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SHIP OF FOOLS by Ted Kaczynski

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  • Agent Smiley
    http://www.sacredfools.org/crimescene/CaseFiles/ShipOfFoolsStory.htm SHIP OF FOOLS by Ted Kaczynski Published by OFF! Magazine, a zine produced by students at
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2001
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      http://www.sacredfools.org/crimescene/CaseFiles/ShipOfFoolsStory.htm

      SHIP OF FOOLS
      by Ted Kaczynski

      Published by OFF! Magazine, a zine produced by
      students at SUNY Binghamton and edited by Tim La
      Pietra.

      Once upon a time, the captain and the mates of a ship
      grew so vain of their seamanship, so full of hubris
      and so impressed with themselves, that they went mad.
      They turned the ship north and sailed until they met
      with icebergs and dangerous floes, and they kept
      sailing north into more and more perilous waters,
      solely in order to give themselves opportunities to
      perform ever-more-brilliant feats of seamanship.

      As the ship reached higher and higher latitudes, the
      passengers and crew became increasingly uncomfortable.
      They began quarreling among themselves and complaining
      of the conditions under which they lived.

      "Shiver me timbers," said an able seaman, "if this
      ain�t the worst voyage I�ve ever been on. The deck is
      slick with ice; when I�m on lookout the wind cuts
      through me jacket like a knife; every time I reef the
      foresail I blamed-near freeze me fingers; and all I
      get for it is a miserable five shillings a month!"

      "You think you have it bad!" said a lady passenger. "I
      can�t sleep at night for the cold. Ladies on this ship
      don�t get as many blankets as the men. It isn�t fair!"

      A Mexican sailor chimed in: "�Chingado! I�m only
      getting half the wages of the Anglo seamen. We need
      plenty of food to keep us warm in this climate, and
      I�m not getting my share; the Anglos get more. And the
      worst of it is that the mates always give me orders in
      English instead of Spanish."

      "I have more reason to complain than anybody," said an
      American Indian sailor. "If the palefaces hadn�t
      robbed me of my ancestral lands, I wouldn�t even be on
      this ship, here among the icebergs and arctic winds. I
      would just be paddling a canoe on a nice, placid lake.
      I deserve compensation. At the very least, the captain
      should let me run a crap game so that I can make some
      money."

      The bosun spoke up: "Yesterday the first mate called
      me a �fruit� just because I suck cocks. I have a right
      to suck cocks without being called names for it!"

      It�s not only humans who are mistreated on this ship,"
      interjected an animal-lover among the passengers, her
      voice quivering with indignation. "Why, last week I
      saw the second mate kick the ship�s dog twice!"

      One of the passengers was a college professor.
      Wringing his hands he exclaimed,

      "All this is just awful! It�s immoral! It�s racism,
      sexism, speciesism, homophobia, and exploitation of
      the working class! It�s discrimination! We must have
      social justice: Equal wages for the Mexican sailor,
      higher wages for all sailors, compensation for the
      Indian, equal blankets for the ladies, a guaranteed
      right to suck cocks, and no more kicking the dog!"

      "Yes, yes!" shouted the passengers. "Aye-aye!" shouted
      the crew. "It�s discrimination! We have to demand our
      rights!"

      The cabin boy cleared his throat.

      "Ahem. You all have good reasons to complain. But it
      seems to me that what we really have to do is get this
      ship turned around and headed back south, because if
      we keep going north we�re sure to be wrecked sooner or
      later, and then your wages, your blankets, and your
      right to suck cocks won�t do you any good, because
      we�ll all drown."

      But no one paid any attention to him, because he was
      only the cabin boy.

