Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Jester

Listening to Glenn Beck yesterday, I was informed that one of the new White House inner circle was found to be nothing more than a blogger.  A BLOGGER?  Are kidding me?  What are these knuckle-headed knuckle-draggers in Washington doing adding a blogger in a position of authority to their midst.  What, after all, could a blogger possibly offer to the inside-the-beltway experts of politics (except maybe some clear thinking and fresh air), let alone to a White House that has begun to take on airs of its own (like those of a monarch that all Administrations inevitably do during a second term)?  

Don't get me wrong here. Glenn and his cohorts may be right that this new addition to the Administration may be an over-the-top partisan ideologue. (Which has probably never happened before, right?)   He may also be little more than a amateur political hack (which actually seems SOP for White House appointments from both parties).  He may even be, as accused, sitting around his house in his underwear writing sniping comments about the political opposition (which wouldn't be a bad gig if it were you could actually make a living at it).  

On the other hand, at least he wouldn't be a someone who had never had a job that didn't involve feeding at the political trough, someone who might not have spent half of their life running for office and the other half desperately trying to keep it, or someone who was so inbred in the corruption of DC culture that using the inside information provided to members of the national legislature to accrue a personal fortune seemed a reasonable thing to do.  Neither would he be a failed news reader, corporate mouthpiece, or failed ESPN sportscaster turned political pundit.  (Yes, I mean you Keith Olbermann.)  Contrary to popular belief, there are a number of intelligent, savvy, and creative people that are writing blogs; and the rest of us are making a heroic effort to drag ourselves out of the shallow end of the gene pool in order to be worthy of their efforts. 

Now of course, in the midst of my pseudo-rant, I couldn't help but be notice that the nom de plume currently under attack was one that fit me like the cheap suit I sometimes wear.  Bloggers are after all, are still a rather curious group coming of age in this era of new media.  How you feel about them as a group is likely to have as much to do with whether you agree with what they say, how well they say it, and how much competition they've become for more traditional sources of media than what they're actually writing.

As a blogger, I've been known to do a fair job of pointing out the obvious naked condition of the emperor in my own tawdry efforts.  Certainly among the more elite of the milieu there must be far wiser and better examples in both local and national venues.  Some, I know for a fact have journalistic credentials, others have personal or professional experience that lends greater insight to their efforts, and some have terrific contacts and sources of information.  Most of them quite frankly, are far more capable of expressing themselves coherently than your average Congressman or Senator (regardless of whether its at the state or national level).  

This is not to say that you'll find me claiming in line for a top-flight job as a Presidential adviser (at least in this administration), though one might come to believe that the White House could use someone out of this New Media with a sense of humor that was willing to tell truth to power.  It might even seem like somebody close to the Commander-in-Chief could use a bit more expertise in stringing words together (without the constant use of  a teleprompter), as well the ability to give the man at the top the appearance of a less atrophied sense of humor.  

Interestingly, as all of this rather subject 'inside baseball' information played itself out during the last week, one of one of my favorite Danny Kaye movies "The Court Jester" was shown.  It's the title song written by Sammy Cahn and Sylvia Fine, "The Mal-Adjusted Jester" seemed to fit such the situation perfectly:

Your majesty, I have a confession
My secret I must now betray
I was not a born fool
It took work to get this way

When I was a lad I was gloomy and sad
And I was from the day I was born
When other lads giggled and gurgled and wiggled
I proudly was loudly forlorn
My friends and my family looked at me clammily
Thought there was something amiss
When others found various antics hilarious
All I could manage was this –hoo hoo
Or this – hoo waahhh

My father he shouted he needs to be clouted
His teeth on a wreath I’ll hand him
My mother she cried as she rushed to my side
You’re a brute and you don’t understand him
So they send for a witch with a terrible twitch
To ask how my future impressed her
She took one look at me and cried hehehehehe, he?
What else could he be but a jester?

A jester a jester, a funny idea a jester
No butcher no baker no candlestick maker
And me with the look of a fine undertaker
Impressed her as a jester?

Now where could I learn any comical turn
That was not in a book on the shelf
No teacher to take me and mold me and make me
A merryman fool or an elf
But I’m proud to recall that in no time at all
With no other recourses but my own resources
With firm application and determination
I made a fool of myself!

I started to travel to try to unravel
My mind and to find a new chance
When I got to Spain it was suddenly plain
That the field that appealed was the dance
The Spanish were clannish but I wouldn’t vanish
I learned every step they had planned
The first step of all isn’t hard to recall
Cause the first step of all is to stand
And stand
And stand, and stand, and stand, and stand... 

After all of my practice the terrible fact is
I made a fool of myself

I sadly decided that dancing as I did
To sing was a thing that was sure
I found me a teacher a crotchety creature
Who used to sing coloratura
She twisted my chin pushed my diaphragm in
With a poker she vocalized me
When she said it was best that I threw out my chest
You may gather that rather surprised me

I was on solid ground till I suddenly found
That in Venice I was to appear
The gala locale was a choppy canal
And me, a high sea gondolier
I nervously perched as the gondola lurched
Before the King’s palazzo
As I started my song my voice it was strong
But my stomach I fear was not so

Oh solo mio, ooohhhhhhhh
Oh solo ooohhhhhhhh Help!

When I fell overboard how his majesty roared
And before a siesta he made me his jester
And I found out soon that to be a buffoon
Was a serious thing as a rule
For a jester’s chief employment
Is to kill himself for your enjoyment

And a jester unemployed is nobody’s fool.

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