The Beast is Red, Chapter 1: An American God

Posted at 2:36 by Mister Leonard Pierce

Houston’s airport – Bush International. I’m flying out of Bush and into Reagan, moving eastward in space and backwards in time: soon I will face the Beast, but before I do, I’m killing time and brain cells in an airport named after his father, after which I will fly into one named after the Patron Saint of Modern Conservativism. By the time I get there time will have moved forward, but the names of the airports serve to remind me that I will be spending the next few days in the company of those who want it to move backward. Back to the 1980s when Reagan first began to rid us of those troublesome layabout unions, back to the 1950s with a stop along the way to annihilate the dread specter of the Sick Sick Sixties, back to the 1920s before That Man nearly ruined America with his confiscatory helpfulness, back to the 1890s with their gilded edges and men of high finance who knew the world was put there for them alone. Soon I will fly through the names of the presidents and mingle with men and women who are using the technology of the 21st century to repeal the 20th.

I break my pre-flight fast with a quick meal at McDonald’s: quick, easy, and consequence free, the very spirit and image of consumer capitalism. No two countries have ever fought a war that both operated a McDonald’s franchise, they tell me, which must be why all the employees look so cheerful and fulfilled in their jobs. They know they’re helping to usher in a new age of global peace. Fuck it, I think to myself as I perform the nutritional operation of consuming a Quarter Pounder with cheese: if I’m going to do this, I might as well do it right. No mouthing off or hipster showboating this trip. My bag is different this time: a raw and ideologically pure dive into the FDA-approved dyes of the red states. For eight years I have been lectured about the pure moral good of the heartland and the values it is said to embrace, contra my own apparently horrid set of cultural preferences. And this time, I will listen. I will shed my pretentious, intellectually hostile beliefs and attend the Conservative Political Action Conference as the paragon of red-state values I am forever urged to become.

In preparation for the trip, I do not take either of my Cassini suits to the dry-cleaners. Instead, I stop at my local Wal-Mart, the blue and white gleaming savior of American retail power, and choose from the many tasteful offerings by Puritan and George. Surely none of the Washington conservative elite will sneer at my $50-suit and Chinese shoes! After all, clothes-snobbery is a signifier of the blue-state urbanite, with his poisonous moral relativism and insatiable latte-lust. Likewise, I am not fool enough to think that I can get through four days of hobnobbing with the likes of Richard Viguerie and Ben Shapiro without some kind of chemical enhancement. But I will forsake the trailer-park speed, that low sign of the white-trash enterprenuer, and the carefully smuggled tin of chocolate Thai: such indulgence, with its natural provenance and tendency towards sloth and mockery, marks me as a liberal at best or a hippie at worst. No, this trip, it will be strictly legal alcohol, as much of it as I can possibly stomach, and good old under-the-counter pills, fistfuls at a time. My muscles will be relaxed, my pain relieved, my sleep aided, and my brain fogged by 100% pharmaceutical-grade pills, designed by corporate chemists and sold by gigantic drug concerns. I will experience CPAC the way the rest of the attendees will, blitzed out only on their own sense of self-righteousness and semi-legitimate drugs benevolently provided by an American God the way the market intended. Best of all, some nefarious Californian has engaged in shenanigans with my check card and the bank has cancelled it in expectation of issuing me a new one, so I’m living on credit the entire weekend. Thus I will do as I am urged by our most perfect of all systems: spend like mad, don’t save, buy everything on easy credit, and leave open the possibility of a massive default that the taxpayers will have to bail you out of. If it worked for the ‘fiscally conservative’ Reagan Administration, then it ought to work for me.

Fully embracing my new role as a man who’s attending a convention of right-wing crazies with the idea that their maddened, self-serving efforts to run the country into the ground are actually a good thing, I’ve even crafted an alternate identity for myself. Gone is Mister Leonard Pierce, a freelance writer and small-time criminal who is fond of Scandinavian social democracy, gangsta rap and the writings of Terry Southern. In his place is the modestly dressed, all-American Leonard Pierce, lobbyist for the Texas-based American Milk Solids Council, who only reads books with the word “management” or “Bible” in the title and wants nothing more out of his politicians than that they lower his taxes at any cost, allow him to do business any way the market will allow, and maybe if there’s enough time keep the homo queers from marrying each other. It is through the ruthless management of this façade that I will survive a weekend with a group for whom 1968 is something that happened to other people. My mantra for the next four days: pills, populism, and participatory journalism.

