|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|The Morning Mendacity
Tuesday, May 24th, 2005
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|News item: The deeply religious Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, is adamantly against contraception, abortion, gays. He also staunchly opposes frivolous lawsuits, despite the fact that his wife won a $175,00 medical malpractice suit against a local chiropractor in 1999. His wife’s suit, Senator Santorum explains, was not frivolous.*
WASHINGTON, DC, May 24, 2010. It’s a warm spring day, and a young woman is strolling across the Mall. In her short summer dress and sandals, she looks deliciously cool in the muggy heat, and appears not to have a care in the world. A white van with a gold cruciform painted on its side screeches to a halt beside her. Six bulky men in black suits, looking like monstrous crows, pour out of the back and surround her. Two of them carry a large sack, which they thrust over the young woman’s head. Her muffled scream is cut short by a third black clad figure, who clubs her with a kind of elongated cosh. To the horror of the onlookers, they toss her into the back of the van and roar off down Constitution Avenue.
“Call the police” yells one of the onlookers, an obvious out-of-towner.
“That was the police – the Morality Police” he is informed by a native.
Two years into the Presidency of Rick Santorum, former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, a man of profound faith, the nation’s capital has become a dangerous place for women who are insufficiently covered. The minimum standard is a head to toe loose fitting garment that leaves the face exposed. Some women, taking no chances, have adopted the full Taliban-style birka, which masks the face in a mesh gauze. No matter which garment a woman chooses to wear outdoors in the Washington of the second decade of the twenty-first century, only one color is permitted: black.
The birka has certain advantages for the ladies of the District of Columbia. For some, it hides the scarlet ‘A’ which has been branded on their foreheads. For others, it’s a convenient way to ignore acquaintances they would prefer to avoid. Female acquaintances, of course; the crime of talking to a male in public is punished with a beating on the spot and a probable jail sentence. The birka is also pleasantly warm during the District’s cold and damp winters, an advantage it loses in the swampy heat of summer. Even that, as the White House Office of Morals is fond of pointing out, can be a blessing. For those woman who don’t actually succumb to heat prostration, the heavy sweating induced by the birka in warm weather both detoxifies and slims the female figure.
Not that Washington ladies don’t get enough exercise. Adopting the Saudi model, President Santorum has banned the issuance of drivers’ licenses for women, on the grounds that driving oneself allows for the possibility of far too many sinful temptations. Of course, an escorted shuttle is available to all between the hours of nine and five, but few women avail themselves of this free government service. In public they say they prefer the exercise; in private, they trade accounts of the unbridled libidos of the male escorts within the confines of the shuttles . Naturally the wives of Washington’s high officials, including the First Lady, have chauffeured limousines to take them about.
Washingtonians have become accustomed to the sight of black-draped women shuffling along the sidewalks, staying close to the walls of buildings for fear of accidentally brushing against a man. If observed, such an infraction is grounds for a beating and a probable jail sentence.
In the same way, the District’s natives are used to the other sartorial changes wrought by President Santorum. Men whose hair hangs below the top of the ear are knocked down and trimmed on the spot by the none-too-gentle Morality Police. Not a few ears have been lost in this manner. The Star of David armbands worn by the Jews and the pink armbands worn by gays were also becoming familiar sights; curiously, fewer and fewer of both are in evidence in the nation’s capital. Speculation about the reasons for this growing scarcity is rife. Reporters bold enough to query the White House on the subject are merely told that it is God’s – and President Santorum’s – will.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2005
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