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The Free Man Isn’t Funny

The purpose is to mock what is beautiful and true, to raise money for the museum that mocks what is beautiful and true, to disorient the minds of those who watch the spectacle with a furrowed brow, feeling like perhaps they are too simple to understand the modern world, but this is not it, the plastic-faced women and men spinning circles on red carpets as masked photographers snap photos of them, as masked servants carry the tails of their dresses, as masked waiters deliver them champagne, but the plastic people are not masked, how could they show their big bright smiles and lips pumped full of plastic with a mask on, no, masks are for the people, and everyone should be wearing a mask and staying far away from each other, but this is a special class of people on a special mission: they’ve been tasked with disorienting the minds of the nation, the world even, and so they must be seen.

The masked interviewers ask them questions, and the special people give plastic answers, molded long ago, plastic answers meant to spread across the earth and enter the ears of those who are at home behind locked doors in their masks, their eyes glistened over by the sight of fabulous ball gowns and dresses that say tax the rich, kill the babies, beauty is silly, sex is hilarious, there are no standards, everything is relative, it is you who need to be deprogrammed in order to become sophisticated like we the plastic people. And one by one the plastic people step out of limousines to be photographed by the masked servants, and one by one they mock beauty, there’s someone wearing a cardboard box, there’s someone in a dress assembled by slaves from a faraway nation, there’s someone wearing a bucket for a hat, aren’t they wonderful? Aren’t they glamorous?

The woman in a dress sewn by slaves speaks of bringing an end to injustice, and this is just it, she wants everyone to know the irony, that’s part of the plan. The mission is to disorient, to hollow out, to wipe the slate clean of all who watch, the plastic people have solutions we should listen to. They say whatever they’re told to say to make sure the masked people hear, but then the fun and games begin, the plastic people drink and dance and laugh about money but mostly they laugh about the art on the walls, they laugh about the slaves who made their ballgowns, they laugh about kids in masks in schools behind plastic barriers while they drink and dance and pull each other close.

But they don’t laugh about the free man. He’s not funny.

And tonight, the art critics will use words like visionary and groundbreaking and challenging.

And tonight the plastic comedians will come out and celebrate the plastic people and nod at the dissolution of beauty.

And tonight the very serious news anchors will come out and say those aren’t the dangerous people, they aren’t dangerous at all, they’re the good guys, what’s terrifying are the people who see them for what they are. Admire the plastic people, and you can be a plastic person too. You should be a plastic person too. You must be a plastic person too. You will be a plastic person too.


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