TANNER Something happened today. I was coming home from the library, across the tracks. It was dark already. I had taken the steps on my side, when something made me look up. Beneath the overpass, at the corner where the ground meets the bridge, with barely enough room to sit in, I saw a small fire burning. And a figure sitting there, watching me over the flames. Rubbing his hands together.
I made an experiment. An exercise in populism, you might call it. As I said, I went to the library, and visited a traditionalist website. For those of you whom the typhus of traditionalism has passed, few words of introduction are due. Take a trip to Paris, to the cathedral of Notre Dame. Imagine the altar there sprayed by brain matter. That sight, my friends, is traditionalism taken to its logical conclusion. Enough of those wankers. After the library, I visited the corner bar, listened to the regulars discussing various current affairs. I was drinking coffee, mind. Then I went home and wrote an article based on what I’d read and heard, changing a word here and there, replacing “hajjis” with sectarian rift, “let them finish each other off” with the unpredictable outcome of a hypothetical intervention, messing with the affairs of a sovereign state, and so on. I’ve never written so fast in my life—the piece on Syria took me ten minutes, tops. And what do you know, before I could take a leak, Flower was back.
FLOWER You lied to me.
TANNER So did you. Your name, if you're wondering, for starters. But hey, I like it. It suits you, somehow, better than, say, cow.
FLOWER A cow? Gee, thanks.
TANNER How now, an example. Like I said, Flower fits you. May I call you Flower? Regardless of who you really are? Thanks. Now, to the business at hand...
Tim Buckley – Wayfaring Stranger/You Got me Runnin'
Thus began my apprenticeship in Orthodox Anti-Imperialism—
the empire here being the United States. Flower and I started a fruitful collaboration. She gave me the topic, and I painted it in broad strokes of moral outrage, reviving the animal, no, the herd instincts in our dear readers. Jealousy, fear... it worked like magic. We worked like magic. And then she asked me to do something stupid.
FLOWER You need to write a review of the latest Batman.
TANNER Why? It's been done.
FLOWER Still, it's important.
TANNER The Dark Knight Rises? FLOWER The readers need to know where we stand.
TANNER With Batman? FLOWER It's important. Just do it.
TANNER And I did.