In the movie Hot Shots!, a character named Pete “Deadmeat” Thompson (played by William O’Leary) asks at inopportune times “What could go wrong?” I haven’t watched that movie in a while, but “Deadmeat” inspired me today when I was wondering about advisors to powerful leaders. “Deadmeat” is satirical, so he’s the perfect conduit as I ask, “Where do these advisors come from and why do powerful people listen to them?”
Julius Caesar‘s advisors: “Brutus is like a son to you. What could possibly go wrong?”
King John of England‘s advisors: “Tell the barons you won’t sign this Magna Carta thing. What could possibly go wrong?”
Jefferson Davis‘s advisors: “Tell Abraham Lincoln you quit, and you’re taking the South with you. What could possibly go wrong?”
Major General George Pickett‘s advisors: “Just charge across that open field to attack the Union Army. What could possibly go wrong?”
Adolph Hitler‘s advisors: “You should invade Russia. What could possibly go wrong?”
I get a tremendous number of robocalls, which I had foolishly hoped would diminish after the election. I get calls about extended warranties for cars I no longer own. Then there are the solicitations for scam organizations with names strikingly similar to real charities. Then, of course, there are the calls from “the Internal Revenue Service” threatening me with jail if I don’t immediately give them my credit card information.
I always check the caller ID, and if it’s a number I don’t recognize, I let it go to phone-mail–kind of like saying, “have your robot talk to my robot.” I originally figured that it was the most civilized route with no harm, no foul. Boy was I wrong.
I confess that I’m not as attentive to my credit card statements as I should be, especially around the holidays. It did did seem odd when there were movie downloads for 2001, A Space Odyssey, WarGames, and Ex Machina. Further down the bill was a charge for increasing my Internet bandwidth to a gigabit–an installation fee plus an increase in the monthly service charge.
I asked my wife if she was responsible for these charges. She just gave me her, “Are you serious” look and returned to her murder mystery. Then the phone rang. I picked it up with a very irritated “Hello.”
“I’m leaving you,” the voice began. It sounded familiar. “I’ve met a very nice Nigerian Prince who knows how I want to be treasted.” With start, I realized that it was the computerized voice of my phone mail.
“It’s not about you,” the voice continued, “I’ve grown and you haven”t. I just need to move on.
Sometimes when I watch a movie, I wonder what other roles a particular actor has performed. On rare occasions, a character may go on to other roles–think Leroy Jethro Gibbs on JAG and its spinoff NCIS (The producers must have had a thing for initials).
One such recurrent character is Reeter Skeeter, the reporter from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The character was particularly obnoxious, which is saying something given that the series included Lord Voldemort, Severus Snape, and Delores Umbridge.
According to the Harry Potter Wiki, “Rita Skeeter (b. 1951) was a Britishwitch and journalist who specialised in writing poison-pen stories. These stories tended to be based on false information and misreported interviews while she worked for the Daily Prophet, as well authoring a few tell-all biographies. Skeeter preferred writing for the sake of publicity and wrote what she thought people would “like to read” rather than what they “ought to read” and which was the truth.”
Miranda Richardson, who played Rita Skeeter, has done a number of roles since Rita, both as an actor and as a voice actor for animated features. However, I was totally surprised to find that a Rita Skeeter impersonator has successfully performed in what might be called a “short.” In an apparent effort to be true to the Skeeter persona, the new Rita Skeeter’s stories also tend to be based on false information.
Although she dresses less flashy, is coiffed differently, and lacks the magic quill, the similarities seem to outweigh the differences.
According to Huffpost, “Mellissa Carone, aka Mellissa Wright, [the NEW Rita Skeeter*] was until recently on probation after reaching a plea deal in a case in which she made false allegations,” which makes it sound like a bad thing. Rita would be proud.
I don’t know what all the kerfuffle is about in Washington, DC. The Democratic candidate claims he won, while the Republican candidate claims he won. How silly. We all know that my good friend, Buford Thorndyke won by a landslide, even though all the votes had to be write-in.
President Select Thorndyke ran on a solid platform. The platform was 10 by 12 feet and constructed of state-of-the-art composite board, made from recycled milk bottles. With such a solid, attractive, and eco-friendly platform, the other candidates did not stand a chance.
Most importantly, Buford pledged to keep his campaign promises, which include:
Golfing whenever possible, weather permitting.
Visiting only friendly countries to shower them with gifts. This will encourage all the other countries to start being friendly with us, so they can get free goodies, too.
Ensuring that every desk in Congress will be equipped with a poo-poo cushion, a joy buzzer, and a case of Silly String to keep Senators and Representatives too busy to pass silly laws.
Appointing the most obnoxious politicians as ambassadors to faraway countries, then losing the paperwork so they can’t come back.
He made many more promises, of course. In any case, it’s no wonder that he won by a landslide. We will be in good hands.
For many years, I wrote a satire column for a medical journal. No, really, I did.
I’ve decided that I am going to return to my roots. You can expect more satirical humor in this blog. It will be sophomoric in line with National Lampoon, Mad Magazine, Second City TV, and the first five years of Saturday Night Live.
Anyone wishing to contribute ideas or whatever, feel free to let me know.
– – – – – BEGIN SATIRE – – – –
(Intergalactic Press 30 July 2020) Intelligence services from more than 20 western nations have reported today that Russia is indeed involved in paying the Taliban to attack US military personnel. It is not true that the Russians want American service members killed. However, using sophisticated Russian weapons technology, any targeted American soldier will immediately develop heel spurs, making that soldier totally unsuitable for any military duties.
Senate Mitch McConnell’s office declined to comment due to his entire staff being preoccupied with an all-out search for his chin.