLONEL: They’re in OK position for that.

Corporal Filip PRZYBYL, the headquarters Administrative assistant, enters the command post and salutes.

PRZYBYL: Marshal, the MInister of Social Justice has arrived .

(The officers groan)

SMYGŁY-RYDZ: Show him in.

(Social Justice Minister Evgeny LYBRZELSZ enters the room and doffs his French-style top hat)

LYBRZELSZ: Marshal Smygły-Rydz? I’m told you’re planning a counterattack against the Germans.

SMYGŁY-RYDZ: Well..yeah, The Niemcy attack threatens Poland’s very existence.

NOWACkI: If they break past Poznan, there is no obstacle between them and Warsaw.

LYBRZELSZ: We can’t launch the attack.

SMYGŁY-RYDZ: (Stops short, dumbfounded) What now?

LYBRZELSZ: There is no humanitarian corridor for German civilians.

(As an air raid siren goes off in the background, the officers stand, agog).

NOWACKI: What on earth are you talking about?

LYBRZELSZ: Attacking the Germans when there’s no allowances for humanitarian aid to German civilians is immoral.

SMYGŁY-RYDZ: This is a literal threat to our existence, by a nation that’s completely mobilized for war.

LYBRZELSZ: So you are committing genocide against Germans.

Entire room falls silent. The sound of bombs in the distance swells.

SMYGŁY-RYDZ: So, see to the destruction of Poland, then

LYBRZELSZ: What are you, a bigot?

And SCENE

One Day At The MNDFL Communications Office

SCENE: In a drab back room at MNDFL headquarters on Plato Boulevard, two DFL communications staffers, Evan BRYANT (Macalester 2021) and Moonbeam BIRKENSTOCK (St. Thomas 2018) are pecking away at their iPhones, poring over their social media plan for the week.

BIRKENSTOCK: Chairman Martin says people are starting to get tired of crime?

BRYANT: Where?

BIRKENSTOCK: Oh, rednecks in Fridley and Bemidji, mostly.

BRYANT: Yuck.

BIRKENSTOCK. I know, right? But their votes still count…

BRYANT: For now

BIRKENSTOCK: LOL, right? Anyway, we need to put out something that shows the administration and the Attorney General are engaged on crime.

BRYANT: Let’s do this:

BIRKENSTOCK: Oh, that’s good.

BRYANT: But someone just left a comment.

BIRKENSTOCK: (Reading a reply on Twitter). “So how about rampant violent and property crime, and half a billion in fraud committed by DFL constituents and contributors?”

BRYANT: Hmmm – tough one.

BIRKENSTOCK: I got it. Tweet out this photo of Lt. Governor Flanagan feeding Ellison and Governor Walz corn dogs at the State Fair!

BRYANT: I’ll caption it “#OneMinnesota”.

BIRKENSTOCK: Brilliant.

BRYANT: And on message!

And SCENE

One Day In A Major Newsroom

SCENE: A group of reporters and an editor are sitting around a conference table.

EDITOR: OK. We need a story. Something to break us out of the summer doldrums.

REPORTER 1: We spent such a long time reporting on abuse of children in the Catholic Church…

REPORTER 2: I know, right? It’d be great to find another story like that.

REPORTER 3: Wonder if there’s another story out there like that…?

EDITOR: I have no idea.

REPORTER 4: Hey, look at this:

EDITOR: Did I stutter? I said – I have no idea.

And SCENE

One Day In The Theme Park

SCENE: Mitch BERG is standing in line at a Mexican fast-food joint when Evan Micah BRYAN walks into the store. BRYAN is 23, a 2022 graduate of Macalester with a degree in Political Science, is the Senior Communications Director for the Senate DFL Caucus.

BRYAN: MeRG.

BERG: Uh, hey…

BRYAN: ZOMGConServaTiveZ aRe tEh HiCks aND ruBEz wHo aRe aFRAID of tEH ciTIes.

