At this time last year, I figuratively dressed my column in a literary costume prior to Halloween's arrival. Some may recall the piece written in the (cheaply imitated) pen of one Theodor Geisel. I rather enjoyed the idea, although it was lost on some readers who found my dime-store version of our beloved Dr. Seuss to be a confusing commentary on the then-impending election. So now we're here again. All Hallow's Eve approaches and I find myself without a costume for these few square inches. So, I will likely do what many of us find ourselves doing each year — recycling parts of the costume from last year. The khakis can stay and, if I swap out the lenses in these coke-bottle frames for a pair with a bit more tint to them, I'll mostly have it covered. The prop mustache will come out once again and luckily there's still some grey hair dye left in this metaphorical bottle. Toss a lime green sweater over this collared shirt and I'm almost done. Just let me adjust this Hands of Respect lapel pin and — voilà, this year's column will now be written by a man who once said he used a pen name in order to leave his surname untarnished upon completing the great American novel. For this column only, I am Stanley Martin Lieber. (I'll try to keep the astonishing alliterations to a minimum.)
Greetings true believers!
When last we left our intrepid bunch, they found themselves in the throws of an electoral college seemingly hijacked by some diabolical trickster in an effort to divide the country once and for all (Daily Reporter Issue #168 — Smilin' Stan). After battling through the sandstorm of apocryphal accusations, sinuous scandals and tyrannical tweets, the dust has yet to settle on this nation turned battleground.
But rather than the foe they know, the gang find themselves being stealthy stricken by a fiend they never saw coming. This slippery snake of a scoundrel turns our heroes' own strength against them — conjuring two shadowy assailants for each one that is vanquished. This mysterious, cold and calculating mastermind is known only as The Algorithm.
Unbeknownst to our heroes, The Algorithm knows only to provide. In its misguided mindset, The Algorithm believes itself a servant providing more of what is consumed. Each of its posts our ever-tiring heroes destroy across The Algorithm's host of electronic screens, another is provided as fast as the electrons can carry it. Yet, The Algorithm's emotionless mind does not even know it has entered the fray. It knows only that someone has consumed to what it has provided … and so it provides more of the same, be it peace or be it war.
Though our colorful group of characters continue to strike at this modern-day hydra, they are only mortal and they tire.
Their only hope is to defy The Algorithm and refuse to add any additional aggression to its maligned matrices. For at the heart of it all, what our group of travelers, warriors and scholars truly seek is a clear path to peace and respect. And The Algorithm is capable of providing these as well, if only the clandestine team of strong-willed orators can harness the malignant master of mechanical messaging and create unity rather than tear their world farther apart.
So stick with us, true believers, and get ready for the most tantalizing tale of triumph — or perhaps tribulation — you've seen yet.