Sunday, May 13, 2007

Nation Isle

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That lost its way near Alaska
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailing man,
Skipper Vic brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a snooze-fest tour... a snooze-fest tour.
The boat started taking on water,
The tiny ship was sunk,
If not for the courage of the fearless crew
The Nation would be lost.... The Nation would be lost.
They floated ashore of this
Uncharted desert isle,
With Gary Younge, the Skipper too, the millionaire, and Wal-Mart,
The movie star, and the rest,
Here on Nation's Isle.

Episode 999, "Life's a bore . . . and then you work for one."
Backstory, the 10th Annual Nation's cruise set sail on July 28, 2007, billed as The Nation's Alaska Cruise. Less than 48 hours after setting sail, the ship sunk. The survivors managed to swim to the shore of an uncharted island and have been living there ever since. The date is now February 16, 2011.
This week's special guest stars: Robert Scheer, Ralph Nader and Mary Mapes.


Victor Navasky walks up to Gary Younge who is working on building a raft.

Victor: Brunch in five.

Gary Younge: Aye-aye, Skipper Vic.


Liza Featherstone pouts while Doug Henwood gets dressed.

Doug: Lovey, aren't you going to get ready?

Liza: What's the point? I've done everything she did. I married a professor. I've even re- instituted the hair style she retired a few years back and nothing!

Doug: Now, now, you wrote a book on Wal-Mart.

Liza: That no one read! I'm so angry! I'm sick of being stuck on this island! What I wouldn't give to be back in New York writing a pithy slam of the peace movement.

Doug: Dear, you've never written pithy. Come now, you'll miss the meal.

Liza: Tree Root Soup? It's not a soup, it's not a chowder! It's a bunch of boiled roots floating around in water! Meanwhile, Miss Money Bags has a mini-fridge in her cabin!


Victor, Liza, Doug and Gary Younge sit around a table.

Victor: Gary Younge thinks he saw a ship a few miles out.

Doug: Really?

Before Gary Younge can answer, Movie Star Richard Dreyfuss comes bouncing in wearing heels and a strapless gown.

Richard: I was wrong, Jaws wasn't the turkey of the year! This cruise was!

Victor: Now don't be so cross, Ricky, the professor is whipping us up an extra special offering. She's been at work in her laboratory for hours on this latest experiment.

Richard: So long as it's not more mashed potatoes.

Richard looks around expectantly for a response. There is none.

Richard: Mashed potatoes! Mashed potatoes! Didn't anyone see Close Encounters?

Liza: (ignoring him) I don't care as long as it's not more Tree Root Soup.

Everyone nods as Professor Patricia J. Williams walks up looking harried and carrying a large, covered pot.

Patricia Williams: According to my calculations, this will be perfection.

Everyone stares expectantly as Patricia removes the lid from the pot.

Liza: Tree Root Soup!

Patricia: Don't be cross, Liza, it's not simply Tree Root Soup.

Liza eyes her bowl suspiciously as Doug spoons some soup into it. Grabbing a spoon, she warily gives the soup a taste.

Liza: Damn it, Patty! This is the same crap we've had since we got to this island!

Patrica: No, no, no. This is different, and not just because these roots had extra dirt, it's different because this soup comes with a homily delivered by me, Patricia J. Williams. I call the meal Homily Casserole. (clears her throat) Sometimes, in our mad rush of daily life . . .

The Millionaire walks up to the table, all eyes turn to watch Katrina vanden Heuvel, decked in jewels and clad in a white mink.

Katrina: Did I miss anything?

Doug: Patricia was just delivering a wonderful homily that can only be improved with your presence.

Liza: Don't be such a kiss ass, Dougie. If Richie Rich had traveled light, the ship never would have sunk in the first place.

Katrina: (fake sincerity) Love the hair, Liza. Loved it years ago.

Liza: (fake sincerity) Yes, it is a wonderful hair style. Just needed a younger woman to carry it off.

Gary Younge: Tree Root Soup, Ms. vanden Heuvel?

Katrina: I filled up on caviar in my cabin.

Liza shoots Dougie a look.

Richard: Is anyone ever going to ask me for my autograph? I starred in Mr. Holland's Opus.

Liza: Mr. Holland's Anus.

Richard: That wasn't funny when the Navarro brothers said it!

