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The Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
Edited by Andrei Codrescu
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the making and unmaking of person
The Book of (Demotic) Revelations and (Common-sense) Epiphanies

Jim Harrison rages epic and lyric across the telly-ravaged American mind, remembering things once real now poofed away by "fascist Disneyland." A great writer and a stubbornly real man, Harrison can't bear to see the meltdown of everything into hyperreal pudding. It's not nostalgia, it's a violent recall of the ancient gods.

Dawn Baude asks, in perfect contretemps to Harrison, "Why would I waste my beautiful mind on that?" ironically quoting Barbara Bush on something, maybe the recent war. The source of both poets' anger is in this recent war, but the ripples go far and wide, deep and high.

Shauna Rogan in "For Bernardine Dohrn and Future Meteorologists" seems to collage the voices of angry revolutionary women (or is it just one voice?) to make the case for a new language of protest

Lawrence Millman reviews Saddam Hussein's fiction in "Deconstructing Saddam"

Gary Sloan calls reasonably for rabid theocrats to quit quoting old American presidents for their agenda of overthrowing the secular state

Willis Barnstone goes to another universal for his straw of pure insight, namely "Time," something that we, here at the Corpse, have abolished. Still, what can we do about it? As the great translator of "The New Covenant" and the "Gnostic Gospels" says, "I can always spot the damage he has done." Not to your poetry, cher maitre.

Ramon Arjona is a mystic and a visionary, but no less demotic for the flight-hours he puts in.

John Lento makes "a modest proposal for offsetting the federal deficit" and it's not about eating people (alas!), it's actually sensible! It should be tried! It will work!

Michael Rerick has culled a number of "alien abduction" reports specially for the Corpse, to aid us in our work of identifying which of our current leaders are aliens; so far, we have discovered that all those bearing one-syllable names denoting a place or thing Bush, Grove, Rice, Gates, etc - are indeed aliens whose names were chosen for mnemonic ease.

Paul Krassner revisits the perennial argument between marijuana and cigarettes. He quotes Dr. West, from the Betty Ford Center: "Alcoholics eventually die from lung cancer more often than from alcohol-related causes."

Terry Stokes has allotted his Christian neighbors and the unforgettable Annie Goldberg to his poetry-hours

Rebecca Weaver, plainly astonished at the consciousness of non-city people, discusses (respectfully) the possible co-ordinates of their home planets

Ariel Beller sings the ballad of Forrest Moon, a man with a direct line to God.

Curtis Rama speaks words in flames on several locations on 9/12, including NYC, locus of the national wound


Among Washington insiders, rumors have circulated for years about a secret conservative plan to crush liberal opposition and assume full control of American politics. In the late 1960s, according to legend, a handful of young conservatives calling themselves "The Famous Five" came up with the key ideas and the overall strategy of such a plan, won support for it from powerful corporate interests, and set in motion the train of events that has led to the election of Ronald Reagan, the advent of a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and the triumphs of George W. Bush.

Until now, "The Plan" has been merely a rumor. In the late 1980s,  young conservatives spent hours reverently speculating about it over drinks at "The Sign of the Indian King" on M Street, while across town frustrated young liberals in the think tanks around Dupont Circle darkly attributed every conservative victory to this mythic document.

By the mid-1990s, the myth started to fade as each succeeding triumph of the conservative movement made it increasingly improbable that any group, however brilliant, could have planed the whole campaign. Eventually people referred to "The Plan"  as one might refer to the Ark or to the gunman on the grassy knoll: intriguing but fantastical.

Indeed, the very idea of such a plan probably would have evaporated from political consciousness had not the Board of Directors of the National Enterprise Initiative commissioned a distinguished American historian to write an informal history of that organization for the 35th anniversary of its founding. Two years later, and for reasons we may never fully understand, the historian and the Board fell into bitter dispute. The Board paid the historian the advance stipulated in their contractual agreement and severed all relations with him.

Subsequently, and by means I may not divulge, a draft of the historian's  book, titled "The Plan": How Five Young Patriots Engineered the Rescue of America, found its way into my hands,  along with interview transcripts, official correspondence, and related documentary materials.  The excerpts from his materials that follow put before the public for the first time undisputable proof of the existence of "The Plan" and tell the remarkable story of the conservative capture of American culture and politics.  (For reasons which will become sufficiently obvious, if they are not already, the names of all personages in this account, including the name of the historian,  have been changed.)

A more complete version of "The Plan," with my more extensive notes and annotations, will be published next year. - Editor

By Max Cafard
Special to the Corpse!
Coming Attraction: The Passion of the Buddha?

It's rumored that Mel Gibson has been hired to do for Buddhism what he's done for Christianity. His next film will be The Passion of the Buddha. Do you know the story? The Buddha's end also came through a sacrifice. A lavish banquet was prepared for him but one of the dishes was contaminated. Knowing this, and having consideration for his host and companions, the Buddha chose to eat the poisonous food and leave the wholesome dishes for the rest of the assembly. What followed is rather harrowing--but imagine the vast cinematic possibilities. Twelve hours of vomiting, diarrhea, excruciating pain, and intestinal bleeding. Though the scriptures remain discretely reticent on this subject, there was no doubt abundant and painful gas. In short, the stuff that Mel Gibson movies are made of.

Somehow I doubt whether many Buddhists would find this drama very compelling. However, there may be among them a few naive souls with a pathologically morbid fear of being reincarnated as a slug who might think it could do them some good. If the film materializes, we will certainly investigate this question carefully. Meanwhile, we will be content to take a look at Gibson's first stab at a passion story. click here to continue...




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