I take a quick trip to the bathroom and, occupying a stall previously vetted for me by one of our fine young men in the Navy, prepare a quick pre-flight cocktail of Vicodin, Percodan, Darvocet, Lortab, and something my “doctor” assured me were codeine pills, and before I remember how to blink, my flight is boarding. See, our capitalist system can make time move forward as well as backward! All hail the market, I say, possibly out loud. I merge seamlessly with the crowd of pants-suits and Oxford shirts, feeling at peace with the world as I shuffle past the obvious blue-state snobs in First Class. If only those liberal jerks (fascists to a man, I’m sure of it – Jonah Goldberg will not be in attendance at CPAC to teach us all how even a slight deviation from the gospels of Sts. Reagan and Rand leads inexorably down the path of Mussolinity, nor will Ann Coulter, unexpectedly bumped from the schedule to make room for someone less prone to bad publicity, but Dick Cheney will be in the house, which is enough concentrated evil for any thrillseeker) knew the joys of sitting back in coach with your fellow (R)-voting prole! Let them have their leg room, their comfortable seats, their complimentary cocktails. I’m back here with the real Americans, not wearing a tie for the last time all weekend, with my Wal-Mart shoes and my Eli Lilly bloodstream, and the knowledge that I am what America is all about…


  1. Notorious P.A.T. said,

    February 7, 2008 at 2:42

    God speed, Leonard! We are with you, in spirit though not (thank you Jesus) in body!

  2. The Collector! said,

    February 7, 2008 at 2:52

    This is going to be epic, in the “HST at the Kentucky Derby” tradition.

  3. Fozzetti said,

    February 7, 2008 at 2:56

    Surely you aren’t using your real name! ?? You could call yourself Lennie *Price*.
    Are you at least wearing glasses (like Clark Kent) for a disguise? Is your tie black with a silver profile of a naked women – like you see on truck wheel flaps? Are you carrying Jonah’s latest bowel movement for him to autograph? And buttons, must have buttons on your coat. With the US flag. Don’t forget a “support the troops” yellow ribbon. And be careful of narcotic drugs… they make you RETAIN WATER!!!!

  4. Candy said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:16

    And be careful of narcotic drugs… they make you RETAIN WATER!!!!

    Well, a little doughy bloating would help him fit in . . .

  5. Arky The Blasphemer said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:16

    Bravo sir and God Speed.

    I will be monitoring your blogging closely until you are safely on your way back to Texas. At the least sign that you’re being sucked* into the festering vagina dentata that is CPAC, myself and two dozen other highly trained members of the Rainbow Brigade will roll in to the Shoreham. Half us will extract you from your location and make you eat various ethnic foods until the lights come back on in your eyes.

    The rest will stay behind to stomp the piss, shit, teeth and eyeballs out of a few notables, set fire to Schlafly’s wig and drag attending YAF members to the zoo for a one way trip to the polar bear’s pen before joining you. Don’t worry, we’ll film the whole thing.


    *Offer does not cover passing out drunk and waking up with a CPACer latched to your schlong. Drink responsibly, never leave your food or beverages unattened and push a chair in front of your door before you go to sleep.

  6. Ex-Fed said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:25

    One does not simply walk into CPAC……

  7. mikey said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:27

    Hokay, this is going to be good. A couple quick reminders.

    Halucinogens would have been right. Clearly. All the pain and mood pills are going to make you far too peaceful. They’ll get suspicious. At least eat a double handful of Ritalin tomorrow morning to get that hatred “edge”.

    Second, if you didn’t heed my previous advice, it’s not too late. Now listen very carefully. You can get Muriatic acid at the pool supply store. You can get Clorox bleach at the grocery. Two glass bottles, thick, with tightly sealing lids.

    When they mix, they release tremendous quantities of chlorine gas. Yes, it can be deadly, but only in tightly enclosed spaces. You might need some way to get out, and you don’t have a lot of better options…


  8. Blue Buddha said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:34

    Ex-Fed said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:25

    One does not simply walk into CPAC……

    We’ll need ninja wizards… and bears… with lasers attached to their heads.

  9. Blue Buddha said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:39


  10. Hollywood ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©? said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:41

    Houston’s airport – Bush International. I’m flying out of Bush and into Reagan…

    In my family, we still proudly refer to National Airport by its orginal and proper name.

    Of course, you have to remain under cover, Mr. Pierce. Good luck with that.

    And remember what mikey said: Order some golf shoes.

  11. Tim (the other one) said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:45

    This is gonna be good.

  12. Rightwingsnarkle said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:47

    “We were at 26,000 feet, somewhere over Oklahoma, when the drugs began to take hold…”

    And so the saga begins.

