March 30, 2006, - 12:21 pm
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.
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“).
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)?
****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.
Tags: America, Barbara Tuchman, Bel Air, Britain, Debbie Schlussel Apparently, Elton John, first singer, great writer, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Prince of Bel Air, Tom Jones, Tom Jones Knighthood By Debbie, Walter Scott, Winston Churchill