Patricia: Everyone, everyone, if I do not deliver my homily in the next few seconds, it will grow stale.

Gary Younge: (excitedly) Skipper Vic! Skipper Vic! (pointing) Look!

Everyone looks as three people approach the shore in small boat.

Gary Younge: People, Skipper Vic! People!

Victor: Yes, Gary Younge, I see them too. Sorry, Patricia, you're homily will have to wait.

Patricia knocks her bowl off the table in disgust while Katrina snaps her fingers at Liza.

Katrina: Bring them to me.

Liza leaps to her feet, fists balled in rage.

Liza: Excuse the hell out of me but I'm not your servant.

Doug: I'll go get them.

Liza: Dougie, sit your ass back down. vanden Hovel and me are going to straighten this out, right here, right now.

Katrina chuckles while Doug runs off down the beach.

Liza: You think that's funny? You laughing at me? Put your dukes up and we'll see who's laughing out their Glasnost then!


Doug and Gary Younge run up excitedly as Three Passengers disembark from the boat: Robert Scheer, Mary Mapes and Ralph Nader.

Gary Younge: You've come to rescue us!

Doug: Finally!

Robert: Well, yes, it has been over three years but we had the hardest time raising funds. Finally, the National Review crowd kicked in the cash saying it wasn't as 'fun' without the left's weak, ineffective whipping boys.

Mary: And girls. Where's Katrina?

Gary Younge: This way, Mr. Scheer and Ms. Mapes. You can come along to, Mr. Nader, just don't expect to be mentioned when we write about this!


Gary Younge comes running up to the table excitedly.

Gary Younge: Ms. vanden Heuvel, Ms. vanden Heuvel, it's a rescue party! Robert Scheer and Mary Mapes have arrived to rescue us! Oh, and they brought (lowered voice) Ralph Nader along with them.

Katrina nods and dismisses Gary Younge with the wave of a hand as Doug, Mary, Robert and Ralph approach.

Katrina: Bob! Mary! So good of you to come. Sit! Sit! We're having brunch. Liza, more bowls!

Liza glares at Katrina but Doug rushes off to retrieve some. Robert, Mary and Ralph sit down at the table.

Katrina: And how was your trip? Pleasant, I expect.

Mary: We've been scouring the coast of Alaska for six months, searching for you.

Katrina: How very dear of you.

Liza: (to Katrina) She means all of us. "You" plural.

Katrina: I know it's important for you to believe that, Liza.

Doug returns with the bowls and places one in front of each. He then spoons soup into each bowl.

Robert tastes some and then grimaces.

Mary: Aren't you having any, Katrina?

Katrina: No, no. Like the dear, late Dorothy Schiff, I prefer not to eat with the help.

Liza: I swear to God, if they hadn't landed when they did, your head would be on a pole!

Ralph: So what happened? How did you all end up stranded on an island?

Katrina: Well, Skipper Vic was piloting the cruise with one hand and attempting to raise funds for CJR with the other, so we crashed and sank.

Liza: That's not what happened.

Katrina: Isn't that right, Skipper Vic?

Victor nods his head but stares down at the table.

Liza: What happened was --

Katrina: No one asked you and no one cares.

Liza: He said "you all." He's not from the south and he said "you all." That's all of us, so pipe down, princess. Skipper Vic didn't crash the ship. He's spent his whole life raising funds, he could probably do it while parachuting at this point. The boat sank because Miss Money Bags insisted upon traveling with the entire stock of Macy's.

Katrina: (laughing) Macy's. I'm sure that sounded 'classy' to you, Liza. So, it's been three years plus, how's the magazine managing without me? I imagine it's struggled to maintain circulation.

Robert: Actually, after four months, it was folded into CounterPunch and, under the helm of Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, it's actually increased circulation.

Katrina: Oh my.

Liza: Increased circulation! I love it!

Katrina: Pipe down, dear, you're still on the clock.

Liza glowers.

Katrina: No offense, Bob, but I find that hard to believe.

Mary: It's the truth. Once you were out of the picture, the magazine stopped providing a platform for the Council on Foreign Relations and other centrists, stopped being the party organ for Democratic leadership and circulation soared.

Ralph: You'd be amazed at how many readers there are for a truly independent left publication.

Katrina: Ralph, go be a spoiler in silence, will you? Now Bob, if that were true, I find it hard to believe that you would have spent six months looking for me. Surely, my sharp, critical eye was missed.