    I never did send you any $$$ for this adventure, as I promised. My sincerest apologies.

    I will, however, click the little Amazon button as soon as this week’s paycheck clears, and send a little something something for this year’s S,N! Arbor Day celebration.

  13. Lesley said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:49

    Remember, you don’t want to be caught with the bare minimum, so remember to wear at least 37 pieces of flair every day on that new suit of yours. And vary it up.

    If you need to practice communication skills, Babbit is available in its entirety on line.

    If you survive, we’ll pitch in to get you a four hundred dollar hair cut. It’s the least we can do.

  14. justme said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:50

    This has some amazing potential. Better you than me, amigo. Vaya con juevos.

    Look out for the bats. and the bunnies.

    Don’t. Look. Cheney. In. The. Eyes.

    Wear garlic.

  15. Neo said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:51

    Guns. Lots of guns.

  16. Michael said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:52

    This will be sublime.

  17. justme said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:54

    Awright, now I’m pissed. It ate my “and the bunnies” link.

  18. Lesley said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:55

    damn, the spamulator just ate my comment. ok, shorter comment.

    -bring cyanide.
    -remember to wear at least 37 pieces of flair every day, and change it up.
    - Babbit’s available in its entirety should you need to practice your communication skills http://www.bartleby.com/162/

    Afterthought: should vast quantities of bourbon get the better of your judgement and taste, double up on the condoms or better yet, wear two wet suits.

  19. mikey said,

    February 7, 2008 at 3:57

    We were driving around in circles, weaving through the parking lot of a place I thought was the Dunes, but it turned out to be the Thunderbird or maybe it was the Hacienda

    My attorney was scanning The Vegas Visitor, looking for hints of action. “How about “‘Nickel Nick’s Slot Arcade?’” he said. “‘Hot Slots,’ that sounds heavy . . . Twenty – nine cent hotdogs . .

    Suddenly people were screaming at us. We were in trouble. Two thugs wearing red-gold military overcoats were looming over the hood: “What the hell are you doing?” one screamed. “You can’t park here!’

    “Why not?” I said. It seemed like a reasonable place to park, plenty of space. I’d been looking for a parking spot for what seemed like a very long time. Too long. I was about ready to abandon the car and call a taxi . . . but then, yes, we found this space.

    Which turned out to be the sidewalk in front of the main entrance to the Desert Inn. I had run over so many curbs by this time, that I hadn’t even noticed this last one. But now we ourselves in a position that was hard to explain . . . the entrance, thugs yelling at us, bad confusion . . . . attorney was out of the car in a flash, waving a five-dollar bill.

    “We want this car parked! I’m an old friend of Debbie’s. I used to romp with her.”

    For a moment I thought he had blown it . . . then one of the doormen reached out for the bill, saying: “OK, OK. I’ll take care of it, sir.” And he tore off a parking stub.

    “Holy shit!” I said, as we hurried through the lobby.

    “They almost had us there. That was quick thinking.”

    “What do you expect?” he said. “I’m your attorney . . . and you owe me five bucks. I want it now.”

    Thanks, Thunder. That kicks a whole buncha ass.

    There’s no part that doesn’t just rock, dripping with truth and pain and life…


  20. David Robinson said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:02

    There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South . . . Here in this pretty world Gallantry took its last bow . . . Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave . . . Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered.

    A Civilization gone with the wind . . .

  21. Batocchio said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:10

    I grew up in the DC area, and many people still just call DCA “National.” No one used to call it Reagan when it was renamed, but with time, more people have, alas. (I see Hollywood’s family upthread keeps the faith! That’s right, it’s “National!”)

  22. Jennifer said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:12


    Peter Weller gives a dramatic recitation, a poetic vita of Jonah Goldberg.

  23. yoyo said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:15

    Beautiful, keep the garlic handy and gargle with pure alcohol and you should be alright. However if a strange blonde with a huge adams apple wants you to get her in run like hell!!!!!

  24. J— said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:21

    Any way you can pull up to to CPAC in a Black Devil Rocket, in honor of Guy Grand?

  25. Euripedes said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:27

    When meeting calamities or difficult situations, it is not enough to simply say that one is not at all flustered. When meeting difficult situations, one should dash forward bravely and with joy. It is the crossing of a single barrier and is like the saying, “The more the water, the higher the boat.”

    “Hagakure”, (Yamamoto Tsunetomo)

    Does anyone remember the young boy spying on the Witches meeting in Roald Dahls’ “The Witches”?

  26. Greg T. said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:29

    A great beginning, and no surprise coming from you, LP.

