Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Reckoner's Introduction To Ramen Noodle Nation

Greetings, one and all: this is the Reckoner speaking. I'll now take a moment to introduce myself, though not in the conventional way.

For a start, the Reckoner does not provide his real name, age nor hometown, due to his role in sensitive work that – were those details to become known – would pack him off to White Paper Purgatory, and expose him to retribution. Alas, we do not live in an age where full disclosure from inside The Belly of The Beast is encouraged, tolerated or rewarded; quite the contrary.

If Deep Throat spilled those Nixonian secrets to Woodward and Bernstein today, he'd probably be looking at an idefinite stay in the Guantanamo Gray Bar Hotel for Life, courtesy of the National Defense Authorization Act that “Mr. Hope And Change” himself, President Barack Obama, signed into law.

Indeed, it speaks volumes about the times that the bill's biggest opponent is Ron Paul, who comes across as an eloquent defender of civil liberties, even while his dream Presidential Administration would serve up more of the same old lasseiz faire economics that's pushed this nation so deeply into Greenmail Purgatory...but I digress.

My nom de plume, however, is taken from “The Public Defender,” an August 1931 RKO Studios melodrama. The film stars Richard Dix as Pike Winslow, a rich playboy who uses some extra-legal means, shall we clear his girlfriend's Dad in a bank embezzlement scheme. These methods include beating up the bad guys – who just happen to be on the bank's board of directors – and leaving a nice little calling card, saying: “The Reckoner.”

If this sounds like Batman, you're onto something – Winslow even has two faithful associates to help him in his vigilante pursuits – the scrappy “Doc,” and “The Professor,” who come off as rough parallels to Robin, and Alfred, the loyal butler, respectively. Winslow, of course, fills the Bruce Wayne role, even if Chez Reckoner screams of “Batcave On A Budget.

At any rate, I've never forgotten this film since I first eyeballed it, circa 3:30 a.m., on Chicago's ABC affiliate, Channel 7. Low-budget, it may be, but this film gives you telling glimpses of people's attitudes toward their government (crooked 'n' corrupt) to the core, cops (ditto) and banks (so greedy, they'd sell candy canes to diabetics)...but with unemployment reaching levels of 25 percent, what cause did people have for optimism? What sort of seat did they earn at the table? What role was there for them to play? What future could they expect in such a stacked environment?

That, in a nutshell, is the rationale behind this give our fellow “99 Percenters” the voice that's continually denied them in the mainstream media, and a political arena still stuck in the “Test Drive Reaganomics” mode that's effectively stalled the conversation – now into its fourth decade – about how why letting the “haves” run amok wasn't such a hot idea for the rest of us. In doing so, the Squawker and myself will lob plenty of unpleasant questions, and convey some ugly truths, to get our readers thinking beyond the standard talking points rolled out to squash real discussion.

It is high time – no, make that, past time – to provide a voice for those who haven't been invited to join the party, and, most of all, afflict the comfortable....without any concessions to fashion, be it cultural, musical or political. This blog, then, is the equivalent of “The Public Defender”'s calling cards – to shake up the static that's hanging over us all, before it's too late to bring up anymore objections. What you do with those suggestions once we post them is up to you. Suffice to say, however, that mollycoddlnig the status quo isn't anywhere near on our collective agenda. So speaks the Reckoner.

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