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Athens, Ohio, United States
"Art and love are the same thing. It's the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Keep the C-Z-A-R in the U.S.S.R

Congress is at it again.

Yesterday, the House Democrats, in conjunction with the Bush White House, made a move so egregious, so insane and so incomprehensible that I, the citizen, can no longer remain quiet. The U.S Congress has continued the terrible use of a faulty ideology and is forcing us all to play along. A perpetrator of good taste, common decency and sound reasoning has not only gone unpunished, but awarded for its continued existence. Yesterday, Congress harkened back to the regimes of Communism and ensured the further moral decay of this land.

Yesterday, Congress used the insufferable word "czar."

I hate the word czar. Its continued existence is a thorn in my side. So by now my side is good and bloody. More than any people in the history of God's Green Earth (or Darwin's Green Earth, if it floats your boat), Americans love to say "czar"....even more than the Slavic people. And why not? It has a sexy European feel to it. It has two redundant phomemes (C-z) to dazzle the tongue in the beginning, followed by the classic Pirate interjection "are" sound that Americans love so much (if there is any combination that that Americans love it is Tongue Olympics and Pirate Interjections).

Sure, the word may be fun to say and I am finding now that it is even quite fun to write: Czar, czar, Tsar, Tsar, Czar, tsar, Czar......but its denotation is often grossly misused. Even if you use it correctly, you are going to look like a jackass. Nothing says "smug" quite like a shamefully superfluous use of "czar." 

Well, this week Congress decided to get its "smug" on. Early Wednesday morn, the Associated Press reported that the Majority Democrats and Bush's Buddies had agreed to "bailout" the big three auto industry. Instead of the $20-35 billion that GM, Chrysler and Ford requested, the federal government will be opening up its coin purse to give the automakers $14 billion. The deal isn't quite final yet but it is widely understood by the press and those involved that is all but being a done deal....kind of like CC Sabathia's contract with the Yankees (one of the Top Ten saddest moments of my life).

This move came after weeks of debate in the halls of Congress, the airwaves of AM Radio and the homes of millions of Americans. Regardless of how we may feel about it, it looks like the government is going to go through with this. Now, I can make peace with the fact that a whole private industry is being, in essence, socialized. I can make peace with the fact that incompetent CEOs are going to live to fight another day. And I can make peace with the fact that key Republican leaders were left out of the decision-making process. I can learn to live with all of that, but here is a sentence in the AP piece that I just can't come to terms with:

It would create a government "car czar" to doal out the loans, with the power to force the car-makers into bankruptcy next spring if they didn't cut quick deals with their labor unions, creditors and others to restructure businesses and become viable. 

"Car czar?" Really, Congress? The United States of America is embarking on one of the biggest and most controversial socialistic endeavors since the New Deal and Congress wants use a word that has connotations of an oppressive monarchy and Eastern European Communism to describe part of it. That just doesn't seem to make sense to me. There are literally dozens of words that would have been a wiser choice. The person in charge of overseeing the Auto-makers behavior could have been called: an overseer, a watchdog (Americans love that word), manager, supervisor, head, or even a nanny. But instead, it almost seems like Congress considered all these words, then deliberately chose the worst one. Either that, or something that rhymed with "car" was just too good to pass up.

But Congress can't be blamed in this case for being the first to make the "czar" mistake. As much as I would love to blame them, "czar" has become to sterile and in American politics and life that it is commonplace. According to Wikipedia (the most reliable of all sources) "czar" has been a synonym for "leader" or "Autocrat" in the English language since the Jackson administration. In recent years, bureaucrats have expanded its usage to mean "anyone who looks remotely trustworthy that we pretend to put in charge of something  so the public can sleep easier at night."

Here in the U.S of A, we have (and none of these are made up): a drug czar, a terrorism czar, a cyber-security czar, a war czar and now a car czar. That maybe more czars than Czarist Russia ever had. It begs the question of why? Why would the federal government appoint a czar in anything and why would the public accept its usage? Maybe the public has lost its faith in the traditional social servants. Maybe it is not enough to have a narcotics detective, a homeland security expert, a firewall chief and general-in-command anymore. Maybe the country wants something stronger.

If that is the case, however, I am going to politely suggest that they find a new word. Because, right now, I declare war on you, czar, and your incorrect and vague usage in the English language. Czar should have gone with Czar Nicholas's head back in 1918, but we keep inexplicably bringing it back to life, dusting it off and sending it out to describe any human-being that has even the smallest smidgeon of power over anything.

Czar must be stopped now. Before you know it, the word will spread to the sporting world and then we will really be screwed.


Woozie said...

I believe those numbers are billions, not millions.

The original car czar.

A.G.B said...

My mistake, I am going to go back and fix it never happened.