Earnest Prankheimer: The Interview
It’s always a shifty operation, interviewing one of your own characters. And with the Professor, I’m never quite sure when he’s putting me on. We’re both involved in various projects and pretty busy, but I was finally able to sit down with him.
Wryly Coyote: Thank you for being here today, Professor.
Earnest Prankheimer: Well, Wryly, wherever you are, there am I also.
Coyote: True, more or less. Tell me, what are your earliest memories?
Prankheimer: It was dark, inky black, like being confined in a pen, or something. Then all of a sudden it was as if somebody turned on a light switch.
Coyote: Yeah, you were one of my better ideas. You worked your way through college, is that right?
Prankheimer: Yes, I did everything. At one point I worked the day shift at a graveyard, then night shift at a day care. I even worked some clubs as a stand up chameleon.
Coyote: You mean comedian?Prankheimer: No, I mean chameleon. I tailored my material for the audiences.
Coyote: Good one. It says here in my notes that you wrote a paper on feline litterature. Is that a misprint?
Prankheimer: Not at all. It’s a very fertile field, it’s just been mostly covered up. But if you dig a little, you can uncover all kinds of shit.
Coyote: Uh, okay. And you have a degree in Talksacology. What is that?
Prankheimer: It’s what we’re doing right now.
Coyote: Boy, it’s getting deep in here.
Prankheimer: Well, don’t blame me.
Coyote: I guess I can’t. You were married once, is that right?
Prankheimer: I was, but she wasn’t Oh, it wasn’t her fault. I’m not an easy person to live with. Besides, marriage is a tricky proposition, no pun intended.
Coyote: None taken. You don’t believe in the institution of marriage, then?
Prankheimer: Cher was asked that question once. She said it’s fine if you want to live in an institution. I just don’t think that humans have evolved enough for long term relationships.
Coyote: I’m inclined to agree with you. We keep trying, though.
Prankheimer: Yes we do. Plato thought that in the remote past, as young souls, we somehow got separated, and we’re always looking for our other half, to complete ourselves.
Coyote: Yet many people do stay married for thirty or forty years, even longer. Have they found their soulmates?
Prankheimer: I think some have, but most are what I call settlers. There’s nothing wrong with that, though.
Coyote: Who do you like to read?
Prankheimer: The satirists; Swift, Twain, Hunter Thompson, Kilgore Trout. And I love Kafka — he’s so cheery and uplifting.
Coyote: FRANZ Kafka?
Prankheimer: You bet.
Coyote: I think you’re confusing Franz Kafka with Frank Capra.
Prankheimer: Well, you WOULD think that. Have you read “In the Penal Colony?” It’s hilarious.
Coyote: That wasn’t my impression. You must think Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment is a real hoot.
Prankheimer: Owl say! I’ll tell you this — I think Raskolnikov was onto something. There are people who walk among us who aren’t human at all.
Coyote: What, you mean aliens? Pod people?
Prankheimer: You read too much science fiction. I mean they’re not developed fully, or they are, but they’ve been rendered more or less unconscious, like in a dream state. They’re just going through the motions.
Coyote: Like zombies?
Prankheimer: If that works for you.
Coyote: Because I recently got it — why zombie movies are bigger than ever.
Prankheimer: Well, aren’t you the quick one.
Coyote: I hope you’re not endorsing Raskolnikov’s idea that it’s okay to get rid of them, because they’re not really human anyway.
Prankheimer: Of course not; that’s murder, isn’t it? The great mythologist Joseph Campbell once said the world is full of people who have stopped listening to themselves. Sometimes shock treatment can wake them out of their reverie, like that guy today.
Coyote: I should tell our readers that earlier today we were walking on the street, and you went up to some guy texting or something, and screamed, “Number 4167 — wake up!”
Prankheimer: That’s right. It’s good for them.
Coyote: You scared the crap out of that guy.
Prankheimer: I sure did. You never know, though. There might be somebody in there.
Coyote: You don’t care for electronic media, do you?
Prankheimer: It’s an artificial medium, and I prefer authentic experience. You know, contact with real people, with your locality.
Coyote: But you did that video, “Prankheimer For President,” on You Tube.
Prankheimer: Yes, but that’s because I kept waiting for someone to step up and say it, and no one else did, so I had no choice. However, I am planning another one.
Prankheimer: I think “Right-Wing Jesus” has great theatrical possibilities.
Coyote: I’m looking forward to it.
Prankheimer: Not as much as I am.
Coyote: But you don’t seem overly impressed by social media.
Prankheimer: Stop putting words in my mouth. Social media has made revolution easier than ever. For that reason alone, it has great value.
Coyote: I’ve been wanting to ask you, what do you think of President Obama?
Prankheimer: I met him once, you know.
Coyote: No, I didn’t.
