Intervention With a Pop Star: Part 2

Click here to read “Intervention With a Pop Star: Part 1”

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Illustrated Parables

State of the Union (short, dark, surreal, articulate political comics)

Transcript:

A girl named Pop Star and her friend are standing in a hallway next to a door.

Friend: Okay, Pop Star. This is where we’re going shopping.

Pop Star: Hey, I know this place. The last time you brought me here I had an invervention with Dr. Philpot about how anti-intellectual my music was.

The two girls go inside the room. It’s a professional office with a couch. A man is sitting in a chair across from the couch.

Dr. Philpot: Welcome back, Pop Star.

Pop Star: Damn it! I knew it. This is another intervention. What gives?

Friend: I guess you’ll find out. I’ll be back later to pick you up.

The friend leaves.

Dr. Philpot: Why don’t you have a seat, Pop Star?

Pop Star: I’m not sitting down. I don’t need another intervention. I already stopped singing songs that glamorize co-dependency.

Dr. Philpot: This is about something else. Please have a seat. I promise you’ll benefit from what you’re going to hear today.

Pop Star: Fine. Whatever.

She lays down on the couch.

Dr. Philpot: Your friends asked me to have an intervention with you about how you handle money.

Pop Star: What’s wrong with how I handle money? I don’t have any debt. Oh, I get it. You’re going to try to tell me I spend too much on partying, right?

Dr. Philpot: Sort of. To illustrate my point, let’s talk about some of the uplifting songs you’ve written since your last intervention.

Pop Star: Well, there was, “Man in the Mirror,” “Another Day in Paradise,” “Heal the World,” “Where is the Love,” “Walking on Sunshine,” “What a Wonderful World,” “That’s What Friends are For,” “You Get What You Give,” “Never Surrender…” The list goes on. I’m on top of the charts right now.

Dr. Philpot: Yeah…about that.

Pop Star: I believe the word you’re looking for is, “congratulations.”

Dr. Philpot: Yes, congratulations. You’ve villed the world with an unprecedentedly positive message of hope and change. Tell me now, have you seen that change in the world?

Pop Star: Totally. It’s like a whole new world out there. It’s like living in Disney Land.

Dr. Philpot: There’s not any poverty, gangs, drugs, domestic violence, war, famine, fear or collapse going on anywhere in the world?

Pop Star: Well, if you count that stuff…

Dr. Philpot: Yes. Yes those count.

Pop Star: Well, that’s just all the more reason to stay positive.

Dr. Philpot: And what do you do in your personal life to stay positive?

Pop Star: Bitch, I’m rich. I guarantee you that money can buy happiness. I can make all my wildest fantasies come true with the snap of a finger. When I’m sad I throw money at the problem.

Dr. Philpot: So it’s pretty easy for you to stay positive then?

Pop Star: The fact that I only sleep with models who will let me do anything helps too.

Dr. Philpot: …of course. What would you say if I told you it’s harder for some people to stay positive?

Pop Star: I’d say they should hold on and persevere no matter what.

Dr. Philpot: Would you tell slaves to hold on and persevere no matter what?

Pop Star: There’s no such thing as slaves anymore.

Dr. Philpot: Let’s pretend there are.

Pop Star: I’d tell them that help is on the way.

Dr. Philpot: What if help isn’t on the way?

Pop Star: I’d tell them to keep on believing.

Dr. Philpot: Believing in what, exactly?

Pop Star: Themselves? Their leaders? God? I don’t know. Something inspiring like that.

Dr. Philpot: How is your message supposed to help them if your message is vague to the point of being useless?

Pop Star: Who cares? The whole situation is is hypothetical anyway.

Dr. Philpot: If it’s hypothetical anyway, then humor me, and tell me what you would tell your fans if they were slaves on a plantation owned by superman and in fact, everyone worked in slave plantations owned by a different super hero. So nobody had any hope of rescue since their heroes were the ones enslaving them.

Pop Star: I’d sing the world a song about respecting yourself, holding your leaders accountable and standing up for yourself in the name of truth, justice and the human spirit. Hey, I think I’ll use that idea for a song in my next album…even if it’s based on a hypothetical premise.

Dr. Philpot: What would you say if I told you that you were a super hero?

Pop Star: Thank you. In fact, that’s what I’ll call my next song, “Hero.”

Dr. Philpot: You don’t understand. You’re one of the heroes in the hypothetical slave world…except that it’s not hypothetical. It’s metaphorical.

Pop Star: That’s ridiculous.  I don’t own any slaves. Ask my accountant.

Dr. Philpot: And what is a slave, exactly?

Pop Star: A slave is a human being you own and have a receipt for.

Dr. Philpot: Does the mafia need a receipt to force a girl into sex slavery?

Pop Star: Okay, fine. No, but it doesn’t matter, because I’m not forcing girls to have sex at gun point.

Dr. Philpot: True… but it raises the question though, what exactly is a slave? At what point would you call yourself a slave? Suppose your manager kept 100% of the money you made and kept you in his dog house. Would that be slavery?

Pop Star: Yeah, that’d be slavery.