      The captain and the mates, from their station on the
      poop deck, had been watching and listening. Now they
      smiled and winked at one another, and at a gesture
      from the captain the third mate came down from the
      poop deck, sauntered over to where the passengers and
      crew were gathered, and shouldered his way in amongst
      them. He put a very serious expression on his face and
      spoke thusly:

      "We officers have to admit that some really
      inexcusable things have been happening on this ship.
      We hadn�t realized how bad the situation was until we
      heard your complaints. We are men of good will and
      want to do right by you. But � well � the captain is
      rather conservative and set in his ways, and may have
      to be prodded a bit before he�ll make any substantial
      changes. My personal opinion is that if you protest
      vigorously � but always peacefully and without
      violating any of the ship�s rules � you would shake
      the captain out of his inertia and force him to
      address the problems of which you so justly complain."

      Having said this, the third mate headed back toward
      the poop deck. As he went, the passengers and crew
      called after him, "Moderate! Reformer! Goody-liberal!
      Captain�s stooge!" But they nevertheless did as he
      said. They gathered in a body before the poop deck,
      shouted insults at the officers, and demanded their
      rights: "I want higher wages and better working
      conditions," cried the able seaman. "Equal blankets
      for women," cried the lady passenger. "I want to
      receive my orders in Spanish," cried the Mexican
      sailor. "I want the right to run a crap game," cried
      the Indian sailor. "I don�t want to be called a
      fruit," cried the bosun. "No more kicking the dog,"
      cried the animal lover. "Revolution now," cried the
      professor.

      The captain and the mates huddled together and
      conferred for several minutes, winking, nodding and
      smiling at one another all the while. Then the captain
      stepped to the front of the poop deck and, with a
      great show of benevolence, announced that the able
      seaman�s wages would be raised to six shillings a
      month; the Mexican sailor�s wages would be raised to
      two-thirds the wages of an Anglo seaman, and the order
      to reef the foresail would be given in Spanish; lady
      passengers would receive one more blanket; the Indian
      sailor would be allowed to run a crap game on Saturday
      nights; the bosun wouldn�t be called a fruit as long
      as he kept his cocksucking strictly private; and the
      dog wouldn�t be kicked unless he did something really
      naughty, such as stealing food from the galley.

      The passengers and crew celebrated these concessions
      as a great victory, but the next morning, they were
      again feeling dissatisfied.

      "Six shillings a month is a pittance, and I still
      freeze me fingers when I reef the foresail," grumbled
      the able seaman. "I�m still not getting the same wages
      as the Anglos, or enough food for this climate," said
      the Mexican sailor. "We women still don�t have enough
      blankets to keep us warm," said the lady passenger.
      The other crewmen and passengers voiced similar
      complaints, and the professor egged them on.

      When they were done, the cabin boy spoke up � louder
      this time so that the others could not easily ignore
      him:

      "It�s really terrible that the dog gets kicked for
      stealing a bit of bread from the galley, and that
      women don�t have equal blankets, and that the able
      seaman gets his fingers frozen; and I don�t see why
      the bosun shouldn�t suck cocks if he wants to. But
      look how thick the icebergs are now, and how the wind
      blows harder and harder! We�ve got to turn this ship
      back toward the south, because if we keep going north
      we�ll be wrecked and drowned."

      "Oh yes," said the bosun, "It�s just so awful that we
      keep heading north. But why should I have to keep
      cocksucking in the closet? Why should I be called a
      fruit? Ain�t I as good as everyone else?"

      "Sailing north is terrible," said the lady passenger.
      "But don�t you see? That�s exactly why women need more
      blankets to keep them warm. I demand equal blankets
      for women now!"

      "It�s quite true," said the professor, "that sailing
      to the north imposes great hardships on all of us. But
      changing course toward the south would be unrealistic.
      You can�t turn back the clock. We must find a mature
      way of dealing with the situation."

      "Look," said the cabin boy, "If we let those four
      madmen up on the poop deck have their way, we�ll all
      be drowned. If we ever get the ship out of danger,
      then we can worry about working conditions, blankets
      for women, and the right to suck cocks. But first
      we�ve got to get this vessel turned around. If a few
      of us get together, make a plan, and show some
      courage, we can save ourselves. It wouldn�t take many
      of us � six or eight would do. We could charge the
      poop, chuck those lunatics overboard, and turn the
      ship to the south."

