IN HIS RECENT and abortive campaign for the mayoralty or the city of New York, the honorable Norman Mailer proved once again that his thinking, though often well intentioned, is nonetheless pitifully deficient in scope. While not without merit, his plan to turn New York City into a separate state of the Union - due to its myriad distinguished attributes - was redeemed mainly by the fact that, in keeping with Mr. Mailer's usual modesty and astute self-appraisal, he implied that he would be available (or the governorship when statehood came to flower. This appetite for public office, of course, is based on the enlightened contemporary concept of total talent: A gifted novelist would obviously be a brilliant statesman; a great fullback could unquestionably play a superb Hamlet; a renowned pediatrician could easily master the complexities of global policy; an incomparable but self-effacing New York humorist, broadcaster, bon vivant and boulevardier is eminently qualified to become - But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The purpose of this proclamation-perhaps Magna Charta would be a more fitting name for it-is to set forth a visionary plan for the city and the citizens of New York, a revolutionary manifesto beside whose Byzantine grandeur the sand-castle daydreams of a minor novelist pale to the insignificance they deserve. Let it be known, therefore, that the undersigned, having full grasp of his faculties and with sober knowledge of the consequences that may arise from said proposal, issues the following call to arms for all right-thinking citizens and men of good will.
It is unconscionable to propose that the unique and splendid city of New York, with its component boroughs, be reduced to the sorry condition of statehood - no better than Rhode Island or Wyoming - and demeaned by inclusion among that ill-conceived and motley union of states known as the U. S. A. We hold these truths, therefore, to be self-evident: that New York City, and particularly Manhattan, has long been the abode of the true elite of this hemisphere-beings different in spirit and breeding from the oafish and truculent outlanders who swarm beyond its pillared gates; that by virtue of its superior citizenry, the city of New York can no longer abide the tyranny of that graceless form of self-government known as democracy; that the concept of said democracy, which presumptuously grants a Senator from Indiana or Mississippi a vote in the affairs of men that is equal to the vote of the jet set, the literati and the other Beautiful People of New York, is repellent and contrary to the laws of nature; and that the tide of indignation is rising against the humiliation of continued subservience by the people of the city of New York to the dictates and clamors of the barbarous hordes that stretch from the Hudson River to the shores of the Pacific.
Any nation that contrives to allow a bumpkin wood chopper, a pedestrian Virginia farmer, a Midwestern haberdasher or an unsuccessful California gubernatorial candidate to become its leader is obviously repugnant to creatures of gentle taste and cultivated sensibility. The hour, then, has struck; the time has come for all who honor human decency to right the wrongs that have prevented America's true aristocracy from governing those less wise, beautiful and fortunate than they. Toward that worthy end, I hereby declare that the city of New York shall henceforth be not a separate state but an independent country - removed, detached, severed and liberated from the chains of servitude that bind it to its enemy and oppressor, the United States of America. From this day forward, the former city of New York shall be known as the Sovereign Duchy of Nieuw Amsterdamme and shall take its place among the nations of the world.
In view of the established attitudes and aspirations of the citizenry of Nieuw Amsterdamme, the form of government that shall prevail in this beautiful island kingdom shall be a patriarchal, hereditary, absolute but enlightened monarchy. The nostalgia for and adherence to our last great king, George III, must be recognized and revived-with a new ruler 'on the throne who embodies the nobility and compassion of that late-lamented leader. Upon restoration of the monarchy, of course, the social arbiters and autocrats who have long ruled New York in everything but name will become members of a titled aristocracy with all the power, privileges and perquisites that redound therefrom.
The rest of New York's citizens - an unruly mob that needs the iron hand of a stern but just monarch to save it from itself-will provide the king and his court with a plenitude of what will henceforth be known as "loyal subjects," replacing the outmoded and misleading term "citizens" which pertained under so-called democracy. Lifelong and irrevocable classification as a subject will end forever the unrest and frustration that inevitably result from egalitarian brainwashing, which cruelly conditions the booboisie to believe that they deserve the same rights and opportunities enjoyed by their betters. With its unbridgeable gulf between highborn and hoi polloi, the new social order will also bestow upon the latter a reassuring sense of identity, presently denied them in the automated anonymity of urban America.
