Then, unsurprisingly, the great bluesman Riley B. King, known as MB.B. King, died this week. From NPR: “He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ’87. He was so beloved that he received honorary degrees from the Berklee College of Music as well as Yale and Brown universities, among others.” Here’s an episode of Sanford and Son, featuring B.B. King.
There’s a Facebook graphic noting that, in the American way of writing dates, all of the days in this 10-day period are palindromes, e.g. 5/17/15, 5/18/15. It was also true in April 2014, March 2013, February 2012, January 2011. It was similarly true in 2001-2009, if you use the leading zero in the day field: 1/01/01. 2/01/02, et al.
It’ll be true next June: 6/10/16 et al., then starting 7/10/17, 8/10/18, 9/10/19, 1/20/21, 2/20/22, 3/20/23, 4/20/24, 5/20/25, 6/20/26, 7/20/27, 8/20/28, and 9/20/29. Then not again until 2101, so prepare your memes now.
Listening to the podcast of Arthur@AmeriNZ recently. He noted that Rachel Maddow of MSNBC apologized to US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for calling him Bernie. Arthur, an American now living in New Zealand was amused/bemused by this apology. In his adopted nation, the prime minister is first among equals, and is referred to by the first name; the same tends to be true in the UK and in other countries that used to be called the British Commonwealth.
So what do they have that the United States doesn’t have?
They have a queen. Queen Elizabeth II, or her representative.
Whereas the United States, the anti-monarchical nation, has a much formal structure for addressing its leaders, “Mr. President,” and the like.
I had to laugh when Michelle Obama, speaking about Hillary, referred to her as “Senator, er, Secretary Clinton — almost said, President Clinton.” Whereas the UK, NZ, Australia use up their formality quotient on royalty.
Like John Oliver, the Senior British Person on the Daily Show noted a couple of weeks back, “the Brits have actual royalty, which is ‘why we can treat our political leaders like the disposable bureaucrats that they are.'”
So it’s obvious: the United States needs royalty.
Seriously, I thought that Ronald Reagan should have been king. For reasons I don’t need to get into, I was not crazy about his politics. At the same time, I recognized the positive impact his optimism had on certain segments of the populace. I decided around 1984 that I did not want him as President, but that he would be great as monarch. He said warm and fuzzy things about “morning in America”; we could feel good about ourselves without him having to have real power that could turn into Iran contra or the like. So who should be our royal now? I’m not sure. Maybe Queen of All Media Oprah Winfrey. Perhaps a popular Olympiad from the most recent games. Or the mirror ball winner on Dancing with the Stars.
It’d be like king or queen of the prom. We can get all pomp and circumstancy with a royal. Then Rachel Maddow can call senator Sanders Bernie, like, he told her, everyone else does.