In a bold yet unsurprising move, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has begun crafting legislation to pave the way for privatization of the English/American alphabet. The ease of drowning out dissenting speech since the Citizens United ruling of 2010 has just whetted the appetites of the corporatocracy.
First, a little history.
The rich white guys, after fighting against the occupation of the English crown's corporations in the early days of the North American takeover, formed corporations of their own in order to protect their hard-stolen riches. Natural resources were deemed ripe for the taking, by any means possible, and so the r(e)aping of the earth commenced: trees, minerals, degraded fossils, water....all taken out of public hands. Electricity, another profitable resource, spawned many more capitalizable ventures, such as appliances (TVs, computers, radio) and media.
The corporations have used their vast wealth to spawn and see to fruition legislation which benefits them, with little to no consideration of the effects on society. Currently, the mainstream media, delivered mostly via the television, internet and radio, is owned by very few, but likeminded, corporations. The Citizens United decision of 2010 (the Supreme Court's nondemocratic ruling that conferred personhood on corporations and defined speech as whatever one can afford) started the ball rolling toward this next step: privatization of the alphabet, which, technically, is the basis for speech, which, thanks to the Supreme Court, is more free if you have lots of money.
There are many questions that need to be answered about this development, and an anonymous ALEC spokesperson slithered forward to give us some answers. Here are a few examples:
How the fuck can something like this happen?
ASP (Anonymous SpokesPerson): Well, first of all, I'd like to say your question would run you about twice the proposed going rate for a declarative sentence. Questions are extra. And if you aren't in the 0.01%, you will only be allowed to use lower case letters. Only the rich will be allowed to capitalize in the future "word" order. Ha ha -- get it! Word...world. Anyway, to answer your question: Blahblahblahwaronterrorblahblahabortionblahblahgaysexblahblahblahstealyourgunsblahblah.... look! Squirrel!
What's next? charging me for every breath I take?
ASP: You learn quickly! No, that would be truly ridic-- er...no comment.
Will I have to pay to use sign language?The potential for maximized profits is there: facial expressions, body language....and double meanings! At this point, we are trying to determine how we would capture the use of language this way. Drone technology is advancing rapidly....
Should I learn Chinese?
ASP: Well, you could. The stock in foreign language software has gone up in price, so word is already out. We are in communication with several foreign entities who have expressed interest in our mission. Our previous efforts to have "English only" laws passed may gain further steam, especially when we charge more for Spanish, for example.
If the 99% of us can barely afford basic necessities, how are people going to be able to afford to speak? In any language?
ASP: We have already started to deal with this by privatizing community libraries. People who can't afford to speak because of credit card debt or kids to feed, for example, can spend time at their local corporate-owned library and put "money in the bank", so to speak. Reading certain literature will grant more speech, as will watching certain video materials. We realize how important it will be for people to be able to say "I love you" to their loved ones at the end of the day.
And we will make available a list of words -- subject to change -- that will be free to use at any time. Heck, we might even give people a little pocket change for certain words and word combinations (e.g. "free market") -- we are still working on that.
So will we be charged by the letter? Or the word?
ASP: Ppl wn't gt to sav mny by shrtning wrds. The collective pool of the 0.01% will actually have shares in certain letters of the alphabet, and the massive data collection centers will determine the compensation based on usage. The Kochs, for example, have already expressed their desire for "p". You can't say "paper products" without "p".
Elizabeth Adams is a family nurse practitioner living in Marysville, CA. She currently divides her practice between long-term care and women's health.