Random Shots: Potato Head Blues

Against the Current, No. 12-13, January-April 1988

R.F. Kampfer

THE RE-ENTRY OF Gary Hart into the presidential race has led to a torrent of items in the media about Hart being back in the saddle, back on top, pressing the flesh, etc….Not every editor is as squeamish as the ones at ATC.

Those people who are determined that nobody should have any fun have succeeded in depriving Mr. Potato Head of his pipe, saying that it set a bad example for children. Nobody ever smoked that plastic pipe twice.

If Mr. Potato head is subject to this kind of harassment, Frosty and Popeye are definitely in danger.

Marx was heard to say that he hoped the sales of Capital would cover the cost of the cigars he smoked while writing it.

The Detroit City Council is attempting to ban the sale of toy guns. At least this should be safer than trying to confiscate the real ones, in a city where the ultimate status-symbol is the Uzi machine-pistol.

Bio. note: Kampfer got his first .22 at age six, and has never yet shot anyone by accident.

Uncle Joe’s Vices

IT WAS STALIN who said: “Vodka should be eliminated, for vodka is an evil but the state vodka monopoly brings in four billion rubles per year.”

One smoking enthusiast has claimed that nobody ever robbed a bank with a pipe in his mouth. How about Stalin in Tiflis, 1907?

We should have known the Comintern was moving to the Right in 1936 when the International Brigade adopted the Mercedes-Benz emblem as its insignia.

Cultural Notes

A WAYNE STATE University study of apparitions reports that large numbers of people have seen Jesus on the chimney of a Chicago bowling alley, a New Mexico tortilla, and a soybean oil tank in Ohio. The old tank also contained images of a child, a smiling hippopotamus, two squirrels, and a large hot-water bottle.

The Japanese were ruled for centuries by touchy warlords and shoguns, making it extremely dangerous to express an opinion about anything. As a result, the middle class developed a style of speech that based itself upon ambiguity, obscurity, and indirection. (Peasants could say what they wanted since nobody paid attention.) Even today this causes problems for American businessmen, but class-dialects were even more pronounced in the recent past. When Hirohito spoke on the radio in 1945 to announce the Japanese surrender, few people had any idea what he was talking about.

If you want to get along with people, never refer to a NeDene, Lakota, Cymru, Kaybele, Inuit or Rom as: Apache, Sioux, Welsh, Berber, Eskimo or Gypsy. The former are what they call themselves, the latter are derogatory terms applied by their neighbors.

An Air Force study, to determine why potential pilots preferred the Navy, decided it was because Navy flyers got to war the old-fashioned Flying Ace leather jackets. So now the Air Force is bringing back the leathers too. Silk scarves and Snoopy helmets next? Up in the air, junior birdmen.

Personal Opinions

TO MAINTAIN that women are incapable of exercizing the judgment to sign or not sign a surrogate motherhood contract is to place them in the same category as minors and the mentally retarded.

More than 100 members of the Reagan administration have been charged with embezzlement, profiteering, perjury, or other forms of corruption, over the past seven years. Some commentators have blamed Reagan for choosing the wrong staff, or the staff for misleading Reagan. It was the pioneer Marxist Plekhanov who pointed out, in The Role of the Individual in History, that decadent societies inevitably promote the corrupt and incompetent as leaders and advisors.


My teen-age daughter has begun to take an interest in boys. Need I say more.–Disraught

Gentle Reader,

You need not. Adolescent girls are invariably attracted towards the lower end of the food chain. To reveal your feelings about the young lout would only increase his attraction. Instead, you should pretend to believe that he is almost good enough for her. Invite him to your home. Introduce him to sushi. Show him your gun collection.

A study in West Los Angeles recently revealed that 40 % of the pollen in the air came from marijuana plants. This is even more impressive when one realizes that pollen comes only from t e _male plants, which most growers eliminate before they flower.

The Amen Corner

A CHRISTIAN fundamentalist group recently sent out a press release announcing a news conference on the superiority of Christian education over the public schools. The two-paragraph document contained 17 mistakes in grammar, punctuation and spelling, including the word “Christian.”

The eighth-century Frankish emperor Charlemagne, who was very fond of inflicting Christianity on innocent bystanders, could never master the art of writing. He said his fingers had been shaped by the sword rather than the pen. Just where he used his sword is a mystery, since he never attended any battles.

January-April 1988, ATC 12-13

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