Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 503, January 25, 2009

When will enough be enough?
When will people stop obeying?

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next

Atlantea The Beautiful: An Explanation (or a Poor Excuse)
by L. Neil Smith
and Rex F. May

Blame it on The Libertarian Enterprise

We (not in the royal, nor even in the editorial sense, but simply because I'm writing this with my partner Rex F. May) have become aware—painfully so—that more than a few of our loyal readers have been wondering, "What's this Atlantea the Beautiful thingie?" and "What the borscht is it supposed to be about?" and even, "Why do they bother?"

Atlantea the Beautiful is an allegory, that's what it is. Or maybe a metaphor. No, that doesn't sound quite right. I know, maybe it's a simile—or maybe I should give my old high school English teacher a jingle and get her to help me figure it out. Except that she's dead, and the world is a better, cleaner place for it, believe me.

Where was I—we?

Oh, yeah. Back in the days of Bush the Wimp (as opposed to his son George the Addled, whom we just got rid of), Rex, who may be better known to you as the famous cartoonist "Baloo", and I, sometimes called "El Neil" decided we'd do a comic parody of the administration then current. Like Atlantis of song and legend, the U.S. of A. appeared to be—and, as it turned out, was—on the brink of disaster. Except that those in charge were in denial, eager to lie to everybody, especially including themselves, just to avoid doing what had to be done.

Which, as far as it concerned government, was to go away.

Atlantean denial consisted mostly of everyone riding unicycles, so they could more easily avoid admitting to themselves that the ground beneath their classically sandaled feet was getting shakier all the time. The only characters in Atlantis who didn't ride unicycles (from morning until night, when they left them propped beside their beds) were foreign ambassadors—from places like Mu, Lemuria, Amazonia, and Cimmeria—and Eljor the Prophet of Doom (TM, Copyright 12,000 B.C.).

Eljor knows Atlantis is doomed because he started out as a real estate salesman who decided to get a little ahead of the market by consulting the Oracle at Kalamari, which manifests itself as a hole in the ground (with a sign offering welcome and instructions) into which you throw money and ask your question, in the form of a limerick, and receive your enigmatic answer from below, also in the form of a limerick.

Only Eljor's answer wasn't enigmatic. Having asked what real estate he should invest in, the Oracle told him to invest in boats and life jackets, instead, because Atlantis was going to sink beneath the waves. Eljor got rid of his necktie and floor-length business shirt, got himself some sackcloth robes, instead, acquired a pet lungfish (good no matter what happened) and began wearing swim fins all the time.

The government in those days, headed by Firstman Shrubb (get it?) didn't appreciate what they saw as Eljor's seditious expression of a truth they'd been avoiding assiduously. It upset Firstwoman Barbaria and the rest of the Administration in ways both of us, at least, found funny. They beat Eljor up a lot and he was in and out of jail. It's worth noting that when we started with him he looked a lot like Andre Marrou, the 1992 presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party. These days, without Marrou's beard, he mysteriously resembles Ron Paul.

We tried selling the eight weeks' worth of Atlantea we produced to every national comic syndicate there was, without success. It did run—perhaps not as fast as it should have—in a local paper called the Fort Collins Comic News and it was fun to see it in print, even if we didn't make any money on it. Someday I'll exhume those strips and run them in TLE, if I ever get my office cleaned out.

Rex and I moved on to another attempted strip called Wyggle and the Wyrme (later, Fossil Valley) and the next time we looked up from our work, other people were in the White House, so preposterous they were impossible to satirize. Very much the same was true of the next President, and Rex and I were busy doing other things (like Roswell, Texas) anyway. But when Barack Hussein Obama, Defender of the Faithless, Lion of the Lyin', God-King and Kwisatz Haderach in Chief got himself elected, we knew it was time for Atlantis to rise (allegorically, metaphorically, or similetically, to coin a term) again.

By now you've seen a few of our early efforts. Firstman Bobo (the real guy's initials, repeated) rides a unicycle like everybody else. He also wears a grass skirt and a flower lei to support his claim that he was born in the tropical island paradise of Howarya, a possession of Atlantis. In fact, he was born somewhere different, as you'll soon understand.

You've seen Bobo's predecessor Exfirstman Twigg. In the fullness of time, with Eljor as your guide, you'll meet Bobo's wife, his Cabinet, a famous right wing megaphone commentator, be nagged to Save the Giant Sloth, see the Atlantean Supreme Court, the Church of Atlantis, even find out what the mysterious Oracle at Kalamari really is.

We'll try to make it funny.


Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.
We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 503, January 25, 2009

Big Head Press