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I Love Big Merger!

by The Cranky Media Guy

I just got back from Room 101.  I see the light now.  Why was I resisting it all this time?  Why did I spend all that time and energy fighting what was so obviously right all along?  I should have gone along with the Program long ago.  I would have been happy instead of miserable, feeling like an outsider, resisting the inevitable, as I did for so long.

I have a vague memory of the methods they used to get me to see the light.  I can barely remember someone telling me long ago that Room 101 contained what you most feared.  It feels like a dream, but I seem to recall being strapped to a chair, my eyelids forced open as a fully-clothed Janet Reno gave me a lapdance.  Could that really have happened?  It seems impossible, but when I close my eyes, I can vividly see the Attorney General-for-life "shaking her moneymaker" just inches from my face. It is a sight I would not wish on my worst enemy.

The room is dark other than the intense spotlight on Reno.  When she finishes her "dance"--if such a macabre spectacle can indeed be called a dance--the spotlight goes off and the room is plunged into total darkness for a moment.  I shake from fear at what might come next.  Then, lights in the ceiling come on.  My eyes would blink to adjust if they were not propped open.  As it is, I can only stare at the sight before me.  There, wearing what appear to be brown monks' robes made of rough cloth, stand E. Howard Hunt, F. Lee Bailey, G. Gordon Liddy and L. Ron Hubbard.  The light glistens off Liddy's bald dome, hurting my eyes.  Because of the eyeclips and the headgear holding me in place, however, I cannot look away.

Hubbard speaks.  "You dare to write about mega-mergers being bad?"  I swallow hard as he comes within an inch of my nose.  "Do you not understand the changes in the world around you?"  I realize it is a rhetorical question.  His voice, already quite loud, rises in volume.  "Confusion is everywhere.  People cannot be trusted to make decisions for themselves.  Mergers of large companies take the confusion out of the purchasing process."  The others nod in agreement in the background.  Hubbard turns and starts to move away from me.  I am grateful to have my personal space back.  Suddenly, he wheels around and jabs his index finger at me.  It is no more than a centimeter from my nose.  "Do you wish to promote confusion?" he says in an accusing tone. "DO YOU?"  I swallow again.  Does he really want me to respond?  "SPEAK!" Hubbard commands.  

I start to speak, but I stammer.  Hubbard and the others smirk at me.  I clear my throat and begin again.  "Well, I thought that choice was supposed to be one of the cornerstones of the American economy," I say.  "I was taught that choice created competition and that competition made products and services better and drove prices down, benefiting the consumer."  Hubbard's eyes narrowed and he began to laugh, a sick, hollow sound that echoed off the concrete walls of Room 101.  The others followed suit and the very air shook with the sound of their collective laughter.

"Naive, so naive," I heard one of them say.  I think it was Liddy.  Hubbard, who had turned his back on me, wheeled around suddenly to face me.  "You think this is about consumers?" he said.  "Brother Liddy is right.  You ARE naive!"  Again, derisive laughter filled the chamber.  "This is about forces beyond your comprehension, great forces of political corruption and corporate greed, combining to create a New Economic Order in which the 'consumer' is irrelevant.  In the future, there will be no 'choice'.  There will be only the will of the Goveration--the ultimate combination of the Government and the Corporation."

"But, shouldn't the government be representing the interests of the people it supposedly serves?" I asked.  "Shouldn't the government use its power to insure that corporations do not take advantage of their power and economic superiority to limit the choices of the public?"

"Sad, so sad," one of the voices said.  Another responded, "I can see he is going to need a great deal more re-education."  I shuddered at the thought of what that might entail.  Then I saw Janet Reno moving toward me again.  As she came forward, she began removing her suit.  "Oh my God!" I said before blacking out.

I am home now.  Room 101 seems like a million years ago.  Everything is fine.  People magazine, which I ordered through AOL, tells me so.  The headline on the front page of USA Today ("America's Only Newspaper") says that victory has been declared.  The war with Monaco had lasted three hours.  American forces took the casino without a single casualty.  The man at the local Mobil-Exxon gas station smiled when I asked him why the price of a gallon of regular was now three dollars and fifteen cents.  "Just the way it is, I reckon," he said.  He was smiling but his eyes looked slightly hollow, I noticed.  "Yup, probably so," I said back.

As I pulled into my driveway, I noticed a little bird in a tree branch above.  It was a little hard to make him out because of the yellow haze all around.  He sang a few notes before coughing and falling dead, onto my hood.  His tiny corpse made a substantial dent in the thin metal of my Fordrolet Cherokee New Yorker.   There was no time to grieve, however.  President Steve Case would be making his annual State of the Goveration speech in a minute.  It was a felony to miss it, so I hurried toward the house.  I laughed inwardly as I thought of the silly person I used to be, worrying about things out of my control, things better people than me were paid large sums of money to take care of.  "There's nothing to worry about," I thought.  "It's all under control."  As the door to my Goveration-supplied housing unit closed behind me, I realized something else, too.  I loved Big Merger!




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