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In our continuing series on native habitats (see Discovery: Hollywood! and Discovery: Internet!), we now turn to that rarefied ecology known as Washington, D.C. Located on the eastern seaboard of North America, Washington, D.C., is teeming with millions of fascinating species – rapacious lawyers, wily lobbyists, beautiful young interns, and massive, awe-inspiring herds of docile civil servants. Enjoy these wondrous creatures while you still can!


The Washington Correspondent
Obediuus scribblae
The intriguing species known as the Washington Correspondent is a myopic mole-like creature that annually gathers in a huge hivemind colony known as the White House press corps. Previously regarded as tenacious and resourceful, in recent generations the Washington Correspondent has mellowed into one of the most tame and friendly creatures in the Washington ecosystem. In fact, for the past several seasons, the entire White House press corps has been wholly domesticated, proving to be highly trainable and obedient so long as it is fed a constant diet of official press releases and talking points.


On your next visit to Washington, be sure to spend some time observing these adorable, eager-to-please pets!


The Conservative Talk Radio Host
Blusterii interminus
Obstinate and strong-willed, the Conservative Talk Show Host relies on simpleminded rhetoric and base emotional entreaties to attract the giant swarms of listeners it requires to survive. Subsisting on a diet of sponsorship deals, residuals, and “consultant fees” paid by major political parties, the Conservative Talk Radio Host displays remarkable stamina, able to fill hours of air time by endlessly recycling its own acidic bile. The species is nevertheless gravely endangered in recent months due to ideological deficiencies exacerbated by encroaching political realities.


The Major Party Presidential Candidate
Nomini sapien
Stalking the periphery of the Washington ecosystem, the Major Party Presidential Candidate spends its days gathering resources and preparing to battle its counterpart alpha male for control of the troop. This curious creature migrates through swing states in specific patterns during election season, sounding its repetitive “stump speech” call in an effort to attract voters. But the Major Party Presidential Candidate is perhaps best known for its capacity to launch vicious attacks on its rival, prevaricating mercilessly and twisting contexts with savage abandon. It is easily spotted in the wild due to its distinctive flag lapel pin marking.


The Liberal Activist
Naivetii earnestus
Migrating to Washington in droves from its spawning grounds in colleges and universities around North America, the Liberal Activist is most active early in its short life cycle. It spends the first several months of life flitting around the D.C. area between various charities, pro bono legal projects, and non-profit organizations. The Liberal Activist quickly adapts to its habitat, however, growing a thick exoskeleton of cynicism and despair. After a year or two, the activist retreats to graduate programs and/or pansexual communal farms in upstate Vermont.


Occasionally, individual Liberal Activists will mate with dominant D.C. predators and morph into the larval form of Jaded Washington Socialite, subsisting exclusively on high-end Chardonnay and prescription drugs.


The Chief Executive Officer
Terriblus Rex
At the top of the Washington food chain sits the fierce and mighty Chief Executive Officer, also known as the Chairman of the Board, the Head Honcho, or Mr. Vice President. The CEO thrives due to its singular ability to straddle the public and private sectors, leveraging influence from each to fortify its executive status both in the federal government and the multinational corporation. The CEO is a savage and ruthless predator, accumulating power throughout its life and leaving a bloody trail of challengers in its wake. When threatened, the CEO can rely on the formidable defense mechanism known as “executive privilege”, effectively covering its tracks, bewildering pursuers, and accumulating obscene amounts of personal wealth simultaneously. This is nature’s perfect eating machine, a terrible and beautiful organism whose perfection is matched only by its hostility. Should you encounter a CEO in the wild, avert your eyes and assume a submissive posture, as per The Lame Duck POTUS.


The Lame Duck POTUS
Dimbulbus sapien
One of the most heartbreaking examples of nature’s cruel indifference, the Lame Duck POTUS can be spotted wandering Washington in lonely reverie, eking out its pathetic last days meeting Boy Scout troops, lunching with the lieutenant governors of small Midwestern states, and avoiding the predations of the Chief Executive Officer. Still occasionally called upon to address the republic, the Lame Duck POTUS utters its plaintive cry of meaningless platitudes in defense of utterly failed policies. Mercifully, the Lame Duck POTUS will eventually be corralled by conservationists to enjoy its final days being politely humored on the international lecture circuit.


Other Washington species include the Delusional Third Party Candidate, the Alarming Vice Presidential Nominee, and the Sexually Frustrated Senior Senator from Idaho. As always, your donation to the Washington Preservation Fund is key to protecting these magnificent creatures.


Thank you for your concern.

Glenn McDonald writes about popular culture from his home in lovely Chapel Hill, NC. His humor essays have been described as "grammatically consistent" and "remarkably frequent". He is editor of the Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me daily news quiz at NPR.org, and a film critic at the Raleigh News & Observer. He lives virtually at www.glenn-mcdonald.com.


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