You gotta hand it to the Americans. By god, they invented or at least morphed into profitability just about everything that’s on my desk as I write this: my landline telephone; my iPad, which is open to my Facebook page; a DVD of the director’s cut of “Edward Scissorhands”; even the plastic-lidded cup filled with a liquid that vaguely resembles coffee.
But now they’ve taken the cake. The new invention it’s incumbent upon me to tell you about is far and away the greatest creation of that fiendishly innovative nation that has ever crossed a county, state or national border.
Armed with this smart weapon, Americans can not only “get their country moving again” — which is something they do every four years until it stops in its tracks a couple of weeks later; they will also return to dominance around the world. Once everyone starts using this creation, the Russians will go back to playing roulette and the Chinese will have little choice but to while away their hours playing checkers.
If you haven’t guessed by now, this invention is called Hecklevision. If you haven’t heard of it, you will, for it will be coming to a cinema near you before you can say “Jackie Robinson.”
Hecklevision apparently first saw the light of day — or, in this case, the light of screen — in Austin, Texas, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. From there it spread like wildfire across to the Hollywood Cinema in Portland, Oregon.
You see, Americans love to heckle. Had they been around in Jesus’ time, I’m sure one of them would have shouted, “Hey, dude, come down from your mount and stop sermonizing!” And that would have spelled the end not only of the Vatican and its golden hoards, but also of the lucrative Swarovski crystal crucifix business, before either got off the ground.
Now Americans have finally turned heckling into a commercial activity, just like they did with pizza, tacos, a drink marketed as coffee and imperialism — all things originally invented in other countries.
Hecklevision is simple. People in a cinema who have mobile phones create text messages and send them to the screen in real time.
For instance, if Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” says to her dog Toto, “I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas,” you can shoot off a rib-tickler to the screen like: “That’s what Sarah Palin said when she arrived in Moscow.”
But the potential of this new technology goes far beyond anything the American mind has ever stumbled on before. This being the case, I am calling on the Gateses, the Jobses and the Zuckerbergs among my readers to throw in some of their hard-earned cash to take this heckling technology from the big screen and into the world of television news.
I propose we develop new software and form a company called HeckleNews. Before you start transferring millions into my bank account, I’ll tell you how it will work.
Say you are watching NBC nighttime news. Mitt Romney — or “Stormin’ Mormon,” as he is known in the cafes of old Baghdad — is hugging his wife on stage before giving a speech. You swiftly upload a photo of Charles Darwin and send it to NBC (my version of HeckleNews is so advanced you can send images). Then, in an instant, Romney is seen hugging the bearded English bard of evolution on TV sets around the nation. Think of the votes this will lose him in Alabama! (Obama campaign managers, please remember you got this idea from Counterpoint.)
The possible uses of my HeckleNews software are mindbogglingly unlimited.
Shoot a song (yes, HeckleTunes is available for free in the HeckleNews package) to Russian TV when Vladimir Putin is seen shaking hands with Dmitry Medvedev upon taking up his former position as president of Russia. Just as the flesh-pumping is taking place, people watching the TV news all over Russia will hear strains of Woody Guthrie’s “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Ya.”
Think of it, potential investors. Chinese prisoners about to be executed for their organs can be sent off with “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” or “I Only Have Eyes for You.” One click of your smartphone and Kim Jong Un can review his goose-stepping, neck-craning troops to the strains of Eddie Fisher’s “Oh My Pa-Pa (to me he was so wonderful).” And British Prime Minister David Cameron, whispering into Rupert Murdoch’s ear, can be “overheard” mouthing the funky soul song, “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
I tell you, we can make a killing. In Japan, too.
Just the other day, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced that the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma on Okinawa will not remain under American control. Well, while he said this, I wanted to activate my HeckleNews image-sender so that a pig would be seen flying over the Diet building in Tokyo. Unfortunately, fresh from “Oh My Pa-Pa,” I inadvertently accessed a North Korean missile instead of a pig, and reasoned that sending a picture of one of these flying over the Diet may prove a tad counterproductive.
If you can’t think of your own good heckle, you can access one of thousands of cutting-edge ones from HeckleApp.com. (It comes with a convenient Greek default.) We’ve got a “Godfather Part III” app for Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, saying “Just when I thought that I was out, they pull me back in.” This can be pre-downloaded and used for the next press conference given by Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
There’s an app for “This is America … you don’t make money, then you’re a fuckin’ douchebag.” That is said by Ray Winstone, playing Mr. French in the 2006 movie “The Departed.” But it would work beautifully for the platform of the Republican Party in the next election, except that “fuckin’ ” would have to be replaced by “gosh darn,” and “douchebag” would have to be squelched in favor of “a bag containing liquid to clean a part of the female body that some Americans know exists but are not allowed to mention at gun shows.” Nonetheless, the philosophy behind the saying is as all-American as a drone strike on a wedding party in Waziristan!
Sometimes a HeckleQuote is so apposite that it can be used almost verbatim. Take John Wayne’s quaint bon mot about Native Americans: “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”
Switch Palestinians for Wayne’s Indians, and you’ve got Benjamin Netanyahu’s next speech to the Knesset half-down.
George Orwell apparently once wrote: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
It is precisely with this wisdom in mind that I propose to found a company to be called HeckleBook. We can all become friends and share our heckles with each other. Who knows, the louder we heckle, the more chance we might have of being heard.
Getting your heckles up, if you will, in a good cause is the best way to let our leaders know they are not in positions of power by the grace of any god. They are there thanks either to our cheers or, more often than not, our silence.