The Fiction of Owen Thomas

Henry's Interview Corner


A Beagle Dreams of Finally Getting Some Answers

The Fox

(Interviewed November 9, 2013)

H:         So, The Fox… Welcome to Henry’s Interview Corner.  My God, look at that tail! Spectacular!

TF:         This? Oh. Thanks mate.

H:         Makes my tail look like an old rope.

TF:         No. You’ve a fine tail. It’s fine, Henry. You’re just a pup is all.

H:         Didn’t think you’d be British.

TF:         Lived in the English countryside since I was a kit.

H:         Hey, my bloodlines are from Essex.

TF:         Ah. Essex. Lovely. As good a place to be from as any, I’d say.

H:         Really?! Is that what you’d say? You? The Fox? Is that what you’d say?

TF:         Easy now. What’s all this then? Back off.

H:         Sorry. But seriously, is that what you’d say? That Essex is as good a place as any?

TF:         Uh… well… Yeah. I suppose so? Wouldn’t you?

H:         No, no, no. This is not about what the Beagle would say. It’s about what The Fox says.

TF:         Oh bloody hell. You’re on about that stupid song, aren’t you? Every time I turn around people are pestering me about that bloody tune. What’s it mean? Is that you in the video? What’s it all about? Well it’s not me in the video. And people need to get a life is what I think it means.

H:         I’ve just got to know what the fox says. I saw the Youtube thingy last month. Here’s a link to the video for our readers: What Does the Fox Say?

TF:         Oh, mate, don’t do that. Don’t…

H:         Too late. It’s done. Siri transcribes and automatically posts the interview as we speak.

TF:         Ah. Pretty fancy, that.

H:         Yeah, well, I’m not so good at typing and it’s hard to find competent help these days. 

TF:         Oh I’ll say.

H:         You’ll say what? That it’s hard to find competent help these days? Is that what the fox says?

TF:         Stop. Henry. I’m begging you. Let’s talk about something else.

H:         I can’t! I’m sorry, but I can’t! I haven’t been able to get that song out of my head. It’s torturing me. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I’ve lost two pounds in four weeks. That’s a lot for a Beagle. I have to know what the fox says. I have to! Pleaeaease! I…need…to…

TF:         No, you need to think about calming down. The song’s made you a bit mental.

H:         Seriously, I have to know.

TF:         Well I don’t think I can help you.

H:         Wait, you’re shy. I get it. You don’t actually like talking.

TF:         No…

H:         I’ll make it easy. We can do a multiple-choice thing.

TF:         Please, Henry. Get a hold of yourself.

H:         No! The musical question will not let go of my brain! I have to know! Okay, was it (a) Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!...

TF:         No.

H:         Or (b) Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!...

TF:         No.

H:         Or was it (c) Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!...

TF:         No.

H:         Ha-ha! So it must be (d) Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff! That was always my guess. Oh, I just feel so much better knowing!

TF:         No.

H:         Oh yes I do.

TF:         No. I’m telling you I don’t say that. I don’t say any of those things.

H:         What? You don’t?

TF:         Henry, it’s all gibberish. They’re ‘avin’ a laugh. Don’t you see?

H:         They’re having a laugh?

TF:         No. ‘Avin.’ You’re putting too much H in it.

H:         Their ‘avin’ a laugh?

TF:         Spot on. They’re ‘avin a laugh.

H:         Oh. Well. That’s not very nice.

TF:         Right, see here’s the thing: The band’s Norwegian.

H:         It is?

TF:         Yeah. It is.

H:         So?

TF:         So? So? Henry… Norway’s got the fourth-highest per capita income in the world, universal health care, subsidized higher education and a comprehensive social security system.

H:         I… I don’t … um… so?

TF:         So this is what good health, income equality and lots of government-sponsored, care-free time off from work looks like. This is a fully realized welfare class.

H:         Frolicking in the woods? In bad costumes?

TF:         Yeah. Except it doesn’t really look like that. They’re just ‘avin’ a grand laugh.

H:         Yeah, I don’t really know what that means.

TF:         It means their pokin’ a bit of fun.

H:         At who?

TF:         Who? You must be joking.

H:         Umm. … No?

TF:         American politics.

H:         What’s so funny about that?

TF:         Are you daft, Henry? Have you not been paying attention?

H:         I read the news.

TF:         Then you know that everyone in your country starts to lose bowel control anytime someone suggests a government role in protecting the underclass.

H:         Oh, you mean Socialism.

TF:         That’s exactly what I mean. That’s what that stupid song is about. That’s my theory anyway. The slightest hint of enacting socially responsible legislation and Uncle Sam goes stark raving bananas. It’s like you guys start speaking in tongues. Your unemployment rate is still above 7%. Over 95% of the economic gains in your economy since 2009 have gone to the to the wealthiest 1% of Americans. That’s outrageous. In most democracies there would be rioting in the streets. You’re the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the bloody planet and yet fifteen percent of your country is living below the poverty line. That’s nearly fifty million people. American CEO’s are, as a group, the highest paid people in the world, but American minimum wage is only $7.25 an hour. That’s pathetic, Henry. That’s shameful. You’ve got a full-blown case of corporate totalitarianism and yet your country is worried about the threat of Socialism? Americans wouldn’t know Socialism if it tapped them on the shoulder and bought them a free meal.

