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Why We Still Need Fairy Tales

By Rob Carney

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Old Roads, New Stories: A Literary Series

People were right to make fun of Mitt Romney. His pseudonym “Pierre Delecto” is ridiculous. So ridiculous, I figured, that it had to be an anagram, and I wasn’t wrong.

Since the news moved on immediately—who can blame it; what, with the Kurds betrayed, and Giuliani acting like a shakedown artist, and his employer a scuzzier shakedown artist?—anyway, the news moved on from Romney’s Twitter handle, but not me. I spent 20-or-so minutes deciphering, and I’ll tell you why Pierre Delecto is a problem, but maybe also a solution:

Take away the d and the o from “Delecto,” and you get “elect.” Put that o together with one of the rs in “Pierre,” and that spells “or.” Set the d beside the i and one of the es, and what you get is “die.” Leaving us with just three letters: rep. As in, “Rep”; as in, short for “Republicans.”

So Romney’s tweeting disguise isn’t benign and goofy after all because “Elect Rep. or Die” is the kind of thinking that this country, starting with Senator Romney, needs to change. Romney, and Senators Murkowski, Collins, Grassley, and 16 others have got to take up the House’s impeachment case and remove the Tumor-in-Chief from our White House. Pronto.

They’ve got the power. And they must have heard fairy tales as children. And my hope is they understood the morals then, and still do:

Jack and the Beanstalk

How weird is this story? I mean,
no one trades away their cow

for a packet of beans,
not even if they’re Magic Beans

and they might grow a vine
to the clouds,

where there might be a mansion
and a giant sleeping, with a key

to a cage around his neck,
and the cage has a magic goose

laying golden eggs, and the voice says
Go ahead and steal it,

do it now
before the hall fills with honking

not for beans or money
or supremacist wishes; not us.

We’d know it’s a swindle, right?
We’d hold on to our country and our cow.



Rob CarneyRob Carney’s new book The Book of Sharks is available now from Black Lawrence Press. Previous books include 88 Maps, Story Problems, and Weather Report.
Read poetry by Rob Carney appearing in 6th Annual Contest Finalist, 4th Annual Contest Winner, and Issue 30. And listen to a new radio interview with Rob Carney, and here’s an older radio interview.

Header photo by welburnstuart, courtesy Shutterstock.

  1. Surprised to see Carney go into politics. I guess there’s supposed to be overwhelming amounts of irony in the mocking of the “elect or die” mentality, then concluding the poem with the exact concept but from the other side? Perhaps cleverly written, but I personally still appreciate poetry as an escape from such mundane topics— witty or not

  2. Hi E,

    Sorry you thought this was mundane. I’m surprised you’re surprised, though, since I’ve written about politics bunches of times and since loads of poems aim at social change rather than refuge.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not being ironic. I’m 100% convinced that Mitt Romney’s weird pseudonym is an anagram and that I sussed it out correctly. And I wasn’t concluding my reconstructed fairy tale ironically either. “Jack and the Beanstalk” has always seemed like a bonkers story to me. Inexplicably so. It’s about an old con man swindling a kid, and the rest–a stationary cloud at the top of a beanstalk, and the choice to steal from and murder a giant, and then a lifetime of easy money–is just set decorations. And I believe 100% that Trump just plays the same con: offering to swap us “magic” beans for our actual constitutional democracy.

    Anyway, I don’t think I was writing the opposite of “Elect Republicans or Die” because I don’t think the poem is saying we need to elect democrats or die. That doesn’t mean the poem is good, just that it’s different than your comment suggests.

  3. I loved both these pieces. The simplicity of Jack and Beanstalk is wonderful, because at heart what is happening in the world is the greatest con by snake oil salesmen in the history of time, and they some how continue to be able to persuade people to give up truly fundamental to life things like clean water and air for chimera of dubious or no benefit

    1. Hey Bridget,

      Thanks for your comment, and I agree with you–it’s astounding and dumbfounding and logic-bent and heart-bludgeoning that so many Americans turn out to rallies to hear more and more of the same redundant nothing and, worse, chortle along with glee that so many people are being insulted and damaged by this ponzischemer.

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