BERG: As a conservative who lives in the Midway, I refute you.

BRYAN: HeEre iS TeH PrOOf ZOMG!

BERG: Its a photomeme.

BRYAN: OuR pHiLoSOphY in tEh DFL CoMMUnICatION oFFiCe iS iF wE du iT inna MeMe, iT’s ReALi-T!

BERG: Which is why your entire communications strategery is to show DFL politicians in an endless stream of selfies, and lots of end-zone ball-spiking, with no substance whatsoever?

BRYAN: No cOMMeNT.

BERG: Right. So – back to the costume. Let me guess – you are, as a DFL employee, a middle class white guy…

BRYAN: tHAT’s hOw I iDenTiFY.

BERG: …who lives in a neighborhood like Marcy-Holmes or Longfellow or Merriam Park

BRYAN: RiGHt. TEH cOOl pLaCes.

BERG: which is clogged with other young-ish single non-profit-industrial complex employees with plenty of money…

BRYAN: sURe.

BERG: You take the Green Line to a concert once or twice a year…

BRYAN: HoW ELsE woUld I fINd SaINT PaUl?

BERG: Sort of a “Fifteen Minute City”, where everything you do – your coffee shop, your grocery mart, your restaurants, your coffee shop, your bars, your restaurants, your transit stop, your coffee shop, your restaurants, your coffee shops, are all within a fifteen minute walk.

BRYAN: TeH wAY tEH wHOLe worLd sHouLD bE!

BERG: Where all the workers take the bus or drive hoopties in from Richfield or New Hope or Vadnais Heights.

BRYAN: yEp…ER, wUt?

BERG: Your “fifteen minute city” is actually an “Urban Life” theme park. But, sure, by all means, progsplain me about city life, junior.

BRYAN: HeY, loOk! MaTt RoZnOwSki iS slAshinG yOuR TirEz ZOMG!

BERG: Of course he is.

And SCENE

Every Single Conversation

Mitch BERG is on the air in the bunker at AM1280. He’s interviewing Aaron ROSTON, writer at the (possibly fictional) progressive blog “MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com“.   He is a crossing guard at a school in rural southern Minnesota, and is a bullying activist – mostly focusing on promoting bullying of children of conservatives. ROSTON is talkng into microphone 3, lookng over the console at BERG.

BERG:  So you’re pro-choice? 

ROSTON:  Of course.  Abortion is a human right, 

BERG:  Let’;s define “human”.

ROSTON: That’s kind of absurd.

BERG:  Possible. Let’s see. So I have a question for you. When your mother was pregnant with and delivering you, at what point was it no longer acceptable for her to “terminate” you? Please be specific.

ROSTON:  Well, that was her choice.

BERG:  Right, Understood. So at what point in the pregnancy was it no longer her choice .

ROSTON:  Whenever she said.

BERG:  So could she terminate you now/

ROSTON:  Of course not. That’s absurd.

BERG:  Why?

ROSTON: Because I’m a human.

BERG:  Sure. So when did you become a human?

ROSTON:  When I was born.

BERG:  So two minutes after you were born, you were a human?

ROSTON:  Yes.

BERG:  And thirty seconds before you were born, when you were the exact same person you were ninety seconds later, but not quite out of your mother yet – was your life worth defending?

ROSTON:  That was up to my mother.

BERG:  So the only thing that changed about the moral value of your life in that ninety seconds was you emerging from your mother? It was entirely your mother’s call?

ROSTON: Sure.

BERG:  So could she still “terminate” you?

ROSTON:  Don’t be absurd!

BERG:  Why can’t she?

ROSTON:  You can’t murder a human.

BERG:  So thirty seconds before you were born, you weren’t human?

ROSTON:  Nope.

BERG:  And a minute later you were.

ROSTON: Yes.

BERG:  With the only difference being your mother’s choice?

ROSTON:  Yes.

BERG:  And no other reason she couldn’t terminate you today.

