The surprisingly fruitful poesy of a soul not entirely unsteep'd in the sacred legendary of his Arcadian forebears, the which he tweaks with such irreverent imagery (now with satire, now with humor) that the careful reader often desires nothing more than to take this young man out to dinner at an excellent restaurant -- in a thinly disguised attempt, of course, to figure out exactly what makes him (this unexpectedly good-looking poet of ours...) tick.

July 2018

The State v. Homo sapiens

with Judge Joe Martian

BAILIFF: Case number 275, the State versus Homo sapiens. All rise.

JUDGE: This case is to determine whether Homo sapiens should maintain their free will given their penchant for barbarism and cruelty. Both attorneys may make their opening remarks. I believe Zorf will begin for the prosecution.

ZORF: Thank you, Your Honor. The prosecution will prove with a preponderance of the evidence that Homo sapiens are a menace to themselves and others.

Judge: Well, get on with it then.

ZORF: Right. I'd first like to call Christopher Columbus.

JUDGE: If the Bailiff will punch the appropriate buttons on the time machine, I would be grateful.


COLUMBUS: What? Who? Where?

ZORF: Right. Chris, when you first showed up in the Bahamas --

COLUMBUS: In India, you mean.

ZORF: Whatever. When you first showed up, what did you say about the island people that you discovered?

COLUMBUS: That they would make good servants.

[court murmuring]

ZORF: Right. So from the get-go, you saw them as potential servants, not as equals.


ZORF: The same people that you would eventually annihilate from the face of the earth with the germs that you brought from Europe.

DORF: Objection, Your Honor, Columbus could not have known that he was bringing microbiological disaster to the New World.

JUDGE: Sustained. The prosecution will limit themselves to uncovering only conscious acts of perfidy.

ZORF: And did you not later say that you could conquer and enslave any group of island people with just 50 men?

COLUMBUS: You're darn tootin'.

ZORF: Darn tootin', sir?

JUDGE: Bailiff, could you double-check the translation app? That little chestnut doesn't "ring true" to me, linguistically speaking.

BAILIFF: Yes, sir.

JUDGE: However, we will presume for the record that Columbus answered 'yes' to the interrogatory in question.

ZORF: Thank you, Your Honor. You may step down, Columbus.

COLUMBUS: No worries, mate.

JUDGE: Bailiff, check those translation settings, I tell you!

BAILIFF: I'm on it, Your Honor.

JUDGE: "No worries, mate"? from Christopher C.? I don't think so.

ZORF: For my next witness, I'd like to call Julius Caesar.

[court gasps]

JUDGE: Do that time machine magic again, Bailiff.

ZORF: Right, Your Honor.


JC: I came, I saw, I asked: Where the heck am I?

ZORF: Now, Mr. Caesar, as I understand it, you referred to the Celts as barbarians, is that correct?

JC: For sure.

ZORF: I'll take that as a poorly translated 'yes.'

JC: Word.

JUDGE: Word?

ZORF: Why was that?

JC: Because they were hung up on trees.

ZORF: What, you mean you crucified them, I suppose.

[crowd murmuring]

JC: No, I mean they were obsessed with trees, oaks in partcular.

ZORF: Oh, how horrible. Not.

JC: Dude, they were worshiping them?

ZORF: And?

JC: And? Well, where I come from (videlicet Rome, Sweet Rome), the only good tree is a felled tree.

ZORF: How very enlightened of you.

JC: And don't forget, the Celts practiced human sacrifice on them thar stone slabs of their'n. How 'icky' is that?

ZORF: Again, a poorly translated yet a revealing response by the defendant.

JC: Do what?

ZORF: And yet is it not true that the Romans actually crucified their enemies?

JC: Well--

ZORF: No further questions, JC. Step down.

JC: I came, I saw, I exited stage right.

JUDGE: Bailiff, you've really got to change the idiomatic settings on that translation app.

BAILIFF: Still working on it, sire.

ZORF: Next, I'd like to call on Shi Huangdi, the First Emperor of China.

[court gasps]

JUDGE: Bailiff, press those time machine buttons accordingly.

