Ben Greenman’s Fake Celebrity Musicals
A Series of Brief Unstaged Musicals,
Each Responding to a Current Event,
Each Written and Scored by Ben Greenman,
With Satiric and Comic Intent.
Fragments From WikiLeaks! The Musical.
BY Ben Greenman
[ A playground, Australia, mid-1980s. Two girls are gossiping.]
You know who I love?
That band Men at Work.
Did you hear the scandal
With Annie and Dirk?
They were caught making out
By a school clerk
Someone told me. I think it was Lou.
They were over by the football ground
They were naked; she was making a sound
Like a hot and bothered kangaroo.
I also heard that Mr. Nantz
Was driving his car without any pants
He’s the one
With the red Impala?
He has tufts of hair
Just like a koala
[JULIAN ASSANGE approaches.]
Uh oh, it’s Julian
He’s a little bit strange
Let’s lower our voices
As he comes into range
I agree with you
This is not for his ears
We can start talking normal
When he disappears
[SALLY and LISA start to whisper.]
What are you guys
It’s none of your business
Don’t stick in your snout
But whispering is impolite
It’s cliquish, mean, and just not right.
Your secrecy is a kind of slap.
You should tell someone who gives a crap
I don’t like how this is going
My curiosity is growing
Come on, tell me. Really, tell!
To not know is a kind of hell
[SALLY and LISA whisper more and then leave, giggling.]
I’ll get you!
I’ll get you!
Don’t believe me?
I’ll bet you!
There will be retribution!
There will be tit for tat!
There will be revolution
I will see to that!
[ Enraged and frustrated, JULIAN ASSANGE becomes a hacker. He devotes himself to the unchecked distribution of all information.]
I’ll dub myself Mendax
It means “noble liar.”
I’ll remake myself as a
High-tech town crier
When people attempt
To hide information
I will be the one
To compel revelation
[ After two decades moving between the hacking subculture and academia, JULIAN ASSANGE founds WikiLeaks, a website devoted to challenging secrecy regulations by releasing documents.]
To radically shift regime behavior
We must accept a new kind of savior
How can any authority control what we see
When all information wants to be free?
[ At first, JULIAN ASSANGE uses WikiLeaks for good, exposing assassinations in Kenya.]
Witness how I used my network
To interfere with Kenyan wetwork.
It’s hard to grasp this type of power
I liken it to Bentham’s tower
He called it the panopticon
It acted as a check upon
All who thought they were being observed
This is what we have long deserved.
[ One day JULIAN ASSANGE is contacted by BRADLEY MANNING.]
Hello, I am Bradley Manning
I work in intelligence
I know you by your reputation
And frankly, sir, I have the sense
That my position in the army
Grants me special access to
Secret information that I
Think that I might leak to you.
What’s your name, now? Manning? Bradley?
Tell me more; I’ll listen, gladly.
Where should I start?
My head is spinning.
Just go back
To the beginning
When I was younger, I was teased
Almost every single day
For spending time on my computer
For me, it was the only way
In high school, it just got worse
I was bullied, called a fairy
I dropped out as soon as I could
And went to join the military
I thought that I would find contentment.
But, alas, just more resentment.
In the army, I’m not noticed
No one pays me any mind
This neglect has given me
A dark opinion of mankind
I work hard but I’m not rewarded
I feel like an abused horse
I have a need to make a difference
Let me be your secret source
[BRADLEY MANNING sends JULIAN ASSANGE video of an Apache helicopter flying over Baghdad and engaging in fire that results in the death of a dozen civilians. The video, which is titled “Collateral Murder,” ignites a media firestorm. JULIAN ASSANGE even appears on the Colbert Report.]
You say you are objective
But this title is incendiary
Tell me why, in light of that,
The rest of us should not be wary
Of your motives and your sympathies.
Are you the cure or a new disease?
This whole thing feels nefarious.
Ha ha, Stephen, you’re hilarious.
[BRADLEY MANNING, excited by the attention, contacts JULIAN ASSANGE again and promises an even bigger set of leaks.]
So I came across some secret cables
Guess how many I managed to download?
A hundred? A thousand? A hundred thousand?
A quarter million! I might explode!
[BRADLEY MANNING promises JULIAN ASSANGE access to tens of thousands of classified documents.]
I’m a hacker, not a shrink
But something strikes me kind of funny
You’re not doing this for fame,
Not exactly, not for money
So what then, are your motives here?
Are you simply trying to right the scales?
Or is there a more deeply rooted
Reason to give up these details?
What do you mean?
Do you posit that a leak
Is a way to open up
The closet, so to speak?
I hadn’t thought it through
Though it comes as a relief
After years of dark, the light
Don’t ask, do tell: that’s my belief.
And what about you?
You must feel this way too.
[JULIAN ASSANGE nervously clears his throat.]