ROSTON:  You’re clearly a racist.

BERG:  Clearly.

(AND SCENE)

Every Year

ME: “Have a great Fourth of July!“

THEM: “Ahem. It’s IndePENdence Day“.

ME: “Oh, excuse me for not only using a term that literally everyone in America, and probably western civilization, understands, but that until maybe 10 years ago I never, ever heard a single person “Ahem”-ing anyone else about. I hope you live in a city without a fireworks display. ”

And SCENE

Off Script

SCENE: One morning at MNDFL Headquarters. An array of progressive Minnesota luminaries are gathered around a table. At the head sits Lieutenant Governor Peggy FLANAGAN. To her right, Ken MARTIN, chair of the DFL. The other seats are occupied by Javier MORILLO of the SEIU, Denise SPECHT of Education MInnesota, Alida MESSINGER of Alliance for a Better MInnesota, and the senior staff of Minnesotans United for All Progressive Causes, the non-profit/money-laundering operation that works with the party.

FLANAGAN: Murphy!

(Esme MURPHY enters the room): Yes, Maam?

FLANAGAN: Gimme a g*****mn Manhattan.

MURPHY: Yes, ma’am. (Murphy exits.)

FLANAGAN: OK, Ken, where’s the governor?

MARTIN (Yelling): Governor Walz?

WALZ (Enters from a closet next to the exit door). Hraaaa hraaa hraaaas hreaa One Minnesota hraaaaa hra hra hraaaaaa Best State (holds out an iPhone, takes a selfie) hraaaa hraaaa hra hra donut hraaaaaa hraaaaa…

FLANAGAN: Got it! Enough! (WALZ goes back into the closet).

FLANAGAN: We need an example of a place in the real world that is dominated by Democrats and exemplifies love and equity.

Inge “Lucky” CARROLL, a former guidance counselor at a school for monomaniacs, Inge is Head Meme-Buffer at “Minnesotans United for All Liberal Causes, raises her hand.

FLANAGAN: What?

CARROLL: Let’s have them look at Hamtramck, Michigan. It’s solid Democrat country – their Democrat congresswoman won by a sixty point margin. And the city is majority Muslim and is run by an elected Muslim city council, and they just voted…

(CARROLL squints at a site on her phone) uhhhhhhh

On Tuesday, Hamtramck, Michigan’s city council, unanimously voted to banPride flags from being displayed on public property. Located just outside Detroit, Hamtramck is the only Muslim-majority town in the United States.

The ruling was celebrated with cheers and applause inside City Hall, where dozens of concerned residents, Muslim and Christian, had shown up to express their thoughts on the matter.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the resolution was introduced by Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Mohammed Hassan, and applies not only to Pride flags, but also those promoting any “religious, ethnic, racial, political, or sexual orientation group.”

“Only, the American flag, and the nations’ flags that represent the international character of our City shall be flown,” Hassan stated, adding that it was imperative to “maintain and confirm the neutrality of the city of Hamtramck towards its residents.”

FLANAGAN: (Sits, dumbfounded)

(The closet door opens. Governor WALZ steps out, and wanders around the room like a Roomba)

WALZ: Hraa hra hraaa hra hraaaaa hraaaaa hra BestState hra hraaaa hra Fully Funded hra hra hraaaaaa hra hra hraaa hra…

And SCENE

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.

LIBRELLE: :Merg!

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.

And SCENE

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 “MinnesotaLiberalAlliance.Blogspot.com”.    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)

DUCHEY: OMG.

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.

And SCENE.

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.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

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.

And SCENE.

Convenience

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

LIBRELLE: Merg!

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?

(And SCENE)

Assault

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.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

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

And SCENE.

Whiffle

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?

LIBRELLE: Ylm .

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.

And SCENE

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).

BRICKMAN: Heavy.

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!

And SCENE

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.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

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?

(And SCENE)

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!

And SCENE.