Monday, December 21, 2009

The State of the Union, 2019 edition

Merry Solstice Holiday, my fellow citizens! Another year has come to an end--the fifth since the Great Awakening. How time flies! It seems like only yesterday we were debating the merits of universal health care, obsessing over trivia and mourning the deaths of minor Hollywood actresses. Has it really been eight years since the throne of our mighty overlords lifted itself from the depths of the sea? Life can be genuinely confusing these days and we thought we'd provide a digestible run-down of the year in current events.

Our nation has changed in many ways since the Awakening, but the State of the Union address is an enduring tradition. President Yog-Sothoth changed it up by delivering the first-ever speech broadcast by telepathy! For previous addresses, the Beyond-One simply touched the minds of blind scribes who transmitted His will to the rest of the Earth. This year, owing to an unexpected shortage of blind scribes not already driven mad by His Yogness, adaptations were necessary. Broadcasting the speech on television was ruled out, as cameras attempting to capture the image of Yog-Sothoth are notorious for melting. The networks were willing to compromise, but ultimately nobody was willing to foot the hefty equipment bills. The President eventually settled on the telepathic option, though the decision was not without controversy. The Madness rate is up 3.2% over the last year--as high as 5% depending on whose poll numbers you believe--and opponents take this as an indication that the telepathic broadcast had negative consequences. Supporters point out that this uptick is fundamentally in line with the inflation number for the past year. On this issue at least, the jury appears to be out.

This month saw one of the more subdued Valentine's Days in recent history. Surgeon-General Shub-Niggurath's "horror-only" sex education program has been universally adopted in public schools for some time now and Administration sources say it has begun to pay dividends. "A generation of American adults has grown up with the appropriate attitude towards sex," says an HHS spokesman. "They see it as an extension of the daily terrors with which we are surrounded. The meeting of a penis and a vagina is, let's face it, pretty horrible. We're conditioned by our hormones to see this as a positive thing, but really few things could be more appalling. All the hair, the fluids, the slapping noises--to say nothing of the horror of childbirth! Secretary Shub-Niggurath wants a poster of her Thousand Young in every classroom in America, saying 'this is what could happen if you have sex.' Chlamydia may not scare students straight, but the cries of ten thousand black toothless mouths sure do!"

Congress approves funding for an Exploratory Committee on Madness. Over the next six months, the committee would hold hearings and investigate the root causes of the so-called Madness Epidemic. Cable news explodes as experts debate the issue. Public opinion remains divided: at least two-thirds of Americans personally know someone who's gone mad, yet 55% of them "agree" or "strongly agree" with the statement, "There is no Madness problem in America today."

Spring arrives to the chirping of birds and the moaning of twisted abominations! Secretary-of-the-Interior-cum-Oriental-mystic Tenzing Rashaar-Sabul posts warning signs in a number of National Parks in anticipation of the big Summer rush. There have been increasing reports of Shoggoth sightings on Federal land, and the Department of the Interior assures Americans it takes the safety of visitors to National Parks very seriously. The signs advise tourists to keep their distance from these dangerous creatures. If cornered by a Shoggoth, you are advised to throw large objects at it. The beast may attempt to absorb them into its foul body, giving you time to escape. Do not attempt to drive it off with prayer or eldritch sorcery, as these are likely to anger it and escalate the situation.

Dan Brown releases his latest novel. In it, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon pursues the mystery of a treasure lost for centuries and protected by a web of lost secrets and dark conspiracies. He plows at least one exotic hottie during the book, and resolves any mysterious situation with just the right combination of can-do machismo and quiet sensitivity. Female readers love his confidence and determination, but they also respect his intellect. They know he'd protect them from harm and resolve their various crises, but he'd also take them on vacation to Florence and read them poetry on the Ponte Vecchio. He is perfect.

In other news, Yog-Sothoth reads Dan Brown's latest novel. Mr. Brown is found in the green room of The View having mysteriously bled to death through his own eyeballs. The paramedics who handle his body eventually go mad.

The hottest Summer on record kicks off. Despite his almost limitless power, the Beyond-One cannot force people to abandon fossil fuels. Global warming's latest casualty is the magnificent algal growth at the Dead City of Rlyeh. Yog-Sothoth's seat of power, submerged for millenia beneath the raging waves of the South Pacific, is coated completely in a layer of lush green algae and it's gotten dry in the suffocating heat. Ultimately, the United States Navy is deployed to Rlyeh so its aircraft can drop huge amounts of water on the city. This massive re-deployment of our military forces fundamentally alters our global priorities, and the war in Afghanistan ends almost overnight.

