Charles Brian Orner
SOSTENUTO - A Novel
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The Sostenuto Blog

An Abbreviated Bibliography of Edgar Allen Poe

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I’ve seen a certain Mesmeric Revelation several times in the last couple of days — from Mystification McConnell, of course, and Ron Paul’s Lovely Blonde Wife, and Genius Christian Jerry Falwell, Jr. and the Lovely Blonde Laura Ingraham, and Tom Cotton, The Raven-haired Bobble-Throated Slapdick from the state of Alabama, and three or four others (Including The Business Man) whose collective IQs do not warrant inclusion even among these offal Oval Portraits. I confess it caused A Loss of Breath. Among other things.

It would appear that the GOP has decided that what worked for The Angel of the Odd’s rapping, loudly rapping at the SCOTUS chamber door will also work for turning out the King Pests in the midterms — and by that I mean the dumbest, most suggestible, least self-aware crows in the cornfield— God-fearing flocks who will believe absolutely anything, and who will tolerate any obscenity, no matter how deplorable, up to and including The Fall of the House of Usher—so long as the perpetrator sports some ugly red or white plumage with reverse lettering on the outside and a double-secret probation swastica underneath, resting just above The Spectacles and that overlarge beady-eyed beak.

The hearing I saw featured a Poe-crowing Hop-Frog who, by the grave and stern decorum of the countenance he wore, looked as if he’d donned the Masque of the Red Death, plus a murder of Republican crows cackling Thou Art the Man! until they were as hoarse as a crow. The Democrats, meanwhile, armed with a Manuscript Found in a Bottle, studiously refused to stone the crow, and asked questions of both parties that were probing but respectful in tone, as if the Power of Words alone would be sufficient. Predictably, they were not. Senatorial decorum was met with with arrogance, aggression, condescension, mendacity, and grade-school-level tantrums worthy of Raum(1). Nothing remotely like this was proffered by the author of The Purloined Letter, who in the end was given a Premature Burial and told to eat crow.

Naturally, this was successful in rousing the Republican base, who know far more about Jim Crow than they do about crow’s feet, and who can be relied upon to respond aggressively to cornpone crowing and holier-than-thou histrionics — A Descent Into the Maelstrom that they understand perfectly well, featuring several words that they do not. It was also successful in dispatching The Angel of the Odd to the chamber door, more or less as the crow flies, and barely a week after he angrily quoth those ravens “Nevermore.”

So it seems that the Imp of the Perverse has issued a new set of Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, and the GOP, which has become fascist by any reasonable definition of the term — rule by fear, demagoguery, demonization of the press, flagrant criminality, coital business and government, institutional voter suppression, The Gold Bug, arrogant white nationalism, profound legislative and policy incompetence, revisionist history, judicial activism, marginalization of science, suppression of dissent, and the belief that skin-headed lies will rebut demonstrable truths if you Caw! Caw! Caw! them loud enough — has now decided to start labeling Democrats as fascists instead.

It’s OK — take a moment. Gaslighting at this level is always A Predicament.

Now, consider the sheer gall of these Tales of Mystery and Imagination. The GOP is accusing the same folk whom yesterday they branded as “socialists” of precisely the opposite political point of view because The Man of the Crowd says so, and of resorting to the self-same tactics that the GOP has been employing with ever-increasing frequency and effectiveness since The Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade. For those of you keeping track, that’s nearly thirty in human years.

Happily, it turns out that this particular Pit [has] a Pendulum. It would appear that the enthusiasm “bump” that the GOP enjoyed for five minutes after The Angel’s confirmation wasn’t much of a bump at all, but the opposite effect — enormous energization of the Democratic base — is a real thing. Women, it seems, have their own Tell-Tale Hearts, and they’ve HAD IT with suffering under The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. We know that Dr. Ford has.

It won’t be long now — barely Three Sundays in a Week — before this Diddling is put right. A word to the wise, then, which these bird brains, emphatically, are not. Never Bet the Devil Your Head. Not with that hat.

-B.

(1) The Lesser Key of Solomon: Goetia, The Book of Evil Spirits is a book on ceremonial magic compiled in several different versions, many of which surfaced in the 1700s. Several different demons are said to take on the form of a crow or a raven before being ordered into human form by their summoner. Such is Raum, the 40th in the line of demons. Perhaps convenient to his crow form, he can steal valuables from the most protected of places. He is also said to be the destroyer of cities and dignities, and he can reveal anything about the past, present, and future.

Brian Orner