Note to self: In the next lifetime, come back as a Muppet. Or a moppet. Or a puppet. Perhaps a Japanese Bunraku puppet or a Vietnamese water puppet or maybe, just maybe, a simple sock puppet fashioned out of deep-discounted socks from Old Navy. Whatever puppet we were, we know we’d be part of a powerful puppet family. And when someone attacks one of us, the whole brigade — no, scotch that, all the many, many brigades, the whole army, will come charging onto the field, for an attack upon one puppet is considered to be an attack upon us all. You’ve heard of this idea before with NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In the next lifetime, there will be PAWU, Puppets Around the World Unite, an acronym that sounds so ridiculous when you say it that you can’t help but to laugh. For many people, laughter is the holy grail of puppetry — as well as tears, fascination and wonder. In the next lifetime, puppets will rule the earth.
And this is why, when Mitt Romney renewed his vow during the first presidential debate to cut all funding for PBS, famously telling host Jim Lehrer that he loves Big Bird but that Big Bird must fly on its own, every hand went up, and we really mean up, in the puppetry world. After a number of serious strings were pulled, a Million Puppet March on Washington is set for Nov. 3.
Just think of it. A million puppets on the Mall. A million puppets standing firm for puppet rights and puppet needs and puppet funding and, who knows, maybe even Republican puppet dictators. (I hear Dick Cheney is available.) A million puppets and puppeteers there to remind Romney to think long and hard before putting Oscar the Grouch in a bad mood.
And what, we wonder, is wrong with the rest of us? Americans for the Arts, that unwavering beacon of hope for the cultural community in the U.S. (and we characterize it earnestly that way), has on its website right now a set of talking points that includes:
Nonprofit arts organizations generate $135 billion in economic activity annually, supporting 4.1 million jobs and generating $22.3 billion in government revenue. Investment in the arts supports jobs, generates tax revenues, promotes tourism, and advances our creativity-based economy.
Dear Americans for the Arts President and CEO Bob Lynch:
There can be a Million Puppet March on Washington but there can’t be a Million Artist March on Washington? We really hate to quote Romney, but we can do better. If the puppets can do it, if there are 4.1 million of us, the rest of us can do it, too.
Do you agree?
We propose a Million Artist March on Washington. Call us, Bob. With a million puppets to show us how, we can do it, too. Yes, we can.