Greenpeace protesters journey to Rlyeh en masse in order to protest the Navy's water-displacement efforts. Yog-Sothoth is amused by their struggles and for a time he tolerates the dissenters. After nine days--what His Yogness determined to be a sufficiently "metal" waiting period--Mighty Cthulhu is loosed from his tomb. He lays waste to the entire Greenpeace fleet, but also destroys the bulk of the United States Navy in the process. Left-wing commentators on the cable news channels are horrified and say the Right has gone soft on sea monsters. Right-wing commentators admonish the Left for questioning the Commander-in-Chief's military prerogatives. Dick Cheney goes on national television and says if he had his druthers we would have deployed sea monsters regularly during the Bush years. Money quote: "we'd have showed those whiners in New Orleans a thing or two about maritime disasters."

Celebrations erupt across the globe as the world celebrates the anniversary of the Great Awakening, when Rlyeh was raised from the sea. Geologists concur: this event was directly caused by the magnitude 8.3 earthquake off the coast of Chile that year. A shifting of tectonic plates brought the Dead City out of the water and awakened the ancient beings entombed therein. Yog-Sothoth was a late entrant into that year's Presidential race, but nonetheless managed to win a popular majority in a chaotic political environment. Even now, former President Obama acknowledges, "we weren't prepared for the arrival of such a compelling third-party candidate, certainly not that late in the race. Honestly, I have to say looking back that we weren't adequately prepared for the Sothoth camp's talking points on the stimulus. If the job numbers had come up, that might have changed things. But our efforts were too little, too late."

Talk shows explode after an embarassing gaffe by Press Secretary Nyarlathotep. Specifically, the Secretary made the mistake of acknowledging a link between the Sothoth administration and the rising incidence of madness. On a contentious Meet the Press, Nyarlathotep stated in response to a question, "the numbers for staffers coming out of Rlyeh are surprising. I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say that working there leads to madness, because I don't think the data bears that out, but the numbers make it hard to, uhh, to just dismiss these concerns out of hand. It's something we're discussing." After the public outcry, the Secretary clarified his remarks weren't intended to suggest President Sothoth was in some way responsible for the trend. "I was referring to the possibility, referenced in numerous scientific journals, that the unusual geometry, layout and architecture of the Dead City contributed to these findings. It is also possible that the isolation of a South Pacific city inhabited by the hideous thralls of The Mighty and Infinite Yog-Sothoth contributes. We just don't know right now. There is no scientific consensus."

The New York Yankees win the World Series in five games. Their payroll for the 2019 season was $624M. President Yog-Sothoth, perhaps the world's most preeminent Yankee fan, reaches out telepathically to the Yankees' manager to congratulate him on the victory. He is reduced to gibbering lunacy but retains his job. Says team President Hank Yog-Steinbrenner, "We've got twelve of the top fifteen players in the league. Hell, we play in the American League. I don't see our coaching as a limiting factor going forward."

The Exploratory Committee on Madness releases its findings. They are delivered as a single volume, hand-written in a water-damaged leatherbound journal. The journal's first twelve pages are filled with intricate fractal patterns and arcane symbology. The next twenty-four pages are written in an unknown language, which uses fundamentally European characters but is devoid of both vowels and straight lines. The only legible passage is the acknowledgement: "Thanks to our friends and families for their patience. Special thanks to The Limitless Yog-Sothoth, without whose cooperation and efforts this report could not have succeeded." All members of the committee vanish within 24 hours; only their still-warm clothes are found, stained with black ichor. These events are regarded as suspicious but not terribly sinister.

One of the toughest holiday seasons in recent memory. The consumer economy seems to be very much in flux, as traditional Christmas gifts like high-end electronics are shunned in favor of heavy coats and heavy metal albums. The global economy staggers under the weight of this re-alignment, as well as the fact that a significant portion of the world's population no longer possess the faculties to earn or spend money. These people would be an even greater burden on American society, but with the rousing success of the Death Panels championed by the President the wheat can keep the chaff at arm's length. In sporting news, the Oakland Raiders continued their domination of the NFL and advanced to 12-2. Team owner Al Davis, currently splitting his time between Northern California and Rlyeh, attributes his team's resurrection in recent years to the inspiration of the world's new overlords. "I'm over there all the time and it can get pretty wild," crows Davis. The longtime football luminary, sporting a full head of dark hair, feels a close kinship with those in power. "We really get each other. It's one of those relationships where you were always meant for each other but never had the chance to meet. I couldn't be happier with the direction things are going."

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