The Swampoodle Report

Josiah Swampoodle has been an irregular contributor to the Review over the years. A few excerpts:

An “exchange of ideas’ is a term of art; it is the opposite of “a breakdown in communications,” which, if you listen carefully to the eleven o’clock news, you’ll discover is the source of all human problems viz: “Police officials blamed the accidental shooting of three orphans in a drug bust on 7th Street on a breakdown in communications.” An exchange of ideas is what we need to end breakdowns in communications. Personally, I’m a little skeptical. I tried to exchange an idea once with a high official and he said he wouldn’t accept it without a sales slip.

Beset by extremist snobs on one hand and an extreme Supreme Court on the other, Richard Nixon continues his search for the great American political center, which — Mort Sahl suggests — is like moving twin beds together and sleeping in the crack .

Crime is very much in the news. President Nixon is pushing for a preventive detention bill that would allow the court to lock up dangerous looking people for sixty days without a trial. Senator Tydings has his own version: he wants detention limited to one month. So you see, the New Left is quite wrong when it says there is no difference between conservatives and liberals. There is a difference: 30 days.

Remember that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, a good lawyer, and the right skin color.

It’s time for another report from Pretoria on the Potomac, where the gentle folk gather on balmy summer evenings to watch their neighbors getting arrested. In July and August, Washington becomes a vernal wonderland. There is something for everyone. The National Park Service has a program called Summer in the Parks. The local electric utility is planning a program called Summer in the Dark. The Health Department is running Summer in the Waiting Room. The Welfare Department is running Summer in the Red and the mayor has a program for himself called Summer in the Command Center . . .

The Food and Drug Admninistration prohibits the sale of meat containing more than seven parts per milion of DDT. Recent figures indicate that the average American contains twelve parts per million of DDT. So do your part for the environment and don’t eat Americans.

Several people have asked me whether we are really getting out of Vietnam like the President says. Of course we are. He never promised, however, which way we would go when we left. Our invasions of Laos and Cambodia are part of an orderly withdrawal procedure that includes, according to secret documents that have come across my desk, a defensive incursion into Tibet next fall and a limited interdiction of the Great Wall of China in spring of 1972 . . . It is obvious to the experts that you do not cure addiction to warfare by going cold turkey. You substitute. Laos is the military’s methadone treatment.

The DC crime bill has become law. Avoid pot, telephones, meetings, loose talk, thinking, Jesuits, and hippie looking fellows wearing London Fog raincoats who blow their nose with clean handkerchiefs. And remember: you can’t count on William O. Douglas still being on the job by the time your case reaches the Supreme Court.

I’m worried. The other day an innocent lady walking near the White House was struck by lightening. It’s frightening. Even the Lord is losing his sense of direction.

The President has proposed legislation that would permit DC residents to be preventively detained. The Chief Justice wants to do way with the Fifth Amendment. And my wife has started opening my mail. But I say, keep calm. There is no need to worry until the trains start running on time. . .

There’s a bright side to everything. Just the other day it was discovered that there was more DDT in mother’s milk than in that produced by cows. Immediately, the Agriculture Department assigned a task force to determine whether warnings should be printed on each center spread of Playboy magazine. .



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