Well, look, don’t think too much about it
I don’t want to cause you aggravation
No, no&mdash:I find it interesting
But what about your motivation?
What about my motivation?
Yes, indeed, a valid question
And one that after all these years
Still causes me indigestion
I can shift the course of nations
I can make great leaders cower
I can take pure information
And use it to disorder power
My reasoning for doing this
Isn’t, I don’t think, germane
Let’s set aside this speculation
And go on with this great campaign
[JULIAN ASSANGE hangs up the phone quickly, before BRADLEY MANNING can answer.]
That man is great
His site is greater
See that later
He drinks in
And takes a leak
I did my best
To help his cause
I drew a breath
And blew a whistle
And launched the truth
Like a cruise missile
And I’m still here
I’m brave and proud
And I’m unbloodied
[ As he is speaking, BRADLEY MANNING is arrested by Army investigators. Six months later, JULIAN ASSANGE leaks more than 250,000 pages of documents he has received.]
Once the world was benighted
Once the planet’s eyes were closed
Now the Earth has come awake
To all the facts that I’ve disclosed
That flabby old chap, Kim Jong-il,
Will be in the grave very soon.
Angela Merkel is rarely creative.
The U.S. spied on Ban Ki-moon.
Pakistan’s stockpile of nukes
Isn’t kept under lock and key.
The world now knows all these things
Because of me, because of me.
[ Immediately, there is worldwide condemnation.]
Diplomacy shaken, sources betrayed
Allies forsaken, leaders dismayed
This self-styled hero, this weasel Australian
Is the worst threat to freedom since Sarah Palin
It’s a new day, a nova aurora,
Here is the box and here is Pandora
This kind of thing is a Hobson’s Choice
Do I really have a high-pitched voice?
The way I’m being talked about
Fills me up with deep disquiet
That should concern the rest of you
Remember the Litvinenko diet?
Much of what’s in here
Is rumor and twaddle
Plus, what do I care?
My wife is a model.
They say I don’t like risk
And that I’m not creative
That is absurd,
As anyone can tell you.
[JULIAN ASSANGE is triumphant, even in the face of rape accusations from Sweden. He keeps on the run, living in airports and communicating mostly through online chats.]
I’m almost done, I’m almost done.
Just one more thing to do.
I made a promise years ago
And now I’ll follow through
[SALLY, now in her thirties and living in America, is walking home from work. A black limousine pulls up alongside her. The window goes down. The DRIVER speaks.]
Excuse me miss
Please define “inform”
While I knock you out
With this chloroform
A cloth? A goon?
By my troth, I swoon.
[SALLY passes out and wakes in a room filled with computers. JULIAN ASSANGE is sitting in a black leather armchair, watching her.]
You can scream all you want
This room traps every sound
Hey, you’re that weird kid
From the middle-school playground.
The way I rub my hands together
Demonstrates that I am evil
The dark, malignant overlord
Of all information retrieval
I want you here now
To watch as I humble
The earth’s greatest nations
Let them all crumble!
More importantly, Sally,
Let’s settle a score
For years I have suffered
I will suffer no more.
Back in Australia
You and Lisa concealed
Information from me
I want it revealed
Are you kidding or
Are you just insane?
Why would that stuff
Still be in my brain?
We were kids back then
A lifetime’s passed.
I am shocked and stunned
Agog and aghast.
Seriously? You don’t remember?
That’s quite disappointing to hear
Lisa said the exact same thing
When I met her in Sweden last year
[JULIAN ASSANGE lets Sally go.]
Very sorry for the fuss.
Let’s just keep this between us.
SUGGESTED READSBen Greenman’s Fake Celebrity Musicals: Fragments From Death Comes for Britney Spears! The Musical (Slight Return)
by Ben Greenman (1/28/2008)
Ben Greenman’s Fake Celebrity Musicals: Fragments From Steroids! The Musical.
by Ben Greenman (3/21/2005)
Ben Greenman’s Fake Celebrity Musicals: Fragments From Mcnamee! The Musical
by Ben Greenman (2/15/2008)
RECENTLYMorgan and Jeff’s Divorce Party Invitation
by Blythe Roberson (3/7/2014)
List: The University’s Pre-Spring Break Lecture Series
by Paul Gaszak (3/7/2014)
Dispatches from Iceland: Stykkisholmur: Eating the Pylsur of Heaven, Part One
by Kurt Caswell (3/7/2014)
POPULARKama Sutra for Couples Who Have Been Dating for Over Three Years
by Chelsea Davison (1/15/2014)
Open Letters: An Open Letter to Men On the Subway, Specifically During Morning Rush Hour On the A Train Between Jay Street and Canal
by Jenna Clark Embrey (2/21/2014)
I Hope You Enjoy This Artisanal Knuckle Sandwich
by Keith Wisniewski (2/26/2014)