As loyal subjects, they will no longer be compelled to endure the indignities and inconveniences visited upon the hapless denizens of that human zoo known as New York City. Exorbitant rents for cramped quarters in badly maintained buildings will be a thing of the past. Except for a few of the most luxurious old mansions and condominium apartments - which will be reserved for the nobility - every edifice on Manhattan Island will be razed to the good earth; all the streets will be cobblestoned; and the peasantry will be housed in cozy but unpretentious thatch-roofed earthen hovels with dirt floors and curbside toilet facilities. Garbage collection, too, which has been crippled on countless occasions by striking sanitation workers, will no longer be a problem; there won't be any garbage collection. This will serve the triple purpose of avoiding a needless drain on the Royal Treasury; of providing an ideal breeding ground for plague, which will help hold down the population and thus minimize environmental deterioration; and of feeding the stray dogs and rats which will serve as a nourishing staple in the diets of the populace. In return for an honest day's work - and unswerving loyalty to the king - each subject will also be dispensed a weekly allotment of gruel and mead, and he will be granted the privilege of fishing in the East River for all the healthful catfish he can eat.
An uncompromising champion of the fight to decontaminate the air, the king will take a historic step no other world leader has had the courage even to contemplate: Rather than campaign for such ineffectual stopgap measures as lead-free gasoline or anti-pollution devices on car exhausts, he will ban all automotive transport forever from the realm. The noxious fumes that now assault the nostrils and blacken the lungs will be replaced by the healthy, basic scent of horse manure and the sweat of the yeomanry as they proceed about on foot, restored to the robust health that nature intended. Persons of noble rank will travel the streets by sedan chair, coach-and-four or horseback. And the grimy, humiliating ordeal of the subway both literally and figuratively the lowest form of human locomotion-will become an unlamented relic of the past. Royal fiat will convert the tunnels into catacombs which will provide a final resting place for the martyrs without which no decent monarchy can survive.
The other depredations of modern technology which have brought such psychic and economic grief to the common man - electric washers, driers, stereos, eight-track tape decks, can openers, vacuum cleaners, toasters, rotisseries, refrigerators, air conditioners, radar ranges, corn poppers, automated martini swizzles - all will be swept away with a visionary stroke of the king's quill. Any private generation or use of electricity - another major source of air pollution - will be strictly forbidden. Divested of such household "conveniences," and of the repair bills that accompany them, the populace will be able to enjoy once again the hearty satisfactions of living by homemade tallow candlelight, the comfort of warming themselves by a sputtering fire of dung, the health-giving exertions of honest labor - cutting their own meat, washing their own clothes, passing the time by recounting folk tales of the past over tankards of rich ale. But the greatest blessing wrought by the ban on electricity will be the abolition of television, movies and telephones in Nieuw Amsterdamme - no more reruns, no more Walt Disney pictures and no more obscene calls, another curse of so-called free speech.
In his beneficence, the king will liberate the common populace from the yoke of servitude to crass material gain and corporate self-aggrandizement which characterize what its ulcer-ridden victims so aptly call "the rat-race." For love of their ruler, rather than for monetary reward or for personal advancement, the king's subjects will toil joyfully at the simple labors for which they are truly suited: spinning, weaving, washing down the streets, tending the royal stables, cow-herding, wick trimming, pot scouring, mane braiding, ash raking, forelock tugging and other such honest pursuits that are so necessary to the well-being of one and all.
Just as they will be spared the worrisome, onerous burdens of worldly ambition and decision-making responsibility, none of the peasantry will be subjected to the rigors of any useless longhair book learning beyond the elementary manual training required for satisfactory performance of their duties. Recognizing that universal education has turned America's schools not only into battlegrounds but into a howling Tower of Babel populated by half-literate clods who move their lips when they read and scrawl crudities on the walls of their cities, the king shall decree that ignorance is bliss and that the common herd will be privileged to work and sleep with minds untroubled by the abstract-and sometimes negative-thoughts brought about by reading.
In order to avoid Louis XVI's fatal blunder of turning the entire populace into a potentially rebellious minority group, the untitled citizenry of Puritania (formerly known as Manhattan) will also be divided into two distinct classes, each of which-though equally plebeian in status - will be taught to regard the other as an inferior breed. Rather than sow the seeds of racial, economic or generational discord by segregating white and black, rich and poor or young and old, a geographic division will be enforced: All commoners who reside north of 34th Street will be known as vassals; and all those south of this arbitrary demarcation line-which will be designated by a crenellated stone wall, manned by archers, all the way across Manhattan Island-will be known as serfs. (Those savages who hunker beside their campfires in the outlying provinces of Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx will be called churls or varlets -according to the king's whim - and officially classified as game for the royal huntsmen.)
