150 words (approx) – Project Abstracts
Project Project, The (TPP): TPP is the umbrella project under which all related projects huddle. TPP consists of: 1) dozens of creative endeavors (original graphic novels, films, plays, books, and web-TV episodes); 2) syndicated news/comic/other features; and 3) original strategies for disseminating information to the public (personas and demonstration programs, t-shirts, bumper stickers, holiday decoration kits and greeting cards). TPP is based on the following conclusions: 1) America’s vital interests are threatened by the ignorance of its citizenry; 2) most Americans will share my concerns (and many policy prescriptions) once they share my facts; and 3) it is easiest to educate folks whilst entertaining them (embed The Essential Facts (TEF) in accessible content: metafictional comedy and drama); people prefer to read/view what they elect to read/view (rather than what is thrust before them by a stranger or assigned to them by some gadfly friend); and lastly, apt metaphors speak volumes (especially when those metaphors proliferate).
Invitation2Artivism.com (I2A): I2A is the website created to present The Project Project (TPP) to the public. Promoting activism-through-art (“Artivism”), the site hopes to attract volunteers: fellow artists, writers, and others willing to lend their talents to bringing these projects to fruition (and building an intellectual and philosophical movement capable of educating Americans to the point where we can better assess our predicament and work intelligently and collaboratively toward solutions… pulling back from the brink of slow, inexorable collapse). With regular installments of web-TV clips, visitors to the site can enjoy timely commentary — and humorous video clips, featuring TPP Personas. The I2A site will provide a guide to worthwhile journalism and media on a regular basis, as well as offering tempered criticism of other journalistic efforts. I2A will also provide updates on the status of the whole family of TPP Projects.
Essential Facts, The (TEF): TEF represents my attempt to produce a concise list of “THE” facts I consider most vital to understanding America’s (and humanity’s) current crisis; illuminating our predicaments and policy imbroglios, foreign and domestic. TEF should introduce audiences to the suppressed history of state criminality (including much of America’s criminal conduct) and the extent of the present corruption of the world’s leading institutions, from the United Nations to the Congress of the United States (while some of this educational agenda could be construed as “America-bashing,” I have faith that increasingly savvy Americans will not be surprised by the details of this history; merely edified by the shocking details of our history). My intention is to embed these facts (TEF) across dozens of projects which will be released in concert with one another, hoping to achieve a cumulative effect: raising consciousness and encouraging Americans to apply our common sense and personal values to our better-informed political choices.
My Yoknapatawpha County (MYC): MYC refers to the fictional setting of William Faulkner’s novels of the American South (Yoknapatawpha County)… adapted to the purposes of The Project Project (TPP). In order to reinforce The Essential Facts (TEF) and increase audiences’ familiarity with modern history, I will use the identical lexicon of invented names (for fictional characters, corporations, etc.) in all of my projects. In my graphic novels, films, and web-TV projects, there will be but one index for the population of the parallel universe where the action takes place. MYC has brash radio/cable news demagogues like “Ben Glock” and “Rash Bimbaughe,” pretend-cowboy presidents like “Reynolds Raygun” and “George Washington Brash, Jr.” and behemoth corporations like “Newscorpse” (with its cable giant, “Pox News”), Wall Street’s “GoldSacks,” and the Hexagon’s “Helliburden.” The creation of these satirical entities – and their appearance in not one, but several, projects – should educate audiences about historically significant figures like Mohammed Mossadeq, Sayed Qutb, Cofer Black, Ibn Sheik al-Libbi, Louis Posada Carriles…
Independence Day Carol, An (AIDC): AIDC is an original storyline that could be adapted for stage, screen, or graphic novel. While the plot generally tracks the Dickens (Christmas) classic, AIDC swaps holidays and places (MYC’s own) President George W. Brash, Jr., in the Scrooge role… and the antics ensue. Dead (“as a doornail”) president, Landon “Bones” Johnston, fills in for Jacob Marley, here (a fitting revenant for Brash, history’s “partner,” each Texan president with his own Vietnam). Several other MYC characters play their parts, including: DaveBob Quochit (former head of Brash’s office of Faith-Biased Imperatives), in the role of Bob Crachit; past presidents from Madisson to “Dicky” Noxin play the shape-shifting Spirit of Independence Day’s Past; and Vice President Dick Veyder makes a special appearance (as himself). AIDC aims to discuss the post-9/11 presidency in historical context, addressing America’s past transgressions against liberty, and holding out at least the possibility of redemption, for Brash and for all of us (even Teeny Toiling Tihm).
Unknown Presidential Candidate, The (UPC): The UPC Persona is an original character (one of several conceived for TPP) designed to interact with the public, disseminating TEF and The Platform via personal interaction, web-TV, and other forums. Like his/her counterparts, UPC employs humor, diplomacy, and facts to edify without giving offense (avoiding ideological arguments; emphasizing commonalities; delineating practical solutions). The UPC’s shtick is largely based on the odds against his/her campaign (trying to win the highest office in the land as an unknown – who wants to remain unknown – with zero establishment support… in a non-election year). The UPC’s shtick also utilizes visual humor, outrageous costuming, silly slogans and jokes that satirize modern politics. Some of the UPC’s Themes include the media’s tendency to divide Americans on the basis of race, religion, politics; the corruption of our institutions; and the need for genuine leadership. Like his/her counterparts, UPC has various Sets of Facts to offer, as well as compelling Theses about the state of the union.
Platform, The: The Platform represents the best policy prescriptions I have been able to discern/devise regarding the significant issues of the day (Iraq, immigration, infrastructure…). Many of the policy prescriptions in The Platform are not original with me. The authors are respected voices across several different areas of expertise: Middle East policy; tax policy; economics; etc. The policy prescriptions have not been selected to pander to any political ideology; rather, they have been chosen on their merits. The Platform is not limited to the issues deemed important by the dominant institutions of the media or government; it concerns itself with the pertinent issues of our time: sustainable use of resources (esp. water); literacy and critical thinking; civility and tolerance; morality; liberty; justice; and more. The Platform aspires to point the way to successfully resolving America’s foreign conflicts; achieving energy independence; reviving our Middle Class by transforming our economic base; bringing transparency and accountability to our institutions…
Poli-Traiku: Poli-Traiku (short for “Political Triple-Haiku”) is an original poem form (designed for newspaper syndication), intended to improve issue-literacy by encouraging reading and inviting reader submissions. Structurally, the Poli-Traiku is based on the Japanese Haiku form, only tripled: three stanzas instead of one; and three times the number of syllables per line (15-21-15, rather than 5-7-5). A Poli-Traiku is news-based, constructed of excerpts taken from three ideologically diverse news sources (credible ones), with each source given equal representation in the poem — each identified by font, footnote, and in the “legend” following the poem. Source articles will provide three diverse subjects of the poet’s choosing. The only constraint (outside of form) is as follows: Poli-Traiku excerpts must not distort the meaning of the original source (like a Haiku, this poem form requires a certain fidelity to nature). This project envisions a Poli-Traiku “Master,” composing the Sunday poem and selecting other poems from reader submissions.
Unfrozen Caveman Messiah, The (UCM): The UCM Persona is an original character (one of several conceived for TPP) designed to interact with the public in the same manner as the UPC (above). The UCM’s shtick is derived from his fantastic (invented) history: he is a young Cro-Magnon who was frozen in his prime, defrosted and revived millennia later by scientists, and introduced to the world with much fanfare… and one surprising result, the rise of a religious cult founded on the notion that UCM is some sort of avatar of God, heralding the End of Times. Per this history, the “Caveman fad” eventually subsided and UCM fell into obscurity. UCM’s Themes include the suicidal bent of modern societies; modern man’s disdain for (and despoilment of) a bounteous world; the institutionalization of the worst of our animal natures; and the need for sustainability and harmonious co-existence with nature. Like the UPC, UCM has various Sets of Facts to offer and a Thesis or two of his own.
Intelligence Nazi for Truth, The (IN4T): The IN4T Persona is an original character (one of several conceived for TPP) designed to interact with the public in the same manner as the UPC and UCM (above). The IN4T’s shtick is that he is a walking paradox: a Nazi-evoking, virulent non-Nazi, alternately pontificating and pleading for forgiveness (chagrined by his passion); morally certain and self-effacingly humble. The IN4T’s appearance is comical, with an outrageous red, white, and blue costume (NO swastikas) and his “Reverse-Hitler” facial hair (allowed to grow everywhere except where Hitler’s moustache would be). While the IN4T (rather unfortunately) superficially evokes the very caricature of a Nazi, he is, in truth, a devout Christian and a passionate denouncer of everything for which the Nazis stood: militarism, aggression, supremacist ideology, and victimhood-fueled torture and genocide. IN4T’s Thesis: it is vital for citizens in democratic nations to be informed about the policies of their governments… especially when that conduct (even remotely) evokes that of history’s fascists.
