Don’t stop me to ask what greatness means when it’s applied to a country. Don’t ask if restoring greatness is like restoring virginity, or if greatness has actually been lost, or who’d pay the price (monetary or otherwise) for restoring it assuming it could be restored. Do not under any circumstances approach this claim as if it made sense. The idea is for a politician to make it and run so fast that no one will stop to reason it all through.
Ready? We’re going to restore greatness today. To not one but two countries. Because anything a cynical politician can do, I can do better.
Let’s start in the U.K. with a move by a group inside the Conservative Party that will restore Britain’s greatness by bringing back the royal yacht. The New York Times describes the move as “strong.”
The Times writes, “ ‘I think we have to ask ourselves what sort of Britain we want to live in and what we can do,’ Jake Berry, a lawmaker, said Tuesday in Parliament, ‘to make Britain great again.’ His answer? ‘If Brexit is going to mean successful Brexit, it should also mean the return of our royal yacht!’
“The Conservative benches loudly murmured their approval.”
For every difficult question—or so the saying goes—there’s always an answer that is simple, appealing, and wrong. I’m not sure how appealing this one actually is, but it is simple. And that was probably the Conservatives murmuring, not really the benches. I just thought we should be clear about that.
For those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while, I should mention that the royal yacht, before it was decommissioned, was not named Boaty McBoatface. The new one, if it ever gets commissioned, will probably not be called that either. But I did hear a news presenter on BBC’s Radio 4 promote an interview with Sir David Attenborough by saying that Boaty McBoatface was named after him.
I can only hope the man has a sense of humor. Or at least that he doesn’t want his greatness restored after being talked about that way. It’s expensive, all the greatness restoration.
Next we jump to the U.S. for the news that Donald Trump—who wants to restore American’s greatness by saying whatever comes into his head and, incidentally, by putting Hillary Clinton in prison—has accused Clinton of taking performance-enhancing drugs to prepare for the third debate.
If you work your way through the accusation, you may find yourself wishing Trump would take get-to-the-point-enhancing drugs. But surely you saw Clinton lift off the ground and fly around the stage during the third debate.
You didn’t? The networks probably cut that bit. You know how biased they can be. Anyway, you have to ask yourself, how’d she do that?
I can’t leave the topic without quoting an acquaintance of Wild Thing’s, who explained his support for Trump by saying that Clinton is corrupt and a liar and has low self-esteem. We should probably make that criminally low self-esteem.
No wonder he can’t vote for her.
But don’t worry. Performance-enhancing drugs can also restore your virginity–or anyone else’s, since we’re on the topic.
Having clarified that, we return to the U.K. and the volunteer bell ringers of York Minster, who have all been fired. They weren’t told why, but the letter firing was headed, “York Minster invites everyone to discover God’s love.”
That left them feeling deeply loved. So much so that they went public with the story. In an interview on Radio 4, the cathedral’s dean said the firing had to do with health and safety issues. She mentioned how heavy the bells are.
And they are. Heavy enough that the bell ringers are unlikely to haul them around. Historically speaking, bell ringers dropping bells hasn’t been a problem, and throwing them has been even less common.
A more recent article says York Minster regards one particular member as a safeguarding risk, but the others had “consistently challenged” the Minster’s governing body. Whether a safeguarding risk means the bell ringer is a risk or puts other people at risk is anyone’s guess.
The weight of the bells wasn’t mentioned.
What’s any of that got to do with restoring lost greatness? It’s at least as relevant as the royal yacht. The world, my friends, has officially gone insane and satire is dead. If you don’t find me particularly funny in this post, it’s only because reality has outstripped me.
But since no country can be truly great until an automated system recognizes its existence, let me tell you a tale about Wild Thing and the Netherlands, which desperately need their greatness restored.
Wild Thing’s traveling this week, and she’s making a stopover in Amsterdam. It’s only a couple of hours, but she wanted to make sure she could use her credit card. Just in case. So she called the phone number on the card and punched the buttons for Update Travel Plans.
An automated voice asked where she was going.
“Did you say Venezuela?”
“No. The Netherlands.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Did you say Senegal?”
Et cetera, through a couple of even more likely spots.
Wild Thing thought she’d try Holland.
“Is that Holland, Michigan?”
Cue the sound of breakables being thrown against the wall opposite Wild Thing’s computer.
“Amsterdam,” she said when she’d run out of breakables she was willing to sacrifice.
“Did you say Sri Lanka?”
I am increasingly worried about what’s going to happen with self-driving cars. Forget restoring a nation’s greatness. How are we going to restore the passengers who get whisked off to South Korea when they thought they were headed for Slough?