A Royal Mess

The happy couple looks not just fabulous, but very English as they make their way through the ceremonies steeped in tradition like a cup of very strong tea.  A proper Royal Wedding may seem like a bit much to most people, including 80% of Brits according to one poll, but it’s much more than that.  To me, it’s a cheap excuse for a history lesson – a reflection on not only what it means to be English, but what we as Americans inherited from the grand mess.

I have to warn you though – it’s not particularly glamorous.

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Conch Republic

April 23 was the 29th birthday of the Conch Republic. It was an important day because once it turns 29 it can start lying about its age. Lying is an important part of the story because a well told lie is the heart of any legend.

You may not have heard of the Conch Republic, the Independent Florida Keys. To some people, that’s just as well. But the story needs to be told because it is a tale of lust, greed, power, and … well, actually, it’s just a lot of fun. You can get a lot further with a good gag than you can by being a jerk. And so it begins.

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What’s Up?

So, what’s up?  It’s more of a throwaway greeting than an actual question answered plainly.  Yet news stands outside of daily slog and makes things interesting.

A global economy demands global information.  But do you really know what’s happening in Afghanistan right now, a place where we are expending a lot of blood and money? How about the nuclear crisis in Japan?  Or even in Libya, the source of fiery video just a few weeks ago?  There are reasons why these have fallen out of our daily news diet, according to an excellent analysis from NPR’s “On the Media”.  It’s expensive to send journalists all around the world to keep covering stuff that doesn’t change all that much one day to the next as a big event turns into someone else’s daily slog.

There are other ways of handling it, of course.  But that would mean listening to non-US sources.

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“It’s a good thing Jesus never came back,” Craig once told me, “Otherwise we’d have people walking around with little gold electric chairs around their necks.”

You’d have to know my childhood friend and alter ego to understand the context of this kind of statement.  There wasn’t any.  It might come off as cynical or just silly, but the Big Perspective simply isn’t something people ever can really handle.  It takes gobs of time contemplating the universe and letting the moments form themselves, much like a lazy mis-spent childhood.

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The answer came to me while watching “O Brother, Where Art Thou” for the zillionth time.  At the end of the movie Everett (George Clooney) and his crew are saved from a lynching by a torrential flooding of the valley by a dam project.  Surveying the wreckage from a floating desk he intones, “It’s the New South.  Ignorance and superstition are being swept away by industry and progress.”

The question is not an obvious one, nor is the connection.  I’ve been wondering for a long time how our politics became so twisted between the strange labels “conservative” and “progressive”.  The last Depression became a forge for a new progressive vision that everyone has been more or less responding to since.  The connection comes in an understanding of Earth Day and the conservation movement that swept the left.

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