FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Saga of the Welfare Queen Rancher

by

OK—prove me wrong on this one.  Granted, I have no hard-core evidence that nitwit rightwing hero and big-rancher/welfare queen Cliven Bundy is a completely fictional character—a flesh-and-blood piece of performance art created by “dead” comedian Andy Kaufman—but  it’s blatantly obvious that the comic has left a Hansel-and-Gretel breadcrumb trail to lead us towards the truth.  To wit:

FACT: When Kaufman, a non-smoker, “died” at 34 of lung cancer, many fans—and  fellow comics—speculated that the death was a hoax, and that he would return, after a long hiatus, in another comic persona.

FACT: Kaufman, the most conceptual of stand-up comics, delighted in making his paid audiences as uneasy as possible—sometimes flat-out brutalizing them with stunts, i.e. conducting whole performances in disguise as a fake Vegas entertainer “Tony Clifton” in bad wig, blue tux and aviator shades, or reading endlessly from Joyce’s Ulysses onstage, long after the last awkward chuckle died and the walk-outs began.  Bundy—whose mock-heroic refusal to pay minimal grazing fees to the US government has made him a Fox News hero—does the exact same thing, horrifying his fans with comedy stylings like this: “…if…if…I’m not free to call them ‘Negro’ or ‘black boys’ or ‘slave,’ and  if those people cannot take those kind of words and not be offensive, then, then…Martin Luther King didn’t do his job.”

Sheer Kaufman-ian genius! First of all, that speaking style: what Mel Brooks ao wonderfully described as “authentic frontier gibberish.”  I mean, Andy, come on, you tipped your hand there!  “Black boys!”  “Slave!”  All building towards the first great shock-burst of Frontier-Gib—“offensive” instead of “offended’—and then climaxing symphonically by blaming it all on that notorious deadbeat and job-shirker, Martin Luther King.  (Side note: I have spent some time—not that much of it, but “quality time,” as they say—among heavily-armed people of Bundy-esque tendencies, and I can report that in private their preferred name for the man is “Martin Lucifer Coon.” )
FACT: Had he lived, Kaufman would now be 65 years old.  The wattle-jawed Bundy is 67. Coincidence?  I think not.  To my eyes—those of an ex-child actor– “Bundy’s” wattles look no more convincing than Tony Clifton’s rayon hairpiece.  Clearly, the zany Kaufman has used intentionally-bad theatrical make-up to “age” the two  short years into the form of a sunburnt and big-gutted crypto-Bundy.
FACT: Kaufman revelled in props: he’d go onstage with a portable turntable and  play a vinyl 45 of “The Theme from Mighty Mouse,” etc.  His “Cliven Bundy” persona delivered that “black boys” riff while actually cradling a dead calf in his arms!  Here we journey, with Kaufman as our guide, into the swampy worlds of Dada and Surrealism.  As rational minds destroy themselves trying to puzzle out the relationship between MLK and a slab of dead veal, Kaufman snickers into his phony wattles and enjoys a final, absurdist laugh at America.

As I count it, that’s 5—perhaps even 5 1/4—hard-core facts that prove my case.  While I don’t believe that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays, or that George Bush blew up the World Trade Center, this is one so-called “conspiracy theory” that’s as plain as the nose on Cliven Bundy’s face.

Welcome back, Andy!

John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He can be reached at: johneskow@yahoo.com

John Eskow is a writer and musician. He wrote or co-wrote the movies Air America, The Mask of Zorro, and Pink Cadillac, as well as the novel Smokestack Lightning. He is a contributor to Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence. He can be reached at: johneskow@yahoo.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
stclair
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andrew Tillett-Saks
Labor’s Political Stockholm Syndrome: Why Unions Must Stop Supporting Democrats Like Clinton
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Renee Parsons
Blame It on the Russians
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is it the Cops or the Cameras? Putting Police Brutality in Historical Context
Russell Mokhiber
Dems Dropping the N Word: When in Trouble, Blame Ralph
Howard Lisnoff
The Elephant in the Living Room
Pepe Escobar
The Real Secret of the South China Sea
Ramzy Baroud
Farewell to Yarmouk: A Palestinian Refugee’s Journey from Izmir to Greece
John Laforge
Wild Turkey with H-Bombs: Failed Coup Raise Calls for Denuclearization
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail