Saturday, October 18, 2003

If You See a Barbarian at the Gates, Let Him In

Normally, I try to keep the political commentary to a minimum. There are plenty of bodacious polibloggers out there already doing a great job (see links to the right). But Meteor Blades, Guest blogging over at Daily Kos informs us that Jerry Springer is entertaining the notion of running for Governor of Ohio. (scroll down, itís there).

He then goes on to suggest a better idea:

Iíve long thought that maybe America needs some royalty. Since the Arnold won, Iím firmly convinced. Some Americans love celebrities so much they WANT them to rule politically the way they rule over our glowing screens. Instead of putting them someplace where they can do real damage, however, letís crown them.


Pick the nationís top 500 celebrities. Maybe choose them via a weighted average based on how many times theyíve appeared in Premiere, People and the National Inquirer during the past five years. Or some such.

Write their names on slips of paper. Fold. Toss into a caged lottery wheel. Spin. Have some blindfolded groupie select 5 names. Onto a ballot with these. Then the election. No Diebold machines. The winner establishes a bloodline as Duke or Duchess of California. (If a dispute over the outcome arises, so much the better ñ royalty must have pretenders to the throne.) Henceforth, the Duke or Duchess (and consort) will be our ceremonial heads of state.

Theyíll throw out the seasonís first baseball when the Dodgers or Giants play. Theyíll welcome foreign dignitaries, including the President when he comes to visit. Theyíll cut ribbons at remodeled airports. Theyíll give the first speech at each new session of the Legislature and be permanent emcees at the Academy Awards.

This will not be without cost. Their annual expense account will probably run a billion dollars. They have to live large. A Frank Gehry-designed palace for everyday affairs, with a summer mansion on Lake Tahoe. Custom-made cars. And, of course, a paid entourage comprising runners-up from the original pool of 500 hopefuls. What's royalty without a fawning court?

This is an idea Iíve been tossing around for a while as well. And one with merit. Letís face it, people love the glitz and glamour of Royalty. They are our spirit, our vitality. They live our dreams for us and when they fall, itís even more fun. And there are some practical benefits to having an American Royal family as Meteor Blades points out as well:

The tabloids and squawk shows will focus on the births of princelings, the courtships and adulteries of the Duke and Duchess and their offspring, the banquets and balls, the outrageous purchases, the stumbles and rehabs and intrigue, the betrayals and turnabouts. In short, the overall splendiferosity that only royalty can provide.

And then, with everyone who loves fantasy over reality well distracted, we can elect people to run the serious end of government.

Meanwhile, in the comments section, the 42nd Man reminds us of Mark Twain's suggestion:

"ÖHe was sure that a royal family of cats would answer every purpose. They would be as useful as any other royal family, they would know as much, they would have the same virtues and the same treacheries, the same disposition to get up shindies with other royal cats, they would be laughably vain and absurd and never know it, they would be wholly inexpensive; finally, they would have as sound a divine right as any other royal house, and "Tom VII, or Tom XI, or Tom XIV by the grace of God King," would sound as well as it would when applied to the ordinary royal tomcat with tights on. "And as a rule," said he, in his neat modern English, "the character of these cats would be considerably above the character of the average king, and this would be an immense moral advantage to the nation, for the reason that a nation always models its morals after its monarch's. The worship of royalty being founded in unreason, these graceful and harmless cats would easily become as sacred as any other royalties, and indeed more so, because it would presently be noticed that they hanged nobody, beheaded nobody, imprisoned nobody, inflicted no cruelties or injustices of any sort, and so must be worthy of a deeper love and reverence than the customary human king, and would certainly get it. The eyes of the whole harried world would soon be fixed upon this humane and gentle system, and royal butchers would presently begin to disappear; their subjects would fill the vacancies with catlings from our own royal house; we should become a factory; we should supply the thrones of the world; within forty years all Europe would be governed by cats, and we should furnish the cats. The reign of universal peace would begin then, to end no more forever.... Me-e-e-yow-ow-ow-ow--fzt!--wow!" (from Connecticut Yankee, ch. 40)

Hay, they were worshiped in ancient Egypt as divine, so why not? So long as they are beholden to the ghost of Norton I, Emperor of America, Defender of Mexico and Protector of the Jews.

Besides, at his point historians will look back and unanimously agree that Americans officially lost their collective marbles. So why not enjoy the benefits of madness while it lasts?


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