Six Justices, Unfit, Talk Lit

Two-thirds of this group are ultra-conservative zealots.

The six far-right Republican justices on the nine-member U.S. Supreme Court have made dreadful ruling after dreadful ruling — gutting abortion rights, gun safety, environmental protections, limits on corporate power, and more. All against the wishes of the vast majority of Americans. Now those rogue wreckers of democracy have turned their narrow minds to literature, and it ain’t pretty.

Justice #1: “I heard John Irving’s novel The Cider House Rules has a pro-choice theme. We need to ban it, burn it, or both.”

Justice #2: “Yes! Didn’t Irving also create Rip Van Winkle?”

Justice #3: “That was Washington Irving, brother of basketball player Kyrie Irving, who refused to get vaccinated against COVID — thus standing up for freedom.” 

One of the three liberal, decent-minded Supreme Court justices: “Freedom to be a selfish idiot.”

Justice #4: “Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom includes a character who played basketball in her youth, but, more importantly, that novel is thick enough to stop a bullet.”

Justice #5: “True! ‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a…book.'”

Justice #6: “I love Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged Because He Was Packing Heat.”

Justice #1: “Speaking of heat, climate change is over-warming the planet — among other disastrous effects — so I’m very proud that our Court’s recent ruling will make things even worse.” 

Justice #2: “Yay! If the Earth dies, liberals die — while conservatives get raptured into Heaven, aka a Trump rally. Each rally featuring the man who picked three of us for the Court is appropriately held at least 25,000 miles from a public library.”

Justice #3: “I do have one climate-change regret. As noted in Barbara Kingsolver’s novel Flight Behavior, Monarch butterflies are being hurt. My sympathies go to any species with an authoritarian name.”

Justice #4: “Mine, too! But I wish King Solomon’s Mimes would say something.”

Justice #5: “H. Rider Haggard wrote King Solomon’s MINES!”

Justice #6: “Oh. Anyway, as a proud racist I love the title of Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White even though it’s unfortunately not a racist novel. I was also disappointed with W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage. Turned out to be a fiction classic when I thought it was a how-to for men wanting to rob women of their rights.”

Justice #1: “That reminds me that we need to sue Margaret Atwood for plagiarizing our 2022 views in The Handmaid’s Tale.”

One of the three liberal, decent-minded Supreme Court justices: “Um…that novel was published in 1985, when Republicans were already far right but didn’t yet need to hold War and Peace in their left hands to keep from toppling over.”

Justice #2: “Coming before Tolstoy’s opus was Gogol’s Dead Souls. We six on the Court resemble that title!”

Justice #3: “We actually have souls?”

Justice #4: “Don’t forget The Big Sleep!”

Justice #5: “The Raymond Chandler novel that uses a colorful phrase for death? We on the Court are doing our part by condemning women to die from botched back-alley abortions, condemning more children to die in school massacres, condemning many to die from worsening climate change…”

Justice #6: “Yes, the future is bright! Perhaps we can next end same-sex marriage, which would thrill our fellow anti-gay citizen, novelist Orson Scott Card. And when we ruin the economy, Orson can lay off one of his three names.”

Justice #1: “What about also ending interracial marriage? I didn’t like seeing that kind of union in Octavia E. Butler’s novel Kindred.”

Justice #2: “An excellent idea if it weren’t for the fact that one of us six Supreme Court fanatics is a Black man married to a white woman.”

Justice #3: “Surely H.G. Wells can write a sequel to The Time Machine to undo that 1987 marriage.”

Justice #4: “The author of that 1895 novel died in 1946, so his writing days are over. Our Court has turned the clock back many decades for Americans, but we can’t make Wells alive again.”

Justice #5: “You have a point there, as do the first and third words of Aldous Huxley’s novel Point Counter Point.”

Justice #6: “But there are many Wells Fargo banks alive in 2022!”

One of the three liberal, decent-minded Supreme Court justices: “We serve with A Confederacy of Dunces.”

My literary-trivia book is described and can be purchased here: Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time.

In addition to this weekly blog, I write the 2003-started/award-winning “Montclairvoyant” topical-humor column for every Thursday. The latest piece — about the U.S. Supreme Court’s appalling anti-women abortion decision, Independence Day, and my local high school’s commencement — is here.