A simple but distinctive regulation costume for each group (designed by the college of heraldry expressly for the lower classes) will be worn at all times, not only to distinguish them from each other but also to discourage the kind of sartorial social climbing fostered under the old economic system by the availability of fashionable attire to any presumptuous lout with a passable credit rating. Vassals will be outfitted ill hand-hewn wooden shoes and a simple one-piece, dun-colored tunic woven from the hair of the sheep. Males will also wear a brown skullcap; and females, a black woolen scarf tied over the head and under the chin. The serf ensemble will be equally serviceable and attractive: for men and women alike, a garment of unbleached muslin, its colour that of the offal of the fields, extending to the knees and closed with a length of hemp at the waist; functional leathern sandals secured by a thong to the great toe; and a large brass ring, no less than one and a half inches in diameter and 3.2 imperial pounds in weight, permanently encircling the neck. (Churls and varlets will be allowed to wear breechclouts made from leaves, vines and animal skins, or to remain as nature made them, if such devisings are beyond their capability.)
Recognizing that a sense of healthy competition among his subjects is the key to a vital society, the king will also nurture a robust rivalry between the serfs and the vassals of his realm. In keeping with the monarch's maxim that "Honest Hatred Cleanseth a Man's Soul," drunken brawling, invective hurling and working-class jousts and tourneys will be encouraged-uninhibited contests in which lusty adversaries bowl one another about and knock heads with staves, while partisan galleries roar approval for their favorites and pelt the losers with road apples. From childhood onward, each class will be taught rhymes, fables, limericks and drinking songs that hymn the joys of serfdom and vassalry, respectively, while mercilessly deriding the weakness, ugliness, stupidity and degeneracy of their lowly counterparts. Such merrie melodies as I Knocketh a Serf to the Turfe for Thee, My Love and Vassals Arre Passels of Manurre will be hummed and sung throughout the land.
The true measure of statecraft being to effect a self-perpetuating balance between national unity and civil discord, the king will also instruct the Royal Musik Master to compose ringing patriotic songs - celebrating the superiority of the homeland and reviling the bestiality of its eternally hostile neighbor and archenemy, the United States of America - which the entire populace will sing each morning. While singing and saluting the beautiful green, purple and baby-blue flag of Nieuw Amsterdamme (dollar-green denoting the most honored value of our city-state, purple celebrating the royal house and baby-blue because the king likes that color)-they will face the life-sized, hand-painted plaster busts of their beloved ruler which shall occupy by law an honored place in every home of the kingdom. The production of these busts - which will be sold to each family - will be a major national industry employing many thousands of peasants. Others will toil in the royal printing plant, where equestrian likenesses of the king - copied from the massive bronze and marble statues that grace each public park - will be embossed in gold leaf on commemorative
stamps that promise to become philatelic collector's items throughout the civilized world. Each stamp, of course, like each bust and statue, will be inscribed with the royal motto of Nieuw Amsterdamme: IN EQUALITY THERE IS TYRANNY.
As a boon to supplement the peasantry's generous annual earnings in potatoes from the crown and the simple, handcrafted goods they have been able to acquire through barter with their own kind, the benevolent monarch will recompense his subjects for their fealty and industry in a supreme act of human charity. The virtues of this new welfare system will be immediately evident to those who rightly deplore the demeaning impersonality of the present system, which rewards the unemployed for their noncontribution to society - a privilege that should be enjoyed only by the aristocracy. Once each year, on the king's birthday - an occasion of joyous celebration throughout the land - the populace will assemble at high noon, along with the full concourse of nobles, in what is now known as Times Square. There, amid the pomp and panoply of his exalted office and attired in the robes of state, the ample person of His Royal Highness will be weighed upon the Great Scale of Nieuw Amsterdamme. His weight, whatever it shall be, will be counterbalanced by an equal weight of pearls; when the scale balances, a flourish of trumpets will signal to the populace that the king's bounty is about to be cast before the multitude. But not before every jackdaw and guttersnipe, of course. The largesse will be divided equally among the most loyal of the king's subjects - loyalty to be determined by the head count of disloyal subjects turned into the authorities since the king's last birthday. And the number of recipients each year will be equal to the monarch's age, thus providing a heartfelt personal incentive for the people to wish their beloved king long life.
