Friday, 1 June 2012

Exam Essay

Here's a little something I wrote for a question on my exam study guide. Don't worry, I didn't actually turn it in - the question I'm answering didn't end up being on the actual test.
What WAS the question? It had to do with the inventor of Communism, the writer of "Pilgrim's Progress", and this French thinker who had some strong ideas about how people should interact with government. And it also had to do with all these guys discussing the US Constitution over lunch.

The "over lunch" bit was the bit that stuck with me.

-This is pure(ish) parody. No disrespect was aimed at any of the historical characters involved, and the changes that they brought about in history are held with due regard.
-The author does not like Twilight. No french fries (or chips) were harmed in the making of this essay.
-I have no idea what I'm doing. I just wrote this. I'll probably hate it later.

The debate is heated: three amazing philosophical minds bump against one another, fighting fanatically, each advocating their position with fire. They sit in McDonald's, burgers long since finished. Karl is in the swivelly chair, kicking the outdated Hamburgler cartoon on the wall when his turns reach the point of stoppage furthermost to the right.
It takes a great stretch of time, in which the set of children playing in the PlayPlace changes at least thrice, but John wins the other two over eventually. Karl and J.J. sit defeated - Bella does, in the end, belong with Jacob.
Trying to pick up the ruined pieces of  his worldview, J.J. changes the subject.
“Another Coke, anyone?” He says weakly.
“Indeed,” John says. “I am parched. But no need to trouble yourselves: I shall pay.” He takes out his wallet, and something falls out. He doesn't seem to notice, intent as he is upon the McDonald’s Coke machine, and heads off before either man sitting at the table can alert him to the fallen slip of paper.
J.J. picks it up and unfolds it. In swirling italics along the top, the words “The United States Constitution” are printed.
He reads interestedly, but his expression grows sour and he puts down the paper.
“Well,” he says, “Frankly, I am a bit disgusted.”
Karl picks it up. “Why?”
“Well,” J.J. says, “The citizens are in a position where they do not gather to rule themselves. The government has its hands in most everything that the general public should be controlling.”
“Really?” Karl says absently, buried in the crinkled yellow paper.
“Really,” J.J. says, as if he himself is just coming around to the fact that he is not making this up. “There is overmuch room for private business. The General Will is merely represented. Representatives this, representatives that. It is not the general will anymore. It has become something else. It is England all over again: I weep for this system. Have they not read my writings? Why does no one ever read my writings? They are only as free as their bloody representatives deign to make them!” He knocks over a paper ketchup cup with a french fry, his hands are trembling so. “And that is no freedom! It is a shell! It is a void! The people go about their daily business and are completely uninvolved in their government. They only meet in forums to discuss entertainment! They do not even meet in these forums! They simply stay inside and meet through magic! I weep! I weep.” He puts his head in his hands.
Karl chews a chicken finger thoughtfully. “Sorry, old chap?” he says, looking up from the Constitution finally.
“The government is not run by the General Will,” J.J. wails. “The people are not half as involved in it as they should be.”
“My dear fellow,” Karl says, almost breaking the fourth wall with his Britshness (he is, after all, German). “You have it completely backwards. Don’t you see - with a larger amount of government control, most of this hassle, hustle and bustle would be taken out of the country? Things could be completely fair, shared equally among the people. That, my friend, is the only way to run a peaceful nation.”
“That would never work.” A vein begins to throb in J.J.’s temple. “It would suppress the General Will.”
“Is the General Will even good for the people?” Karl says. “I think not. Do you not realize that the government knows the best?”
J.J. is struck speechless. “What?” He eventually says, through his speechlessness.
“The government,” Karl says, cool as a submarine in arctic waters, “Knows better than the people. People are unruly. People do not know what is best for themselves.”
“You know nothing!” J.J. says, standing up, now. “How can you be so deceived?”
John comes up with a tray of drinks. “Are you two alright?” He says.
“Tell this imbecile that something is wrong with this document,” J.J. says, handing the Constitution to John and indicating Karl.
Karl studies his nails, quite at ease. “I think you will find the imbecile is Jean-Jaques here,” he says.
John looks concerned, and looks the document over. Karl and J.J. stare each other down, sipping their soda pops without breaking the gaze.
“Yes,” John says, after a long and simmering pause. “There is something quite wrong here.”
Karl and J.J. begin chewing their straws with impatience.
“This is not the document I meant to get,” John says. “I was meant to receive a theological study on 21st century issues.” He looks up, not registering the frustration on Karl and J.J.’s faces. “The time traveller that gave me access to his library swimming pool must have mixed up the files, or my name isn’t John Bunyan.”

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