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Take Me To Your Leader


Speechless, wordless, paralyzed, mentally exhausted after the weekend's political events and the threat of a pandemic. I'm in the middle of revising a book, which is diverting, and reading my students' manuscripts for class this week, which is diverting, and took two beautiful walks in the sunshine yesterday, and saw a spectacular art exhibition (more another time), but apart from that, what's a writer to write on her blog this week?

For some reason "take me to your leader," popped into my head as I was writing in my journal this morning. Now where did that come from? Is it a meme, or a trope, or a cliché, buried in our cultural unconscious, if Jung were to describe it, that I have somehow digested into my personal unconscious? When I looked the sentence up on the internet I discovered its actual origin: a 1953 Alex Graham cartoon in The New Yorker. It then turned up again in 1957—Season 5, Episode 12—of the TV Superman series.

It was probably the vision of 45 at the Press Conference, his faux tan, comb-over, strange top lip wrinkles and too-small mouth that looks like the entrance to a straw that began my saga. I started spinning a story out of the apparition, a man without a moral rudder who purports to be a leader of the American People. Good grief, what a strange story/allegory emerged. I offer it to you here, dear reader:

ALIENS have landed on Planet Earth, their platter-shaped ship tossed by high seas has now landfalled on Greenland's moss green permafrost. Greta Thunberg is in their craft's contact list. They wish to speak to her. And though the ALIENS don't completely understand the words "climate activist" or "democracy," as these concepts are inbred in their DNA (yes, even ALIENS have DNA), they do understand exactly what Greta is doing: saving, or trying to save, or hoping to save the small world—Planet Earth—among so many other worlds in our shared Universe.

They have landed in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, population 16,800 humans, Danish humans, Inuit humans, and Danish-Inuit humans. They are kind people who love children as much as they do. They request an airlift to Washington DC. Will Greta be there? Or is she still on Trevor Noah's late night television show? The ALIENS like him too. He has a child-face, and though he speaks English a bit funny, they can understand all he says. Remember when he took his crew to Soweto to visit his 91-year-old grandmother? How can one not love such a person as Trevor Noah, a sweet man who calls his grandmother Coco?

Love. Children. Family. An inter-planetary lingua franca.

The ALIENS are fast learning the conditional tense, however. They have sent a message to the President of the United States, as follows: We would hope that you might appreciate our contention that war—domestic or international—is not good for the environment. Kindly confirm. It is because they did not receive a reply that they compiled a mission to Earth. They request an airlift to Washington DC from the kindly Greenlanders.

Helmets off, the ALIENS are in compatibility mode, breathing the heavily oxygenated albeit polluted air. They board a vehicle that spews big smoke and vibrates on take off, unlike their smooth-floating craft. Sadly, their transport is not permitted to land in Washington DC; the president is in self-preservation germaphobic lockdown and refuses diplomacy with all ALIENS, who he considers a HOAX. They are forced to retreat to Nuuk where they are consoled by the locals over a hearty home-cooked meal and bed down for the night in a warm inn. Their mission has failed. They will return to Planet Earth when there is a new leader.

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