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“Spirits of Founding Fathers Declare Assault Weapons Legal for White Land-Owners”   Leave a comment

By Whit Coursen

Washington D.C. The Deceased Patriarchs of our Nation weighed in on the 1994 assault weapons ban Tuesday after the bill was presented to them via Federal Mediums for review. Following the landmark authorization by congress to allow government necropaths to summon the spirits of the Creators of our Nation to offer their wisdom on contemporary political issues, a long list of bills was drawn up for review, with issues regarding the second amendment just below those issues relating to free speech.

The mediums initiated the ritual, chanting in an arcane tongue that was audible seemingly deep within one’s soul. With a crackle of electricity and a puff of ectoplasm, the transparent silhouette of an anonymous statesmen with powdered wig and 18th century dress appeared. The mediums then proceeded to ask on behalf of the present congressmen what the spirit thought of civilian ownership of assault weapons. The wraith was silent for a moment before asking the medium if he was “soft in the head” going on to say that “it (was) a terrible redundancy to say of a weapon that it was meant for assault.” After a lengthy period of clarification in which the clairvoyants informed the astounded wraith that firearms were now not only capable of being fired multiple times before reloading, but multiple times in a dozen seconds, the spiritual incarnation of America’s Forefathers issued a statement regarding the matter.

With congressional scribes eagerly awaiting to take notation, the ghost declared in a booming voice which sent chills down the spines of all present that “these assault weapons should remain legal for all property owners, provided they are sound of mind and white of skin.” Before the apparition could be questioned further by the visibly embarrassed mediums, it vanished back into whence it came in a flash of light.

Following the supernatural representative’s suggestion, various figures in Washington have offered their explanations and comments. A senator present at the spirit’s visit, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that he was shocked and “felt a little awkward hearing a founding father say something like that,” adding “I think we were all expecting him to side one way or the other, you know, civilian ownership or militia ownership. That was a verdict that came out of left field for everyone involved I think.”

Contrary to this, several historians claimed that the partially visible entity’s statement was “pretty much to be expected.” A spokesperson for the Library of Congress noted that “The founders were all white male protestant land owners, and their definition of the governed and the government fell mostly within those lines. I’m not sure what would have happened if the mediums had told the phantom that slavery had been abolished and women could vote.”

Following the séance, the spirit’s declaration has not been instituted as law, though several senators have stated that it’s remarks would be “taken into consideration” before any attempt was made to reinstate the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. As of press time, the Founding Fathers have not been reached again, though it is unlikely that they will be asked for further commentary on the debate of gun control, as many other issues remain on the list created for their review.

Author Commentary:

My initial concept for this piece was radically different, involving a similar “fake-news story” about congress passing a bill that would ban e-readers, as they were more dangerous than conventional books. I felt that this satire would function on multiple levels, allowing me to equate gun ownership to free speech and highlight how I believed that the Assault-Weapons ban was foolish in it’s presumption that the weapons it outlawed were somehow more dangerous than the weapons it found legitimate. I developed an extensive pre-write for the piece, but the longer I thought about it, the more the idea started to sit with me wrong. I started to see many logical fallacies in the way I was telling my story. I was depicting a slippery slope that seemed irrational and overly paranoid, and it cast my perspective (though I believed in it) in a rather negative light. Whether or not this was as big a deal as I made it out to be is open for debate, but I chose to create a new piece, after having been inspired by discussions in class and reminded of a “Weekend Update with Seth Meyers” joke, in which he proposed that the founding fathers, were they to arrive today and asked about the second amendment would instead focus on all the strange and fantastic things they saw in this new world, such as planes, cars and freed slaves. I felt as if I was taking his joke, but I took it in another direction. I wanted to criticize both sides in this piece by parodying the use of the founding fathers in a debate where their advice would have little bearing on the modern state of firearms. Furthermore, I used the spiritual summoning as both as source of jokes and a way to say “it’s not as if we can ask them. We need to interpret things for ourselves.” I found a way to add in my own pro-gun leanings through my redundancy comment, though that was the extent of my attacks against my opponents.

Posted December 2, 2011 by whitcoursen in Uncategorized

That’s so Ironic   Leave a comment

Though I didn’t enjoy the reading to a large degree, I did agree with the claim that the term “Irony” isn’t used in the correct way these days. Having said that, I can’t really say I’ve been using it right either, or using it at all to a large degree. But reading the article I noticed that self-parody came up repeatedly, and it reminded me of part of a lecture in my Masterworks of American Literature class that I took last spring. The text we were focusing on was the autobiography of Ben Franklin. Our Professor pointed out a moment in which modern readers might think Franklin was stroking his own ego, but in actuality was displaying a keen awareness of his audience and of himself, drawing up a self-parodying image of himself that would have his readers in hysterics of laughter. In the text, Franklin talks of how he has little concern for food, and could be satisfied with the bare minimum in serving size and flavor. As any of Franklin’s contemporaries would know however, this was not at all the case. The man was rather portly, and loved good food immensely. In this way, I saw how making light of yourself and your positions can be highly effective at rallying the audience towards you. That long winded intro leads me to the point that I think my upcoming satire needs some self-parody. Most of the ideas that have circulated around my head are dark and dystopian, which I think have the risk of coming off as obnoxious if handled incorrectly. Hopefully I can work out a fusion of the two.

Posted November 15, 2011 by whitcoursen in Uncategorized

A loud and not so loud issue.   Leave a comment

I found this Onion article on my topic, and I thought it captured a little seen side of the gun control debate, and an important observation on politics in general. The article points out that while many politicians find it best to take black and white sides of an issue, others such as the target of this article, President Obama find it safer to take no stance whatsoever.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/obama-delivers-whispered-untelevised-speech-on-gun,19068/

Posted September 9, 2011 by whitcoursen in Uncategorized