Mother & Daughter: A Holiday Tale
[Open on Helen and Daria sitting at a table. It is a year after IICY, not that you could tell by their identical appearance to a year before.]
Helen: Daria, it's so good to see you.
Daria: You too.
Helen: Family has to stick together.
Daria: That's what I kept telling myself on the way here.
Helen: Did it work?
Daria: I'm here, aren't I? And it wasn't the farthest journey.
Helen: Yes. Anyway, how's college?
Daria: Um, its pretty good. The local fraternity--
Helen: What are they called?
Daria: Skull and Trombones. Anyway, they told me that with a little more effort, I too could become a kegger queen.
Helen: You turned them down right?
Daria: I tried to let them down gently.
[Cut to footage of Daria wildly boozing it up with other students.
Student #2: Trombones rock!
Daria: WOOOOOOO!!!! ]
[Return to present.]
Daria: And eventually, they got the point. Enough about my life; Any closer to reaching partner?
Helen: No, not yet. I try and try and other people still get promoted ahead of me. It's getting to the point where sudden death would be the only way I could get to the top at that place.
Daria: Want me to have it arranged? I have connections.
[Helen laughs nervously.]
Helen: I don't think that will be necessary. Seriously.
Daria: --So, Quinn called me pretty recently.
Helen: Daria, I'm sorry I have to tell you this but she couldn't make it, she's----
Daria: I know, having a slumber party at Stacy's house. She told me all about it.
Helen: Its why she couldn't be here. It really is.
Daria: How about Dad?
Helen: He said he was going to come see you, but he 'unfortunately' got caught up in another battle with the neighborhood squirrel.
Daria: Military academy taught him well.
Daria: Have they done much else?
Helen: No, that basically covers it. Me on the other hand... (smiles) Let's just say I've kept busy.
Daria: And here I had the impression you were being lazy for once.
Helen: No, that would never work... But knowing that I probably won't ever get that promotion, I decided to refocus my energies a little.
Daria: [quiet.] Uh oh.
Helen: I looked at the world outside my office, and realised that I'd become disconnected from it.
Daria: You lost your internet connection?
Helen: No, but that was part of the solution. When I looked into what was happening around me, I
there's a lot wrong with this country, at this time--- a crooked government trying to turn back time and deny history—and all the while I was helping international corporations find loopholes for tax evasion!
Daria: Nope, no conflict of interests there...
Helen: And I just couldn't go on like that! I told Eric that I wanted to try and do more ethical cases--
Daria: And this cut down your workload?
Daria: [With faint apprehension.] So what did you do with all your spare time?
Helen: I started a blog---Liberal Lawyer.
Daria: Original title.
Helen: Have you seen it?
Daria: [Lying through her teeth.] No, I don't think I have. What do you talk about on there?
Helen: Oh, I try to give some commentary, keep people updated with all the important news events...
Daria: Isn't that what the news services are for?
Helen: That's what we'd like them to be, but most of them try pretty hard to avoid offending their corporate masters. And you know, the 'liberal media' is a myth; I did a post about it.
[Cut to post: The 'Liberal Media'?.]
Daria: I didn't know, they must have tricked me pretty good then.
Helen: They shouldn't have Daria, you're smart and skeptical.
Daria: I wouldn't be too sure of that. [Beat.] So all is fine and dandy in Liberal Lawyer Land?
Helen: Mostly, but I've been having some critics... Some of them are reasonable, but there are a couple who really push my buttons. Rather than debating their position they just make these outrageous assertions and expect them to be taken seriously!
[Daria suddenly looks nervous.]
Daria: Um, who are they?
Helen: There's Conservative Chap, he's pretty bad... I guess the worst of them is this blogger called
Melody who is either a caricature or completely insane.
Daria: Probably the former.
Helen: I think you're right Daria. I mean, who would go to my post on sexual inequality and write a long diatribe about how feminism was a 'mistake'?
Daria: Someone who didn't believe in it, I guess..
Helen: That it was mistaken?
Daria: I meant feminism.
Helen: [Taken aback] What?
