“Mr Friedland! Thank you for coming.”

“Please, call me Chip…But…er…I can’t quite see…”

“Chip, then. Oh, look, sorry I have to sit in the dark like this. It’s a management thing. A sort of fad like hot-desks and so on. Supposed to keep people on their toes. Something like that. We never had to carry on with all this theory stuff when we worked with your father and grandfather. Ah, the great Friz Friedland, your grandfather!…I hope you don’t find that light too strong on you…”

“Not really. I suppose it is a bit…”

“Probably more management theory stuff. I’m old school myself. Don’t know why we can’t just chat normally. It’s all quite out of my hands, I’m afraid.”

“That’s okay, Mr…er?”

“Oh, no name, I’m afraid, Chip. I’m supposed to be impersonal. It’s more of that, you know…”

“Management stuff? Yeah, I get it. Come to think of it, my dad never really knew what to call your…organisation when he worked for it. Just said the jobs paid well and were paid on time. So, what can I do for you…you guys?”

“Oh, we’re just doing a catch-up with all our favourite people. And I can assure you that the Friedlands – Friz, Fred and now Chip – have been some of our top favourites. Other people are writers but you and your predecessors have been real creators.”

“Well, thanks. We do enjoy our work, and we’re happy when it connects with people. So…which have been your favourite Friedland characters?”

“Of the early generation I just loved the fat little farmer and that rabbit!”

“My grandfather’s work. Still among our biggest hits. Though I didn’t know we created those characters for…for you guys.”

“About that, I can’t comment, Chip. I can say that the public often does not know when it is merely being entertained and when it is being…well, more than entertained.”

“So, which of my father’s characters have you liked?”

“Of Fred Friedland’s work the most valuable has been Geeky Bill, despite all the problems we’re now having with him. People loved to hate Bill, but they also respected him, especially when he hoodwinked IBM. Such a scamp at times. It was like the rabbit getting the best of the farmer again, don’t you think? Not that it wasn’t original…but it was also connecting with…with deeper currents of tradition, if I’m putting that right.”

“Sure. I get what you mean. There are narratives that people just have to have, time and again. You can’t deny the public.”

“Tell me about it, Chip! We are having such a problem with our purists in the history field right now.”

“You have historians?”

“Oh, here and there. And we wish they were more like the Friedlands.”

“Like us? But we’re…”

“Chip, you provide deeper truths through your narratives. That’s what we need from all our people. Right now some of our newer historians…Well, let me put it this way. Does anybody want to hear that Socrates was condemned to death not by the tyrants but by the newly restored democracy in Athens? That Jesse Owens was the toast of Berlin and was treated like a prince by the Germans? That George Washington was the land-hungry British officer who helped kick off the Seven Years War by murdering a French envoy? That Roland and the others were attacked not by muzzie Saracens but by Basques who were angry at Charlemagne for wrecking Pamplona? One can know these things on one level – maybe – but not at the expense of, well, at the expense of those deeper levels of knowing…”

“Hey, I never knew old George…”

“Why should you know, Chip? Why corrupt a critical narrative with such…disconnected fragments of fact? But here I am telling you my problems when I should be asking for your guidance.”

“Well, I’m here to help. As always.”

“Of course, of course. And we really like what you’ve tried to do with re-working the Geeky Bill character. It’s just that…well, actors are people, not just the characters they play. Actors – how to put this? – actors get out of hand. The Soros character has kept his value. Half the punters like Soros, half hate him: left versus right, a perfect creation balance-wise, and no extra work needed. He’s set-and-forget. The Jeff character is still fine, but at times we wish we could have kept him as a cackling, round-shouldered bookseller…”

“You told me you wanted Jeff doing space stuff, and hollowing out mountains. Couldn’t do all that and stay like a library worm. We had to sharpen him up, give him a Bertolt Brecht jacket and gym body. Needed hardening. Like the Elon character. All that drilling…rockets blasting off, blowing up…all the media appearances. One minute he’s sleeping on the factory floor, next minute he’s out with some starlet, smoking dope with an ex-MMA champ, then he’s sending a car into orbit or drilling under LA. He’s everywhere at once, some kind of Super Santa. We at least had to fix the hair and jaw…”

“Of course you did, of course. Not criticising here, Chip, just pointing out on-going difficulties. You see…we’re planning on a big step-up very soon. And you will be a crucial part of that step-up.”

“Step-up! But we’ve already taken it pretty far up for you.”

“I know, Chip, I know. But there’s one thing we haven’t done yet. We haven’t done…trillionaires!”

“You want trillionaires? But a trillion dollars is…let me see…a thousand by a thou…”

“Chip, keep in mind that we need two seemingly contrary effects right now. We need to create even greater awe of people with money and at the same time we need to trivialise money. Like money is everything and nothing. Get it?”

