CHARLIE ROSE (STARES AT CAMERA): It’s been said that the moment you say you’re monosyllabic, you no longer are. For centuries they’ve been called snippies, creeps, and really bad spouses, but today’s monosyllabic individuals — or “M’s,” — are a force to be reckoned with, thanks to the Union for the Health and Humane Management of Monosyllabism. You may have never heard of UHHMM, and its members can’t say what the initials stand for, but that hasn’t stopped it from permeating every crack in the American sociopolitical sidewalk, and tonight at this table, it’s UHHMM’s Executive Director — or Chief, as he calls himself — Kipling Czszyszwicz, here to discuss politics, culture, and the ever-growing power of really small words.
CR: (TURNS TO GUEST) Welcome to the broadcast.
KIPLING CZSZYSZWICZ: Thanks. Call me Kip.
CR: You’re a monosyllabist. You’re monosyllabic. This means what?
KC: I can’t say big words.
CR: And this is something you were born with — it’s a medical condition.
CR: You can’t say your last name.
KC: Nope. Can you?
CR (LEANS TOO CLOSE TO GUEST): There’s been some — it’s been said that — there’s research out there that says monosyllabism — that this is, this is a highly treatable psychosomatic condition, but you yourself — even though (SLAPS TABLE), even though multisyllabism enables communication to move beyond quasi-verisimilitude towards a more fluid, integrated hypercontextuality within the signal/signifier construct, you yourself haven’t — you have not — sought treatment. Why not?
KC: Chicks dig it.
CR: Fair enough. I just finished reading your autobiography, Hey. Just a great read. A quick read.
CR: Walk me through the chronology. You take over UHHMM in the eighties, it’s a struggling nonprofit, and you realize, you realize there’s money to be made. You begin consulting. In politics…
CR: In Hollywood…
CR: Arnold Schwarzenegger…
KC: “I’ll be back” — that was us. He still says it. We still get a fee.
CR: Walter Mondale. “Where’s the beef…”
KC: That had legs. For a while.
CR: George Herbert Walker Bush…
KC: “Line in the sand”…”Read my lips”…”This will not stand”…All ours. Good times.
CR: Nike…”Just Do It”…a moment in the culture, the epitome, the apogee, a zenith, an epiphany — who you are, what you’re about, a symbiosis, a convergence of — what?
KC: (NODS) Yes.
CR: (SHAKES HEAD) Yes?
KC: (NODS) Yes.
CR: Tom Cruise…
KC: (SMILES) Top Gun.
CR: Groundbreaking cinema…
KC: (SMILES) Great flick.
CR: The nineties…Jennifer Lopez. Makes the leap…J. Lo…what did that do?
KC: That was all her, but God bless. We sent her a Jag.
CR: (LEANS TOO CLOSE TO GUEST) Keanu Reeves. What happened?
KC: It’s sad. “Whoa” was ours. Now he won’t take our calls. We’re in court.
CR: You did Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels with Guy Ritchie?
KC: No. Just Snatch.
CR: You came up with the title Good Will Hunting…
KC: Two thirds of it.
CR: And this past election, you worked with Howard Dean…
KC: Sure. Great guy. We helped with the scream.
CR: And George W. Bush…
KC: Yup. “Stay the course.” We worked with Rove. Love that guy.
CR (LEANS TOO CLOSE TO GUEST): So you’re bipartisan?
KC: We go with the dough.
CR: But you didn’t work with John Kerry.
KC: Good hair, bad vibe. The war thing. Talked too much. And his wife is nuts.
CR: And now here you are — UHHMM is a huge, huge organization. Big names, massive membership, offices in Prague, Minsk, Bern, and Nome, headquarters in Burke, VA, and $200 million in the bank.
KC: We get by.
CR (SMACKS TABLE): Two hundred million? Tom Hanks, Seal and Kate Moss as your spokespersons? C’mon.
KC: What can I say? It’s tight. We’re crunked.
CR: And now you’re diversifying into other media…
KC: We have a share of House, The L Word and The Wire, we own part of Elle, Gear, Stuff and O. We’re in talks with E!, and we just signed Air, Cher, Sting, Prince, The Hives, The Strokes, The Doves and Blur. Plus, we do tons with Fox News.
CR: And you’re talking with The Polyphonic Spree, Godspeed You Black Emperor, and Deathcab for Cutie.
KC: Um, no. We’re not down with them.
CR: (SMACKS TABLE AND LEANS TOO CLOSE TO GUEST) Look, this is what gets me about your organization — there are people who are monosyllabic by choice. Thousands and thousands of them.
KC: Yes. Lots.
CR: (ADOPTS HUSHED TONE) You have an immersion program for people who want to become monosyllabic.
KC: You bet. Six weeks. Fall term. Pass-fail. Dorms, lunch, meds, the whole thing.
CR: Broadcasters, celebrities, athletes, Dick Cheney — I mean, everywhere you look — monosyllabism is very, very hip.
KC: It helps with sound bites.
CR: But what about this notion — people are saying — UHHMM has been accused of not promoting strict orthodox monosyllabism. You’ve been heard using contractions, hyphens, acronyms, abbreviations, what have you. What about that?
KC: Who says?
CR: Moms Understanding Monosyllabism.
KC: Look, MUM hates us. I mean, I can say the name of my good friend Jay-Z, and they can’t. They should get with the times.
CR: (SMACKS TABLE) But, but the Journal of the American Medical Association has accused you of exploiting a treatable medical pathology for money, power, and cocktails with supermodels. What do you say to the notion that UHHMM is just a moneygrubbing Machiavellian mirage?
KC: Please. I mean, I read that mag, I read and I read, and it’s just lots of big words, and…what? I don’t get it. Do you? I mean, they just had that thing with that pill, right?
CR: (SMACKS TABLE) What — you mean Vioxx? That wasn’t JAMA. That was the FDA and —
KC: — same dif.
CR: (SMACKS TABLE) No, not same dif, Mr. Czszyszwicz. That’s a completely separate issue, one that’s not within the purview of this broadca —
KC: — look, I’ve got drinks with Eve in five, so, womb to tomb, keep it deep, and please, call me Kip. I’m out. Peace.
CR: (FACES CAMERA) Kipling Czszyszwicz, for the hour. Thank you for watching…