from the pages of../

Hotel Satire

Eat a Mango

By Lydia Sargent


Gals. I'm writing this from a cruise ship somewhere off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, which has the most lovely beaches, the most delicious food. And the service is wonderful. There's nothing like an extravagant cruise to countries the U.S. has ravaged to keep a gal from giving a darn about human suffering. There are so many scary and confusing things going on in the world today. War, massacres, undeserving crazed have-nots trying to take from the deserving haves. And, of course, once again that demon Sadaam Hussein has made us--the U.S.--shoot down our own planes. And that evil Kim Il Sung is ready to nuke the world. Plus China... with no respect for human rights. It's no wonder that corporal punishment of vandals who spray paint cars (as in Singapore) is making a comeback. No wonder that someone firm has won the election in Italy, someone who can take up where Mussolini left off.

In these times of horror and confusion, it is important for gals to concern themselves solely with giving birth or looking good. In fact, currently giving birth is looking good, and is therefore an important fashion statement (see fig 1). Naturally, without the fashion statement, giving birth is of no interest.

Recently, the gals and I were scanning the New York Times of Sunday, April 17 because we had heard that looking/dressing like a homeless waif was out. I suppose because homelessness is now a crime. Although, we've also heard that Chinese prison blues are in fashion. Whatever. Anyway, we'd also heard that just since the last paragraph of this article was written, giving birth as a fashion statement is out. Genghis Khan, i.e., the look of a marauding killer, is in. Also the baby doll/school girl, i.e., 9 year olds as sexy playthings (see fig 2) is in. Enticing as these two fashion statements are, I was distracted by the pain and suffering on the front page, in particular two articles. The first was about how Clinton, Janet Reno, and Harry Cisneros (liberals all) had come up with a way for the authorities to invade public housing in search of drugs and guns without violating the Constitution. Their solution was to "encourage housing authorities to make more aggressive use of the powers they already have. Most notably, the administration would urge them to ask tenants in signing leases to give standing consent to having their apartments searched for drugs or weapons." It would also allow officials to enter apartments without a warrant in emergency circumstances.

At first, I confess, I didn't catch the part about public housing. I thought that Clinton was talking about all apartments, and even private homes and condos. I imagined SWAT teams invading our expensive townhouses and seizing my Lady Colt (bought as part of a fashion statement I was making last year) and my ten year supply of Prozac. And since everyone knows that half of Wall Street and all of Hollywood and a good portion of the workforce (management, white and blue collar) is snorting or smoking some illegal substance, I was horrified at the image of SWAT teams invading the Stock Exchange, the Academy Awards, Microsoft's headquarters, and GM.

But the men at Hotel Satire pointed out that Clinton was talking about public, federally funded housing. But, I said, aren't all government buildings federally funded? And what about those industries that receive federal funds. Or those banks we bailed out? Can the SWATS storm and sweep those? Silly, said the men. Circumventing constitutional rights doesn't apply to corporations, like banks and the government. Oh, I said. And my concern changed to approval. SWAT sweeps sound like a very good idea when applied to poor people only. Plus the Clinton, Reno, Cisneros plan could definitely work. The gals and I agreed that if we were poor, which means by definition that we would have large caches of guns and drugs in our possession, we would eagerly sign a lease with a standing search and sweep clause in it, thank you very much. And if I didn't have any guns and drugs, but was working two shifts while the kids took care of themselves, I would definitely feel better with periodic sweeps by men in storm trooper outfits bearing weapons of mass destruction searching through my personal things. And I know the kids would enjoy it too.

With my confusion cleared up and my fears allayed, I was about to address the important question of what to do about the fact that the baby doll and Genghis Khan fashion statements were no longer in. What is in is Vietnam. Yes, Vietnam may have been an unjust war waged by the U.S. for reasons of state to you, but it's a fashion statement to the gals. It's sexy shorts, knee high boots in rice paddy while grasping a scythe. (see fig 3)

But before that, I noticed a second article right next to the fabulous Clinton, Reno, Cisneros solution to rampant crime (and who better than Clinton and Reno to deal with unlawful behavior?). This second article was about corruption and widespread collusion in a Harlem Police Precinct. It seems that according to Police Commissioner William Bratton "25 percent of the [30th] precinct has problems." Bratton suggested that "there was pervasive knowledge among the 191 officers assigned to the precinct that rogue cops were selling drugs, protecting drug dealers, and brutalizing citizens on day and night shifts, and virtually every day of the week."

Odd, I thought. Should cops who deal drugs and brutalize citizens (and surely more than one precinct is involved) be sweeping housing projects for guns and drugs? I mean how does this work? Once again the men at Hotel Satire explained that I just didn't understand the democratic system. They pointed out that fear, intimidation, and violations of Constitutional rights are welcomed by poor people and/or people living in public housing projects. But, I said, if the cops are already ignoring the Constitution, as is clear from this article, then why the need for this new Clinton, Reno, Cisneros plan? The men explained that cops who dealt drugs and carried guns were exactly the right people to engage in daily sweeps of public housing for guns and drugs. Plus, they said, blanket permission by tenants was needed in case the cops went into the wrong apartment, as happened in Boston where an entire SWAT team had quite a time subduing a 70 year old minister who had no guns and drugs and was so frightened by the onslaught that he died of a heart attack. I admit I was still a little confused but I could see where the whole concept of voluntary constitutional violations was an idea whose time had come. There could be Sweep Days, where SWAT teams all over the country stormed not just public housing, but malls, movie theaters, and the local McDonalds in search of not just guns but people who weren't purchasing enough or weren't power walking fast enough to the music, or who just needed a makeover. Which is why the men suggested we gals take a cruise and get a new fashion statement and stop trying to understand this great democracy of ours.

So we proceeded to dump the Vietnam statement which is already out. And to choose between overexposure, which is in (fig 4) and wearing a hoop skirt covered by a voluminous skirt with 13 foot train which is way in. In fact, The Piano, i.e., the look of a voluntarily mute woman who is the property of her father, then her husband, and has her finger cut off to boot, is a fashion statement (see fig 5) in Vogue.

Dressed accordingly, the gals and I enjoyed a wonderful two week cruise. We went to Haiti. Lovely beaches. To Nicaragua. Wonderful beaches. To Chiapas. Oh, the beaches. To Colombia. Fantastic beaches, wonderful service. To South Africa. Good beaches. Prompt service.

Halfway through the cruise, The Piano as fashion statement/identity went out. Chastity is in (see fig 6). As is the wet, nude look (fig 7) while saying inane things like "I will go naked more." "There's no law that says I can't make love at 4:00 in the afternoon. On a Tuesday!!! Is there?" Or "I will learn about life from a turtle. I will get off in Tortola and stay there!!! I will see something beautiful though meaningless. I will act my shoesize not my chronological age. Life without $100 sneakers is not worth living. I will not wear any underwear. I will eat a mango..."