By Paul Brynner
The Northern Light
Acceptance Speech, Amnesty International Human Rights Award Ceremony, 2006:
“This is a really emotional moment for me. I am so grateful that the Awards Committee has chosen me as to receive this year’s Human Rights Award. It’s an incredible honor.
“People often ask me, ‘Lynette, how did you ever manage to single-handedly become the universal symbol of humankind’s struggle for liberty?’ Well let me tell you, folks, it sure wasn’t easy! I faced a lot of opposition on the way, most of all from my mom, who is, like, this total Nazi control freak.
“I mean, like get this: This one night when I was in high school, me and my friend Betty wanted to go to the mall because there was this guy named Brian who worked at the pretzel shop and Betty said that he said I was totally his type, right? So I plan my whole night around going to the mall and then just as Betty arrives to pick me up my mom comes down the stairs and she is, like, ‘Lynette, you are not going to wear that dress in public.’
“And I am like, ‘But, mom, this is totally the kind of thing everybody’s wearing at school!’
“And she said, ‘I don’t care if this is what the nuns are wearing at St. Mary’s Cathedral, you are not going out in a dress that has holes ripped out over the rear end.’
“And I’m like, ‘Mom, you are totally oppressing me. Pre-ripped dresses are so in right now and besides, it’s my butt I’m showing off, not yours. You’re just jealous because you’re a total flabbertush!’
“It was at this point that my fascist nut-job mother suspended my human rights and made me spend the rest of the night in my room. During this period of unjustified imprisonment I reflected long and hard on the nature of the backward, repressive system that rules our world. Is it right, I asked myself, that an obsessive-compulsive, psycho PMS queen like my mom is able to just ruin my whole life?
“No. It is not.
“How did I carry on in the face of such injustice? By realizing I was not alone. All over the world there were people deprived of the basic necessities of life, denied food to feed their children, denied health care, shelter and clean water. So many people are forced to live under dictatorial regimes that wantonly imprison and torture their citizens. How can these poor people manage to endure all this, while bearing the additional burden of knowing that somewhere in America a girl is being robbed of her mall privileges? Haven’t they suffered enough? It is so totally unfair.
“So it was that I created what has been my guiding principle from that moment on: ‘No one is free while I am oppressed.’
“Yes, there have been trials along the way. My campaign of passive resistance against the totalitarian Momocracy carried on into my college years. Like when I dyed my hair purple and my mom threatened to stop paying my car insurance until I dyed it back brown again. Or when she chewed me out for, like, 45 whole minutes after seeing the black widow spider that I got tattooed across my cleavage. I had to miss the entire start of ‘CSI’ that night, which is, like, the most important part of the show because if you miss it you just don’t know what’s going on. It was a sacrifice I was able to make only because I knew it was on behalf of all the oppressed people in the world. Their struggle was my struggle.
“It is for this reason and this reason alone, that I accept this prestigious prize: because I know that by carrying on my valiant struggle against my mom’s screwed up, middle-class, head-up-the-butt reign of terror, I am able to stand as a bastion of freedom and independence for all those who share my struggle.
“It is with joy in my heart that I announce to you, people of the world, that I plan to use the generous cash prize to invest in a piercing that is just beyond belief. It will, like, go right through my belly button and have a silver chain of death’s head beads on it that runs to both my nipples. I am telling you, people of the world, this is going to be so cool.
“I feel confident that all those who are downtrodden, suffering, and starving will be able to draw hope and inspiration from the fact that I have the freedom and defiance to get this absolutely gnarly piercing. From oppressed people everywhere, I ask only one thing in return:
“Please, don’t tell my mom. She would totally freak out.”