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

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
June 23, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Democrats in the Dead Zone
Gary Leupp
Trump, Qatar and the Danger of Total Confusion
Andrew Levine
The “Democracies” We Deserve
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
The FBI’s “Operation Backfire” and the Case of Briana Waters
Rob Urie
Cannibal Corpse
Joseph G. Ramsey
Savage Calculations: On the Exoneration of Philando Castille’s Killer
John Wight
Trump’s Attack on Cuba
Dave Lindorff
We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change
Brian Cloughley
Moving Closer to Doom
David Rosen
The Sex Offender: the 21st Century Witch
John Feffer
All Signs Point to Trump’s Coming War With Iran
Jennifer L. Lieberman
What’s Really New About the Gig Economy?
Pete Dolack
Analyzing the Failures of Syriza
Vijay Prashad
The Russian Nexus
Mike Whitney
Putin Tries to Avoid a Wider War With the US
Gregory Barrett
“Realpolitik” in Berlin: Merkel Fawns Over Kissinger
Louis Yako
The Road to Understanding Syria Goes Through Iraq
Graham Peebles
Grenfell Tower: A Disaster Waiting to Happen
Ezra Rosser
The Poverty State of Mind and the State’s Obligations to the Poor
Ron Jacobs
Andrew Jackson and the American Psyche
Pepe Escobar
Fear and Loathing on the Afghan Silk Road
Lawrence Davidson
On Hidden Cultural Corruptors
Andre Vltchek
Why I Reject Western Courts and Justice
Christopher Brauchli
The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America
Missy Comley Beattie
The Poor Need Not Apply
Martin Billheimer
White Man’s Country and the Iron Room
Joseph Natoli
What to Wonder Now
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong: the Chinese Meant Business
Thomas Knapp
The Castile Doctrine: Cops Without Consequences
Nyla Ali Khan
Borders Versus Memory
Binoy Kampmark
Death on the Road: Memory in Tim Winton’s Shrine
Tony McKenna
The Oily Politics of Unity: Owen Smith as Northern Ireland Shadow Secretary
Nizar Visram
If North Korea Didn’t Exist US Would Create It
John Carroll Md
At St. Catherine’s Hospital, Cite Soleil, Haiti
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Singaporean Conjucture
Paul C. Bermanzohn
Trump: the Birth of the Hero
Jill Richardson
Trump on Cuba: If Obama Did It, It’s Bad
Olivia Alperstein
Our President’s Word Wars
REZA FIYOUZAT
Useless Idiots or Useful Collaborators?
Clark T. Scott
Parallel in Significance
Louis Proyect
Hitler and the Lone Wolf Assassin
Julian Vigo
Theresa May Can’t Win for Losing
Richard Klin
Prog Rock: Pomp and Circumstance
Charles R. Larson
Review: Malin Persson Giolito’s “Quicksand”
David Yearsley
RIP: Pomp and Circumstance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail