Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Super Czars

The FDA has just named this Dr. Acheson as its safety Czar. This comes less than a month after President Bush wanted to name a War czar to help with figuring out what to do in Iraq. For a democratic society we sure appoint a lot of czars. I recall an energy Czar back in the 70s and several other Czars since.

Now the last real Czar ended up getting shot by a firing squad in Russia shortly after the revolution. So I'm not quite sure why anyone over here wants to be a Czar. None of these U.S. Czars get to hold office very long, and for all I know, the position comes with a susepctibility to hemophilia.

Czar is most often associated with the Russians. But the word derived from Caesar. The Germans used a similair derivation, Kaiser. The Russian leader was actually often called a Tsar here in the west because that is the closest pronunication. The academics, however, always called the office Czar. The first Tsar was quite possibly St Boris I of Bulgaria. The Russians got around to using both that tem and that name a little later. Boris is one of the most important slavic names here in the west because of its long time association with "Rocky and Bullwinkle" bad guy, Boris Badinov, who, for reasons that were never really made clear, spent several years trying to kill off an animated moose and squirrel team. Boris' partner, and presumued paramour, was a very tall slinky woman named Natasha. I always thought that Natasha's naive and unquestioning following of Boris set the women's movement back by several years, just as Boris probably lengthened the cold war through his constant use of those big, black round bombs with the long rope like fuses that you had to light.

At any rate, I think that it is time to rfetire the use of the term Czar by the american media.I suggest the return of the seldom used "kingpin". Kingpin, which unfortunatly became associated with organized crime, is a word which is much more appropriate for American political leaders. The kingpin is the first among equals, is constantly the one people are aiming at, and when he goes down, he tends to take a whole bunch of other folks with him. It may take awhile to get the unsavory taste of the word kingpin out of our language, but if that was done for Czar, with it's thousand year connotation of war and the gulag, certainly kingpin can come back. If not kingpin, then how about kingfish ?


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