148 thoughts on “Six Justices, Unfit, Talk Lit

  1. Dave , again such a thought provoking post !

    The reason I posted about my special friends. They have different types of handicaps but at the same time, they have equal kinds of emotions and desires like any other human soul.
    But, they are trusting,and they could easily get taken advantage of sexually, if pregnant, they what in todays world ?

    Those Supreme court smiling monsters could not even care less.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks to Mitch McConnell for his contributions to the end of democracy, May he rot in hell. Just a mention here of Jeanette Winterson’s book “Courage Calls To Courage” re: women’s rights and a quote from the same: “Behind every great woman is a man who tried to stop her.” Also the following is a very interesting interview with her re: libraries:
    Thanks Dave for your added insight into these individuals re: a literary twist. I intend to carve out a little spot in our city park, just a small bench: Take a book, leave a book. Susi

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Susi! Yes, McConnell is a huge reason for the way the Supreme Court is now. Blocking President Obama from choosing anyone in 2016 for the bogus reason that it was an election year, and then pushing a right-winger on the Court for Trump in 2020 despite it being an election year. A cruel, nasty, hypocritical excuse for a human being. And that is a fantastic Jeanette Winterson quote!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Resa, I am very glad to know you still have your public libraries. Unfortunately ours are not very good as they receive very little funding. When I was a girl, I was a bit like Roald Dahl’s Matilda, I read every book in the children’s library and ran out of reading material. I didn’t have a lovely liberal minded librarian like she did so I had to read my mom’s novels behind the couch in the sitting room. That is how I came to read all of Stephen King’s books at the age of 10. It is a most entertaining memory for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oops, this posted in the wrong place, Dave. It was a response to Resa’s comment. Never mind, this is a very clever piece and you have used humour and irony well but it is a great tragedy. It brought to mind Jonathan Swift’s A Modern Proposal. I am starting to think that Stephen King has the ability to foretell the future. So much of what is happening now seems to have been written into his various novels. I am thinking of The Running Man (Do you remember the nose filters and the little girl who was dying in the back bedroom) and The Long Walk.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Robbie!

        Jonathan Swift was indeed a master satirist, and I agree with you that Stephen King’s work has tons of astute social commentary amid the horror and non-horror plot elements. I unfortunately have yet to read the two King titles you mentioned but have gotten to about 15 of his novels.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The books King wrote as Bachman are his best work, in my opinion. They are more dystopian or real world than this horror/paranormal works. My husband is a big fan of Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and The Body which are both in the book Different Seasons. I loved The Breathing Method but Apt Pupil made me so ill I couldn’t finish it and that is unusual for me because I read a lot of terrible war stories.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. This is the one sentence, Dave, which, from far away, shocked me most:
    Justice #5: “The Raymond Chandler novel that uses a colorful phrase for death? We on the Court are doing our part by condemning women to die from botched back-alley abortions, condemning more children to die in school massacres, condemning many to die from worsening climate change…”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. A brilliant piece, Dave!
    I wanted to laugh, but the pain overruled any joy.
    Perhaps Ginnie Thomas could wear black face,THEN they could make mixed race marriages illegal.
    I did costumes for a Showtime movie, “Strange Justice”, about the Anita Hill /Clarence Thomas hearings.
    Learned a lot, mostly how rigged (corrupt) government is.

    Remember Rob Ford, Toronto’s crack smoking mayor?
    His bro, Doug is our provincial premier, now. They are almost twins.
    When Rob got into power, it was like a 2 fer. There was a pic of them looming large on the front page of the newspaper with the caption “Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee.

    To save $$$ for their important projects (highways, roads) they were going to shut down Toronto’s libraries. The citizens went crazy. We love our public library system here. It’s one of the world’s best.
    They were fighting us tooth and claw, until one day they were asked a question… something like …. what do you think about what Margret Atwood said to your plan? Their unison answer was “Who?”

    The powder keg blew, and we still have our libraries.
    Doug doesn’t touch books anymore, but then he never did!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Resa!

      You were involved with a movie about the Clarence Thomas hearings? Wow! Anita Hill was a truth-teller treated so shabbily, and not only the Republicans were to blame. As you know, Joe Biden ran the hearings pathetically, making things difficult for Ms. Hill to get her story out. One of the reasons I have a low opinion of Biden — also including his vote for the Iraq War, his “tough on crime” nonsense back in the 1990s, etc.

