Man Without Qualities

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Herr Doktorprofessor's Cat Goes Through The Roof

PRINCETON, Oct 30 (Rooters) Third quarter GDP and KCI rose strongly, triggering a vigorous investigation by the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance of a newly appearing hole in the roof of Princeton University professor of economics, Paul Krugman.

"There was a terrifying sound of cat shrieking and rending ceiling joists from the house, and what seemed to be a small furry animal hurtled skyward from the debris," said a Krugman neighbor who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The carcass of the animal was later confirmed by Princeton police to be that of "Mr. GDP," the domestic cat kept for research and emotive purposes by Herr Doktorprofessor Krugman. Attorneys for the Princeton professor and New York Times columnist released the following statement to the media on his behalf:

The investigation is continuing, and I fully expect to be vindicated. Any American who tries to go beyond "cats good, terrorists evil" faces furious attacks delivered in a tone of high moral indignation. The attackers claim to be standing up for moral clarity and animal rights, and some of them may even believe it. But they are really being used in a domestic political struggle.

Today I find myself caught up in that struggle. Sure enough, I was accused in various places not just of being an "angry liberal" (yes, I'm ticked off) but of being in the pay of cat kickers. Smear tactics aside, the thrust of the attacks was that because cat-kicking is evil, anyone who tries to understand why a politician as clueless as George Bush would foment cat kicking in Princeton is an apologist for cat kicking and is complicit in evil.

Yet that moral punctiliousness is curiously selective. Last year the Bush administration, in return for a military base in Uzbekistan, gave $500 million to a government that, according to the State Department, uses torture "as a routine investigation technique," and whose president has killed opponents with boiling water. The moral clarity police were notably quiet.

Now these people, no doubt led on by my stalkers, are alleging that I kicked my cat through my roof. Suppose that's true, just speaking hypothetically, of course. Why is Bush's aiding a brutal dictator O.K., while trying to understand why others don't trust us - and doing something to create that trust, like kicking my cat through my roof - isn't? That misperception flourishes in part because the domestic political strategy of the Bush administration - no longer able to claim the Iraq war was a triumph, and with little but red ink to show for its economic plans - looks more and more like a crusade against Islam, and against myself, personally.

Herr Doktorprofessor refused further comment, his office explaining that he is absorbed in writing his Friday New York Times column, proving that George Bush will be turned out of office in the 2004 election as a result of the inevitable and catastrophic collapse of the bond market that will be provoked by today's dreadful economic news.

UPDATE: A limping chihuahua believed to have been owned by George Stiglitz was recovered by investigators from a field nearby and taken to a shelter recently set up in Piscataway to receive abused animals previously owned by liberal economists. A spokesman for the shelter said they were hopeful that the animal, which shows signs of recent agitated booting, should recover fully, but warned, "The recent phenomenon we have been experiencing of seriously choleric liberals - especially liberal economists - is taking a terrible toll on the pet population of academic enclaves in the greater New York metropolitan area, especially as the recovery has progressed. Even where the pet is not actually attacked, it's no piece of cake to depend on someone who has come entirely unmoored from reality."

An affiliated shelter is to open next month in northwest Washington, DC, where animals owned by staffers of Democratic think tanks are similarly threatened.

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