Dammit, Aren't We Czarred Out By Now?

Czar, circa 1914
[Cue Andy Rooney voice:] For a democracy, we sure love our authoritarian royalty, specifically our metaphorical czars. We've got czars for everything from from drugs to borders to cars. But the world's last real, big-time czar encouraged pogroms, mired his country in the mess of World War I, and got thrown out by Bolsheviks. I don't get it. Why are we so eager to reinstate this office? And why, in our relatively enlightened times, can't we choose a gender-neutral authoritarian metaphor?

Perhaps it's time to say enough is enough when local pols are proposing czars for floods, as King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn today. He says that the director of the State's Emergency Management Division should be appointed the "Flood Czar." Look at the damage floods brought to placed like New Orleans and Fargo, ND, he says, and "you see how vital it is to have a clearly defined single line of authority to direct operations."

Which is totally reasonable. But does that person have to be a czar? We can even keep their title authoritarian, if need be, borrowing an entry from the Bush lexicon and making them a "decider" instead. But enough with this czar stuff!

Next week, I'll be back to talk about fruit.

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