Arts & Culture » Culture

A man for all seasons

Dr. Jerome E. Ferretti made his appearance on the world stage when he proved yellow snow to be a replacement for fossil fuel. Upon receiving the Nobel Prize, Dr. Ferretti devoted himself to social causes.

Although he had success in uniting the American people, he was forced into hiding for reasons never fully explained. This is his first interview since going underground.

On the selected night, I was met by an African-American male in an alley in southwest Detroit. There was moonlight enough to see the purple scar across his knuckles as he opened the rear door of the rusty Delta 88. I followed his instruction to lie down on the floor. He sang “What’s Goin’ On,” while speeding to the safe house.

Once inside the garage, he helped me to my feet, and apologized for the “spy hospitality.” Not knowing what to say, and chilled to the bone, I cast my eyes on what has become known throughout the world as the “The Truth Factory.” I saw a computer bank, reams of paper and a printing press. On a table were copies of Dr. Jerome E. Ferretti’s new work, Castles in the Snow: The Death of Claus in the Post-9/11 World.

The book has a ready readership. Noam Chomsky has called Ferretti “an unfinished genius in the tradition of Henry Ford.” Eminem has called him “My fuckin’ homey.” Speaking to Le Monde after the Rosa Parks funeral, local artist and activist Lowell Boileau said, “We didn’t need Nietzsche to tell us that Santa is dead. We needed a figure like the late Malcolm X to show us how to proceed with dignity in a vacuum. It was at that historic moment that Jerome E. Ferretti took his fateful trip to Middle East and returned with Cookie Theory.”

Looking at the coffee table, I saw Ferretti’s message on a platter. There are cookies of all shapes, celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah in equal good taste. Before I could bite, Ferretti stepped through the door. “We must proceed from the very root of faith,” he said, “and remember that all these cookies, regardless of their final stamp, are made from the same process and raw materials.

“Upon returning from the African continent, I had the recipe for Universal Sweetness all figured out except for one final ingredient. That’s when my wife stepped in. I owe my fame to her. She said, ‘Don’t forget the sugars.’”

It is difficult to believe that this gentle man, with his message that squares the circle of difference and sameness, has been driven underground. First, there was the IRS audit. Then, there were the frivolous lawsuits and the accusations of plagiarism. Finally, there were the warning shots from the grassy knoll on I-75 and Clark Street. Still, as this interview evidences, Dr. Ferretti is a man who won’t be silenced.

Metro Times: First of all, how is your health?

Ferretti: Not bad, all things considered. I’ve been living under duress. My phones are tapped. My computers are being hacked. I’ve been working within the confines of the law, so I can’t be arrested.

Still, it appears that Uncle Sam’s evil twin has taken time off from his usual criminal activity to make my life difficult. Somewhere, there’s a mafioso missing his kid’s soccer game because he’s working overtime as a snoop.

MT: You’re talking about outsourcing?

Ferretti: Yes. I’m talking about the outsourcing of torture. In my case, I’m not being flown to Dracula’s castle in Eastern Europe to be physically abused. Rather, I’m being psychologically abused here in Detroit. Let me tell you this: Politics is a trip through the devil’s intestines. Nobody emerges with dignity intact.

MT: You spoke about Borges and the labyrinth in the intro to your story, “The Xmas Rat.”

Ferretti: The story wasn’t intended to be a funeral piece for the Baby Jesus; the Catholics got it wrong. The story was intended to prompt readers of all faiths to consider the runaway sled of global capitalism without a replacement for saintly St. Nick in the driver’s seat. Naturally, the rat ignores the reigns. He enjoys the suicide ride and trashes everyone else’s gifts. He puts on dresses. He plays with firearms. Finally, he realizes that he’s on a downward spiral. He takes command of the sled and delivers.

MT: He finds something larger than himself to believe in.

Ferretti: His individualism isn’t complete until he finds a way to serve the human race. Of course, not everyone has a hero’s seat beckoning at the moment of doom. It’s a children’s book. Adult life is more subtle.

MT: In what sense?

Ferretti: The story is a diagnosis and not a prescription. I stopped short of saying that our rat friend was guided home by the spires of a church, a synagogue or a mosque. An author has to know when to let go.

For all I care, he could be guided home in the reader’s mind by a totem to Venus and Kali. The point is, he learns to defer to a greater good that’s rooted in tradition.

MT: It’s really a conservative piece.

Ferretti: Highly conservative. Yet, fundamentalists hate it.

MT: Can we discuss your most recent work? For someone who’s never studied the complex interstices of food and religion, I found Cookie Theory to be quite accessible.

Ferretti: I was in Jerusalem when dread overcame me. I grew faint, and was taken to a hospital. A doctor with the face of an angel asked me where it hurt. I told her, “Here and all over the world.”

Then I began channeling. I wrote the first chapter on the cot in the ER, creating my Ninth Symphony from this riff of thought: The way to man’s heart is through his stomach.

MT: Initially, Cookie Theory was embraced by the Bush administration. Condoleezza Rice praised it as “a call for the making and breaking of all kinds of bread together.” George Bush was photographed carrying your book.

Ferretti: I was being invited into the inner circle. However, something about Dick Cheney’s manner on the telephone told me that I’d be better growing apart. Not safer. Better.

MT: That’s when your troubles began?

Ferretti: I grew too large for the comfort of Uncle Sam and his evil twin, the one-two punch that runs the New World Order. Now, I’m not raising myself to the level of Kennedy or King. All I’m saying is that on my good days, I get offers from multinational corporations for partnerships that will make me rich beyond belief. And on my bad days, I get phone calls in the middle of the night that warn me, “Don’t go to Dallas,” and “Don’t go to Memphis.”

MT: And that leaves you where?

Ferretti: The leaves me hard at work in Detroit. Presently, I’m writing a book about the decline of elf society. They were the last to learn that Santa is a myth, and they haven’t had time to recover. In many ways, it’s in the interest of the NWO that they don’t.

Elves are cheap and efficient labor. Unfortunately, many are being offered nanny jobs and turning up as sex slaves. And there are elf kidneys and livers and embryos being auctioned on the black market. Finally, elves are now doing laundry on U.S. Army bases in Iraq. Why isn’t any of this covered on the 6 o’ clock news?

MT: Thank you, Dr. Ferretti.

Jerome Przybylski is an ex-Detroiter living in Philadelphia. He has been appearing with Jerome Ferretti in Metro Times for almost 20 years. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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