If you haven’t read John K. Toole’s novel, for which this post is named, I herby recommend it. It’s not about the dweebs who now inhabit our state legislature and cabinet positions; rather, it’s a look at some of the sub-cultures which flourished in New Orleans in the 60’s. I can see Governor Walker as the title character of the book, Ignatius Jacques Reilly, a man who enjoys modern conveniences, but has a middle-ages outlook on life and blames his troubles on some higher power, and claims the goddess of fortune too often gives him a bad spin on her wheel of luck.
I got to thinking about “A Confederacy of Dunces” because of the name of the political dweeb who has introduced a “personhood” proposal as an amendment to our state’s constitution. It’s the same thing the voters of Mississippi just rejected; a proposal which claims “personhood” begins with a male erection or some such nonsense. This dweeb’s name is Andre Jacque, and he represents people who live in a gerrymandered district which runs from far southeast suburban Green Bay to Manitowoc.
Andre Jacque would be the sort of typical Cajun name you’d run across in New Orleans. For those who haven’t had the benefit of living in the Big Easy for a couple years, as I have, the Cajuns (a corruption of the word “Acadian”) trace their origins to the French exiles of Canada. I’m not going to get into the vast difference between Cajun and Creole, which a lot of Midwesterners think are interchangeable terms.
When dunces like Representative Jacque introduce such backward proposals, the media pounce on them and trumpet them. Stories like this are like the ignorant utterances of Sarah Palin or Joe the Plumber – fun, because they’re so stupid and uninformed. The stories get picked up by national media, and my contention is that stuff like the Jacque proposal makes Wisconsin look like some backwater state populated by fundamentalist dunces, and – long story short – it does more harm than good to Wisconsin’s image.
Sort of like the sex education stuff the legislature has been wrangling about lately. Apparently we need to turn back the calendar to the Nancy Reagan heyday of “just say no”, which began as a mantra against drugs and morphed into a plea against premarital sex.
The more you ridicule absurdly unnecessary stuff like the proposed Jacque constitutional amendment, the harder and louder the push-back from the dunces who think stuff like this is important. Sort of like Miss Vicki’s radio show: the shrillness of her rants against the recall apparently increases as a direct function of the number of signatures gathered.
To circle back to the beginning, the title of Toole’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book is taken from a Jonathon Swift quote: “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him”. My adaptation of that quote would be something like “when a true dunce appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the idiots and lunatics will raise their voices in agreement with him”.