To announce that there must be no criticism
of the President, or that we are to stand by the President,
right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile,
but it is morally treasonable to the American public.
President Theodore Roosevelt
This week Trump called a meeting with leaders of our national media. Some thought perhaps they were going to discuss how the media and the White House were going to work together. Wrong. They were there more for monologue than dialogue. They were there for a dressing down. It’s reported that Trump scolded, “We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong.”
The kings of ancient Ireland didn’t have media to contend with. They had bards. And I have to think they would have preferred the former. Bards had great power, in fact second only to the king. They held the stories of and for the people. They were the guardians of poetry and poetic justice. If they determined a king was not acting in accordance with expectations for that leadership position, they would create a satire upon him. Among the poet’s powers was the ability to compose a satire that would bring ruin on the subject. Kings especially feared the poet’s satire for it could cause them to lose their right to rule.
If the satire was true, and it generally was, the king lost face figuratively and literally. For Irish legend tells us that satire could cause the immediate appearance of facial boils. And fundamental to a king’s ability to rule was that he must be free of blemish. Moral and physical.
So, carry on SNL. I’ll be watching for boils.
Judith – firstname.lastname@example.org