Daria: [Speaking quickly.] I meant that 'Melody' was probably serious in what she said, if you can believe that.
Helen: Did you even read what she said?
[More awkward silence.]
Helen: So tell me, how's your friend Jane?
Daria: We haven't talked much lately. She's joined up with all these causes and we're finding it harder to talk.
Helen: That's a shame, but it's good to see Jane pursuing her activist side. Have you done anything like that?
Helen: Maybe you could join some of these things yourself and try to keep up with Jane that way?
Daria: I would if they didn't represent everything I can't stand about college; the endless petitions, the misguided idealism, as if people actually care what they have to say. And why should they? Their opinions aren't very smart. [Beat.] I got carried away there.
Helen: At least they're speaking their mind.
Daria: So am I.
Helen: What are they teaching you at that college?
Daria: I've had some really good teachers.
Helen: I know you're a cynic at heart, but you still had ideals--
Daria: They made me realise that almost everything I believed in was a sham---and they encouraged me to speak out for what I now know.
(A Herman's Hermits' song plays faintly in the background; 'the end of all my hopes....the end of all my dreams'....)
Helen: How do you uh, express yourself?
Daria: Nothing special. I've given a couple of speeches, met a couple of politicians.
[Cut to Daria meeting Karl Rove. Daria smiles broadly by her standards.]
Helen: Who did you meet?
Daria: Your honour, I plead the fifth.
Helen: Fine. [Sardonic.] What else did you do with your upbeat message?
Daria: I do like to go annoy uptight liberals.
[Close-up on Helen thinking. She recalls finding a page from a 'Melody Powers' story and other suspicious events..]
Helen: Do any of these uptight liberals happen to be sitting across the table from you?
Daria: [Sighs.] Yes.
Helen: [Bangs fist on table.] I knew it! [Pause.] Do you seriously believe all of that stuff you were saying?
Daria: Sure, with the possible exception of William Jefferson Davis being our finest president.
Helen: Daria, what have they done to you...
Daria: Relax. All they did was allow me to discover myself.
Helen: [Quietly.] Maybe that self should have remained undiscovered.
Daria: [Shocked.] Are you suggesting censorship? If you are its more proof that you're afraid of the truth. You and the liberal media--
Helen: Of course I'm not! It's just that with opinions like the ones you said on my blog...they were pretty shocking. I have to ask, were you serious about them?
Helen: OK, let's start from the beginning. You want to re-institute segregation?
Daria: They were happier that way. So were we.
Helen: And this thing about why women should lose suffrage?
Daria: Democracy is broken. Why have more people making it worse? And aren't we above that sort of thing anyway?
Helen: Daria! And how the hell could you say we should invade Muslim countries and kill their leaders?
Daria: Those countries aren't going to invade themselves.
Helen: Wow, you weren't kidding.
Daria: [Proudly.] Nope. But enough about me, what about you—why do you believe all the crazy things you do?
Helen: Such as?
Daria: The whole welfare thing. You and Dad are rich enough, why should you be worried about the lives of a bunch of people you're likely never going to know? It's not your fault that they're poor or otherwise [makes quotation marks] 'disadvantaged'. If they can't take all the opportunities this society has given them, why should we help them? [Beat.] Except around election time.
Helen: I see your point.
Daria: You do?
Helen: No, not really. [Sighs] Daria, There's a passage in a poem that has stuck with me since college: [Recites]
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police:
We must love one another or die.
Daria: That was written back in Auden's more naïve days.
Helen: When he thought we had a responsibility to each other and should change the world to keep it?
Daria: When he thought we needed to change something that didn't need changing.
Helen: [Appalled] How can you say that?
Daria: Quite easily. Noble ideals are all well and good but....actually, they're not. I mean, who has a responsibility to the poor?
Helen: [Instantly.] Government.
Daria: Spoken like a true liberal. And do you also think taxes need to be increased?
Helen: If necessary, yes. Its a small price to pay.
Daria: That's how it seems at first, until you realise what you're saying is a slippery slope. First you want taxes increased and then you'll be wanting us all to abandon our hard-earned homes and live in communal housing!
