Thursday, May 9, 2024

When you notice the stripes

I was recently digging through old files to find The Tinleys, and one of the things I ran into was "A Pedestrian Speech for Bill Clinton," written by me and my four siblings in 1996. One of our pastimes in those days was writing "Pedestrian stories," meaning stories composed by a group of people who take turns adding one sentence. You write one sentence, pass the paper to the next person, and so on. They got their name because the early ones revolved around a character called the Pedestrian (who didn't always live up to his name; one story is titled "The Pedestrian Rides a Speeding Motor-Omnibus"), but the term was later reinterpreted as meaning that the story was itself a pedestrian, "walking" around the room from person to person.

Laughing at the idiotic rhetoric of political campaign speeches was another pastime of ours -- it was a more lighthearted time, politically -- and 1996 was one hell of a year for that. Does anyone else remember that guy whose speech was organized around comparing a certain Kansas politician to each of the characters in The Wizard of Oz in turn? "Like the Scarecrow, Bob Dole has no brain. . . ." Political speech-making is a lost art now; 1996 was the golden age.

Anyway, during the 1996 presidential campaign we decided to bring Pedestrian stories to the political peanut gallery and write Bill Clinton a Pedestrian speech. After some preliminary thank-you-very-muching, it got right to the point with this:

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow Americans, and fellow Democrats, three cheers for the flag! Yes, it is this flag that we have come together to honor today, as Americans and as Democrats. Perhaps you wonder why I am here today. It is because, fellow Democrats, as an American, I too honor the flag. Yes, indeed, I honor all flags, whether national or state, or even privately used. While I was on my train ride, many people asked me what I thought about flags, and I told them that when a flag has 13 stripes and 50 stars, you can connect them to make a constellation -- and ladies and gentlemen, that is what we are!

That line stood out to me in connection with recent syncs about constellations and dot-connecting (e.g. "Susan, Aslan, and dot-connecting"). Then this morning I put on some music, letting the algorithm do its thing, and got a new-to-me Shins song called "New Slang (When You Notice The Stripes)":


In the context of the metaphor from the Pedestrian speech, "noticing the stripes" means connecting the dots to make a constellation. The song is from the album Oh, Inverted World, which is a link to the turning-upside-down theme mentioned in "The Menelmacar mudra; the hot bee of Fatima; and spiritual experiences on Monday, July 22."

1 comment:

Karl said...

Newt Gingrich, Dan Quayle, and Bill Clinton were following the Yellow Brick Road.

Gingrich: If I only had a heart...

Quayle : If I only had a brain...

Clinton: Where's Dorothy?

Behold, the Lord esteemeth all flesh as one

I was listening to an audio recording of the Book of Mormon, and when it got to the part where Nephi says they "did live upon raw meat ...