      The professor elevated his nose and said sternly, "I
      don�t believe in violence. It�s immoral."

      "It�s unethical ever to use violence," said the bosun.

      "I�m terrified of violence," said the lady passenger.

      The captain and the mates had been watching and
      listening all the while. At a signal from the captain,
      the third mate stepped down to the main deck. He went
      about among the passengers and crew, telling them that
      there were still many problems on the ship.

      "We have made much progress," he said, "But much
      remains to be done. Working conditions for the able
      seaman are still hard, the Mexican still isn�t getting
      the same wages as the Anglos, the women still don�t
      have quite as many blankets as the men, the Indian�s
      Saturday-night crap game is a paltry compensation for
      his lost lands, it�s unfair to the bosun that he has
      to keep his cocksucking in the closet, and the dog
      still gets kicked at times.

      "I think the captain needs to be prodded again. It
      would help if you all would put on another protest �
      as long as it remains nonviolent."

      As the third mate walked back toward the stern, the
      passengers and the crew shouted insults after him, but
      they nevertheless did what he said and gathered in
      front of the poop deck for another protest. They
      ranted and raved and brandished their fists, and they
      even threw a rotten egg at the captain (which he
      skillfully dodged).

      After hearing their complaints, the captain and the
      mates huddled for a conference, during which they
      winked and grinned broadly at one another. Then the
      captain stepped to the front of the poop deck and
      announced that the able seaman would be given gloves
      to keep his fingers warm, the Mexican sailor would
      receive wages equal to three-fourths the wages of an
      Anglo seaman, the women would receive yet another
      blanket, the Indian sailor could run a crap game on
      Saturday and Sunday nights, the bosun would be allowed
      to suck cocks publicly after dark, and no one could
      kick the dog without special permission from the
      captain.

      The passengers and crew were ecstatic over this great
      revolutionary victory, but by the next morning they
      were again feeling dissatisfied and began grumbling
      about the same old hardships.

      The cabin boy this time was getting angry.

      "You damn fools!" he shouted. "Don�t you see what the
      captain and the mates are doing? They�re keeping you
      occupied with your trivial grievances about blankets
      and wages and the dog being kicked so that you won�t
      think about what is really wrong with this ship --�
      that it�s getting farther and farther to the north and
      we�re all going to be drowned. If just a few of you
      would come to your senses, get together, and charge
      the poop deck, we could turn this ship around and save
      ourselves. But all you do is whine about petty little
      issues like working conditions and crap games and the
      right to suck cocks."

      The passengers and the crew were incensed.

      "Petty!!" cried the Mexican, "Do you think it�s
      reasonable that I get only three-fourths the wages of
      an Anglo sailor? Is that petty?

      "How can you call my grievance trivial? shouted the
      bosun. "Don�t you know how humiliating it is to be
      called a fruit?"

      "Kicking the dog is not a �petty little issue!�"
      screamed the animal-lover. "It�s heartless, cruel, and
      brutal!"

      "Alright then," answered the cabin boy. "These issues
      are not petty and trivial. Kicking the dog is cruel
      and brutal and it is humiliating to be called a fruit.
      But in comparison to our real problem � in comparison
      to the fact that the ship is still heading north �
      your grievances are petty and trivial, because if we
      don�t get this ship turned around soon, we�re all
      going to drown.

      "Fascist!" said the professor.

      "Counterrevolutionary!" said the lady passenger. And
      all of the passengers and crew chimed in one after
      another, calling the cabin boy a fascist and a
      counterrevolutionary. They pushed him away and went
      back to grumbling about wages, and about blankets for
      women, and about the right to suck cocks, and about
      how the dog was treated. The ship kept sailing north,
      and after a while it was crushed between two icebergs
      and everyone drowned.

      � Ted Kaczynski, 1999


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