I’m busy writing The Sword of Unmaking (The Wizard of Time Book 2) and haven’t had much time for writing blogs. Since this the height of the political season, I thought I’d post a scene or two from a political satire play I wrote back around the turn of the millennium. I wrote it while on a yearlong corporate tour around the country from Oct. 1999 Oct. 2000 and it was heavily informed by that experience.
A brief synopsis is below. If you’re interested in reading the whole script, you can find a pdf here.
POP! Culture: The Future of America™ Synopsis:
Trapped in a society dominated by a handful of companies that are rapidly merging into one giant conglomerate, the Citizen has begun to feel that Life™ as a materialistic corporate consumer cog isn’t turning out as advertised. Life™ seems to mean only working to buying more things and everyone is on Prozocom™, a drug that induces a haze of purchasing pleasure. Fleeing a company assigned spouse more interested in shopping and a good resume than having children, the Citizen begins a journey through the anti-consumerist movement, meeting a guru of Karmic Konsumption™ and a radical revolutionary bent on destroying the corporate dominated system. Ultimately the Citizen is faced with a choice between living life as consumer and employee, or as a human being. Sound familiar? Not as seen on TV!
SETTING: Typical Citizen Home
The CITIZEN enters.
CITIZEN: I’m home.
There is silence. The Citizen puts down a briefcase.
CITIZEN: Computer, begin making dinner.
The disembodied voice of the house COMPUTER speaks.
COMPUTER (O.S.): What would you like for dinner?
CITIZEN: The Usual™.
COMPUTER (O.S.): My inventory indicates that the ingredients for The Usual™ are not present. I can easily order the usual for delivery from McFood™. McFood™ is Good Food®.
CITIZEN: I hate fast food.
COMPUTER: Fast Food is Good Food™, and Good Food is Good for You™.
CITIZEN: Fine. Whatever.
COMPUTER: The order has been placed and the sum one hundred-twenty-six credits has been deducted from your account. Your meal will arrive in two hours or Your Money Back, Guaranteed®. Guarantee void in states where not applicable
CITIZEN: Thank you.
COMPUTER: You are welcome.
COMPUTER: I am at your service.
CITIZEN: I’m just curious….
COMPUTER: Curiosity is the first step toward purchasing empowerment.
CITIZEN: Yes. I’m curious as to what states the McFood™ guarantee is applicable in.
COMPUTER: State law prohibits the application of guarantees for food, material products, and customer services in all states except South Dakota, where similar legislation is pending.
CITIZEN: Thank you.
COMPUTER: I am happy to have been of service. I am instructed to reminded you that you are scheduled for a Buying Session™ at 8pm this evening.
The SPOUSE enters.
SPOUSE: I’m home.
The Citizen gives the Spouse a perfunctory kiss.
CITIZEN: How was your day?
SPOUSE: Awful. Did you hear the rumor?
CITIZEN: What rumor?
SPOUSE: Mega Corp. is thinking about merging with Bank of Everything.
CITIZEN: That would leave just four companies. Why would they do that?
SPOUSE: Something about increasing profit margins through consolidation of resources.
CITIZEN: Did they say how many jobs they’re cutting?
SPOUSE: There hasn’t been an official announcement yet. Did you make dinner?
CITIZEN: I ordered from McFood™.
SPOUSE: That’s fine. Fast Food is Good Food™.
CITIZEN: Did you know that the two hour guarantee only applies in South Dakota?
SPOUSE: That doesn’t surprise me. They’re so backwards in that state.
CITIZEN: But what’s the point of having a guarantee that can’t be enforced?
SPOUSE: How can you get to be a vice president of advertising without knowing anything about marketing?
CITIZEN: Because there are five thousand vice presidents of advertising.
SPOUSE: Well, take it from a vice president of marketing, it makes perfect sense. You need a guarantee to give the customer a sense of product worth. Research shows that products with guarantees sell better than those without. But guarantees inhibit profits when they are acted on by consumers, so in an effort to keep the companies to be more competitive, the state legislatures passed laws voiding the application of guarantees.
CITIZEN: Why not a federal law?
SPOUSE: Oh, this was ages ago, when it was harder for lawmakers to pass really proactive laws to protect companies from their own worst policies. Really, if we don’t protect the corporations, who will.
SPOUSE: The Only Good Corporation is a Profitable Corporation™.
CITIZEN: And Profits Make the World Go ‘Round™.
CITIZEN: But so do consumers.
SPOUSE: Consumers Make All the Difference™. If Your Not a Consumer, You’re Part of the Problem, Not the Solution™.
CITIZEN: Then shouldn’t we do our part to increase the consumer base.
SPOUSE: Not this again. I thought we came to an understanding about this.
CITIZEN: We did, but I don’t understand our understanding. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I think it’s what we need.
SPOUSE: We can’t afford it.
CITIZEN: I was reading just the other day about how the company was going to lower the Genetic Tariffs® to allow more couples to have children.
SPOUSE They’re always saying that.
CITIZEN: It’s a long-term plan to increase the consumer base. We could be part of the solution.
SPOUSE: I’m not going to do it.
CITIZEN: Why not?
SPOUSE: Look, we each pay enough just to have a company assigned spouse, if I was going to have a child, I’d want to have it with the best genetically available material, and I can’t afford that and the Genetic Tariffs®.
CITIZEN: My genetic background is perfectly acceptable.
SPOUSE: Acceptable, but not Exemplary. Exemplary Genes Make Exemplary Consumers®.
CITIZEN: We can rent the genes. The prices at the Common Gene Pool® are very reasonable.
SPOUSE: Common Genes are for Common Consumers™. How would that look on my resume? “Raised Common Consumer.” You don’t get promoted with children like that.
CITIZEN: We could go to Genes are Us™, they’re the best designer boutique.
SPOUSE: Just another senseless expense. Do the math. It would be cheaper for me to go back to the company and ask for another mate.
CITIZEN: You’d do that?
SPOUSE: If that’s what I really wanted, what else could I do?
CITIZEN: Can’t you see how much this means to me?
SPOUSE: You’re just being selfish. You want a child for you, not for the company.
CITIZEN: People used to have children for themselves all the time.
SPOUSE: And that was inefficient. Efficiency Breeds Success™, and while it’s obvious that you have lost your Consumer Core®, I want to be successful. I’ll have children at the right time, and when I do, they’ll have the highest consumer ratings in the company.
CITIZEN: But it won’t be with me?
SPOUSE: How could you ask me to do that to my career? You are so selfish sometimes. I’m going to my Buying Session™. Let me know when dinner arrives.
The Spouse exits, leaving the Citizen alone.