Since taking office, the Bush administration has naturally had its share of parodies. Some of them have been excellent and others just so-so. The recent novel from William Hart titled Supergoose is among the former. Strangelovian in its approach, this novel reveals the lies of the powerful and their war on terror. The story takes place in today’s world in a country called Plunderland–a nation where folks insist on recreating as they please and driving very large SUVs no matter what they cost in terms of resources and lives.
The tale traces the life of a man who fell into a vat of radioactive waste when he was barely pubescent and, in the manner of Peter Parker’s spider bite, acquired super powers. At first, this youth, whose name is Ernest Candide, only used his skills to achieve high school athletic fame. That is, until the Plunderian government takes note. Seeing the potential military uses of the youngster, the army sends out a recruiter and, with the typical recruiter’s mix of lies and ego-stroking, signs the young fellow up. After he puts on the green suit, Candide learns how to use his skills in a military fashion and then just waits until the moment he is needed.
That moment comes when a factory that manufactures Plunderian flags is destroyed in a terror attack. This outrage leads to an attack on an Asian country called Ragistan by the Plunderian military. Naturally, the attack was planned well beforehand and has very little to do with the terrorist attack. It does, however, have a lot to do with plans to build a pipeline or two through Ragistan. Lieutenant Candide flies above the mountains of Ragistan sighting clusters of Ragistanians and calling in air strikes. When he realizes that some of the people he is helping kill are women and children he begins to have second thoughts. However, he barely has time to think about this when he is knocked out of the air by a Plunderian missile. He next finds himself a captive of the greatest terrorist of them all, Moolah al-Razir. After falling through a ceiling and on to Moolah’s most recent addition to his harem Delilah Jihad, Candide loses his virginity and escapes with Delilah. Delilah of course is more than she appears to be. In fact, she is a double agent for nations that clearly represent Palestine and Israel.
It is at this point that the story begins to do what good satire does best. The absurdities and arrogance of the Plunderian leadership are exposed for the petty and perverted exercise that they are. Candide is captured and thrown in Guantanamo prison for the crime of questioning his leaders’ actions and their motivations. The Plunderian president, meanwhile, consults the ghost of Ronald Reagan while he practices his golf stroke. His administration, made up of a vampirish Chainey Dick and a Secretary of State who is also a televangelist with large investments in the defense industry, encourage the foolishly stupid president to continue the war no matter what the human cost. Everything will be fine as long as they make money and nobody of importance figures them out.
Hart’s novel is funny and pointed. If there is one drawback, it is that his hopeful solution to the quandary we here in Plunderland find ourselves can be solved by merely thinking for ourselves. While this is certainly a most important first step, it ignores the very real fact that after breaking the chains into free thought there must come action. Then again, Supergoose is a novel, not a revolutionary tract. Like other satirical efforts such as Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, this novel helps the reader see the problem. It does not provide the solution. That’s up to us.
RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org