Friday, April 1, 2016

A to Z of Grave New World 2016: A is for the Alderman-Goldberg Act of 1979

What if the legends we've handed down to each other since the dawn of time were true? What if the folklore that seems to cross continents and cultures is real? What if we discovered that the United States of America was formed due to the help of supernatural beings seeking to escape persecution in the Old Country? What if our Civil War was fought because the werewolves in the North had a score to settle against the vampires in the South, going back to the days of ancient Egypt? What if the vampires, werewolves, ghouls, ghosts, trolls, and fey turned out not only to be real but demanded equal rights as citizens of these United States of America?

You would have a Grave New World, indeed.

While the Inhuman Movement had been rolling since just after WWII, it took Leslie Alderman (R) of Kentucky and David Goldberg (D) of Rhode Island until 1979, at the end of President Carter's term to grant them equal rights passed through Congress. Though many fail to remember that the newly elected President, Ronald Reagan had co-starred with Edward "Bonzo" Theron, a werechimpanzee, in two films, who was viewed as soft on the Inhuman issue.

The Act extended full rights to "inhumans" and solidified decades worth of activism and even blazed the trail for the "monster chic" of the 1980's that swept the nation.

Gone were the days of "monster hunters" yanking "vamps" out of basements and dragging them into the sun, to slowly, agonizingly burn in it's brightness. Or hunting your nephew with bullets melted down from Granny's silverware (and finding out too late that it wasn't real silver). Inhumans or the mortally challenged, as some of the diehards preferred to be called, wanted a vampire or werewolf on every street and at least two haunted houses. Thankfully, their numbers were much, much smaller than that.

The U.S. had slowly adapted to the notion that things not only existed but could be reasoned with and just wanted to have a normal life. Most of them, anyway.

But the inhuman community had quite a bit of work to do, as well. While they had been heavily policing and harshly enforcing assault and murder by any of their own, they had to make sure that no one crossed the line in these early days. And they had to fully cooperate with the authorities, the same types of organizations that started inquisitions and even pressed them into their wars. To compound the situation, the movers and shakers of equal rights found out how difficult it was to introduced change, when some of these beings were centuries old, with strongly held practices and grudges.

As this crucible of true freedom, fear of real monsters, and a brand new era of (un)life, liberty and pursuit of happiness heated up, two superstars for the inhuman population burst on the scene.

Veronica Jefferson was outed as a werejaguar weeks after her sophomore album, Moon Over The Atlantic, dropped. Veronica was exposed by a fundamentalist Christian organization, known as the Sentinels, who were highly critical of Veronica's pop hits, such as "Night Shift" and "Hard Workin' Lady". Sadly, Veronica's own aunt, Vera Sinclair, a founding member of the Sentinels revealed her secret. Shockingly, this merely accelerated Jefferson's rise to stardom and she became a major sensation starting in 1981.

In 1984, a vampire named Robin Leach was cast as the host of the reality TV show, Lifestyles of the Rich And Famous, he was chosen for his voice with little regard about his status as an inhuman. Somehow the mix of the filthy rich and Robin's gallant pronouncements mixed into a blockbuster hit. By the second season of the show, Robin, now "America's Favorite Vampire", was spotlighting the exclusive sanctums of some the world's most powerful inhumans and gaining bigger and bigger ratings.

By the mid to late 80's it was cool to be rich and a monster and that scared the shit out of the people in power.

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