Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Protesting Plutocracy": a short story

"Protesting Plutocracy"


In the sterling office of the pseudo-intellectual literary journal n+1, staffers read on their phones and iPads about the "Occupy Wall Street" protests taking place. The staffers carry studied faces of hip concern. Being a literary intellectual is serious business. It takes work.

"Why can't we do something like that?" a staffer asks. "To show our affinity with the protests would increase our credibility. After all, we're supposed to be Social Democrats, aren't we?"

"Yes! Social Democrats!" a colleague affirms.

"Indubitably! Social Democrats!" a third voice agrees.

Heads among the others nod affirmatively.

"But, but what can we protest?" they ask themselves.

A large sign on a wall in the office says, "THINK URBAN," reminding them they're no longer behind the exclusive gates of yale, Columbia, or Harvard. This is Brooklyn. Their Ivy League preppiness, the ascots, bow ties, and cocktail dresses that might be found in a similar office, like the office of New Criterion, for instance, have been left behind.

"Well," one of them decides, "we might protest plutocracy in the literary realm. After all, that's our field, isn't it? We could make that our focus."

"Yes. It's only natural," a second staffer affirms.

It's only indubitably correct and right," a third staffer agrees.

Heads of others nod affirmatively.

"But, but, how do we possibly go about it?"

They sit stoically but glumly for several minutes, waiting for other ideas to arise. Being intellectual is serious work.

"I know! I know!" an inspired young woman says. "Let's ask Chad!"

"Yes! Chad!"

They knock on the door of the office belonging to the journal's brainiac, Chad. The most serious thinker on a staff of serious thinkers. Inside, the man meditates, Franzen-like, in a tiny room filled with pigeons and other winged creatures. But no cellphones! It's a cellphone-free office. The birds look hopefully at the new visitors to the small space. In serious tones the visitors explain their dilemma to the serious man.

(To read the entire tale, including its shocking conclusion, click on the link below.)

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