Swans Commentary » swans.com October 6, 2008  



What Parable Is This? The Old Woman Said


by Carol Warner Christen





(Swans - October 6, 2008)   OLD VERSION

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building the Ant Queen's nest and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks ants are fools and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the Ant, which has a short life span, has been replaced by another warm and well fed Ant drone.

The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so it dies out in the cold, which happens to grasshoppers every year. Insect grubs or eggs or queens are all that winter over in their worlds.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Try not to reincarnate as an insect!



The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building the Ant Queen's underground nest and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why ants should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. No one knows where Grasshopper got this information on ant life. It's too big to visit an ant nest.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to a video of the Ant Queen in her comfortable nest with a set of storehouses filled with food and toiling ant drone children.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor Grasshopper chose a different path?

Kermit the Frog (a pseudo-frog puppet) appears on Oprah (a psuper-star) with the tiny Grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, "It's Not Easy Being Green." Oprah has dyed her hair, skin and clothes green to match Kermit and the Grasshopper.

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the Ant Queen's nest although it is difficult to know how he knows where ants' nests are. The news stations film some group singing, "We shall overcome." Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the Grasshopper's sake. Since grasshopper ancestry is older than Jesse Jackson's ancestors, God says nothing about the absurd request. God shakes with mirth over "What fools all these mortals be!" He hasn't said anything in several thousand years; He just watches and enjoys the spectacles.

Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the Ant Queen has never gotten rich off the back of the Grasshopper since insects have yet to invent fiat money. The Ant Queen never heard of money or taxes and her "fair share" of the earth is as rich and fecund (at least for the time being) as she is anyway.

Finally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act," retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The Ant Queen is still in her nest; and, having no earthly reason to pay taxes, her home is stomped out by the Republican government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the Grasshopper in a defamation suit against the Ant Queen who died in the stomping; but the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that WTF GW Bush appointed from a list of Republican toadies. Toadies are a class of toad that obeys all its betters, regardless.

The Ant Queen wins the case. The story ends as we see the Grasshopper dying as winter crumbles around him. A gratuitous alternative ending was supplied by the Republican "journalists": to wit, the Grasshopper is found dead in a drug-related incident and the Ant Queen's nest, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Vote Republicans out of office! They never can get their stories straight! Their minds are on insects while ignoring the facts of true insect life! Just imagine how they bollix up politics, taxes, and laws with amorality while scraping it under the cover of an ant's nest!


Meanwhile, the spiders have figured out how to get everything they need by spinning their never-ending web sites. Whatever flies into them is fair game. The game today is created from a never-ending set of Web sites so that each and every spider prospers. When the surrounding bug life succumbs, they move on making new Web sites with new plans for better spider livings.

The surrounding areas are so covered with webs and spiders that the plants holding them up collapse to the ground. The spiders go underground or barely above ground to make new livings at their old tricks. No one challenges their extraordinary usurpation of resources. All the other species feel they should jump on the bandwagon and profit, too. Why not? Spiders never worry. Why should any one else? The world is a web gravy train. Hip! Hip! Hooray!

It's time to select new rulers: three males and a female jumped at the chance. The ruling rulers -- the 6,000 top bugs on the planet -- chose these four to get the votes they need. These four prefer war to peace because that is the way to gather extra "honey," as it were. The 6,000 are licking their chops contemplating the feasts in store for them all over the known and unknown world. A secret cabal of their group has found that each spider can eat 130,000 others and still have enough "food" left over for the future. They will impose rules and regulations to their liking to drive the others into their Web sites.

Every weapon that flying attack insects have will be employed to cull the planet of life. Mosquitoes will draw blood. Hornets will sting. Flies will cause disease and, hopefully, weakness enough to cause the prey to fall into the Web sites. Mites and lice and fleas will bite; others will burrow. Rules will be made for the many while none of the rules will be needed for the special few spiders making the rules. No self-respecting spider making rules expects to follow such rules.

Their enemies -- the frogs and birds -- are all gone. The bees are ill; soon the fruit trees will be unable to flower. The atmosphere is hotter, drier, filled with pollution from dust storms. All the insects are energized by the warmth and by the lack of enemies. Grasshoppers devastate the fields.

Humans have been bitten. Food is so scarce that many people are attempting to survive on insects. Spiders are not sufficiently tasty, though. The seas have managed to remove most ocean life. The seas are too hot and too polluted to sustain the abundance of the past. As their numbers dwindle, so, too, does their stranglehold over the planet. "There ain't no life no where..." (Jimi Hendrix's album Are You Experienced?)


MORALS OF THE STORY: Greed still isn't good in spite of the riches it covets. "Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light." (Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet.)


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Internal Resources

Patterns which Connect

America the 'beautiful'

US Elections & Democracy


About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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This Edition's Internal Links

Blips #74 - From the Martian Desk - Gilles d'Aymery

John McCain: Freud To The Rescue - Charles Marowitz

Fate - Ted Dace

Imperial Media Manipulators Assistance - Michael Barker

American Wars On Herself And Others - R. Scott Porter

Carlton Jackson's Child of the Sit-Downs - Book Review by Louis Proyect

Up From Mississippi - Book Review by Peter Byrne

A Slow Shutter On Art Shay - Raju Peddada

Mondana Commedia n.4: Limbo (World Comedy n.4: Limbo) - Poem by Guido Monte & Alison Phipps

Black - Poem by Michael Eddins

Letters to the Editor

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art14/carenc46.html
Published October 6, 2008