04 July 2006

The American Party Party

America is one big party and we're all invited. Please kick in for beer and munchies--there is no free ride. Please sign in. Everybody will get a goofy little nametag which may seem a little troublesome, but it is also proof that you are a party-goer in good standing, with full rights to the keg, the buffet, and the selection of music.
Which brings us to The Music! There will be a band, which takes requests, and when they're not playing, there's also a thumpin' stereo system. Bring music! If you don't like somebody else's music, just simmer down and they'll do the same when your music is playing. You can set up other stereos in other rooms, but please, remain part of the party--we're all in this together.
Please speak up if we seem to be running low on anything--some folks have thrown extra money into a pot for just this type of emergency. Bring guests too, as many you like, but guests must also be paid for and must sign in. It's just common sense, right?
See you there!

Okay, I'm sorry to do this, I need to make an announcement. It has come to my attention that some people, actually quite a few, have come in through the screen door on the side of the house. They have been drinking your beer, eating your sandwiches, programming your music and just throwing trash all over the floor. I would like to ask for everybody's co-operation in spotting people without nametags. Ask them to leave. For Heaven's sake, it's easy enough to walk in the front door and sign in, pay a little money. Even if they don't have enough money, well, we're all still neighbors--we do have a little surplus, and I don't think anybody would mind if a few people were allowed to sign in without paying the full amount. Right? So if you need a nametag, just go on out and come in through the front door. They'll take care of you there. Ed, what was the music? Yeah, please start the music up again. Thanks everybody--sorry to interrupt, but I'm sure you can see why I had to. Party On!

Okay, Okay, Okay! Yes, sorry to interrupt again, but the--yes, exactly, the people at the front door are having a hell of a time. Do you know that there's a line stretching around the block? Yeah well apparently some of our party-goers have been telling people in line that they don't need to pay anything, and word is racing through the neighborhood. Say that again? Right, I don't know who it is, but I would REALLY like to find out. Now the people at the door are in the uncomfortable position of having to explain the same old rules as if things had changed suddenly, and it sucks. Everybody is disappointed now--the people waiting in line, the people at the door, and us in here, too.
Well, no, obviously the problem is not that people need to sign in and pay. That has always been the case, although it wasn't always enforced so strongly. If anything, that was our mistake--allowing some people to "get away" with having snuck into the party. But even worse is the wrong information being spread by some people inside the party.
Let's get one thing straight--this party can take people in as fast as they come--but only if the sign-in and payment systems are working properly, and more importantly, only if everybody knows these systems are working properly.
I want to bring up something Ted over here said. He said we ought to allow the gate-crashers to stay here no problem if they got here before six o'clock, just give them a nametag, that they ought to work in the yard for a while then then be given a nametag if they if they got here between six and seven, and that those who got here after seven should go out, work in the yard, bring some extra money and come through the front door.
Yeah, I don't think so either.

Bad News, I'm afraid. Listen, everybody needs to walk slowly toward a door, or even a window. I hate to say it, and please stay calm, but it seems that Ted's friends have been holed up in the basement, listening to largely unpopular music, and plotting to take the house over. The worst part is that they have been burning the support timbers to keep warm down there. Yes, you're exactly right--if they had just stayed within reasonable bounds, then they could have enjoyed the warmth we all paid for, and which we all share up here in the house. No, I don't know why he did this. Yes, they could have simply joined the party across the street where that kind of music is popular. Well, for the better food, and colder beer, I guess. I don't know. Sorry, The party's over, and you can thank Ted and his gate-crashers for making it unaffordable to continue, and for undermining the very infrastructure needed to support a house in the first place.

THIS IS TED SPEAKING. I am in charge now, and I would like to say a few things.
First, that the condition of this house is deplorable. The previous administration has left us with a tottering shambles and it will take hard work to set things right. Crews are already hard at work de-constructing the bourgeois furniture in order to fashion added supports for the basement--I have seen it, and it's in terrible shape. Do not interfere with the de-constructionists--they know what they are doing.
Second, from now on, and for the foreseeable future, there will be no more free beer. Food rations will be limited to one plate per day. If you want to know who to blame, just remember who ran this place into the ground over the last four years.
Third, we saw the damage caused by having two different kinds of music available. Henceforth, I as your leader will select the music. When dancing is allowed, you will dance to my tune. There will be no complaints allowed.
Fourth, I am ordering the doors and windows bolted shut. There can be no question but that the open window-and-door policy of the previous administration cost us dearly. Their inept bumbling and incompetence has led directly to the sorry state of affairs in which we find ourselves.
Fifth, the multiple-tiered approach to party-going was a failure, and therefore, from now on there will be only one kind of party membership. We will all be the same in work and in play, in thought and in deed. Only this way can we truly be a fair-minded house. You can see how things such as complaining about the music, or asking for more food, are exactly the wrong-headed thinking we must leave in the past.

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