The 20th annual gala for the Russian news program, Russia Today, is held in a massive media complex, attended by big shot oligarchs, Russian intelligence, and a legion of scoundrels bent on fortune, fame, and their fair share of Reality.
Announcer: Welcome to our celebration of Russia’s greatest contribution to the intellectual and spiritual heritage of western civilization: Fake reality. We have, as special guest, the most august and perrenial brand of all time, the soul of Rudolf Gulliani, in whose honor we present the following program–the Moscovite Butoh Trolls reenactment of the great troll revolt. This bleak episode of our nation’s history, so handily quashed by the superior messaging of our great leader, marked a turning point in the history of Russian culture. Well we remember that dark day when, incited by the American propaganda apparatus, the once faithful troll workers stupidly rose against the beneficent ministrations of the state and presumed to create their own reality. Such presumption was soon quelled in the final, virtual standoff between fact and fiction.
Act 1, scene 1–Video projection screen shows a newscaster.
Newscaster: We go now to Bedminster cemetery, old site of the Reality Theme Park and final resting place of the ancient Drumph line, where a meeting of the Executors of Fate are gathered for their annual rites.
The screen lifts to show a rocky, wooded landscape. In the center is a small stone building from which emerges the sounds of the chorus.
Chorus: We bearers of the sacred flame lift our praise to the blessed real and true.
Two cemetery groundskeepers enter and sit down for lunch under Malignia’s tomb.
Juan: As a boy I came to the Theme Park. I got lost in the Deep State Labyrinth, saw the radioactive Butoh Trolls, and rode Mister Moglievich’s Wild Ride. Those were the days.
Rosalita: We had crossed jungles, trod the scorched highways of Mexico, only to be caged by ICE–all for our share of reality.
Chorus: Caged by Ice and detained.
Juan: But then came the fall of Drumph’s brand, and now these weathered stones are fallen; haunted only by wraiths and the ambiguous birds of augury.
Drumph is building a tremendous crypt above the 18th green at his Bedminster Golf course with financing from Russian oligarchs. He calls a meeting where the Saudis express interest in exclusive burial plots. The tremendous Drumph Tomb is shown–bottom left–to the assembly. But Tiresias enters to proclaim disquieting omens regarding the end of the ancient Drumph line.
George Lakoff has retired as Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley. He is now Director of the Center for the Neural Mind & Society (cnms.berkeley.edu).