    If Rolling Stone or somesuch doesn’t pick this up when it’s done, it’s their and America’s loss.

  27. millsapian87 said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:37

    Mikey: no shit! My first thought was “I thought Hunter S. Thompson was dead.”
    Beautiful, beautiful post, Mr. Pierce.

  28. robert green said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:39

    you have a pretty long parenthetical there at the end, lenster. kind of takes you out of the sentence a bit.

    also–you are insane. you are going deep amongst the batshit loons of our country–balls deep.

    i wish you luck, and refills on your prescriptions.

  29. White Male, Jew of Liberal Fascism said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:41

    Leonard, no one here will think the less of you should you choose to abort this mission.

    Heck, you could even give this mission a gay abortion.

  30. Susan of Texas said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:45

    I don’t know what will be more exciting, the forum with Ben “Like a Virgin” Shapiro or the evening’s entertainment, the Elvis Presley impersonator.

  31. mextremist said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:46

    I think we are witnessing the beginning of something wonderful…

  32. kc said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:46

    This is gonna be fun.

  33. kc said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:46

    Let us know if you need bail money . . .

  34. Krassen said,

    February 7, 2008 at 4:57

    All good advice so far. Here’s what what I can add:

    Watch carefully your “stance” in the bathroom!

    Good luck!

  35. Some Guy said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:07

    Tourists and Republicans call it “Reagan”. It’s “National”. Dulles, BWI, and National. Those are your three choices.

    Having said that, welcome to Food Mecca, USA. Spin a globe, jab your finger at random, and we got it.

  36. Leonard Pierce said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:11

    Mikey —

    Unlike when I’m on my home turf, I have no weapons abristle. I’m coming into this thing naked; if my cover gets blown and the crowd gets ugly, my only exit strategy is to make sure any bastard who goes first is gonna get dragged to hell with me. I leave it to better-trained men like you to avenge me.

    The drugs are really starting to kick in. Time to roam the hallways in search of cheating sub-senators. Tomorrow, the festivities really start!

  37. Hollywood ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©? said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:16

    Some Guy said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:07

    Tourists and Republicans call it “Reagan”. It’s “National”. Dulles, BWI, and National. Those are your three choices.

    And BWI totally sux. Not only are you way the fuk out there, you have to take a serious bus ride to get to and from the rental car zone.

  38. Arky the Blasphemer said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:20

    Guys, shhh! The Reagan/National thing is how we tell residents from outsiders.

  39. Smiling Mortician said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:22

    [dabs at eyes, waves hankie from the platform, fades into the mist from the engine's steam]

  40. MileHi Hawkeye said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:23

    There’s a reason its BWI and not WBI, Thunder. And those of us who visit Charm City like it “way the fuk out there”.

  41. Hysterical Woman said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:33

    Ah-yup about the National not Reagan thing. Pay no attention to the signs. They Did Not name an airport after the guy who fired all the striking air traffic controllers. (Hell, it’s bad enough going around naming things after someone who is still alive)

  42. mikey said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:34

    Mr. Leonard Pierce.

    Your courage and honor will not go unrecognized.

    I think I have a bronze pointy thing laying around here I’m not really using.

    I’d like to award it to you.

    But first?



  43. Bob Hopeless said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:36

    I truly can’t wait for the rest of this. And I applaud your pharmaceutical capacities. With that intake, you may not shit for a month. Which might also fit in with the guise you’re trying to adapt.

  44. Me said,

    February 7, 2008 at 5:51

    Leonard…be careful.

    Jeez, that movie cliche thread really got into my head.

  45. justme said,

    February 7, 2008 at 7:07

    They Did Not name an airport after the guy who fired all the striking air traffic controllers.

    I’d never thought of it that way before. It’s a perfect illustration of the sheer perverseness of the Modern Republican.

  46. Surely U. Jest said,

    February 7, 2008 at 7:22

    Lovelorn: God Bill. I am going to miss you so much.
    Leaving : Oh, I’m gonna miss you too. Promise you’ll write??
    Lovelorn: SIGH . . . Every day. Bill…
    Conductr: Better get on board son. All aboard!!!!!
    Oever : 209er to ground control. We’re loaded and ready to
    Lovelorn: Goodbye Bill!
    Leaving : Goodbye darling. I love you darling.
    Tower : 2-0-9er, taxi to runway 1-9er.
    Leaving : Goodbye darling.
    Lovelorn: Have your picture taken the minute you get there. And
    send me one, alright?
    Leaving : Okay, here, hurry. ( he throws her his watch as she
    runs along the side of the taxiing plane. )
    Lovelorn: Oh, but your watch, but you shouldn’t. You’re gonna
    need this!
    Leaving : Its alright. It doesn’t work.
    Lovelorn: Bill!
    Leaving : Goodbye darling.
    Lovelorn: Bill! ( Knocks over light tower while running ) Bill!
    Bill! I’ll keep it with me all the time, I swear to
    Leaving : I know darling, take care of yourself, goodbye.

