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Ben Folds Offers Hilariously Hallucinogenic Resistance ‘Storytelling’


If there is one thing we’ve learned from Trump’s presidency, it’s that a lot of people need a hobby besides being angry on the Internet. If there’s one thing we can learn from the bizarre Washington Post exercise in “alternative storytelling,” it’s that some people should probably find new day jobs, too.

Highlighted (if that’s the right term here) by an original Ben Folds song about Rod Rosenstein, the WaPo feature offers a play, some poetry, some illustrations, a graphic novel, and a tote bag from a 2011 PBS fundraising drive. It’s a veritable cornucopia of light and sound, quivering with unbridled resistance. The only thing that could render it even more quivering would be a Daisy Red Ryder, but that would be problematic, so we’ll have to make do with the tote bag for now.

Friends, fans, countrymen, people who clicked on this by mistake, I’ll be honest with you: I haven’t read all of the alternative storytelling presented there. Maybe someday, when I have a clone to handle my dirty work for me, I’ll remedy that — although I would prefer any hypothetical clone, which I definitely do not have, to focus on more productive hobbies, like Parcheesi.

I did make it through the Ben Folds song. I can report that it is a Ben Folds song, replete with Ben Folds-style piano playing and some lyrics, although isn’t he usually cleverer than this? I’ll have one of my clones look into it.

The track is titled “Mister Peepers,” a reference to Trump’s supposed nickname for Rosenstein, and features allusions to “Lord of the Flies,” those “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets that were popular in the 1990s, and Julia Childs’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” That’s after bringing the thunder with this opening line: “God bless the bureaucrat and the lawyer, too.”

I’m not joking, and, apparently neither is Folds. He’s especially not joking when he gets to the chorus and drops fire so hot that it threatens to destroy a significant portion of the earth’s surface. “So they call him Mister Peepers, As the thugs all smash his glasses, Going full Lord of the Flies, Burning this island down to ashes.”

I’m guessing geography wasn’t Folds’ strongest subject. Nevertheless, he keeps going, talking about Mister Peepers and some other bureaucrats he’s not thanking God for. He asks the hard questions, like, “Can flashlights really fight bombs?” Obviously, he’s not talking about this flashlight, for if he were, he would know that George Clinton is ready and waiting to land the mothership on the White House lawn should the situation arise.

Also, he’d know that Clinton is probably too entertaining for this particular dive into alternative storytelling, at least what I gathered while skimming. Clone Three collapsed into a drooling mass almost immediately after I instructed him to thoroughly read all the “information” contained therein, which I consider to be his final assessment, although he is mumbling something about duckpin bowling. I’ll have Clone Two check him out when he’s done scouring the area for acceptable avocados.

Clone 1 did read a poem on James Comey and dubbed it far less emo than expected, which is disappointing, because think of all the possibilities! Clone 1.5, whom we generally don’t mention, did demand we “Let him be clear!” about the Trump speech generator. Given that we usually don’t mention him, he sternly stated, “As I’ve said,” at which Clone Three arose and clobbered him with a tote bag filled with oranges.

Tiring of this din, I shouted, “I have the conch!” despite not actually having the conch—although I do have the kill switch, because clone armies require some safeguards. Everyone stood ready to listen to my words, so I went with Folds. “Aren’t we all the keepers, Of this fragile young Republic? And when all those Mister Peepers people fall…Lord help us all,” just as Jesus said in one of the gospels.

At this point, someone walloped me upside the head with a tote bag filled with oranges. Fortunately for me, in 2018, getting knocked unconscious is one of my favorite hobbies, especially when the choice is between that and listening to the Resistance wax poetic about bureaucrats. For the rest of you, I’m guessing the song will be available to purchase on Amazon Music soon enough.