      The Fords do sound utterly atrocious, mean, dumb, and more. Definitely Trump-like in various ways — including no interest in books. Not familiar with Margaret Atwood? One can’t make stuff like that up!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I watched those Clarence Thomas hearings, from my side of the border, and was inspired by Anita Hill’s dogged determination to bring truth to light. She will always be a hero and history will record her contribution to progress, integrity and justice.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah… it starred Paul Winfield as the outgoing Thurgood Marshall. Delroy Lindo played Clarence Thomas, Mandy Patinkin as Duberstein and Regina Taylor as Anita Hill.
        OH, also Louis Gossett Jr. was in the movie.

        Mandy Patinkin would sing to me on set. I would melt, instantly. Adore him!

        Sew… as I mentioned in my last comment, I just finished the new Art Gown. While I’m sewing, I can’t stop remembering who was on the committee that Biden chaired.
        So far I remember – Biden, Kennedy, Simpson, Browne, Leahy, Grassley and Spectre.
        Don’t tell me! I love memory exercises.

        Well, trump or Biden. You guys were in a binden.

        No… you can’t make up stuff like not knowing who Margaret Atwood is.
        I wonder if D. ford has heard of Shakespeare?

        Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Resa, I am very glad to know you still have your public libraries. Unfortunately ours are not very good as they receive very little funding. When I was a girl, I was a bit like Roald Dahl’s Matilda, I read every book in the children’s library and ran out of reading material. I didn’t have a lovely liberal minded librarian like she did so I had to read my mom’s novels behind the couch in the sitting room. That is how I came to read all of Stephen King’s books at the age of 10. It is a most entertaining memory for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a well thought through post Dave. Despite the humour that comes through I’m sure it must have been quite depressing to write.
    I sense that similar situations have emerged in the UK as with the USA whereby the governments (and associated individuals) have been voted in by the few (and elite) to rule over the majority. A far from ideal situation.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Sarah! You’re right that the U.S. is not alone in being threatened by authoritarianism. 😦 Definitely some aspects of that in the UK, along with Hungary, Brazil, and other democracies (“democracies”) where a small minority of “powers that be” call most of the shots. And of course the outright dictatorships like those in Russia and China.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes it seems difficult to distinguish between our “democracies” and those dictatorships. A new law came into being last week in the UK that now makes ‘noisy’ protest illegal with the police being given appropriate powers to disband these protests. I’m very much for free speech, even if it means we have to listen to the Trumps of this world, and so it feels we’re one step closer to losing these freedoms and the idea of democracy.

        Liked by 1 person

    • This is sad but true, Sarah. Our plans to move to the UK are currently on hold. I’m not sure it wouldn’t be a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire. It makes me a little depressed so I’ve shifted my attention to animal protection and fighting the sixth mass extinction through poetry and prose.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m so sorry to hear this! There are, of course, aspects of Britain that are still excellent but the government has managed to thwart a lot of things that made it more desirable – being part of the EU is most definitely, I think, essential. Should Scotland gain independence (not that I’m necessarily for this, but I shall make good use of it) then I shall be claiming my Scottish passport.
        I think these causes are very deserving of your attentions and I’m sure you’ll be reaching a lot of people with your excellent writing.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I guess these “justices,” or should I say “injustices,” never took the 8th grade civics class that taught us about the Founding Fathers’ establishing a system of checks and balances with three separate branches of government so that our fledgling democracy would not be destroyed by too much power in the hands of a few.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Liz. “Injustices” — that’s what they are.

      And, yes, it’s important to have three roughly co-equal branches of government, not a Supreme Court with a hugely disproportionate amount of power. Not to mention the importance of separation of church and state.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “The Supreme Court is the autocratic point in our National Government. No monarch in Europe has a power more absolute over the laws, lives, and liberties of his people, than that Court has over our laws, lives, and liberties.”– Frederick Douglass, 1883, on the occasion of the Court’s ruling that the Civil Rights Law of 1875 had no power over individuals in a state, but only power over states themselves, to prevent discriminatory acts. The result led to nearly 100 years of practical inequality throughout the US. The ruling was 8-1.

    Notions governing interpretation of the Constitution such as intent and originalism are not new.

    Wrote Douglass: “In the dark days of slavery, this Court, on all occasions, gave the greatest importance to intention as a guide to interpretation. The object and intention of the law, it was said, must prevail. Everything in favor of slavery and against the Negro was settled by this object and intention. The Constitution was construed according to its intention. We were over and over again referred to what the framers meant, and plain language was sacrificed that the so affirmed intention of these framers might be positively asserted.”

