Another Political Bestiary, Ep. XI

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

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