Just more post about the entertaining parallels between crumbling empires suggested in Nights of Plague by Orhan Pamuk and then I’ll get off this jag I’m on.
When the real deciders are hidden behind multiple layers of ostensible rulers, those playing the roles can be as buffoonish as you like. In fact, the more buffoonish the better! Who doesn’t get distracted by a Punch & Judy show with puppets bashing each other?
Part of the comedy in Pamuk’s book is how rapidly the “head of state” can turn over without really affecting much. When the main requirement of the job is telling lies as if they were plausible, the persons doing the job are interchangeable. Weaselly bureaucrat, revolutionary hero, or princess of the blood all fit the purpose.
In the declining days of the U.S. empire, the homeland and its vassals have had some hugely entertaining characters inhabiting the role of decider. Also some sadder acts like an 80 year old showing signs of dementia having others announce for him that he’ll seek a second term.
In the clown car:
Sad clown who wanders aimlessly and can’t do press conferences. And a VP clown who can’t run herself because her shtick is hilarious word salads. How could this slapstick duo be in charge of the nuclear hot button that blows up the whole world?
Allegedly a Green, the German minister for foreign affairs is a blurter who comes up with some real doozies. She reminded the EU that they’re not at war with each other they’re at war with Russia, and later told reporters that Russia’s president had better do a 360° turn in Ukraine or else face the consequences. Twice.
The UK prime minister predicted to have a shorter shelf life than a head of lettuce (true at 44 days) who forgot to use her encrypted cell phone to tell her boss in the U.S., “It’s done,” after the Nord Stream pipeline explosion.
These were the three most popular Halloween costumes in Ireland in 2019, according to the Irish Times. It’s enough to give a person coulrophobia (fear of clowns).