The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

NYT Catches Up; Prohibition Thwarted (again)

This post contains two parts, one heavy and the other, heavy. Really.

Yesterday, the NYT finally published an original, i.e. by one of its own journalists, news article about the White Phosphorus sham. If you’re thinking that ol' Oz is stuck in the Wooley Swamp himself since he can’t lay off this story, indulge me for just a second.

After all, this was the story that finally made me get my act together and start blogging for the surprised masses. Barely awake, going on instinct and dreaming of espresso, I had more than a hunch that it was pure and simple jabberwocky. And so it was. It also touches on the sometime Wonderland impression of the situation in Iraq, accusations of lying and media bias/credibility. Obviously, it was the tremor that cracked the dam, the ultimate example of how far some were willing to go in peddling to those who so dearly want to believe the absurd. It was such a flagrant case of incitement, and demonstrated how receptive an audience is out there. Exhibit A of the company no one should want to keep. Yet so many do. It fostered hatred by refracting light into outer space, while deflecting attention from so much else that is not only real, but warrants serious attention. That’s all.

Having quite successfully debunked the allegations – with much help from various quarters – it should be interesting to see how the New York Times reported on the piece. Following a couple of similar pieces – one on National Public Radio, NPR (listen here) and another in the Christian Science Monitor (read here) – the paper of record basically agreed with most of us. It also saw the State Department and the Pentagon as botching the response to the now thoroughly discredited ‘documentary,’ that they were ‘slow’ to react. Now that’s interesting coming from a paper that published on November 21 what many in the blogosphere published on November 8-10.

Let me us just wrap this up by saying that this story, and how it was reported, does not mark an exception. It was simply the most egregious. I also note that the slant in the article by Scott Shane leaves it open as to whether using such a weapon is ever warranted or a good idea. No propaganda, just make up your own mind. How novel. BTW, an interesting debate between the Wizard of Id and me has erupted in the comments section of my last post, check it out here.


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WARNING: The following story is crazy close to the sad truth.

On a day when there was only one overriding, historic story in Germany (see tomorrow's post) some people risked missing the caterwauling of a creature on life support. We wouldn’t want that, so allow me to reveal the machinations of a cunning ogre who lives up north in the kingdom of Sweden. First, a little history…

Consider this an intro to the tale of what happened when a little, progressive reactionary country joined the big, bad European Union. Sweden – or as we shall see, its demon child - realized there were more ways than one to do things, so it decided to proselytize the poor misguided souls who were on the wrong path. In this instance, this would be the pot-holed road to eternal damnation, trodden by defenceless peasants at the local pub.

You see, once upon a time, it was decreed that the people of the North shouldn’t drink so darn much. So on the first day – many, many years ago – Systembolaget (a.k.a Systemet, literally: the System Corporation) was created. ‘Twas a beastie from deepest reaches of Hades, whose sole purpose was to restrict sales and access to…alcohol. It soon ran amok and enslaved both its creator and her subjects.

This hideous monopolistic beast terrorized the vodka-craving populace into submission. They cowered at home, gently nursing the one monthly watered-down mead their tax-soaked salaries could cover. And when that was finished, they shook n’ trembled, made sure that the Systemet was napping, and whipped out the home-distilled potato schnaps. Yes, people continued to drink. It was madness. Luckily, neither the Systemet nor the drinkers ever acknowledged this illegal activity, so both parties could carry on their merry conspiratorial ways.

When Sweden was absorbed into the rival EU monster in 1995, the beast knew it was threatened. For in the EU, odd things happened, and in lands of lore like Germania and Gaulle, production of ale and purple nectar was legal and largely unregulated. So Systemet ordered the government of the day to acquire an exemption, giving it a new lease on life. But the Vikings were now at the gates and when they crashed through them in near ecstasy, they discovered that all alcohol was cheaper on the continent. Those nay-sayers had been wrong – “Thanks be to Oden that we voted to join this Valhalla by the razor thin margin of 51-49 and pity those oily fish Norwegian brethren who were instead denied.” The EU was a land of gold, an Eldorado with rivers of hand-pumped Real Cask Ale and grape juice.

So the Swedes embraced an alternative to home-distilling/brewing and went on a shopping spree that’s lasted some ten years. Seemingly insatiable Swedes show no sign of coming up for air. Cheap flights now transport the thirsty hordes to safe harbors like Cork, Vilnius and Santander. Those fortunate enough to live near the land of Hamlet, or a port where the notorious Alco Long Boats dock, always knew where to buy their Absolut (a vodka, still an indentured servant of the Systemet.) And now such forays cost a mere pittance and there are no restrictions save the size of your car trunk. But those who live inland or up in the Arctic, still have a 100 mile drive to the nearest Systemet or a few steps out to their moonshine still. They are still at the mercy of the beast.


A rare photo of the Flying Smorgåsbord, an Alco Long Boat, whose daring bootlegging runs on the high seas provide many a thirsty Viking with schnaps and mead. By only selling the contraband on international waters, the brigands stay out of the Systemet’s clutches. The drinkers, however, pay a high price even here; for they must sport mullets and wear white socks in loafers before the Captain can let them onboard. This draconian measure is necessary since it allows them to blend in with the rest of the passengers.


Now, Anno 2005, Systemet and its very own Golem the Swedish state (let be known here that the human manifestation of Systemet is Anita Steen is married to her governmental counterpart, Prime Minister Göran Persson) has devised a nefarious plan to reclaim its former glory. The day of November 22nd is the day that an advertising campaign was launched, the likes of which we could not have imagined. It will target not only that city of sin – and so much good beer – Brussels, but the rest of the unholy EU as well. The subjects of foreign powers will learn to love Systemet, to appreciate that what it bays for is for your own good.

But, NEIN! Ich bin ein Berliner, and let me tell you, we will all resist. Its hypnotic powers may be equivalent to those of the Giant Squid, but surely we will not be seduced by this disinformation, led to believe the lie that beer could be bad for us? I think not.

As this battle begins, it was heartening to see the valiant knights of St. George launch a preemptive strike last week. After years of debate, the descendants of such luminaries and Real Ale connoisseurs as William Pitt the Younger, William Ewart Gladstone and Winston Churchill, acted in the House of Commons, finally adopted a bill permitting public houses to stay open past 11 in the p.m. Oh joy…


Freedom fighters at an underground pub, somewhere in northern Sweden. Pictured second from right, protected by two Viking maidens, is the legendary Real Ale Purveyor Glyn Morgan from the Druid Inn, Goginan, Llangynfelyn Parish. Braving extreme temperatures and hundreds of hungry moose, he managed to drag five half-kegs of Spitfire ESB across the tundra. His risky mission of solidarity gave them much hope in the dead of winter.


As the Systemet gnashed its teeth up in Cave Central, I smiled and quaffed my Aventinus Weizenbock (seriously, the best beer money can buy, 1 Euro/$0.75 here, a crisp $20 up north) in a free and wintry Berlin.

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1 Comments:

Blogger UltimateWriter said...

Nice to see the times publishing original work.

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In your vast (wink wink)spare time, feel free to leave a comment on the UltimateWriter.com Blog @ http://ultimatewriter.blogspot.com

Chekkit out!

2:16 PM  

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