Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain


Fifth Estate # 324, Fall, 1986

Over the last few months we received several responses to the centennial celebrations of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, including the following text, distributed by a group in NYC:

Hi! I’m the AMAZING RON, and have I got a show for you: fireworks, lasers, warships, helicopters, and tens of thousands of cops! Just sit back and watch this blinding show of liberty, but remember, to keep America free, we all have to pitch in and help, so I’m asking you to do a few simple tasks:

1. Work at a job you hate for half your waking hours for the rest of your life,

2. Eat poison food, drink poisoned water, and breathe poisoned air for the rest of your life.

3. Give a third of your income in taxes to the government so they can kill and maim innocent people all over the world for the rest of your life.

4. Pay 50% of your income to a landlord or bank for the privilege of having a roof over your head for the rest of your life (or live on the street).

5. Get married, have kids, and numb yourself with TV and consumer products for the rest of your life.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it, folks? Here at the liberty command control center, we’re always concerned about security—your security. Just stay behind the barricades and keep your eyes on the show at all times. Remember, we live free, so that you don’t have to.

A partial list of personnel and equipment for “liberty weekend”:

8 helicopters, 31 boats, 7 “total containment” vehicles, 7 robots, 8 x-ray, 4 bomb trucks, 3,006 portable radios, 36 ship-to-shore radios, 230 telephones, 6 golf carts, 6 mopeds, 10 explosive detection dogs, 5,778 wooden barriers, 535 metal barriers, 1,350 cones, 375 life rings, 36.82 miles of tape, 22,000 cops.

“Give me your clean cut, your unpoor, your upper classes yearning to invest, the wretched refuse, hirelings, compradors, send these, the exiled bosses you divest: I paint their gold upon my lumpen door.” (Tull Kupferberg)