How one man changed the world and why we should worry
[ fiction - may 10 ]
Cato the Elder had always been an asshole. He deified the aristocracy, telling all who could tolerate him that it drove the Roman heart. He distrusted all things Greek, except Arianna Huffington, Costa-Gavras and Constatine P Cavafy. He assailed Scipio, who was later to defeat the great Hannibal, for being Hellenistic. He believed in all the Roman customs and superstitions, even that George W Bush's two election victories weren't stolen.
Dido was founder and Queen of Carthage. Cato googled it, finding only one hit. Too many choices created doubt, which Cato feared. Cato, strictly analogue, used an urban legend, thoroughly and factually debunked on snopes.com. His ignorance saved him from the truth.
When Cato had been censor he taxed heavily the dress and ornaments of women, celebrities and actresses found on YouTube, plus sneaky photos and clips on softcore porn sites. No Britney Spears for him, he preferring Louise Brooks, the femme fatale photos (her swanky leg shots he adored), plus her unsurpassed naked photos garnered online. Even vehicles were taxed per wheel, doubling the rate for hybrid and electric cars. His own transport he exempted from taxes as well as his many WASP slaves. I saw the documentary on the History Channel, enjoying it when a photo appeared, my father's emaciated form almost dead.
When Scipio finally defeated Hannibal at Zama, Cato raped one of his, Cato's, own slaves to celebrate the victory. The 13-year-old slave boy was Roman Catholic but the pope lied, saying it was homosexuality, not celibacy, causing media bashing against the Church. Cato humiliated his enemies by removing them from the Senate on moral grounds, though he secretly reveled in old newsreels showing heaps of concentration camp victims.
The anime presentation on the origins of the aristocracy, he favored. Large-eyed, elongated limbs and exaggerated features of tweens presented a glorified, gaudy vision of the virtuous Roman character. "I say to those with beating hearts, let them eat rocks if anyone refuses to take up Roman customs," he once remarked. Caesar's Palace became a Las Vegas mecca when one of its executives heard Cato on the Larry King Show. "He's a lunatic, but Cato's TV rant inspired a new concept in Vegas," said the executive, refusing to give his name since he may have future litigation involving allegedskimming.
Cato especially was outraged when Hannibal ate poison, killing himself rather than becoming a prisoner in Rome. "I call him a moral coward," Cato yelled to an empty forum. Norman Mailer's interest piqued, so he wrote The Executioner's Song. He'd given murderer, Gary Gilmore, JP Donleavy's The Ginger Man to read, Mailer and Gilmore discussing the consequences of lust and violence. "You moral cowards," Gary screamed as he stood facing a Utah firing squad in 1977.
On regular, set-aside days, Cato personally beat his slaves senseless. Many clips of that sadism, ie, brutality, could be seen when you clicked "Sex" on The Rumpus.net, a literary and cultural site. "I use a leather whip if they don't behave immediately. I starve them to death if they get unruly," he announced on Facebook.
He'd inherited all his wealth by law from his family who told him he was unworthy to own a single lead cup. "I still have coins my parents gave me as a child," showing them off on American Idol: duh, he lost.
"Accumulation of wealth makes the aristocracy strong," he slobbered out to a cohort of imperious aristocratic men and women, drunk on the best scotch malt whiskey from Scotland. Cato then slunk away from the gathering with his favorite goat. One distinguished, aristocratic cougar, drenched exclusively in fashion straight off Milan's Corso Venezia, digitally filmed him; his sexual escapade went viral, titled, 'Hooking Up'. Cato rationalized that the media-savvy Macedonian wench sitting on an Ikea couch should've performed fellatio, but she probably thought he was HIV positive. He later hired a man, who shot her in the neck her with a Colt .22 revolver. Killing with .22sbecame a fad, and the Rome film industry created murder mysteries. Wasps swarmed around Cato around this time, and he was overheard cursing, swatting the stingers with both hands, yelling, "I'll whack you to hell." Whack became a codeword for knocking off enemies, giving birth to gangster movies.
His abstemiousness had been known throughout Rome and its suburbs, but Cato persisted in spite of unfavorable opinion. To demonstrate his parsimonious ways, Cato would often eat only a pomegranate bought from United Health Food Inc. He wanted his slaves also to eat as he did, but many escaped, unwilling to eat anything except food grown unless sprayed with Roundup weed killer, especially food bought at Safeway.
Once, a servant woman misplaced a spoon, and the 79-year-old Cato tossed her to the tile floor, he standing over her supine body, Cato naked below the waist. Juvenal had mentioned the ensuing abomination in passing to Tacitus, but the historian never tweeted it, so CNN, Fox News, and TMZ lost out.
Of course, when Cato delivered a speech, concluding with "Carthage must be destroyed!" another Predator drone shot a busload of Afghanis. That war cry spread through Rome given its remix culture. He never saw Carthage completely razed, people figuring he had Alzheimer's disease, though the traditional narrative history of Cato had gone postmodern, moving back and forth in time.
When he died, his corpse was to have his body burned. Dido's was after Aeneas left her. Cato couldn't stand her halitosis, as well as her cuckolding him, her favorites being Tom Cruise, Ellen DeGeneres and the late Heath Ledger. He despised females, admitting he was "misogynist," a Greek word. A Greek shipping magnate had written a best-selling memoir, titled, I, Misogynist, inspired by a tattered book written by a mid-list author, a 20-year-old Cato the Elder. That book described Cato's miserable life, how he battled obesity, low self-esteem and how his girlfriends described him as a vicious thug. A million people read the Greek's memoir on Kindle.
Slaves gathered around charred remains, finding his heart, cutting it up in tiny pieces, selling it as an aphrodisiac to persons living in the Asia Pacific region, but to Americans living in urban gentrified sections, including Austin, Texas, Brooklyn Heights and Nashua, New Hampshire, the triangular manhole manufacturer capitol of the USA. I tried a heart tidbit, finding it useful in screwing Lady Gaga, breaking her vow of abstinence.
After seeing Noam Chomsky many times on Democracy Now! I'm convinced Cato was the vilest fascist ever born.