As milord giveth, of course, milord taketh away. Such manna cannot long be proffered - nor will the king be able to continue making the countless other sacrifices for his people that the throne demands of him - unless the royal coffers are kept full. Proceeds from the export of souvenir coins, stamps, busts of the monarch and battle-ax letter openers will have to be augmented with patriotic contributions from each loyal subject in the realm. Once a year, therefore, on Thanksgiving Day, every hut in Nieuw Amsterdamme will welcome a contingent of heavily armed tithe collectors - the term tax having fallen into well-deserved disfavor - whose happy task it will be to receive the tangible appreciation of a grateful people to their king. Sparing his subjects the ordeal of deciphering labyrinthine 1040 Forms, and democratically eliminating the inequities of the graduated income tax, the monarch will decree that every commoner in the kingdom donate a flat seven eighths of his annual income, with HO deductions. Those who may consider this amount excessive fail to perceive the king's compassionate understanding: Since misery loves company, the knowledge that all their brothers are crushed under the same millstone will give comfort to serf and vassal alike. The tithe will be paid in whatever worldly goods each subject may possess: pearls (if he happens to be one of the year's lucky winners), pigs, dlickens, goats, headcheese, chattels, animal skins or offspring (which will be indentured into servitude in neighboring provinces, thus solving a major con tern porary domestic problem: the generation gap).
For the guidance of those few citizens who may not fully appreciate the wisdom and beneficence of the new social order, the Minister of Education and Propagation of the Faith will be empowered to resolve any and all misunderstandings by whatever means he deems necessary. Restoring law and order to the universal respect in which it was once held will be quickly accomplished through the judicious use of such time-tested educational aids as the stock, the rack and the thumbscrew for those who commit such minor misdemeanors as tooth-brushing and unauthorized guitar playing. But the king, in whose person resides all reason and justice, will with heavy heart be forced to overcome his natural compassion and deal harshly with those who do ' not share the affection of the people for their monarch. It is not for selfish motives that he will so act but to protect the God-given right of the citizenry to continue flourishing under his benevolent rule.
Those who commit impieties against the crown, who speak irreverently of the crown, who betray by their facial expressions their irreverence for the crown or who witness such impieties, remarks or expressions without reporting them to the crown, therefore, will be regarded as enemies of the people. Those who merely aid and abet in treason by their silence will be sentenced by the arresting officer - thus eliminating the middleman - to life imprisonment in The Tower, a 370-foot edifice of soot-blackened granite that will be built in the heart of what is now Central Park to house those who would betray the people. The piteous
wails of the blackguards within, echoing from the dungeon walls through the barred gun slits and out over the rolling greensward, will carry a heart-warming message to all within earshot.
Bleeding-heart liberals, an equally pernicious criminal class, will have an opportunity to live up to their name when they are locked in to the embrace of an Iron Maiden. But the ultimate safeguard for patriotic, law-abiding citizens will be the restoration of public executions for those who act or speak most heinously against the throne. Summoned by royal pronouncement, a vast multitude will gather once a week to watch as a malefactor, garbed in sackcloth and ashes, arrives by tumbrel at the Plaza of justice and is led by two men in black hoods, accompanied by the solemn drumbeat of the horse marines, to a straw-covered platform atop a massive "Scaffold festooned with bunting. Above him looms the waiting blade of the guillotine, gleaming in the noonday sun. At a signal from the monarch on the royal balcony, the blade descends, the head rolls in to the basket, a cannon booms and the crowd roars its approval. This magnificent spectacle, which will be revived in all its glory, will ensure right thinking in every quarter.
None of these disciplinary measures, of course, will be used on miscreants among the nobility, lest the unwashed be tempted to lose respect for the innate moral and spiritual superiority of the ruling classes. Those members of the Aristocracy, therefore, who show disrespect for the sovereignty of the crown - by attempting to assassinate the king, for example - will be quietly stripped of their titles, estates, concubines and man-servants (save for a minimal staff to attend to the horses, the table and the bath) and made to suffer banishment to the wilderness. New Jersey will be the usual destination; but in cases of grave and unforgivable crimes against the state such as seducing the king's mistress the traitorous knave will be outfitted in a suit of tar and feathers and cast out forever to the barren fastnesses of Chicago or Duluth, there to be set upon by dragons.