  47. Surely U. Cantbeserious said,

    February 7, 2008 at 7:25

    Tower : Flight 2-0-9er, you’re cleared for take off.
    Oever : Roger!
    Murdock : Huh?
    Tower : L.A. departure frequency 1-2-3 point 9er.
    Oever : Roger!
    Murdock : Huh?
    : Re-quest Vector, over!
    Oever : What?
    Tower : 2-0-9er clear for vector 2-3-4.
    Murdock : We have clearance Clarence.
    Oever : Roger, Roger. What’s our Vector Victor?
    Tower : Tower’s radio clearance, over!
    Oever : That’s Clarence Oever! Oever.
    Tower : Roger.
    Murdock : Huh?
    Tower : Roger, over.
    Murdock : Huh?
    Oever : Huh?

  48. Thursday said,

    February 7, 2008 at 8:55

    [Scene: A Train station, years ago. Noises of steam and people reluctantly parting. The command to board is heard, and we focus on two souls...]

    Young Man: Well, this is it. Off to war.
    Young Woman: Oh, Johnny! I’ll miss you so! Do you promise to write every day?
    Johnny: I don’t think I’ll be able to do that, Sue! I’m gonna be fighting for my life out there!
    Sue: Well, once a week, then?
    Johnny: Don’t know when I’ll have the time, really. What with fightin’ and marchin’ and all.
    Sue: Then will you think about me every day? Between the bullets, I mean?
    Johnny: Ooo, no, probably not. Nope, I’m gonna be working on forgetting everything I can whenever I get the chance to, so I’ll be drunk a lot of the time.
    Sue: Will you remember me when you look at my picture in the locket I gave you?
    Johnny: That’s gonna be long gone before the week’s out. Knowing my luck, I’ll lose it in a poker game or something. But maybe I’ll get lucky and swap it for some kinda opiate…
    Sue: Oh, Johnny! Will you wait for me till you make it home?
    Johnny: Don’t see why, if I’m not gonna be thinking about you. Heck, I won’t even have your picture to remind me, will I? No, I’ll probably find some nice French girl and settle down in the countryside.
    Sue: But… but…
    [The train begins to pull away.]
    Sue: Then I won’t wait for you, either! Jerk!
    Johnny: What? But… Sue!

    [The Young Man sits disconsolately beside an Old Hand. It's his third war, and he knows what trouble looks like.]

    Old Hand: What’s eating at you, son?
    Johnny: My girl… She just said she won’t wait for me…
    Old Hand: Just when you’re getting shipped out, huh? Damn shame. Women, eh?
    Johnny: Yeah, women!


    Hope your luck is better than Johnny’s, Mister Pierce.

    Stay alert!
    Trust no one!
    Keep your laser handy!

  49. justme said,

    February 7, 2008 at 9:52

    Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?

  50. Scott from Baltimore said,

    February 7, 2008 at 20:40

    I think I donated for this, and it’s worth it.

  51. Inside CPAC | Popehat said,

    February 7, 2008 at 22:03

    [...] that Sadly, No has sent an observer to the Conservative Political Action Conference in the guise of“Leonard Pierce, lobbyist for the Texas-based American Milk Solids Council”. As of this writing he’s up to his fifth update from the belly of the [...]

  52. American Street » Blog Archive » Undercover Work said,

    February 8, 2008 at 12:45

    [...] Part 1 [...]

  53. NB said,

    February 9, 2008 at 2:12

    Sir –

    Your writings are chock full of awesome. Are you reading this, Pulitzer Prize Committee?

  54. A Sane Person Goes Deep Into The Heart Of Darkness « Beware The Man said,

    February 9, 2008 at 3:03

    [...] Part 1. [...]

  55. Sadly, No! » It’s Raining Links! said,

    August 12, 2008 at 12:38

    [...] Leonard, is it too short notice for you to crash this somehow? [...]

  56. Brunner Markus said,

    January 17, 2010 at 15:32

    Hi, if anyone needs R

    just send a mail to


    best regards

    Quick, discrete & trustworthy – your professional Ritalin partner.

Leave a Comment

  • Things of Interest

  • Meta Goodness

  • Clunkers

  • httpbl_stats()