BAILIFF: Right, Your Honor.


SHI HUANGDI: Hey, what gives? No one's bowing down in abject adulation!

ZORF: Mr. Shi, is it not true that you decapitated and amputated your fellow countrymen for the slightest offenses?

SHI HUANGDI: Hello, it's called 'legalism', sir.

ZORF: And wasn't it the practice in your time to kill the entire population of a village (kids and women included) if even one of them was suspected of treason?

SHI HUANGDI: You got it in one.

JUDGE: Again with the vernacular.

ZORF: Speaking of treason, isn't it true that you not only killed the suspect of that crime, but also his family and their children's children, and their children's children's children?

SHI HUANGDI: I don't like where you're going with this, greenie.

ZORF: Let the record note that Shi has just cast aspersions on the color of my skin.

JUDGE: So noted. But let the record also note, by way of fairness, that the translation gizmo was going haywire at the time of the alleged slight.

ZORF: I call on Aztec chief Montezuma II.

[court gasps]

HOMO SAPIENS: Enough, OK, OK! We did it! We did it!

JUDGE: For the record, you did what, sir?

HOME SAPIENS: I mean, we Homo sapiens ARE ridiculously violent: always have been, always will be!

[court gasps]

DORF: Objection, Your Honor, how can one man speak for the entire human race?

JUDGE: Hello? It's called channeling, doofus.

DORF: That's 'Dorf,' sir.

JUDGE: You said it, not me.

ZORF: Your Honor, let it be noted on the record that the collective voice of the Homo sapiens species has just admitted its own evil nature.

JUDGE: So noted.

HOST: Well, Zorf has just won a slam-dunk victory against the human race, showing that it was violent in the extreme. How do you feel, Zorf?

ZORF: Just great. And I had plenty of ammo left.

HOST: Yes?

ZORF: I was about to call Cortes to the stand to grill him on the conquistadores invasion of Mesoamerica and how they basically annihilated the Aztec Empire and forced them to accept Christianity, will they or no.

HOST: Dorf, how are you feeling?

DORF: We will appeal.

HOST: On what ground.

DORF: The translating app was obviously malfunctioning.

HOST: Dorf is appealing, ZORF. What do you say to that?

ZORF: Well, he's not very appealing to me.

DORF: Very funny.

ZORF: Your client is vicious, Dorf. Get over it.

HOST: Stay tuned next week when Judge Joe Martian passes sentence on Homo sapiens. What are you plumping for, Zorf?

ZORF: For starters, we're going to ask that the Martians remove all of that species' nuclear weapons.

HOST: Comments, Dorf?

DORF: Hey, listen, if nukes are outlawed, only outlaws will have nukes.

ZORF: You were just waiting to say that, weren't you, doofus?

DORF: It's Dorf to you, scuzzball.

ZORF: You want a piece of me, doofus?

DORF: Right, I'm for it!

[Zorf and Dorf grappling behind show host]

HOST: That's next time on Judge Joe Martian.

Akhenaten -- Another Interview with Greatness -- Bombshell: Webmaster Insists that Everybody Must Get Stoned -- Buoyancy: Review by the Moviegoer of the United States of America -- Dear Lance Morrow -- Denzel as Terrorist in John Q -- Don't Read This -- First Lab-Grown Hamburger Financed by Brian Quass -- How the DEA Determines if Your Relgious Beliefs are Real -- Human Beings Ain't Jack S--- -- Merry Christmas 2021 -- Minnie and Me -- More things that Dr. Fauci will and will not be doing now that he's been vaccinated -- Pipe Dream or the Next Big Thing: You be the judge -- Portrait of the artist as a young witch -- Psst! This post is for artists only! -- The Drug Problem is a Social Creation -- The Man of Mode by George Etherege -- The State v. Homo sapiens -- The Theory of Aesthetic Relativity -- The Turing Test Bias -- The Visit -- Thoughts about Cultural Geography, dawg -- Three Arguments Against Political Correctness in Academia -- Why Zero Tolerance is Bullshit -- Willie Who? --


Copyright 2017, Brian Quass (follow on Twitter)