Dr. Philpot: What if he didn’t keep you in his dog house? What if he left you to sleep in the streets and expected you to show up and work for him every day?

Pop Star: I’d kick him in the nuts!

Dr. Philpot: Okay, calm down. What if he let you keep 1% of the money you made him so you could afford to buy your own house, raise a family and make all your dreams come true?

Pop Start: 1% isn’t a favor, that’s an insult.

Dr. Philpot: Well, what if it were 3% or 7 or…

Pop Star: If I’m doing all the work I better get all the money.

Dr. Philpot: Well, your manager is doing a lot of work booking gigs and such. Doesn’t he deserve a fair share of the profits?

Pop Star: Sure, as long as it’s fair and I have my freedom.

Dr. Philpot: What if he gave you a fair share, but in order to buy anything you had to buy it from other slave drivers who charged you 100% of your wages so that you didn’t get to keep any money for yourself? Would you still be a slave then?

Pop Star: I guess not, but the end result would be the same.

Dr. Philpot: Well, that’s the reality of life for most of the human beings on this planet.

Pop Star: Yeah, I know. I wrote the song, “Heal the World,” remember? Anyway, what’s the point? Are you trying to guilt trip me into giving more money to charity?

Dr. Philpot: Well, if your manager kept 90% of the profits you made and it cost 100% of your wages to survive, do you think it would help much if your boss gave 1% of his savings to charity?

Pop Star: No, but I’m not a slave driver. So I don’t know why you’re asking me.

Dr. Philpot: Hmmm. How many people does it take to put on a concert and make and sell all your merchandise?

Pop Star: Uhhhh. Dozens?

Dr. Philpot: How many people do you work with you are so filthy rich they have to do drugs to get creative enough to come up with ideas how to spend all their money?

Pop Star: …just me…and my manager.

Dr. Philpot: How many of your employees are drowning in debt just trying to put a roof over their heads and send their kids to school?

Pop Star: …most of them.

Dr. Philpot: Well, in your song, “In the Air Tonight” you sing about watching a man drown when you have the power to save him…

Pop Star: Yeah, that’s not what that song is about.

Dr. Philpot: Whatever. The point is, would you consider it manslaughter to let someone drown when you have the power to save them?

Pop Star: Yes, I would make a categorical imperative out of that.

Dr. Philpot: Well, your fans and your employees are all drowning, and the only reason you’re not is because you’re standing on their heads.

Pop Star: Wow. You’re so pessimistic. You need to be more optimistic.

Dr. Philpot: I’m not being pessimistic. I’m being realistic, and you’re not being optimistic. You’re being apathetic.

Pop Star: You’re so mean.

Dr. Philpot: If the truth sounds ugly it’s not because of the way the messenger looks.

Pop Star: What what? You want me to give away all of my money? You said yourself, if everyone else is being greedy then charity is just pouring blood into a sieve. It doesn’t address the underlying problem.

Dr. Philpot: If you believe that then I want you to ask yourself, what can you do to address the root cause of poverty and wage slavery other than throwing a fraction of your blood money at the problem…like you’ve been doing.

Pop Star: Can you just tell me what to do instead of asking me leading questions?

Dr. Philpot: I ask leading questions because patients tend to automatically argue with anything they don’t want to hear, and the reason they see me in the first place isn’t because they need the obvious pointed out to them but because they refuse to acknowledge the obvious without coming to the conclusion themselves…but I trust you. So I’ll tell you the truth, but it will be the end of our session. I don’t want to give you time to argue with me. I want you to go home and rethink your life…objectively.

Pop Star: Deal.

Dr. Philpot: You’ve already answered most of your questions anyway.

Pop Star: I have?

Dr. Philpot: You should pay your employees more and charge your customers less.

Pop Star: But they’ll still get overcharged by everyone else, and I’ll be lowering my head closer to water.

Dr. Philpot: But you’ll be setting a precedent and sending a message that can be amplified if your songs reflect your actions.

Pop Star: Will that be enough to make a difference?

Dr. Philpot: If nothing else, you won’t be a brazen hypocrite anymore. Your question is moot anyway. What you can do, you must do. Even if it doesn’t change the world, it’ll still help those within your broad sphere of influence.

Pop Star: Wow, you really know how to guilt trip a girl.

Dr. Philpot: All I did was state the truth. If that makes you feel guilty then that’s your conscience trying to tell you something. And with that, I think we should end your intervention. Will you promise to go home and think about the things we’ve talked about?

Pop Star: I do, but I have to confess… I’m scared to risk what I’ve got on one man’s guilt trip.

Dr. Philpot: If you have enough money to make your dreams come true and your dream is to find answers then hire someone who answers questions.

Pop Star: I guess two minds are better than one…hmmm. Maybe I’ll hire a whole monastery full of intellectual monks.

Pop Star’s friend walks back into the room.

Dr. Philpot: I suppose that’s a start. Well, your friend is back. Looks like our session is over. Good luck, Pop Star.

Pop Star: Thank you, Dr. Philpot. I promise I’ll make the world proud.

The End


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