Positively 4th St: The Fable of Faubus
Jan 9, 2017
"I've read every word written about Marx and by Rand and my conclusion is they are the very same!" - a colleague years ago who probably finished high school.
Sorrier'nMe. That's what Deadeye called his buddies. It's like the old rear bumper sticker: I May Be Slow but I'm ahead of you.
The ultimate and final Sorrier'nMe in our town drove a black '40 Ford roadster. I don't know if they ever bothered to give him any other name. Picked me up on North Main one fine day.
First I noticed his right leg. It was bare mostly and featured an elaborate superstructure of pins and metal attached to what must've been a recently broken femur.
He had, he told me, been attempting to remove the whole business with pliers. Dark blue bruises where he'd wrestled with the pins. With pliers.
"They didn't seem ta care nuthin' about me," he explained.
My enduring reverie features a grand Expo with a row of booths displaying all the exotic comestibles on earth, sort of like the Leonard Picnic but even bigger: Thai, Azimuth, Lithuanian, Aztec, Pomeranian, Mexican, Chinese, Institutional School Lunch, in a row of tents, smiling natives of all earthly cultures in their native dress side by side and cheek by bowl -
Including our own lunch lady who stood in the high school cafeteria behind tureens of beans and corn and waved a spoon over both and chanted a million times "Choice."
And the rear of every booth opened unto a courtyard with one solitary individual in chef hat and apron wielding a spatula over a smoking backyard barrel barbecue, and occasionally one would call our from any of the tents indiscriminately, "Faubus, burn two with Crisco and calla!" and Faubus world answer, "Si, ¿Como no?"
In the field of political philosophy the most influential Faubus ever was a nineteenth century Russian you've never heard of named Nikolai Chernyshevsky, who scribbled a long and tedious tale of tendentious dreck called What Is To Be Done? It was atrociously written and vapid to boot, so of course it became the most influential, galvanizing work of literature, perhaps for all time - On the Road did inspire legions of rucksack ramblers, but most eventually went home again.
The premise of What Is to be Done? was what its author called Rational Egoism, by which was meant reason driving action, which always maximizes self interest, and individual gain is a win for society as well. (The greatest philosophy is that for which there are no antecedents nor examples neither, so the idea itself stands quite noticeably as its own and only parable, like James Butler on the Square - who actually was famous for delivering bad news in a hostile environment, sort of like me pulling a Fannin (calling in sick) so somebody in Swiss would have to do a 12 hours shift with the enemy pouring over the walls.
You see, Holy Russia at the time of Faubus the Fanatic was under the misrule of a Sorrier'nMe who did great damage - and not to his own underpinnings but those of his entire realm. He quite naturally spawned a network of disaffected intellectuals, more disaffected than intellectual, like me and some other Sorrier'nMe high school dropouts-in-place back during the 4th St era.
One such group of followers of Faubus was the Bolsheviks, which overthrew Sorrier'nMe and rules to this day, and seems to be set to inherit our land as well.
Another brand was spawned by one who came to America in 1926 and preached the gospel of Faubus but claimed it as her own. Ayn Rand appeared before Congress to complain about a wartime Hollywood film celebrating an ally called Song of Russia. She was suspicious of scenes of peasants under communist rule smiling, that was her complaint.
Now, I know all Fourth Street Irregulars will remember how every single time Long Tall Texan was punched into the Wurlitzer at Ben's, Jack Franklin would stand up waving his hedge clippers and shout about Nietzsche and his Will to Power and then Skater Battling would stand up for Herbert Spenser and Survival of the Fittest, and both of these Supraman Strategists preceded their twentieth century copycats, and if I heard these arguments down on the Drag once I heard 'em a thousand times ...
Selfish greed with contempt for charity. How does that work on a national level?
The Roaring Twenties led to the Great Depression, and that to a sense of general failure of capitalism, which resulted in the rise of a couple of Ism alternatives (once of which was the brainchild of the Faubus under discussion) and the second Great War.
And then in this millennium came a wonderful idea: why not sell a lot of houses, roll the bank notes from the mortgages into securities, and play ping pong with them on Wall Street? There you have selfish greed in spades, everybody wins … except for the poor schlubs who lose their homes.
One avid disciple of the unsmiling Ms Rand was called Greenspan, and he was the Fed Chair, the captain of the Titanic, who was much distraught that the fabled Unseen Hand - which theoretically would always prevent the great glacier of greed from crashing against the icy state of reality - was in fact the Federal Government. The Wizard of Oz was us lowly taxpayers, thank us all very much.
Too bad, Greenspan!
Too bad for us ...
And now the circle is closed. The nadir, the execrable exemplar as Mrs Booth might've called it, of the Faubus Follies is upon us. Nowhere is there more personal self-interest and less charity, than in the pending PotUS, and he's a mere lackey of his Master in Moscow, the heir of Lenin.
But wait! The title of the theory is Rational Egoism, and we have only the second part of the formula in the upcoming Stooge of Stalin. In times of what Mrs Booth might've called Entropy of Epistemology (doesn't that take you back to junior high?), I've always found it helps to resort to old movies.
Inside the American Theatre, during the Fourth Street Era, Sir Thomas More is attempting to flatter King Henry by praising a royal musical composition, hoping thereby to retain his own head on its shoulders. (He will fail.)
More: I must admit my own musical judgment is considered quite faulty.
Henry: Your judgment is excellent, for it exactly matches my own!
In an irrational world, reason is as the king declares.
Congratulations to Nikolai Chernyshevsky (7/12/1828 - 10/17/1889). He won. Such monumental destruction from so meagre a tool should be worth recognition as the Supreme Sorrier'nMe.
When Highway 82 came to town in days gone by, it was known formally as Fourth Street, and informally the eastern portion was The Drag, and that's the geographic center of my reminiscing.