IT'S AN OPEN SECRET.
You can't keep anything secret anymore. Forget those nefarious cabals that operate at the highest echelons of power and influence: The Trilateral Commission, Carlysle Group, Elders of Zion, Knights Templar, Luminati, Masons, Rosicrucians, Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, Opus Dei, Food Network Platinum Membership Program. Men and women of more plebian temperament (Optimists or Moose, for example) ask, when will the trains run on time? Fair plebian question, that.
Mind you, the societies listed above represent the tip of a megalomaniacal iceberg. These particular ones come to mind mainly because of their aggressive membership drives. Often the hook is those blasted magazine subscriptions (Don't worry if you got suckered into Family Circle. It gets sent to a secret location anyway). I mean, look at the bulging roster of secret societies. Who doesn't belong to one? I'm not complaining. Everyone should be a malevolent hooded figure at least once in his life. It breaks down inhibitions. Already paranoid readers are questioning the rationale behind my secret society list. Where's the Mystical Order of the Temple of the Rosy Cross, they point out with wary suspicion? And don't ask how I know you're asking! Let's just say I can't divulge everything at one sitting.
Anyway DnD is so secretive that most members don't know where to send their dues. Others have no idea a complementary coffee mug awaits them on an impregnable island-fortress.
Lucky for you I'm in a pretty expansive mood. But you must first promise to keep this diatribe strictly 'for your eyes only' (and no doubt at some point Google's too --search terms: secret --- very very secret --- extremely secret ---super-duper secret
). The fact is, there's a really truly very secret society that wields unrivaled power over our dreary, insignificant lives which, frankly, don't amount to a hill of beans anyway, so why all the fuss to control them in the first place? But I'm letting my own crushing anonymity drive us off-point. In fact this secret society is the envy of all other secret societies as the former, due to a spate of high-profile movies, couldn't get arrested in an undisclosed location anymore. Call it Delphic envy. Are you leaning close to your screen? The society is Dull and Drones
. Shhh! If I had a proper black-ops budget, your computer would be turning into a gnarly stew of medium-well motherboard and toasted circuitry about now. But I don't. So be quiet. Or else.
Now that I've raised my kimono a bit, it's your turn. How about a credit card number? Hah! Just kidding. My associates can obtain that through any number of surreptitious routes. Anyway DnD is so secretive that most members don't know where to send their dues. Others have no idea a complementary coffee mug awaits them on an impregnable island-fortress. This vague affiliation makes sitting around a large oblong table imposing group-think directives on an malleable human race problematic, to say the least.
It also brings to mind an old adage well-known to the world's wealthiest families: Half the fun of being uber-rich is letting the other 99.99% of the population know you're uber-rich. The same can be said for secret societies. They enjoy a certain cache, albeit an oddly unraveling one. For no sooner does someone get in than he brags about it to his buddies over too many beers and, voila, it isn't very secret anymore. By this same drunken logic, you should never hire just any ole itinerant for a contract killing because invariably he will boast about his exploits in a seedy bar when the unsolved case pops up on America's Most Wanted. Emboldened by copious amounts of beer, horrible self-esteem when lashed to sociopathy can yield a raft of unintended consequences. I mean, why not just volunteer for a life sentence why don't you?
Most secret societies revere a wise man, usually some manic-depressive son of a bitch who swears his paranoid-schizophrenia is a diaphanous conveyor-belt to transcendent Truth with a capital T.
DnD is far too clever for that sort of pedestrian crap. Their mandate is as cunning as it is two-pronged: 1) secure political power in the hands of a tight-knit band of glorious assholes and 2) dispense with stupid secret handshakes that never seem to work anyway. Most secret societies revere a wise man, usually some manic-depressive son of a bitch who swears his paranoid-schizophrenia is a diaphanous conveyor-belt to transcendent Truth with a capital T. A nut-job in short. DnD doesn't embrace a personage as much as it does an ethos. That ethos is Shameless Fucking Ambition, often leavened with Never Putting Your Own Ass on the Line.
Through alchemical sleight-of-hand drawn from the sublime well of arcane esoterica and held fast by a bent coat-hanger wedged in the doors of perception, the DnDers have managed to curve time and space to render truly startling and counter-intuitive outcomes. For example DnDers rarely take up arms, at least not in a manner that would risk personal shrapnel wounds. But they are famous for marching others into battle and they can sing the National Anthem like the dickens. Sticklers on the finer points of valor might call this hypocrisy. Fortuitously, this nuance is lost on the vast majority of frothed-up proles looking for the next good fight. When pressed on this point, the typical DnDer response is 'shut up and keep looking over there.'
Here's another one for the Hall of Mirrors Hall of Fame: DnDers can take a political adversary who actually served in battle and make him wish he'd called in an extended AWOL instead. No one quite knows how they accomplish this, but everyone wants the formula. In fact DnD's 'cowards' would fill a small American Legion banquet hall: George McGovern (decorated Navy fighter pilot in Korea, later deemed a wimp by Nixon's cronies), John Kerry (one of Vietnam's swift boat casualties, albeit years after the war's conclusion), Max Cleland (former Senator who lost three limbs in a grenade mishap in Vietnam only to be lambasted for his 'clumsiness' by talk circuit warrior Ann Coulter on the premise that technically he was not a disabled war veteran.) Indeed bona fide combat experience can get you into a real pickle these days, especially from those whose passion for a strong America is so all-consuming they never get around to taking up arms themselves. Fortunately, all that time not spent in the trenches affords one the opportunity to hone some really kick-ass bellicose rhetoric.
Either there's a pernicious mind control technique at work on the sinuous and subtle noggin of the average American or our minds have become so flaccid that glaring contradictions now fail to register in the collective semi-conscious. If the latter, then the string of education initiatives launched over the last twenty years have been a spectacular failure. Or would that be a resounding success? In fact it may be the ease with which we're led by the nose that's become the worst-kept secret of all. But please don't tell anyone I shared this information --at least not while my membership (with a certain discreet organization) is pending.