The Piranha Plant

The object growing in Holst-Dulverton's back garden

So, one of my friends and I–Chris Flynn–created a couple of caricatures one day. The caricatures are two utterly mad English aristocrats completely caught up in their station in life and, by all accounts, living in the 19th century–they just happen to find themselves in the 21st. This is the first letter I’ve written in character, and am waiting for the response to jot down the second. I’ve recorded it (it’s 13 minutes), and will, if I remember, put a link to it alongside this.

Frederick Smythe-Tensington Rexley, B.A., Ph.D, M.D., J.D.
The Hedgerow

4 August, 2010

Dear Mr Rexley, B.A., Ph.D, M.D., J.D.,

In answer to your query posed the First of July: No, I am reticent to admit that I have not followed the current cricket contest between England (God save the Queen) and Pakistan. I find sport abhorrent in its very nature and something to be enjoyed by only the common folk in our country. As you are well aware, in my youth, I would make my way down Oxford Street upon my horse, Mercury, and trod upon those who I deemed common—so it is, of course, unlikely that I would have anything to do with those vagabonds. (Before you waste precious ink distilled from the fat of whales—as I know this is the only sort of ink you use—allow me to state two things: Firstly, I was never charged with a crime, for, as you know, I am related to every MP of note in the Southeast, Southwest, Midlands, and Greater London area. Secondly, no, I do not judge you for enjoying sport, I simply state my only preference.

In regards to your question about whether or not the recent election was favourable to those of us in, shall I say, higher positions, I need only turn your attention to the recent decrees put forward by the Prime Minister. I say, “eat shit,” as our American brethren would say, you dirty council house-dwelling proletariat. And I do not feel I must make a point upon the imminent dissolution of the Film Board—that amoral institution responsible for besmirching the name of Film. There are, of course, those rogues, the Liberal-Democrats working in supposed co-operation with the Conservatives, but I sincerely doubt they are making their presence known beyond flailing around Parliament, shouting and crying like some puppy squashed in the road. Rather amusing, I must say. Of course, we here in Fizzleshire are an admittedly removed lot—those whose income totals less than £300,000 per annum are removed to Kent. (I had briefly considered embarking upon a diatribe on the subject on that miserable excuse of a county, that stain upon England [God save the Queen!] but I am quite certain even you are beyond the point of hearing anything new I have to say on the subject.)

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The Tea Party

They always fail to mention that people like Samuel Adams were certifiably insane.

Now, I’m not trying to make the case that Teddy Roosevelt was the best President we’ve had. As far as I know, he ranks in the top ten—got his face on a mountain, after all—but I’ve always been a bit antsy when thinking about that mad charge he led in the Spanish-American War. Balancing that out, you’ve got the sense that here was a man who believed in the ability of the population to know what’s right, and the government’s facility to be an agent to ensure that what’s right gets done. After all, he led the Progressive Party—the only third party since the Whigs to get near to winning the Presidency.

He was an outstanding man in every sense of the word. He spoke out for what he believed, acted as if he believed it, and, even after a failed assassination attempt on his life, did everything he could to get his message across. Of course, anyone with the most basic knowledge of the history of American government will be able to tell you that, after leaving the Republican Party, he didn’t succeed in regaining the Presidency; this was due to the main stain of American politics: the political party. Roosevelt counted on his former allies to back him, even though he no longer held the banner.

They let him down, and Roosevelt lost in the elections. (Of course, he still led a pretty damn cool life of adventuring around wherever he could.)

But the thing about this latter part of his political career that we should recognize is that, when the system didn’t jive with what he believed, Roosevelt took the initiative and formed his own party separate from the Republicans and Democrats. He didn’t just talk about the detrimental effects of graft and ineptitude, he did something about it—or, at any rate, tried to.

When I read the news online over here in what some dub Enlightened Europe (the expulsion of Roma in France, as well as some xenophobic policies towards that same group in Italy make me doubt the veracity of that nickname—as do plenty of the policies of the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition in England), I can’t help but be infuriated by what I see about the Tea Party. The media is quick to make the point that a “Tea Party candidate” won this post or that post from an incumbent, that this is the new, grassroots organization. And, yes, I must concede that these people have been elected because they were riding the waves of the “Tea Party.” But, come on, how many people are actually fooled by that name?

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Clowns and Swords

A Clown Holding Swords

Not quite what I had in mind. From

In my last semester at the University of Tennessee, I took a course in screenwriting. It was one of the best classes I took, mainly because the professor pushed students to do an insane amount of work. You know, it was a constructively pressure-filled atmosphere, if that makes sense.

Part of the insane amount of work was the requirement of churning out a scene (read, about a page’s worth of material–any more than that and Dr. Larsen would go apeshit and scream, “No, no, no!”) three times a week and turning it in, so that he could go over it about six times with six different colored pens. Yes, I know, this makes him seem completely insane, but it was a great, great way to learn about writing screenplays. Nothing like abject terror and multiple colors of ink to push you to excel.

One of the assignments was to create a scene that used a montage. I have no idea how I came up with Clowns With Swords as a premise, but, hey, caffeine does amazing things to my brain.

And, as with everything tossed into the Scripts and Simontek Studios category, if I ever had the opportunity to film it (and direct it, since in the words of an agent at the place I’m interning at, “screenwriters get shit on”), I’d be all over it.

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