Encyclopedia Johnson and the Case of the “Aleppo Moment”

To a visitor, Albuquerque looked like any ordinary state capital. It had a courthouse, a capitol building, a police station, and a sleazy, moodily-lit Italian restaurant where crooked politicians made Faustian bargains with bloodthirsty mafiosi bank.

But there was something out of the ordinary about Albuquerque: from 1995 to 2003, no child or grown-up had had to deal with a tax hike. People wanted to know: how did Albuquerque do it?

The brains behind it all was the governor during that time, Encyclopedia Johnson. Now, Encyclopedia’s real name was Gary. But he was only called that in official state documents. Everyone else knew him as “Encyclopedia” because his brain was filled with more facts than a reference book. He was so smart that they said he should run for President, so he did. And to prove how great and smart he was, they booked him a town hall meeting with Chris Matthews, broadcast live on MSNBC.

And so the questioning began.

“Who’s your favorite foreign leader?”* asked Chris.

“Who’s my favorite—?”* replied Encyclopedia.

“Any— just name any one of the continents, any country. Just name one foreign leader you respect and look up to. Anybody.”*

“Pfffffffffffff,”* exhaled Encyclopedia.

“Mine was Shimon Peres!”* chimed in Billy Weld, his best friend from back in Albuquerque and now his running mate.

“No, no—okay, now, I’m talking about living,”* said Chris. “Go ahead, you gotta do this. Anywhere! Any continent! Canada, Mexico, Europe, over there, Asia, South America, Africa. Name a foreign leader that you respect.”*

What was that guy’s name?! thought Encyclopedia. He was stumped. He closed his eyes. Billy watched him hopefully. He knew that when Encyclopedia closed his eyes, that meant he was doing his deepest thinking.

Encyclopedia opened them a moment later. He didn’t remember! He was trying to remember the name of Mexico’s president at the end of his time as governor of New Mexico—incidentally, a state sharing a border with Mexico. He looked around, hoping for a clue. To one side, there was a cardboard cutout for the new season of BoJack Horseman. It featured BoJack glaring suspiciously at Vincent Adultman. To the other, there was a giant poster for FOX News. That was strange, because this was an MSNBC event.

Encyclopedia turned back to Chris. He didn’t know.

“I guess I’m having an Aleppo moment in the former president of Mexico,”* Encyclopedia confessed.

“But I’m giving you the whole world!”* replied Chris.

“I know, I know, I know…”*

“Anybody in the world you like. Anybody! Pick any leader!”*

“The former President of Mexico.”*

“Which one?!”*

“I’m having a brain…”*

Finally, Billy jumped in.

“Fox, Zedillo, Calderón…”* he offered. That was what Encyclopedia needed.

“Fox!”* Encyclopedia said triumphantly.

Backstage, however, Billy was pissed.

“What the fuck was that, Encyclopedia?!” he yelled. “First you blank on a question about fucking Aleppo, and now you can’t even name one world leader?”

“Hey, that’s not fair!” said Encyclopedia. “I can totally name a few! There’s that hunky Canadian guy, that sleazy dude in Brazil with the wife 43 years younger than him, that—uh—”

“Aw, Christ!” shot back Billy. “I keep forgetting I originally nicknamed you ‘Encyclopedia’ because you cut out the pages of one to hide your weed.”

“So?” said Encyclopedia. “Everyone else thinks it’s because I know things!”

“Well, now they won’t!” lamented Billy. “We’ll be a laughingstock! We’re going to lose voters hand over fist!”

“Oh, no, we’re not!” Encyclopedia declared with a satisfied smile. “If we lose votes because of this, then I’m the Queen of England, whose name is—um—well, the point is, we’re not going to lose votes! And I can prove it!”

How did Encyclopedia know???

The SOLUTION is below!

* Actual, unaltered words spoken during MSNBC’s town hall event on Wednesday night.


Encyclopedia knew that a staggeringly large number of voters were so disgusted by both Hillary and Trump, and regularly spouted that they’re both ~equally bad~, that they’d still vote for the Libertarian ticket even if their candidate demonstrated more than once that he literally knew nothing about foreign policy.

Indeed, Encyclopedia withstood Jill Stein’s devastating Tweet and stayed polling at the eight percent he’d managed before the incident. That number remained constant through the election, resulting in the best-ever showing for the Libertarian Party—with over eight times the voter percentage of their previous best—and the best third-party showing since Ross Perot in 1996.