The Unforbidden Is Compulsory
Or, Optimism

Introducing Episode 1 of Salon's new political serial.

Topics: Books,

The Unforbidden Is Compulsory<br /> Or, Optimism

“Bastards!” said Sergei.

“Can they do that?” asked Little Nicky.

They could do anything. In a race like this, for State Rep, 34th District of California, there was no oversight. There was no feeling of outrage, no general sense of the limits of taste. And thank God for that. Sergei and Little Nicky, manager and head of special projects for the Stuart Craspedacusta campaign, wouldn’t want any oversight or general sense of the limits of taste. This was a filthy contest already, and most of the filth was theirs and today would be no different, for today — the Fourth of July — was a day too crucial for cleansing. Today, at the Independence Day Walkabout and Arts Fair, the Craspedacusta campaign had to achieve no less than Total Visual Dominance. If, through the creation and placement of Craspedacusta balloons, posters, buttons, flyers, kites, banners and giant Styrofoam hands, they could achieve Total Visual Domination, they could appear to have won this battle. And if they appeared to have won this battle, they could be seen as having momentum, and if they could be seen as having momentum, they would have juice, and if they had juice, then the staff of Murray Olongapo, their Democratic opponent, might become discouraged, panicky and desperate, and they might try to spend more of Olongapo’s money now, too soon, in an attempt to catch up, and if so, that would leave Craspedacusta with more for the home stretch. Or, better yet, Murray’s people would try something unwise — as when they let Olongapo, a theater enthusiast, guest-star, in drag, in an outdoor and all-male production of The Merchant of Venice — and then Sergei would swoop in for the kill, swift and efficient; he’d know what to do.

The rest of this story is no longer online, but does appear in the book “The Unforbidden Is Compulsory, or Optimism.”

Dave Eggers is the author of "You Shall Know Our Velocity" and "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius."

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>