No Tolerance For Modernization
Inside Mayor Manx's office, Manx and his friends were having a heated discussion.
"YouTube! Facebook! Twitter! MySpace! Digg! iPods! Why do all these people have to have all these new gadgets?" Mayor Manx growled to himself after seeing a news report on Callie's TV. The report stated how the process of technology was helping to dumb down society. As technology increased, test scores decreased. "Why can't America go back to the lifestyle in the 1800s when people were actually willing to work hard for the money and live on farms? I want to see that! I want to see that now! No more technology! None! None! Throw it away, NOW!"
"Whoa, mayor!" Felina replied. "You're starting to sound like Leo the Patriotic Lion. Are you sure that's what you really want?"
"Yes!" said Mayor Manx. "There's no respect or manners these days! Everybody has to have the latest gadgets and watch all those gross television programs with curse words and blood!"
"Calm down, Mayor," Callie interrupted. "There's nothing you can do about it. Besides, it may cost you the re-election."
"I don't care if it does!" Manx replied rudely. "As of today, I, as mayor, hereby decree that Megakat City shall go without any modern technology and never gain it back!"
"Well, there goes our tourism rate," said T-Bone.
"There goes David Litterbin's career, and MBC," Razor added. "By doing such a thing, Mayor Manx, you'll cause the unemployment rate to go up."
"It might be better if you just leave everything the way it is," Feral spoke up. "The public is getting suspicious of you anyway."
"So what?" Manx replied. "Let them sentence me to death if needed! I HATE TECHNOLOGY! I HATE THE 21ST CENTURY!"
"The next thing you'll be saying is that you hate all of catkind," Lenny Ringtail interjected. "That's the biggest crime on the list. It even tops first-degree murder."
But Mayor Manx wouldn't listen to his deputy or his cohorts. The next day, newspapers announced everywhere that a new law had been passed stating that Megakat City was to literally throw all television sets, desktop and laptop computers, iPods, walkmans, and all these other technological gadgets he considered to be dumbing down society, in the dumpster. According to the paper, Manx's main intentions were to get test scores back up and get kittens to start reading books again. He also posed huge threats to those who disobeyed him, even using Leo as a threat (because of the fact that during his speech tours, Leo spoke with a harsh-sounding voice that easily reached 750,000 people, without a microphone). Now, Leo hated it when people used him as a threat, because he did not want to develop a negative reputation. But being the stubborn, cowardly idiot he was, Manx went on with his threats. Potential punishments included death by firing squad, multiple life sentences in prison, and being deported to Antarctica for the cats to die there.
The only modern technological advancement that Mayor Manx did allow was the radio because of this statistic: 93% of the population spent more time listening to the radio than watching television, and only used television for the local news (and possibly a game show). Some cats didn't even have a TV, and thus used the radio for their source of news, weather, and information.
As expected from T-Bone and Razor's point of view, attitudes were mixed. Some hated the law, and some liked it. Several of the citizens packed up and moved out just so they could keep their technology. Several others who obeyed the law took it too far; they also threw out their washing machines, refrigerator-freezer combinations, and fireplaces, and began truly living the lifestyle of the pioneers who seeked to tame the Old West. Some of those cats, who lived on farms and dressed like cowboys anyway, were not affected by the law, because they were already living such a lifestyle. It was something Lenny would appreciate in a sense because of his previous experience portraying Marshal Mitch Mathis in the television Western "Gunfighters of Carson City."
Since he wasn't part of the SWAT Kats Band (although Callie was), Manx decided that allowing the radio would at least help keep his campaigns going towards the next election (which was to take place three days after the law went into effect). It would also help the SWAT Kats Band stay on top the charts despite stiff competition from Sonic JAM (Sonic the Hedgehog's band), and the Martian Freedom Fighters (Throttle, Modo, and Vinnie's band).
It had already been established that in case Mayor Manx was re-elected but banished from his position because of his hatred of technology, Callie would be promoted from deputy mayor to mayor (without a deputy). As a result, she was listed as a candidate in the running. Since she did all the paperwork for Manx anyway, it wouldn't be any different for her. It would, however, make her feel better about it, because now she would actually have a purpose behind the paperwork, and not just acting as a cover for the cowardly mayor.
The next day, Leo came into town, to check out the story behind Manx's new law. Manx saw Leo coming and thought, "Oh, no! I'm in trouble now!"