“It’s not my job to get it.”

“But you think you can do it?”

“Sure. I’m a Friedland. We made an immortal super-hero of a rabbit and a deathless anti-hero of a duck. And they were animations. Give us the funds and resources to work with the best people…”

“You’ll have all that and more, Chip. But you need to appreciate that we can’t have another Geeky Bill disaster. That character has been ruined by its actor, I know, not by your creative work. We script and protect him in interviews like a newborn kitten…and he still comes over like an inarticulate dolt.”

“Yeah, and now the divorce business…”

“Oh, that’s no problem. Divorces are a handy way of distracting, cashing out, dumping stocks, splintering assets and so on, all without premature disturbance to the markets. But Geeky Bill can be given the best script, the safest conditions…and he only opens his mouth to change feet. We wanted an asocial geek…not an outright bloody dolt! No fault of yours, Chip. We’re just letting you know that all has got to be perfect now. Choice of actor is as critical as choice of character. You have full creative freedom, you can use the old characters, even Geeky Bill if you can find a fix for him…but it has to be perfect. We’ve reached a moment when…well, let’s just say this is a final and very big play. There won’t be any more plays after this. So…can you think it over for a week or so and come back in with some sketches?”

“Can do.”

“Thank you, Chip. That’s all for now. You may find a little surprise in your accounts next time you look. A very pleasant surprise.”


“Yes, Chip?”

“It’s just that it would help if I knew…not your name or the name of the people you represent…”

“Chip, I think we’ve said all that needs saying today.”

“Sure, but I was wondering not about what you are called but what you sort-of…well, what you sort-of are?”

“No need, Chip.”

“But should I call you…?”


“But just in my own mind…should I think of you as The Power? The Money? The Man? The Hand? The Brethren? The top of the pyr…”


“Hey, I’m sorry if…”

“Chip. Are you listening to me?”

“Yes. Listening…”

“Chip, you generate and develop identities, right?”


“You create rabbits and billionaires and political leaders and road-runners and scientists and ducks. For people to like or not like. For their anger or approval, fear or satisfaction. Right?”


“And you never have to worry about the dynamics of presenting these characters. We grow, magnify, obscure and cancel them at will. We can have them top of the news at six o’clock then we can lose them by midnight. We can do the same with ready-made characters, identities we never touched before.”

“Yeah, it’s amazing how you…”

“Then you, a Friedland, will understand that to be without identity of any sort is to be above opinion, above reaction. One can make any opinion and cause any reaction while remaining free of all opinion and reaction. That is not mere power. That is freedom from power. Perfect namelessness is being beyond power and above power. Do you understand? Complete non-identity lifts above everything. We give names and identities but do not accept them. Not in the slightest. Not ever. Do you grasp that now?”

“Yes. Yes I do…”

“I ask you to meditate, Chip. Meditate on the only true freedom, which is not for the many and must never be for the many: freedom from identity! Don’t you see that this freedom of a very few nonetheless benefits all? Yes! Those who influence, who control, who decide…they can do so without bias or fear. All things now can be attributed to the characters you help to create, to Orange Man or Sleepy Joe or Dirty Ghislaine or Daffy Jeff or Whacky Elon or Geeky Bill or the Bilderberg Boyz or the Boho Grove Groovers or the Q-Tips….

“Chip, meditate on these, your own masterpieces. Hate, love…trust, distrust…approval, outrage…all emotion goes toward the characters while control and decision are left to the truly free. In the event of public, er, misunderstandings, some characters – like Dirty Ghislaine, Goblin Harvey or even Geeky Bill – can simply be flushed. We run them off a cliff, just like when your coyote is chasing your road-runner. Whether we cancel the actor or just the actor’s character is a matter of discretion, but the guilt stops at the character, while those who are more than characters, those who are players, can toil on for the benefit of the many. With ‘calm of mind all passion spent’, to quote the poet. Through simple distraction and innocent entertainment, this world can at last become a just place. You are a big part of that.”

“Yes. I see now…”

“So, we’ll see you in week or so with some new sketches?”

“Yes. Yes you will. Absolutely…”

“Then that’s all, folks.”

About mosomoso

Growing moso bamboo on the mid-coast of NSW, Australia.
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6 Responses to THAT’S ALL, FOLKS

  1. beththeserf says:

    ‘One can make any opinion and cause any reaction while remaining free of opinion and reaction. That is not power. That is freedom from power. Perfect namelessness is being beyond power and above power. Do you understand?” ‘

    Ouch, ‘ That”s all, folks. ‘

  2. beththeserf says:

    Better than a stick!

  3. beththeserf says:

    Don’t know where to put this.A small fight back. Couldn’t find your story about the wandering Jew to put it there,maybe I ferget its title…

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