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Moment of Truth - August 27 2017

I Didn't Ask To Be Born Famous

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst, which is also the drink.

Royalty is a hereditary disease. It's the only hereditary disease you can catch through marriage. Well, there's also nobility. You can even buy your way into that disease. But there's nobility and there's nobility. There's the social status of "noble" and there's the virtue. What kind of self-important asshole designated his social class "nobility?" It's pathetic. Arrogating to oneself the label "noble" is the status equivalent of a child's toy advertised as "fun" or the package of a junk food item announcing it's "delicious." You can be certain such a toy is no fun, and the snack is yet another knot of flash-fried Styrofoam coated in salty orange dust chemically designed to mimic flavor.

And yet even supposed intellectuals are willingly knighted and consider it an honor. In Thailand you have to respect the king or they'll put you in prison. But what's everyone else's excuse? The Queen of England is just a glorified chimp we've gussied up in sparkles and given castles and horses.

Oh, speaking of royalty, it's the twentieth anniversary of the death of Princess Diana in a car accident in Paris. Very sad. She was reasonable to deal with, from most accounts, and very generous with her time. She even had a streak of the do-gooder in her. Princess Diana, or as she was called, ironically it turned out, Princess Di, died a very popular person.

To commemorate the anniversary of her death, the BBC revisited the event with her bereaved sons, Princes William and Phillip. I can't remember which is which so I'll just refer to them collectively as Princess Wallop. Why? Because it's easier to say than "Princes Willop."

Princess Wallop, it turns out, was upset by his mother's death. So like us, the royals, aren't they? Emotions and everything. He blamed the paparazzi. Many blamed them.

Even the normally cool-headed George Clooney blamed them. But the paparazzi were only doing their job. "Oh, but maybe Princess soon to Di didn't want her picture taken that day. Why couldn't they just leave her alone?"

Neither Clooney nor Wallop wanted to consider that the paparazzi didn't create the situation by which they could exchange pictures of celebrities for money. They had rent to pay, they didn't have a castle or two to fall back on.

Wallop wasn't in a forgiving mood, though, at the time. He blamed being royal, and all the attention that came with it. It was because of this "royalness," forced on him at birth, that total strangers felt emboldened to come up to him and confess their feelings about his dead mother, someone they didn't even know. I don't know why Princess Wallop didn't follow this thinking to its conclusion and renounce his royalty. Imagine if he had, what a different world it would be. Eh, no it wouldn't. Who cares, in the larger scheme of things, about the actions of one person, even a royal, unless they blow things up?

And maybe he wondered, as I do, why his mother fled the paparazzi. Why lead them on a high-speed chase ending in death? What's so horrible about having your picture taken? Did she believe the camera would steal her soul? Was she an animist? Did she worship trees? Did she believe in a sentient spirit in each object? Was she haunted by dancing umbrellas? Did she have a fear of the demonic powers of elderly cats? Did she believe that, if the sun shines when it's raining, magic foxes are getting married?

The only reason I'm in a position to ask such deeply personal questions about someone I have no personal experience with is that Princess Dead was a celebrity. It's so odd, these arrangements we have, doling out castles to some of the herd and nothing but the raw materials of misery to others. It's clownish. Here we are, intelligent enough to send robots to Mars, but incapable of dividing resources amongst ourselves rationally.

We are an embarrassment as a species. The other species are laughing at us. There was a time when the pine tree, the ox, the eft, the bee, the kinkajou, the grouse, the manta ray the sea cucumber, the crocodile, the amberjack, the paramecium, and the petunia held us in high regard. But now they shake their heads, crowns, blossoms, lobes, knobs, and whatnot in a mélange of disgust and pity. "That species ain't right," they seem to say.

Well, I for one resent being the object of a petunia's disdain. Inequality is only getting worse. Justice is at least as distant as the red planet. Here in the USA we have a senator who can't even remember how many houses he has, and another who married into a ketchup fortune. And there couldn't be a clearer illustration of the idiocy of our predicament than that blob of orange Styrofoam junk food chemically designed to mimic leadership in the White House. Chimps gussied up in sparkles, and most of the country is unwilling to call on them to part with their castles and horses. No wonder the sea cucumbers mock us. They mock us to our faces. I mock us. And I'm us!

Listen, I'm not dying until we get this crap straightened out. There's no need for this circus. Don't let anyone tell you different: we have enough for every person to live decently, and to preserve the habitats of the other species as well, despite their disdain, which, let's face it, we've earned in spades. Amartiya Sen knew it, and he won a Nobel Prize in economics. Bollywood actress Suhasini Mulay knows it. Entomologist E.O. Wilson knows it. This is the time for us to lift ourselves and our siblings up. There is no better time. So wipe the stars out of your eyes for these chimps who are no better or worse than you are. Keep the stars in your eyes for the future whose potential we hold hostage to our nonsensical priorities. The writing is on the wall. There is no time like the present. I look around and see a world of procrastinators. We should have taken care of this a long time ago.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!


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