"Mayor Manx," Leo began as he entered the room and shook Manx's hand, as Feral, Felina, the Sergeant, and Lenny came in behind him. "You and I seem to be on the same level of thinking with throwing away the modern technology."
"I'm glad to hear that," Manx replied.
"And I don't blame you for doing so," Leo continued. "What puzzled me is why you did so just a few days before election day, why you threatened to punish people as harshly as I possibly would have had I not come to my senses, and worst of all, why you are using me as a threat. I can only conclude that this is not going to help test scores rise up again because there are good sides to new technology. While it has its downsides, it has its upsides, too; PBS has won more Emmys for kids' programming than any other network because of the monetary support and the fact that they do show educational progress in the child's life. You, sir, have a created a law that the Supreme Court will declare unconstitutional, because it violates the amendments to our Constitution that guarantee freedom of speech, assembly, and the press, and that does include television media personalities. You know how many jobs you just destroyed?"
"No," said Manx. "But I thought you wanted to get rid of television and stuff."
"I did, but I soon saw the mistake behind it and dropped that campaign. Instead, I turned my attention to keeping kids off the streets and away from drugs and alcohol. That has been a success. But that is beside the point I'm trying to make, which is this: because of your law, a whole bunch of cats, including the late-night talk show host, David Litterbin, are now out of a job because of you, and MBC is filing for Chapter 12 bankruptcy because of you. You ought to be ashamed of yourself! I'm embarrassed I have to tell you this, and not your colleagues! Do you really think this will help stimulate the economy in its present condition? Do you really think advertising is not going to drop? Okay, that was a bad example, since advertisers are all liars anyway."
"All I wanted to do was get test scores back up," Manx replied fretfully. "Was that so much to ask? And now I'm about to kick the bucket!"
"Delete that thought from your mind, mayor!" Leo ordered. "You are not going to die! But chances are, you are going to lose the election to your former deputy! I won't say I guarantee that, because I can't, but what I can guarantee is that you are going to regret this for the rest of your life!"
"And furthermore, in violation of the Constitution," Feral added, "you are under arrest! Cuff him, Felina!"
"My pleasure, Uncle," Felina replied as she handcuffed Mayor Manx.
"Of course, you have the right to remain silent," the Sergeant spoke up. "Anything you say, in case you sacrifice that right, will be used against you in court." Manx continued to shed tears as he put more thought into his action.
Unbeknownst to the mayor, Chance and Jake kept their television, but because their home was within the junk yard Commander Feral owned, that was the only thing on the list that was banned (the mayor hadn't said anything about video games, and Chance kept his favorite arcade game, "Space Kat," in the basement). But since the mayor had only been in the scrap yard once (during the case of the ancient war drum of Megalith City that Dark Kat used in a scheme of his), he had forgotten they had a television.
"I hate the fact we're breaking the law," said Chance.
"But don't sweat it," Jake replied. "The mayor's so stubborn and narrow-minded, he wouldn't even think of looking here."
"Yeah. In fact, I think he was making Callie do all the work for him. How could the public not know that?"
"Well, they will, once they find out after his term ends. It would be his 12th term, but I have a feeling it's going to be Callie's first term instead."
A couple days later, cats all over the city cast their votes for the election. That night, those who hadn't gotten to throwing out their TV's yet but were going to in accordance with the law saw Ann Gora report (from the studio instead of on the street) the results: "And finally, this evening, the election result are in, and it's Callie Briggs by a landslide. No longer is she the deputy mayor, she is now the mayor of Megakat City. In fact, Mayor Manx only received two votes! Count them! Two! Could that new law have something to do it? And if so, why am I telling you this on the air? Those questions and more, coming up tonight at ten. Have a good evening." The credits and music played.
Chance hit the MUTE button and said to his partner, "Well, that's that, buddy; Manx's reign of lies has finally come to a dead halt."
"And the public didn't even know Leo talked to him," Jake replied. "That's a big relief to me."
"Why is that?"
"Otherwise, they and the news cats would have accused Leo of influencing the election, and he didn't even vote. In fact, I don't think he's ever voted for anybody, or has he?"
"He told me he votes Republican and conservative. You can't not vote. It would mean politicians would be out of a job and there'd be no one to run the government. We may hate it for being liberal, but America can't function without it. Think about it, buddy. We could still be under the British control after all these years if we hadn't fought back."
