Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XV

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Deep (2019). Acrylic on wood. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Deep Background Source

Researchers continue a vigorous debate about the mere concept of this being. Is it a discernible species? Is it just a rogue subset of already identified members of the bestiary? Is it an entity at all – or just an enigma, a black space where something living (and accountable) should be?  Commentators are divided between non-believers and believers. The naysayers discount the viability of such a creature, and the very need for its existence. They count it, rather, as a spectre at best, and, even in effemoral form, as a pestilence causing nothing but unaccountable damage. To its believers, the creature is of essence, and of necessity a mystery because of its reputation for disrupting the human power grid of government. Such an entity, they believe, cannot operate out in the open or it would face the wrath of scores of powerful enemies. Yet even believers cannot much recount sightings of this creature as it plies its trade. A voice in a darkened parking lot? A coded message on a post-it note? A human-like form in a trenchcoat, dropping a cigarette? All or none of these may actually be a DBS, and he or she may be working next to you right now.

 

-Danny Grosso

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XIV

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The Ward Heeler (2019). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Ward Heeler

Long thought to be near extinction, this creature is more Cheshire Cat than dinosaur. Appearing in opportune times, the WH greases the skids for a myriad of political adventurers who are willing to place the traditional small tribute in one of the WH’s many pockets. The big handed WH boasts a vestigial memory of centuries of experiences  with political fixers, dirty tricksters, and obeisant sanitation workers. It uses its experience to get things done, mostly little things, but nonetheless important things, for the WH is the master of a very small universe. It is the WH that obtained the trash cans, the letters of recommendation, the no-show jobs that cemented the structure of fealty in the thousands of little feifdoms that make up a political organization. However, there are some signs that the  Ward Heeler’s realm may be getting bigger. International money launderers and internet bot factories have been seen of late to be merging their skills to affect WH-like results, on a global scale. The Ward Heeler may have disappeared again, but its Cheshire smile is visible all over the internet.

 

-Danny Grosso

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XIII

The Parliamentarian (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Parliamentarian

Part school marm scold, party wise old owl, the Parliamentarian has been gumming up the works in legislative bodies and smaller public meetings since such bodies and meetings began convening. Indeed, as soon as sets of rules were drawn up, their organic texts spawned the species of Parliamentarians to further and protect their legacies. Bounding out from the rule books, the Parliamentarians have an innate knowledge of parliamentary norms. Their sure sense of superiority makes them oblivious to criticism, which allows them to gladly suffer the barbs of hearing participants wishing to speed off to post-session cocktail parties. Soldiering on through eye rolls and grimaces, objections and outright threats, the Parliamentarian keeps its fidelity to the relevant rules of order and procedure.  Though despised by short cutters and unscrupulous committee chairs, the creature is a delight to late night caterers, who are often contracted to feed hearing staff working overtime due to protracted procedural protestations.

 

-Danny Grosso 

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XII

The Rico (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.


Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Rico

Sitting in the back of a classroom, the front pew of a church, or a booth in a crowded coffee shop, the Rico resembles a precocious youngster, albeit with the intense look of one who is listening to the adults and taking notes. Bespectacled, brylcreamed, and besotted with its own self importance, the Rico nevertheless blends his way into the colorful atmospheres of political, judicial, and criminal organizations. It then begins its predator phase. The creature’s keen nose but terrible eyesight make the Rico a rather indiscriminate hunter. Wide swaths of loosely associated group members are often decimated with only the slightest of effort, leaving street corners and watering holes deserted. The Rico was once an habitual bottom-feeder, but there is evidence of late that it may be training its weapons, the subpoena, the grand jury, and the ambitious prosecutor, on bigger game.

 

Danny Grosso 

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XI

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The Wedge (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Wedge

The efficiently-built Wedge uses its form to utmost function.  Its keen sense for controversy guides it instinctively to places where it may do its work. Once there, often with the help of a little saccharine laced, demagogic grandstanding to loosen resistance, the Wedge inserts its smaller, knife edge into the fine gaps between constituencies.  It then uses its diverging contours to pry those constituencies wide apart. In its wake, homogeneous voter blocks are allowed to grow and fester without dissent, becoming wild self-seeding fields that spread with only the slightest need for cultivation. Usually a bit of rumor will do the trick. Hard times may call for a little old fashioned innuendo.

A Wedge can sometimes be subverted by a crafty predator so that the Wedge’s work allows the predator to better exploit formerly unassuming constituents. The once happy-go-lucky victims are left stunned, asking how they could have been so long unaware of the dangers creeping toward them, coming to steal away their liberties. Thereafter, in a strange twist, these misguided subjugants are most often found  effusively expressing their thanks to the predator for introducing them to the anxiety and misery that have taken over their lives. Researchers call this phenomenon the “New Normal”, wherein a formerly untroubled being adopts unrelated outside agitations, sometimes without reason, and folds them into the brittle contours of its mind. The transformation can sometimes be stark: see; Standing for the Anthem; Sharia Law in the Heartland; et al, and for historical context: Southern Strategy.

-Danny Grosso

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. X

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The Gadfly (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Gadfly

The sound produced by the beating of this creature’s wings is the white noise for most every public hearing room in the nation. The Jack-of-all-trades of the political world, the Gadfly is seemingly everywhere and noisily so. It is the Gadfly that supplies the barracking commentary at village board meetings, the handmade signage at city council hearings, the affected commentary in capitol lobbies, and the chanting entourage at petition filing counters. Buzzing from one controversy to the next, with much elation, the Gadfly gathers ample campaign skills, but rarely acquires any administrative experience. Its nomadic existence precludes long studies of the efficient administration of specific offices. Rather, the Gadfly excels at somehow positioning itself as the go-to spokesperson for a sequential variety of causes, controversy to controversy, campaign to campaign.

There have been times when by flukes of electoral surprise, or criminal prosecution, as in Illinois, a Gadfly will ascend to high office. At those times the true nature of the species invariably complicates matters, and Gadflies in power are sometimes most noted only for the awkward practice of protesting themselves. Some say this is behavior is willing self-sabotage, as Gadflies thrown out of office have been observed to have regained their happiness, in their elements once again, standing wounded on windy street corners offering petitions to random registered voters for signatures.

 

-Danny Grosso

 

Another Political Bestiary, Ep. IX

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The Emolument (2018). Acrylic on paper. Artwork and text copyright Danny Grosso.

Continuing the expeditions of Jeff MacNelly, James Kilpatrick, and Eugene McCarthy, with apologies.

The Emolument

Long a denizen of back alleys and bus station locker rooms, the Emolument has had a bit of a coming out in recent years. Once shunned as a career killer, the critter is now being embraced by the (perhaps foolishly) brave, as if it were just another hard luck Joe trying to get along. Perfumed in possibility, with many arms clad in a glitzy sport coat, the Emolument has a puckishly attractive smile, and iron teeth. It mates for life, with multiple partners, and in doing so leaves a permanent virus within that can remain dormant indefinitely. Indeed, it is thought that most politicos associated with one or more emolument live out their lives without presenting any symptoms of infection. However, if the symptoms do begin to surface in a carrier, reaction is swift, evidenced by an immediate dash to the offices of a criminal defense attorney, and/or a hurried staging of a press conference, at which the carrier tearfully resigns from public office and refuses questions from the invited press.

 

-Danny Grosso