(Copyright Harvard Lampoon, 1969)
Above the "compass" (with directions Up, Down, Left, and Right) is the Land of the Knee-Walking Turkeys. Now, some of the other place-names I get, like the "Land of the Terrible Stench," the "Land of the Singing Pigs," the legendary "Flat Mountains," and of course the "Points of Interest." But knee-walking turkeys had always escaped me.
Are the turkeys walking around on their own knees, or on the knees of others? Do turkeys even have knees? And then it came to me that maybe the name didn't actually refer to anything real (even in make-believe parody world), that it was a name signifying nothing.
Many, many years later, however, I know exactly what this Land is for, what exactly would fit in such a place: the United Nations. For if there has ever been a name signifying nothing, it is the United Nations.
A collection of representatives from countries around the world--including some from authoritarian and tyrannical regimes--get together and vote (pause a moment and let the irony sink in) on various issues. And those votes are actually supposed to mean something, people actually expect nations of the world to follow the UN's instructions, despite its inability to enforce its decrees and despite the fact that the existence of the UN is predicated on a handful of nations (mostly the United States) paying for its various bureaucracies and programs.
Yet still, the UN speaks and the world pretends to listen. After Russia and China vetoed a Security Council Resolution on Syria (calling for Assad to step down), there was "outrage" around the world, from the U.S.and Europe to the Arab League nations). Because--apparently--there remains a widespread delusion that a Security Council Resolution or a United Nations Resolution actually means something significant. No doubt the countless Resolutions condemning Israel for daring to exist are the reasons for widespread peace and lack of antisemitism throughout the Middle East...
If there really are any knee-walking turkeys in this world, I'm quite certain they would be found in the halls of the United Nations.