March 30, 2006, - 12:21 pm

Defining Greatness Down: Tom Jones Knighthood

By Debbie Schlussel
Apparently, singing “What’s New, Pussycat?” is a great achievement, these days . . . especially if it’s done with a hairy chest, borne openly under a mostly unbuttoned shirt by a middle aged cheeseball.
Mediocrity hasn’t just struck America. It’s afflicting the world.
On this site, we’ve documented the exaltation of the stupid, the celebration of the non-celebration-worthy, and assorted other ways our society manages to attack achievement and raise up the unremarkable.
The latest ongoing downward climb is that of knighthood. Yesterday’s knighthood of the new “Sir” Tom Jones says it all.

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Old School Knights Winston Churchill, Walter Scott

In the past, knighthood was bestowed on, say, Winston Churchill, who rallied Britain during World War II and helped the Americans defeat the Nazis. Or, for example, Sir Walter Scott, the great writer and author of “Ivanhoe.”
But now it’s bestowed on a man best remembered for warbling the song that Carlton danced to on “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” (“It’s Not Unusual“).
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Tom Jones: New Version of Knighthood Less Than Noble

Of course, Jones isn’t the first singer knighted for no apparent legitimate reason. People Magazine made mention of Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Elton John, and Sir Paul McCartney, too. All equally undeserving of any great honors.
Ain’t mediocrity grand (or is that, bland)?
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Next Candidates for British Knighthood?

****UPDATE: Reader Ari M. has a different take:

If you read Barbara Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror” about the fourteenth century, you will find that people have been complaining about the debasement of knighthood for some time now. Apparently, by the 1300s, many chroniclers believed that their contemporary knights were a bunch of effeminate wimps. They would go about with huge retinues with servants for each of their common needs, and a few servants for some needs that they must have thought long and hard to realize they needed. They had endless baggage trains full of all of the creature comforts, soft hands, etc.
Nope, the chroniclers opined, knights should be hard core, you know, kill, kill, kill, not live it up.
Seems to me that nothing has changed.

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5 Responses

As the sun was waning on the British Empire, SIR Tom Jones was one of its bright spots…WHO would be worthy of such honours in Amerikkka today besides Kanye West???

EminemsRevenge on March 30, 2006 at 12:37 pm

I think the knighthood in Britain has become the equivalent of The Kenedy Center Honors here in the states. It’s a nice recognition, but, it’s really become a trivial achievement and nowhere near as prestigious as it once was.

Yiddish Steel on March 30, 2006 at 12:58 pm

Hi Deb,
I appreciate your point, but two things to consider:
First of all, to my knowledge the British Empire has different classes of knighthood, and Churchill’s is different from Jagger’s, McCartney’s and Jones’.
Second, the singers were recognized for cultural and commercial acheivements in bringing foreign exchange to Britain. Checked out some of the recipiants of the Presidential Medal of Freedom lately?
I did like the pix, though!
Best Regards,
Robert@ Joshuapundit

Freedom Fighter on March 30, 2006 at 1:16 pm

I’m afraid the British honours system is now dishonourable, used to deal out patronage to the rockistocracy in order to gain favourable media headlines in this dumbed down age. Sir Tom Jones is a dandified joke, but that’s not unusual, these days anyway..

DAVID VANCE on March 30, 2006 at 5:17 pm

Sir Tom Jones, Sir Mick Jagger, Sir Elton John, and Sir Paul McCartney; four sign posts on Great Britain’s long, downhill road of decline.

corsair on March 31, 2006 at 2:49 am

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