I cannot lie to you.
Total Fucking Victory is a huge hit.
So big, in fact, my trademark application for it stipulates that anyone using the phrase must not abbreviate or otherwise foreshorten it. No TFV, no Total F’in Vic, none of it. The three hottest words in this still fledgling Operation Iraqi Freedom must be allowed to unfurl like the original Stars and Stripes over Fort McHenry in 1814, only this time it flies above the rubble of a five-century old mosque mistaken for a telecommunication center. From three thousand feet, a minaret looks a lot like an antenna.
Such are the costs of Total Fucking Victory.
Rumsfeld’s press conference couldn’t have gone any better even if it had been presided over by Don King and featured two heavyweights in a choreographed eruption, diving over mic stands and press tables to demonstrate the ferocity of their rivalry. In fact, King was in attendance. But without a pair of boxers at weigh-in, he looked a little lost. I’d overheard him trying to convince Rummy and Secretary of State/Dove Milquetoast Colin Powell to just take a fucking run at each other, but Rummy knew that the numinousness of this martial catchphrase would carry the day on its own. He merely needed to step aside and let Total Fucking Victory do its job.
The event was somber and dignified. A giant plasma TV descended from the Pentagon press room ceiling, and a PowerPoint slide show displayed a montage of great American military triumphs, punctuated with images of a nighttime Baghdad spectacularly aflame. The score, by frequent Oscar nominee John Williams (who, sadly, failed to achieve victory of his own this past Sunday) rose to a crescendo of sweeping, majestic strings and a chorus of ululating Turkish folksingers. Then came a sound effect suggesting a cartoon anvil being dropped onto a baby grand piano, before the otherworldly voice of James Earl Jones intoned, “Total. Fucking. Victory.”
The effect was mesmerizing, so I decided to let the unapproved punctuation slide, for now.
Confetti cannons sprayed the conference room with the “Surrender Now!” leaflets that have cascaded over the Iraqi countryside by the millions upon millions, promising a future of sock-hops and jukeboxes filled with Elvis tunes to all who turned their backs on Saddam.
A spread featuring roasted garlic hummus and some pita bread was overturned by a phalanx of heavily-armed members of the National Guard, and a new table featuring cheeseburgers, pizza, and apple pie was set up in its stead.
For perhaps the first time in recorded history, the nattering of the press corp was hushed for a full fifteen seconds — until a reporter for the Sacramento Bee began to chant the three words that will turn the tide of the war and international public opinion toward America, the soon-to-be-triumphant hyperpower:
Total Fucking Victory.
Michael Moore, who up to this point was stewing at the back of the room, joined the chant. He hastily scribbled “I *Heart*” over the blood-red “Fuck” above an unflattering image of our Commander-in-Chief he’d pasted to the sandwich board that girded his Borscht-belt midsection. His megaphone rang not with protest, but with the three words that force the Iraqi dictator from his compound to the surface streets of Baghdad like a stick of dynamite in a Good Ol’ American Fishin’ Hole.
Total Fucking Victory.
The t-shirts were silk-screened and of high, Hanes-Beefy-T quality, and there were plenty to go around.
In between mouthfuls of pizza, Don King discussed with me the possibility of formulating three words for an upcoming Lennox Lewis fight. I jokingly suggested Big British Pansy, and we shared a knowing laugh. A retainer changed hands and we agreed to talk once the war is over, once Total Fucking Victory is achieved.
And once Total Fucking Victory is deployed to the front lines like a divinely-sanctioned sandstorm, that shouldn’t be long at all.