Liza: Oh please, like anyone would miss you.

Katrina: Liza, dear, I believe there are some bugs crawling around in the marsh, see if your big mouth can catch a few.

Robert: Uh - yeah. Uh-huh.

Katrina: What are you not telling me, Bob?

Gary Younge: Mr. Scheer said that the National Review put up the money for the search! Because they missed having a weak, ineffective whipping boy!

Liza bursts out laughing.

Liza: I stand corrected, Katrina, you were missed!

Victor: Bob, Mary, Ralph, we've been stranded here for three years with no outside communication. What's been going on?

Richard: Yeah, do they still use live actors for movies? Or is everything digitized?

Liza: Have they passed universal heath care?

Victor: Or addressed global warming?

Katrina: People, people. Important questions first. Bob, did the Democrats win the White House in 2008?

Patricia: Yeah, how'd Obama Sweet Cheeks do? I'm mad for him!

Mary: Well you might be interested in knowing that the Iraq war --

Katrina: Don't bore me. Democrats, Mary, Democrats.

Robert: The party imploded.

Katrina gasps.

Mary: When Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards all won the same margins in the primaries, it was the death of the Democratic Party. Strangely, there had been calls in the press for serious candidates to drop out of the primaries but it was the media 'front runners' who ended up destroying the party.

Ralph: (laughing) And some people called me the Spoiler.

Katrina: B-but, Hillary and Obama were so much alike. Surely the party triangulated as it always does. Surely it is still alive.

Ralph: It tried to triangulate. Hillary tried to triangulate and then Obama tried to triangulate and top her. Then she'd do it again, then he'd do it again, and come November 2008, they were both running as independent Republicans. With John Edwards not receiving a majority or even plurality in the primaries, The New York Times editorialized that he was "frivolous" and that "Now is the time for all good Ameircans to come to the aid of the Republican Party."

Katrina: No!

Ralph: The good news is, with the faux left out of the picture, a real left emerged. We won majorities in both houses --

Katrina: No!

Ralph: ended the illegal war --

Katrina: No!

Ralph: passed universal health care and overrode a presidential veto --

Katrina: No!

Ralph: provided amnesty to all war resisters --

Katrina: For the love of God, no!!

Ralph: and have just started impeachments proceedings against Jeb Bush.

Patrica: Wait. Jeb Bush won the 2008 election? He wasn't even a candidate.

Mary: Oh, he was, Patricia. While you were off day dreaming about a shirtless Obama delivering a commencement to Harvard, Jeb Bush had already set in motion his campaign.

Katrina: This would never have happened had I been back home, in charge.

Liza: Which part? Ending the war?

Katrina glares at a smirking Liza.

Robert: Look, we could chit-chat all day, but we need to get in the boat and head back to the ship. For one thing, I'm hungry.

Patricia: I make a delicious soup!

Robert: So let's get going.

People begin standing.

Patricia: You can't evaluate it properly until I've delivered the homily!

Gary Younge: C'mon, Ms. Williams, don't you want to get off the island?

Patricia: Young Gary Younge, you are correct. The beauty of youth, the wide-eyed wonder --

Liza: Oh Lord, she's delivering her homily.

Patricia stops and sticks her tongue out at Liza.

Richard: Yeah, let's get going! There's probably still time left for me to restart my film career.

Everyone avoids making eye contact with Richard.

Richard: What? What! I starred in The Goodbye Girl! I was The Goodbye Girl! Listen, listen: "I don't like the panties hanging in the shower!" Huh? How about that?

Victor, Mary, Bob, Ralph, Gary Younge and Patricia begin heading off to the shore. Shrugging, Richard follows them (slowly, high heels and sand do not mix well).

Doug leans in and gives Liza a kiss.

Doug: We'll finally be back home.

They stand. Doug looks over and notices Katrina remains seated.

Doug: (to Katrina) Come on, it's time to go.

Katrina: No! I can't live in a world like they described! One that rejects the Council for Foreign Relations. One that draws a real distinction between the right and the left! One that pardons war resisters! Returning to that world would mean I would have no one left to hob knob with!

Doug: Katrina, you are coming with us. Even if I have to carry you.

Liza slaps Doug on the back of her head.

Liza: Leave her, Dougie. It's Nation Isle. Besides, no great loss.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }