Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Story of Mel

This was inspired by a comment on why I don't just go nuts and vent spleen on those in power. I generally don't know who I'm writing for, but I know who I wish to avoid -- and that is Mel.

Mel is my fictional character, a collective of many people I have known over the ages. Mel is in charge of the world. He sits in his oak-panel office, with a Scotch IV, and has a zillion private lines in, and out. Mel sits at the apex of a million mini-Mels, who cascade down in a self-similar hierarchy. He is so opaque that nobody knows he exists. He just lives for the comforts of ultimate power. Although everybody aspires to be Mel, he never dies, and arranges the world around his comfort. Through him funnels all the 'tax' on productive work.

Mel exists because of the basic human desire to stop thinking. This task is painful, and usually only results from some sort of fear or discomfort. Everybody dreams of sitting on the beach, and leaving everything to Mel.

Mel's power goes up and down in cycles. He was fine in the 50's, but then those pesky Russians put up Sputnik, and everybody got scared. Thus began another great bloom of Science, as had happened many times before. But the People's great desire for Mel caused another god to rise: Mr. Whitecoat Scientist. He wasn't up to the job, and the people tore him down. In the past twenty years or so, Mel has established full power. He keeps a few tame scientist to putter around with Cancer, etc.

We don't have the Russians anymore, or Great Ambition that turfs Mel out for a while. But we are entering a more dangerous phase. For the trouble with Mel and his Minions is that they can't do anything that requires scientific thinking. We are now in for the Time of Great Blunders, until we actually fight Mel again.

And so with Mel and his Minions firmly in control, I try not to say anything that will catch their attention. They are very attuned to terms such as 'stupid idiot'. They know how to fight for survival. The intellectually interesting part is to wonder how many Great Blunders he can get away with. Right now, I see an endless number stretching into the future, like airplanes coming to land.


Anonymous said...

You have, of course, Seen this?

Looks like Mel's got 'Geologists' wall to wall there in power land.

Harold Asmis said...

He pays well.