H:         I thought Socialism means having sex with the Devil.

TF:         You what?

H:         Yeah. And I think we’d all know it if the Devil tapped us on the shoulder and started… well, you know.

TF:         This is what I mean, Henry. How do you Yanks go from a social ownership of the means of production to getting buggered by the Devil?

H:         Well, not without a lot of screaming. That’s why I learned Karate.

TF:         Karate?

H:         Wait. Not Karate. Pilates. What’s Downward Facing Dog? Is that Karate or Pilates?

TF:         It’s not about self-defense, Henry. Or … stretching your muscles. It’s about government.

H:         Oh, believe me, I know. We just shut down our government because people are afraid that our new health care law is the same as having sex with the Devil.

TF:         Yeah, I was around for that little shutdown. Everyone on our side of the pond thinks you blokes need to hand over the economic superpower badge.

H:         There’s a badge?

TF:         You could have sent the world economy into a tailspin with that little stunt. You punched yourselves in the face and gave yourself a $250 billion black eye. And you just got out of the hospital. You were recovering. Your economy was getting’ better. We were all rootin’ for you.

H:         You were?

TF:         Yeah. But we’re not any more.

H:         You’re not?

TF:         No.

H:         Why not?

TF:         Because you punched yourself in the bloody face, that’s why not.

H:         Pretty sure that was the Devil.

TF:         No. No it wasn’t. It was you. You did it to yourself. Your political governance has become very much like the health care system your president is trying to change.

H:         Meaning that before a bill can become a law, someone has to purchase an MRI and a $4,000 tongue depressor.

TF:         No. Meaning that as a body politic you Yanks spend a lot of time in the emergency room. You govern by crisis just as the poor sap without insurance manages his health in the back of an ambulance. That’s no way to live and it’s no way to govern.

H:         Hey, he may be a poor sap, but at least he’s no Socialist. Those guys have to wait in lines for health care.

TF:         No they don’t.

H:         Our guy gets lights and sirens. He gets treated like THAT! No, like…. THAT! I don’t have fingers to snap.

TF:         Let me tell you something. Your new health care law stands to deliver millions upon millions upon millions of new customers into the private insurance market. Private, for profit, health insurance. Ever seen a private insurance conglomerate have an orgasm?

H:         Oh…no. That’s… no.

TF:         It’s not pretty, Henry. Forget single payer. You people don’t even have a public option.

H:         Yeah, but we do have death panels.

TF:         Bollocks. You do not.

H:         They say we do.

TF:         Go on. Who says that? I mean really, Henry. Who says you’ve got death panels to worry about?

H:         Lots of people. Bill O’Reilly. Sean Hannity. Gretchen…

TF:         OH…MY…GOD!

H:         Carlson… Um…

TF:         Henry, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

H:         Yes! Yes I am! Ha-Ha! But just in case…. What are you thinking?

TF:         The song is about Fox News!

H:         What?

TF:         Fox News! The song is a satirical swipe at the contagion of right wing political talking points rooted in supply-side economics and warmed-over Reaganism masquerading as political analysis. It’s a backhanded musical homage to Rupert Murdoch’s great wall of reactionary nonsense that extreme Republicans like to use as a media bulwark against social progressivism and, well, basic intelligence.

H:         Yep. That’s what I was thinking all right.

TF:         So a Democratic president proposes affordable health care or immigration reform or financial reform or not defaulting on the national debt or investment in infrastructure or literally anything constructive, like keeping the bloody government open for business and – in response to any of that—what does Fox say?

H:         I… I still don’t know.

TF:         Socialism! Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow! Death Panels! Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding! Fiscally irresponsible! Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho! And then whatever Fox says, millions of old, angry white people across Florida and the rest of the your country repeat the gibberish like it’s fact. Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow! Chacha-chacha-chacha-chow! Henry, it’s a bloody brilliant song. I can see that now. I completely get it. You don’t look convinced.

H:         I … I don’t know.

TF:         What?

H:         It’s just… The words are, What does THE fox say. See? THE fox. Not… fox.

TF:         …

H:         See?

TF:         Oh. Well. Guess you’re right about that. Hmm. Blast. I thought I’d cracked it.

H:         It was a good theory though.

TF:         Right. Feel a bit silly now.

H:         Then let’s talk about something else.

TF:         Anything. Literally anything.

H:         We could talk about how my ancestors chased your ancestors for sport.

TF:         Awkward. Literally anything other than that.

H:         What’s your take on twerking?

TF:         Twerking. Don’t get me started on twerking. It’s just a thumb in the eye of the working class is all that is. It’s the upper crust wipin’ its bum on people who have to struggle all year just to feed themselves. It’s an obscene gesture masquerading as a dance that depicts the use of underprivileged people as toilet paper.

H:         Really? Toilet paper?

TF:         Well. Yeah. That’s what I say, anyway.

H:         Oh! Oh! Is that what you say? Is it? Is it?

TF:         Oh, fuck all…

H:         Hey? Where are you going? Don’t run! You’re going to trigger my chase instinct! Hey!

Next Guest: Vladimir Putin


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