"Well, now that you put it that way," Jake replied, "I guess you're right. I'm just glad he kept the radio going. That way, our rock band could still compete with Sonic JAM and the Martian Freedom Fighters. Not to mention that wolf performer, David Satterfield."
"Haven't heard from him since that last rock festival we performed in."
"Yeah, but his timings have never been better." Jake got up to go to the bathroom.
The next day, Callie made an announcement heard on television and radio. "As my first official act as mayor," she stated, "I hereby repeal Mayor Manx's law making television and technology illegal. And while I was content with being his deputy all those years, there's something you should know: he just wanted the status. I know some of you are going to be upset because you voted for him all eleven times, but don't dwell on it. There's nothing I can about getting your TV's back; that will have to come of out your own pocket. But I can tell you this: all electronics stores and departments are holding sales with at minimum 50% off, so that you can have a TV set again. This is mostly for those who use one just for the news or those emergency weather bulletins that pop up when a threat of a tornado comes to Megakat City, or along that line. And I think all those LCD and plasma flat-screen TVs have decreased in value; I remember seeing at least $15,000 on the price tag when they were first introduced; today they must be just about $2,000. Still quite a bit of money."
TV sales skyrocketed shortly thereafter. The citizens, however, having seen everything from Mayor Manx's illogical line of thinking, and the beliefs Leo had, did realize why Manx did what he did, and they started becoming better monitors of what they watched and did not watch. Most of the TVs these cats bought had options to block channels from access to the home, thus preventing their little kittens from seeing something graphic or otherwise not appropriate.
At the trial in court, Manx only received a two-year sentence in prison with no probation or parole. He was placed in the very cell Dark Kat was once in, and Dark Kat, who had been let out on good behavior, proved himself worthy of staying out after it became evident that he had lost his abilities to even hatch another evil scheme. Feral took some time to help him get moved in to a new house just a few blocks down the street from Enforcer HQ, and because Leo was still in town, he acted as a witness. "Does this have anything to do with house arrest?" he asked.
"No," said Feral, "but this is so that you're not very far from us in case we need your help. We have a belief that in order to solve the hardest crimes, the best thing to do is hire the smartest criminal."
"You win my vote for villain most likely to actually succeed in taking over the world," Leo added. "Dr. Viper and the Pastmaster don't even come close to you."
"I thank you," said Dark Kat as he put the finishing touches on his new house. "This will at least beat all that disgusting prison food I was dealing with all those weeks. By the way, Mr. Zanicchi, what did you think about my plot with the ancient drum of Megalith City?"
"It was the most ingenious plan I ever heard of," Leo replied. "The drum wasn't really cursed, but to get folks to believe it is a strategy. Why did you choose to involve William Shakespeare? That's what I want to know."
"I believe that if you are to speak while drumming, you should be speaking in rhyme, and Shakespeare's style was an inspiration for that."
"That's logical," said Feral. "Well, I have to go back to work, but glad to see you are out, and hopefully, you won't try another plot."
"Oh, no," said Dark Kat. "I think all my future ideas are too predictable, anyway." He waved goodbye, went back inside, got out a new Civil War-style rope-tensioned marching snare drum he had bought fair and square, and began beating cadences on it.
"I'm sorry you had to embarrass yourself by telling the mayor the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about his law," Feral apologized to Leo as he drove his sedan back to HQ.
"It's all right," Leo replied. "Apology accepted. It may have been embarrassing on the one hand, but on the other hand, it takes talent, guts, and excellent articulation and clarity to make such an argument. One thing is for certain, however; my grouchy old neighbor, Mr. Jenkins, hates music because he says it disturbs his peace and quiet. Several times I have effectively argued and won, using points from my speeches that promote the power of music, both good and bad. And since radio is the leading powerhouse of the music industry, even in modern-day America, I'm sure all those rock bands and rap artists appreciated that. Personally, I hate rap because of its excessive use of curse words in some of those songs, but that's just me. That's not true of all rap but it is of the rap I've been exposed to."
"I see," said Feral as he parked his sedan. "This looks like the beginning of a new era."
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron © Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network
Sonic the Hedgehog © SEGA
Biker Mice From Mars © Rick Ungar, Tom Tataranowicz, Tom Tataranowicz Animation, Brentwood Television Funnies, and whoever else owns the rights
Leo the Patriotic Lion and David Satterfield © me