sábado, 28 de marzo de 2009

The Onion Brings Tears to Writer’s Eyes

One of our writers, David Roland, has been trying to get work at The Onion, that meta-paper that entertains us all so much with fictive news. Roland has been unsuccessful – so far – because of an incomprehensible policy held by the normally sagacious editorial staff over at that paper: they only use staff writers, and they do not contract any work, whatsoever.

When we heard Mr Roland's complaint, we came up with a way to help the guy out. We’re publishing the pieces that The Onion ignored, and (we hope) they'll see the error of their collective ways in letting such a rich and varied talent as Mr Roland slip from their grasp. Perhaps those wily New York editors, who are so much smarter than we are, will see the humor pervading everything young Roland writes, and – with a bit of encouragement from our readers – they will consider hiring him to do the odd piece of faux reportage, getting Mr Roland out of our hair (and into theirs).

Below is the first story that the estimable Onion missed out on.

Harding Kin Sues Obama over Right to Use ‘First Black President’

“One of my great-grandfather’s grandparents was black, which means that he was the first black president – a full 43 years before Obama was even born,” said a determined Gamiel ‘Cubby’ Harding. Cubby Harding, a plumber in Akron Ohio, begins to sound more black as he continues. “Man, all my dad’s life, he was ashamed of his grandfather – he had no idea how popular Obama would become. I think it’s just unfair for that Democrat to make such claims, when a good Republican was there first.”

The twenty-ninth US President, Warren Gamaliel Harding (born 1865) served from 1921 until 1923, when he died from a heart attack at age 57. Harding won by the largest presidential popular vote landslide in American history – 60% to 34%.

Harding called for the abolition of lynching – not surprising, since this would protect his kinfolk in Ohio and elsewhere – but he never pursued the policy with any strength, probably out of fear of them finding a tall enough tree on the White House grounds. He was the first president to have questions from reporters pooled before press conferences, ostensibly for purposes of efficiency, but actually in order control questions about his grandparents, at least one of whom was a black slave from the West Indies. In spite of a massive campaign by William Randolph Hearst to hide this fact, the rumors became an open secret is Washington.

Now, ironically, the intervening 90 years – along with the success of the Civil Rights Movement and a feeling in the country that lynchings are déclassé – Harding’s great-great-great-grandson is proud enough of his meager 1/32 (or possibly 1/16) black blood to mount a lawsuit against America’s Great Black Hope (even though Obama is part white). “We [sic] suing that imposter,” says Cubby Harding, “and Ima to use the cake we get from the lawsuit to start me a campaign, so I can run as a black candidate too.”

An influential newspaper publisher and Republican, the elder Harding also served in the Ohio Senate (no doubt the first Black there), as Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor (no doubt the first Black there), and as a US Senator (and no doubt the first Black there as well) before becoming president. A political conservative, Warren G Harding became the compromise choice at the 1920 Republican National Convention. One of his campaign promises was to return the country to ‘normalcy’ after World War I, which no doubt helped him defeat Democrat James M Cox in the 1920 election. As Cubby opines, “A Black Republican – can you beat that?”

David Roland is a humorist who likes to make people wince as they are laughing - a rare trick. He is Hakim's close friend, and people who see them together should think carefully about the negative ramifications of calling them 'the two Daves.'

David Hakim is an assistant director, producer, and publicity expert who developed campaigns for every major Hollywood studio and handled publicity for the Motion Picture Academy. Find him in the Reel Directory online: www.reeldirectory.com.

All material copyright 2008 David Roland and may not be duplicated - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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