August 10th, 2020


Halloween frights and politics that go bump in the night

John Kass

By John Kass

Published Oct. 29, 2019

Sometimes I'm so exhausted with the incessant tribal whine of politics that I'd just rather have the wits scared out of me. That way I don't have to think about the dark, sinister political arts.

"Why not write a Halloween column?" said a helpful editor, when I broke down weeping, telling her I just couldn't take politics anymore this week.

Over-the-top Halloween haunted houses aren't scary. Please. I did hear about a good one in Tennessee, but they make you wear costumes, perhaps of fur, and that's not my métier. I'm not writing about the horrors of candy corn, either. Americans are tribal about candy corn for Halloween.

And candy corn sucks and candy corn columns suck (yes, I know) but I don't give two figs anymore.

"I mean a Halloween nightmare," said the editor. "Like, what really scares you, John Kass?"

What really scares me for Halloween? What curdles my blood?

Well, how about being locked in a dark elevator alone with Sen. Mitt "Pierre Delecto" Romney? That's scary. A senator with a fake Twitter handle like "Pierre Delecto" is quite obviously deranged. And in an elevator, perhaps even a cannibal. The only thing worse than being eaten alive by Sen. Delecto, with a side of Jell-O (Utah's official favorite snack), would be getting locked in a dark elevator with former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The man is a sniveler. And snivelers always get mean in the dark.

Hillary 2020 scares the pants off me. She'll denounce everyone as a tool of Putin and that cackling laugh terrifies people. Her fellow Democrat Michelle Obama 2020 is scary, too, but not as a candidate. Just because I couldn't take four more years of the Beltway media wagging their tails like puppies and wetting the carpets in wiggly glee over the Obamas. American journalism still hasn't gotten over it.

Republican Kellyanne Conway is certainly terrifying, especially when threatening to use the might of the Trump White House to delve into the personal life of a Washington Examiner reporter, just for writing a story Conway didn't like. I heard the tape. Conway is positively medieval, in a Real Washington Wives way. You could imagine her in another time, as the servant of Cardinal Richelieu, ordering the removal of tongues.

Yeah, I know, Richelieu didn't live in the middle ages, but please just stuff your mouth with more candy corn. This is my nightmare, not yours.

Speaking of which, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently offered a special Halloween treat. He said the Hong Kong protesters — who insist on bothersome ideas such as freedom — may have their "bodies smashed and bones ground to powder."

But please, don't say anything about Chinese dissidents being ground into powder, or NBA analyst Charles Barkley will tell you to "shut the (bleep) up." And all the other NBA woke warriors who have no problem condemning America, and who serve President Xi, will call you terrible names. Then they'll wash their hands in the powdered bones.

See? See what happens? Every time I try to get away from politics, I always get sucked back in.

Eventually, as university faculties teach us not only what not to say, but how not to think, we'll feel better. Already the young think the First Amendment "goes too far." They will grind our bones and make crackers of us, but everyone has seen that old movie.

"Will you just stop?" said Betty. "Pick a movie."

OK, but I'm not going to go out and watch "The Joker," which is reportedly about some leftist madman killing capitalists. I see too many of them in my professional life. They're not killers yet, exactly, but they're being groomed by the New Jacobins for the reign of terror to come. They'll take the heads of all the writers first, starting with liberals who mistakenly think they'll be able to reason with the Jacobins.


Don't they read history?

"Just pick a movie," said Betty, again.

Good idea. I looked for the one about middle-class taxpayers left to starve on an island until they begin killing each other over meager resources, but they haven't made that one. Yet. All I really wanted to do was veg out on the couch with a healthy snack of green apple slices, and scare myself to death, with Betty and Zeus the Wonder Dog there just in case it was too intense.

Flipping through what's available on cable, I finally found what I thought was a scary one and ran the trailer: A meteor crashes into the backyard of a nice, but childless couple. Inside the meteor is a beautiful baby boy. It begins like "Superman," but the boy is really an invincible evil alien, in the body of a boy, and he slaughters everyone with superpowers and his "mom" hides under the kitchen counter, screaming as the "boy" smashes through the walls in a demonic rage.

Nice kitchen, I said.

"No," Betty said. "Turn it off! No!"

OK, not scary enough, I get it.

"Will you please pick a movie?"

I didn't select "Notting Hill" (again) because it irritates Betty when I say the Julia Roberts lines. We found "Isn't It Romantic" starring Rebel Wilson, about a young woman who thinks she'll never find true love, but then, finds it. It was sweet.

Romantic comedies aren't scary, nobody loses their souls, and they're full of candy corn. But terrifying yourself isn't easy.

You want to scare yourself? Look at your property tax bills and think about how you're going to pay them.

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John Kass is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune who also hosts a radio show on WLS-AM.