Dirk Rackintack, the Pulitzer Prize winning editor of the Door Gazette, wrote that Gabriel had been murdered and his boat torched by Satan worshippers, probably the same ones who mutilated Bugbee Hendershot’s sister-in-law’s cows, but everybody, dangerous disagreeable and god-fearer alike, knew it was space men who chopped up the cows. There were space men in Door all the time because of the quartz quarry, they used light through crystal to fly their ships, but like any group of beings they had their good and bad elements.
The peoples’ outraged response to Dirk’s story was so smack back fast they shut down the switchboard at the paper and the mayor’s office. Then the Old Women of Door, who loved truth beyond all reason, got into it.
‘What was done to Gabriel was evil,’ they thought, ‘and when you see evil like that you follow the money,‘ and at midnight they thought as One and they put the thought out there.
The thought spiraled and spun through Door Proper gilding azalea beds, tennis courts, and endless pools. The thought glazed the spokes of motorcycles, the lean to’s, and the sumac round Door Pond. The thought glimmered the sands and the salt marsh of the Scrub. The thought stuck like glue, the thought could not be scrubbed off, the thought could not be shook or buried, the thought upset and threatened. Dogs howled. Knots of people began to gather up and down Main Street, they gathered talking, talking, talking, amongst themselves and the talk turned heated, and the din of heated talk began to rise and leapfrog, and an issue issued forth. It was naked, a naked lie, and threatened everything it meant to be a Dorian. Gilbert quickly called a town meeting and typically, everybody came.
The Door meeting house was old pink stone, ivy covered and damp, home to centipedes in the basement, and historically plaqued, thanks to Jane Lee’s mother, Jancee, and the Pappagallo shod Door Proper League of Women. The building tended to shift right, left, up center and back down, to provide right and perfect ventilation for the standing room only populist debates and determinations for which Door was famous. That Door was famous for its populist debates and determinations was a direct result of Zen Burns and his documentaries. Zen could not get over the fact that life and the quality of life in Door was actually in the hands of the people, a responsibility the people took quite seriously. The only job of the elected official was to carry out the people’s will whether it ran contrary to his/her ambitions or not. This, as Zen was fond of saying, ‘knocked him out.’ This, as Zen was fond of saying, ‘blew his mind.’ This, as Zen was fond of saying, ‘had to be on film man.’
Because of the Burn’s Documentaries utopia seeking sociology, urban planning, and poli-sci students tended to gravitate towards Door as did hippies and commune people. Hippies and commune people would inevitably move down river to Tap Town as the people of Door were entirely too argumentative for them. The utopia-seeking students would generally flee after their first town meeting. Zen didn’t really capture the more vitriolic aspects of town meeting because like the students he tended to view Door through the lens of utopia. Door was proudly, persistently, and passionately diverse, a town of extreme opposites. Zen purposely edited out the not pretty push-pull of the opposites and in so doing he lost the point. The point of the push-pull, the vital and necessary clash of opposites intrinsic to the healthy growth of the whole. Zen saw the clash and thought ‘opposing,’ the people of Door saw the clash and thought ‘finding the balance.’ The point of the push-pull of a Door Town Meeting, the circle round the whole, of the whole, and for the whole, was the common good; what was best for all people, not just a select few. This was what Zen Burns fell in love with, a town’s unwavering commitment to what was best for all the people. This is what he glorified and glamorized in his documentaries, not the working reality, the push-pull (he lost the point), of what it takes to maintain such an unwavering commitment. Because Zen lost the point and his documentaries became famous, Door became an ideal to many of her population and the rest of the world, a double-edged sword indeed. Theoretically an ideal is flexible enough to expand, contact, evolve with the only constant that is change; realistically ideals become solid, unchanging things, a defining piece of identity, and depend on an unwavering denial of ever evolving reality. That which challenges group identity is more often than not judged a threat to perceived though not necessarily real safety. Swaddle an ideal, (Door is fair and just) and the components of the ideal, (we can trust what we read in our newspaper) round a naked issue (were we lied to) and the ideal, the identity (safety) of the individual and collective, is threatened. This was part of Julian’s I-can-make-people-believe-anything-I-want-them-to plan. That and outright lying. The point, however, of Julian’s plan remained to be seen and given the fact that Julian was not an idealist and adhered to the teachings of B.F. Skinner and his boxes, the point would surely not be lost…..
(Everything I write is copyrighted and I am extremely litigious)
posted at open salon 6/19/12