For the once self-proclaimed "King of all Media," his recent departure from the stifling rules that go with terrestrial-bound towers to the unbridled excitement promised by satellite transmission is proving, regrettably, even more exciting than even he, the wildest of entertainers, could have ever imagined.
Howard Stern, only months after slipping the regulatory strictures of the earth-bound FCC-otherwise known as the Federal Communications Commissions, a governmental agency that, among its many charges, responds to citizens' complaints against indecency over the public airwaves-has run afoul of an even greater, eminently more proactive censorship body. Once his show left Earth, leaving the fist-waving FCC in its rocket exhaust, Star-ship Stern unwittingly stumbled into another, vaster jurisdiction. And someone was out there, watching, listening.
Space Aliens, from a nearby, unidentified solar system-beings who had long monitored, probed and observed humanity; shadowy creatures who had grown alarmed first over humanity's meteoric rise from the physical muck right up to the edge of space, and then clucked over its alarming descent into another kind of muck, intellectual-had stepped in. This latest encroachment on what they consider their turf, outer space, was the last straw: an indictment was issued, an abduction was ordered, and Mr. Stern was whisked away from his lavish New York penthouse in the dead of night.
(Note: Additionally and inadvertently taken into custody was sidekick Artie Lang, who the court discovered, belatedly, was crammed halfway up Mr. Stern's backside. His persistent gestures of flattery, cooed perennially ever since he replaced disobedient drunkard, Jackie Martling, a few years back, had inevitably led to his upper body entombment. Mr. Lang, upon discovery, was promptly dumped on Earth, in Jersey of all places, where not a soul believed his tale of alien abduction.)
Hauled before itinerant judge, Pwornhaite Prewdmawnger (a transliteration into English), Mr. Stern was forced to stand tall in a makeshift court, hastily set up in an long-ago abandoned base under the fabled Face of Mars. He had to answer to charges of obscenity in the first, second and third degrees.
1st degree: repeated, hypothetical references to bodily parts normally hidden away by clothing;
2nd degree: repeated, actual references to bodily parts normally hidden away by clothing, no longer hidden away by clothing;
3rd degree: repeated, actual references to the noises and fluids emitted by certain bodily parts normally hidden away by clothing, no longer hidden away by clothing.
When asked how he pleaded to the charges, Mr. Stern, a bit shaken by his forceful extradition, unnerved by traveling millions of miles over a matter of seconds, uttered his first sounds since leaving earth. He started to scream like a banshee, on and on, until the bailiffs threatened to subject him to an excruciating anal probe. Already having unloaded one foreign load for the day, Stern was not up for another plunge. He then willingly allowed his captors to place him into a high-tech stasis holding chamber.
The magistrate plead on Stern's behalf, no contest, and then decided to end centuries of silence and reveal the existence of his interstellar civilization through three emissaries, traveling bondsmen as it were, to prominent, well-heeled and well-connected American Earthlings, so the hefty fine he awarded to the virtually comatose Mr. Stern could be paid.
Mel Karmazin, the media mogul who lured Howard over to Sirius Satellite with the promise of an embarrassment of riches, thus starting this tragic series of events, was the first to be approached. When asked by the representatives of Judge Prewdmawnger to pony up the dough, Mr. Karamazin declined, and certainly not demurely. In fact, when he heard the fine was 500 million American dollars, he whooped for joy, hollering, "What a coincidence, I owe Howard 500 million. You can keep him, for all I care! Whoopee, I'm off the hook!!"
Thus rebuffed, the aliens decided to stop pussyfooting around and determined to buttonhole one of the most powerful man on the planet, a leader of the free world. A top-notch player who'd get the money without delay, pay what was owed to make right what was done wrong by one of their citizens.
When they couldn't arrange a meeting with either Dick Cheney or Karl Rove, both of whom were booked for the foreseeable future, they settled upon President George Bush, who seemed have a lot of time on his hands.
Mr. Bush listened with earnest, reacting to the three strange looking envoys and the interspecies dilemma they presented with the greatest of concern. But he didn't at all cotton to the idea that money had to be exchanged for an American's freedom. Instead, he took another tact.
He promised to take immediate and decisive action, by sponsoring some legislation for tax cuts, which in turn would spur increased economic activity, naturally resulting in additional tax revenue for the federal coffers, the proceeds of which could then be used to finance research and development in order to build a futuristic space ship, which would be loaded with special forces and thereby effect a rescue of Mr. Stern from Mars.
"That could take years!" exclaimed the aliens. "Our legal system, and Mr. Stern for that matter, didn't have that kind of time!"
Like terrorists, Mr. Bush never, ever negotiates with extortionists, kidnappers, or whatever the hell these short, scrawny guys were. And he hollered as much to the disgusted aliens' departing backs.
Dispirited, but not defeated, the three court messengers wouldn't give up, just yet. Judge Prewdmawnger was a real ball-buster-or, more accurately, a tough task-master, since their species didn't possess testicles-and they were not about to return to Mars until all avenues had been exhausted.
So, they crossed over to the other side of the political aisle; that is, they went to Capitol Hill and sought out the two party leaders of the loyal opposition, Senator Harry Reid and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
They didn't spend all that much time in Reid's office; meeting with the man freaked them out, totally. Though Earthmen were light years behind in technology, the senator seemed to do something their civilization wasn't yet capable of: he kept blanking out, as if disappearing from their sight, by blending in with the wall behind him, a very blandly colored thing, indeed.
Lastly, they decided to try their luck with Nancy Pelosi.
It was a disaster.
Before they could finish explaining why they were and what they needed so they could return to Mars with their personal honor intact and avoid a cosmic incident, she started ranting, spewing something awful along the lines of "this is all happening because of George Bush, the Republicans and their Culture of Corruption! The Culture of Corruption!! THE CULTURE OF CORRUPTION!!!"
When, in unison, utilizing Earthen lingo, they asked just what the expletive was she talking about, she seemed to be at a lost. After a bit of a start, she composed herself and then stared back, intensely. Also, her lips started to move, more like controlled twitching, but no sounds came out, nor did anything approaching a word of English even come close to taking shape. And she carried on that way for a good ten seconds. After which, she gasped, as if she had along the way forgot how to breath, then started to squint her eyes, complained about a migraine, and asked the travelers from another world to leave her be.
They returned to Mars empty-handed, where the sternest judge this side of the Crab Nebula and his charge, a frozen, incorrigible potty-mouth, waited.
Add stalemate to failure.
- As of this writing, Stern is still imprisoned on Mars.
- Judge Prewdmawnger has been reassigned to another case. He is presently in the vicinity of the planet Uranus, trying a traveling space salesman for crude remarks about said planet.
-- The three emissaries have been demoted. Their new duty is to monitor the new Bob Dylan show on satellite radio. Deciphering what he is saying, trying to figure out if anything indecent has been said, is slowly driving all three crazy.
- Mel Karmazin had Artie Lang committed to an insane asylum, rehired Jackie Martling to take the missing Howard's spot, and plans to retire shortly.
- Sirius Satellite radio is about to declare bankruptcy.
- Karl Rove has at last convinced Mr. Bush to drop the proposed tax cut legislation. His meeting with the aliens, Mr. Rove gently explained, was just somebody playing a trick, most likely some disgruntled employees at the CIA.
- Senator Harry Reid has had the wall behind his desk repainted.
- And Nancy Pelosi, after a long nap, is in search of another partisan issue to ludicrously obsess over.