Political Animal (The) and His Attendant (TPA and HA): TPA and HA Personas are designed to interact with the public in a similar manner to the UPC and others (above). Unlike other TPP Personas, this act requires two performers: 1) TPA, a politics-obsessed, disheveled excuse for a human being, occupying a giant “hamster cage,” complete with jumbo water-bottle and other props; and 2) HA, an employee of his family with some medical training (veterinary), hired to take him outside from time to time (“get him some fresh air and people time… help him recall his original species.”). Their shtick is that TPA is a hyper-concerned prophet of dark scenarios (fact-based); and HA is an apolitical skeptic, an Everywoman irked by TPA’s relentless drive to consume news and “inflict his essential facts” on others. (The worst part is she sometimes feels attracted to him!) It is HA’s prerogative to “correct” TPA’s behavior when he is overexcited using sharp commands and, sometimes, mild electric shocks (f’show).
Zombie for Peace, The (Z4P): The Z4P is a TPP Persona, with a twist: the Z4P performer can be entirely non-verbal (rigged to be a virtual “walking kiosk” of The Essential Facts). The impetus for this character’s method of fact-dissemination was my observation that pamphleteering involves “pushing” paper at intended audiences; the Z4P hopes to invert that process, enticing audiences to “pull” material from pockets attached to sandwich-boards (worn). Z4P’s shtick: 1) he/she is an undead pacifist (and a vegetarian); 2) he/she carries/wears some form of background information, even if it is a simple obituary clipping (or telling accessory). The back story provides an opportunity to personalize this character, adding humor and depth. As this Persona has been designed with public interaction in mind (as with the other Personas), all material and make-up should be appropriate for general audiences – no gory make-up. Zombie impressions should also create opportunities for (non-threatening) physical humor.
“Peace Zombie” Demonstration (PZD): The PZD is a strategy for planning and executing a light-hearted, fact-disseminating, and peaceful demonstration, aimed at illuminating an issue. With gentle, humorous, and non-verbal Z4P (see “Zombie for Peace”) participants, the PZD hopes to charm the public by defying the stereotype of the “angry, confrontational” protester, and employing messaging that eschews partisan vitriol and offensive rhetoric. The PZD outlines an approach to: 1) recruiting, training, and outfitting demonstrators with sandwich-board kits, costume tips, and other materials; 2) a reminder to consult the relevant authorities and secure all necessary permits; 3) directions for executing the demonstration, with Zs4P beginning their “shamble for peace” (in teams) from various starting points, all converging at a predetermined location – ideally a public space, heavily trafficked by pedestrians; 4) executing the PZD Finale (one or more vehicles arrive at a predetermined time, blasting Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” summoning the Zs4P; a “Zombie Master” could disembark and direct the Zs4P to their vehicles –demonstrators’ pre-arranged rides).
Batman, Joker’s Jihad; Superman vs Luthor, The Ultimate Showdown; Zombie World; JO’Ds Night of the Living Dead; Tales of a Hell Gone Mad — The Thurmond Chronicles; Winter, Come to Us; Pacifis-Ts (bumper stickers and greeting cards, too); My-Span TV; Star Trek, First Generation; American Impeachment & Reconciliation party; Lecondel Diary; Rockin’ for Uncle Sam; The Five Worst Presidents Ever (illustrated series); Confession of an Economic Hit Man (illustrated, condensed); Good Muslim, Bad Muslim (illustrated, condensed); The Shock Doctrine (illustrated, condensed); Imperial Life in the Emerald City (illustrated, condensed); Haunted House decoration kit with post-9/11 horrors under Bush/Obama; Star Wars, Episodes VII-IX; Sammy’s Schoolyard (comic strip); Of Origins and Apocalypse (Oelven/Saurian adventure); Star Date; Ali Baba and the Forty Days and Forty Knights; Pieces; America, The Board Game; “DC Lords” comic strip (featuring “Ralph” the Donkey and “Jack” the Elephant in “Lord of the Flies” -based allegory)