Helen: That's not what I'm saying at all!
Daria: Sorry Mom, but it is. The awful thing about your world is this; everyone has their reasons, and I know them..
Helen: OK Daria.... Why do we think withdrawing from Iraq could be in the best interests of
American foreign policy?
Daria: Because you want us to fail and let the Islamofascists win.
Helen: Who are you, Hitchens?
Daria: No, but I met him once. Charming guy.
Helen: Daria, why do you keep saying 'us'? You're not connected to the government, even if you apparently believe everything they tell us.
Daria: Why would they lie? [Beat.] They're not Democrats.
Helen: I can't even dignify that with a response.
Daria: The people are told what is in their own best interests. And what isn't is best kept hidden from them, if only to stop Kevin's head exploding.
Helen: You've only been gone six months and you're acting as if you've been thinking this crap all your life.
Daria: What can I say, I'm a quick learner—
Helen: I'll say.
Daria: When the material's good.
Helen: (knowing look) Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
Daria: Do I have a choice here?
Helen: Remember when you and Jane were accused of being communists? And now you've been saying that they should be executed on national television...
Daria: What? Fox needs some help for sweeps. [Beat.] And those accusations were made in my younger days.
Helen: Younger days? You're nineteen.
Daria: Winston Churchill said that no one over thirty is a liberal, if they have brains. I guess I'm just showing mine at an earlier age. Unlike some people I could name.
Helen: Who are you going to tell---HUAC?
Daria: No, just my adoring public.
Helen: Uh huh. Frankly Daria, I'd be surprised if you could get anyone to listen to you for this long.
Daria: Yeah, why have you been listening? I know you can't handle the truth, and your kind would normally try to shout me down by now.
Helen: I just feel I have a certain obligation, being your mother and all.
Daria: Then I have an obligation to tell you the truth too.
Helen: This isn't going to recapitulate your sermon on why atheistic liberals are waging a war on god-fearing Americans, is it?
Daria: No, no. This is about me.
Helen: [Apprehensive.] Go on....
Daria: I really believe what I'm telling you.
Daria: You act as if this has all suddenly come over me, and it hasn't. I've just become slightly more open about it. You said it yourself, one day the mask will become you---I decided to reveal myself before it was too late. And with such results!
[Daria smirks. Helen looks like she's trying to restrain herself.]
Daria: You know how I wanted to be a writer?
Daria: You might say I got an early start. I published my first book at the age of fifteen.
Helen: You're kidding.
Daria: No. It was a nice little book about love, trust, and marital infidelity. I got a nice little advance on it too.
Helen: Why couldn't you tell anybody?
Daria: Isn't it obvious? You would have freaked out—and demanded to read the book. I don't know which would have been worse. Anyway, I got a nice advance on that, and now I have a cabin to go live in if socialists take over the country again.
Helen: Do you think that's being a bit uh, alarmist?
Daria: No. I'd be first against the wall if the revolution came. [Beat.] And we all hope it doesn't.
Helen: I'm still trying to come to terms with this. How did you find the time to write and publish books anyway?
Daria: I won't lie to you, it took a lot of time. Time to search websites, time to come up with new and more clever labels for liberals...
Helen: Such as?
Daria: Well, you can only get by using 'traitors' for so long without feeling bored... But you'd have to read my latest book to see how I topped it.
Helen: Daria, I don't think I'm in the target audience for your book.
Daria: Well, you can at least be a 'target' if not a 'target audience'.
Helen: Wow. What can I say? I'm freaking stunned by all this.
Daria: That's funny. I hadn't even revealed my biggest surprise yet.
Daria: What would you say if I told you that I write under a very popular pen name?
Helen: [Mortified] You're Rush Limbaugh?
Daria: [Calm.] No.
Daria: I'm Ann Coulter.
[Helen gets a murderous gleam in her eye.]
Daria: Hey, what about family sticking togeth---
[Helen dives across the table and tackles Daria. Close on Daria/Ann Coulter being throttled.]