    However, in the of the 1883 decision, the plain language of the 14th Amendment, and The Civil Rights Law of 1875 were most scrupulously, unimaginatively and literally interpreted:

    Douglass: “This decision of the Supreme Court admits that the Fourteenth Amendment is a prohibition on the States. It admits that a State shall not abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, but commits the seeming absurdity of allowing the people of a State to do what it prohibits the State itself from doing.”

    Within a quarter-century, 1858 (Dred Scott Decision)-1883, the Court, employed both intention and originalism to produce: the denial of equal rights to African-Americans.

    The “autocratic point of our national government” has often served as a thorn in the side of equality and social justice, most disastrously in 1858, but not only then. There is also a history of SC decisions and interpretations that offer hope and point toward equal protection and equality. I submit that history is the shorter of the two.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Out of six one wealthy woman ..wht do they care ?

    Anyways Dave, Last night I was listening to Cristine Todd Whitman, Past Governor of NJ and a Republican on NPR`s Firing Line.
    Yes, a Republican !!!

    Men deciding what a woman should do with her body,

    Young women could be a rape wictims, very young ,with no money, so many would have to get abortion without the whole world to know what they were going through. So many get it done at home putting their lives in dannger..

    6 is a woman with a smiling face, ..the smile is so cruel what does she care ?
    She got a lifetime job and could play with the lives of destitudes.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. I love it. I did my own little piece in the wake of the repeal of Roe vs. Wade. But, admittedly, that, if highly stylized, was a lot angrier. No offense to a few good men.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Oh, Dave, thanks for posting this! It is so perfectly tuned to the tragedy taking place in our beloved democracy. We’ve officially gone from a madman former President to a corrupt U.S. Supreme Court which continues to do his bidding!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Ah Rebecca, I scrolled all the way through the comments looking for yours and expecting the usual quote and there isn’t one – so disappointing – smile! So I will give you a quote this week:
      All that is gold does not glitter,
      Not all those who wander are lost;
      The old that is strong does not wither,
      Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

      From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
      A light from the shadows shall spring;
      Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
      The crownless again shall be king.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Robbie – this has been a profound conversation. I weep for the progress that has been undone. I think of how hard my grandmothers and great-grandmothers worked for a better way. Today I have been reading portions from the “Declaration of Sentiments.” The principal author of the Declaration was Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who modeled it upon the United States Declaration of Independence. She was a key organizer of the convention along with Lucretia Coffin Mott, and Martha Coffin Wright.

        Here is a quote and a link to follow.

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for this quote and link, Rebecca. The overturning of Roe v Wade is a huge step backwards for women’s rights and the carbon emissions decision is a step backwards in the fight against climate change. Interestingly enough, I have been expecting something like this to happen. People have become to complacent with about their rights and they have forgotten about the struggles our forbearers went through to win rights for voting and all the other things that have followed. This same reversal could also happen with men, after all it was only in 1918 that all men won the right to vote in the UK. Not very long ago in the context of European history.

          Liked by 2 people

  12. A nightmare, in daylight, are the 6 Justices who are taking away, bit by bit, ALL of our rights. Why not destroy people’s lives, the environment, never ends, but we know Clarence Thomas, hypocrite, will not vote to do away with interracial marriage as he is married to a white woman, a disturbed white supremist in my book to add to her confusion. If only Thomas and others, mainly Republicans, can look at this example, from 1967 the law was enacted to allow interracial marriage, allowing people to marry who they chose to , if only this important law would stay for all of us: straight, gay, interracial, if only Republicans would follow this simple way to be, love the one your with, be free to choose the one you want to share your life with, be free to chose if one wants to have a child ++..

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Michele! Very well said. Yes, a lot of it comes down to the fact that people should be able to live life as they please as long as they’re not hurting their fellow citizens — a freedom those six Supreme Court justices have a big problem with. If a person is against abortion, fine, but don’t dictate to those who are pro-choice. And you’re right that Clarence Thomas not also calling into question interracial marriage is the height of hypocrisy and me-ism. Of course, he should leave that alone along with leaving other rights alone.

      Liked by 1 person

    • LOL, Donna! 😂 (A depressed LOL. 😦 ) Yes, those six Supreme Court justices will cause many deaths with their recent decisions. But I guess they’re much more concerned about fetuses than about living people.

      Liked by 1 person

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