Prankheimer: Yeah, I have a good friend at State, so I was able to finagle my way into the reception for the Chinese President [Hu Jintao] last year.
Prankheimer: Yes, Hu.
Coyote: That’s what I’m asking. Who’s the Chinese President?
Prankheimer: That’s right.
Coyote: What’s right?
Prankheimer: Hu is the Chinese President.
Coyote: No, that’s what I’m asking YOU! What’s the guy’s name?
Coyote: The Chinese President?
Coyote: Okay, let’s just move on. I believe the question was what you think of President Obama.
Prankheimer: Ah, that begs the question, which Obama are you talking about? There’s the Obama who taught Constitutional law and ran a brilliant campaign on hope, change, and restoring our civil liberties. Then there’s the President, who has expanded the national security state, and even ordered the assassination of American citizens. I mean, how do you process that?
Coyote: It’s an enigma.
Prankheimer: A puzzle.
Coyote: A riddle.
Prankheimer: A conundrum.
(Together): It’s a mystery, alright.
Prankheimer: Maybe if I put it in metaphor. I went out with him once; well, it was a nice restaurant, and he was paying. But when I went to powder my nose, he put some aphrodisiacs into my drink — hope and change. I woke up the next morning face down in a stinking pool of broken promises, with a sore asshole. So I’m not going out with him anymore. It’s too bad, because I still really like him.
Coyote: What’s your opinion of the Occupy movement?
Prankheimer: It’s part of the global uprising against corporate power, and not a moment too soon, either. We’re at a tipping point here, and the response by power is total repression against any form of resistance. When you first see a news report of police armed like space invaders, smoke and explosions and so on, it could be anywhere — is it Oakland, New York, Syria, Iran? It always looks the same.
Coyote: It’s that age old theme, is the machine to serve us or are we to serve the machine?
Prankheimer: Exactly. We have to make a stand now, before it’s too late.
Coyote: What about the criticism that there’s no clear leadership, and seemingly no agenda?
Prankheimer: They’re doing it exactly right. If they had leaders the media would tear them apart, dig into their past. Look what they did to Sandra Fluke. As for an agenda, it’s pretty clear — this whole system of crony capitalism and wealth inequality has to be scrapped. All of it, the whole thing has to go.
Coyote: That sounds like socialism.
Prankheimer: Social justice, which is why Glenn Beck and others have to demonize the term. What we’re headed for now is neo-feudalism and people are waking up to that. If I have a problem with Occupy, it’s that there aren’t millions more on the streets. There will be, though. You know how to tell that we’re winning? Just look at the response by the corporate police state — unjustified violence and brutality. The power structure is very nervous about this awakening, so they’ve got to squash it before it gets too big for them. Remember, we outnumber them a thousand to one, and they know it.
Coyote: What’s your prognosis, then?
Prankheimer: Oh, I’m very hopeful, at least for the long run. Unfortunately, we live in the short run, and we’re in for some deep do-do. Power has never ceded its control without bloodshed — never. I’m afraid that only the conservatives can save us now.
Coyote: WHAT? You must be on butt-crack.
Prankheimer: Who else are you gonna call, the Democrats? There isn’t a set of nuts in the whole bunch. Hell, they wet their pants every time a Republican raises his voice. I’m taking about a return to the true conservative principles — less government intrusion into our lives, cutting wasteful government spending, and personal responsibility. Real conservatives wouldn’t put up with the government peeking into women’s reproductive rights, or into a bedroom to see if two guys are doing it, or into the living room to see if someone is lighting a bong. And they sure as hell wouldn’t stand for government spying on all our phone calls and emails. As for spending, the bloated military budget should be slashed to the bone. We don’t need to be spending half our money on endless wars nobody wants. As for accountability, look at the financial meltdown of 2008. Obama’s Justice Department hasn’t indicted a single one of these scoundrels, let alone arrested anyone. Remember the savings & loan scandal during the Reagan years? No matter what you think of him, and I didn’t think much, over 800 banksters went to prison.
Coyote: Okay, while I chew on that, what are you currently working on?
Prankheimer: Electricity (laughs). I recently came upon a medieval painting that looks like Jesus using Twitter.
Coyote: That’s ridiculous.
Prankheimer: Is it? It would explain why he had so many followers.
Coyote: Well, I think we’re about done here. Did you have any questions?
Prankheimer: Yeah. Why did you create me? Was it so you could have me say the things you don’t want to have to take responsibility for?
Coyote: Get over yourself. Maybe you were a surrogate, because I’ve never had children, and wondered what it would be like.
Prankheimer: You might want to work on your parenting skills.
Coyote: The cats aren’t complaining, and I trust their judgment.
Prankheimer: Fair enough.
Coyote: Well, thanks again, Professor. I really appreciate it.
Prankheimer: Any time. I’m always at your disposal.