Responsibility for control of the local dragon population, for the preservation of peace and tranquility among the proletariat and for defense of the duchy from foreign aggression will be vested in the Royal and Ancient Army, Navy and Cavalry of Nieuw Amsterdamme, of which the Generalissimo and Supreme Commodore will be the king himself. Presiding at all martial occasions, the monarch will be attired in the traditional trappings of that office: over the white-and-gold uniform of the Maximum Leader, a finely wrought German-silver breastplate emblazoned with the Sublime Sunburst of Reason and Might, which will serve both as tile emblem of his authority and as a bulletproof vest.
Accoutered in less regal but equally resplendent uniforms-replete with ostrich plumes, regimental sashes, jewel-encrusted scabbards, damask ruffles, Siberian furs, French velvets and brocades in peacock shades-his field generals and fleet admirals will restore to the theater of arms both the high drama and the public esteem that are so sadly lacking in this dark day of lackluster attire and low reputation for the military. The abuse now heaped upon the Pentagon for its extravagant appropriations and ill-advised adventures will vanish with the announcement of the duchy's first annual military budget, which will be earmarked exclusively for costuming, medals, horse grooming, jousting lances, valets, banquets, balls, teas, diplomatic receptions, breakage during officers' drinking bouts and other such top-priority expenditures essential to the national security.
Though the sovereign's top-ranking officers will be chosen from among the most trusted members of the aristocracy (in return for tile services of their most cherished and toothsome daughters as ladies in waiting to the king); the lance corporals, dragoons, musketeers, mounted sabers and other patriots who constitute the backbone of the armed forces will be manned by volunteers conscripted from peasant stock-mostly first-born sons, upon reaching their majority (age 12). The ranks between Fusilier Sergeant Major and Queen's Chevalier, finally, will be open to any able-bodied, patriotic young commoner with the intelligence and ability to qualify, plus the where-withal to purchase a warrant - rank to be determined by the amount donated to the Royal Treasury. This will entitle him to enjoy all the perquisites granted to those who thus serve and protect the crown, foremost among which will be rapine-and-pillage privileges in the outlying provinces and that supreme desideratum - the heartfelt gratitude of his king. This royal benison will afford each and every subject in the realm that golden opportunity for self-advancement, which is so essential to the fostering of human dignity. The monarch has even devised a fitting name for this enlightened experiment in progressive social engineering: Participatory Despotism.
The compassionate hand of His Royal Highness will also be extended to those commoners who dare to dream of rising even higher above their humble station. In gratitude for generous contributions to the crown, deserving peasants of comely aspect, high moral character and unblemished medical history may be selected by the monarch for indentured service as a faithful family retainer in the home of whatever nobleman may take a fancy to him or her. If the chosen rustic gives his master satisfaction - in every sense of that delightful word - there is no limit to the heights he may attain: scullion, squire, page, footman, stable boy, perhaps even factotum or majordomo if he performs with joyous will, nimble foot and sealed lips.
He will have much about which to remain silent. Recognizing that countless monarchies of the past would have been colorless and forgotten chapters of history if the ruling classes had been celibates and teetotalers, the king will decree that advanced profligacy and carousal be included, along with the minuet, needle point, fencing and rapier badinage, among the social graces taught to each member of the aristocracy from the day he is old enough to thrash his first lackey. Unburdened of the lingering guilts and inhibitions that afflict those caught between the Scylla of America's puritanical codes and the Charybdis of their biological urges, Nieuw Amsterdamme's emancipated gentry will be encouraged - indeed, compelled by royal fiat, hereafter known as noblesse oblige - to vie with one another as both hosts of exotic revels and subjects of titillating romantic intrigue.
'Week-long saturnalia paying homage to Bacchus, Pan and Dionysus will be the order of the day, and favor with the king (as with his ladies in waiting) will be determined less by wit and wisdom than by prodigious endowment and herculean prowess. After-dinner entertainments will be staged by troupes of Priapic dwarfs, house pets and irrepressible guests, and the hilarious couplings, triplings and quadruplings that result - faithfully conveyed to the populace by the king's messengers - will set tongues awag and acluck throughout the kingdom.
Such innocent sport will be regarded as unspeakable depravity by the common herd, who will lead by law a life of unswerving rectitude and moral piety, with stoning as the people's punishment [or those who engage in such licentious premarital excesses as handholding and reckless eyeballing. As in all other matters affecting the welfare of the king's subjects, kindness will be the guiding impulse behind this royal dictum. In addition to giving them something worthwhile to talk about in their hovels, the uninhibited behavior of their betters will brighten their lives with vicarious enjoyment of the fleshly pleasures in which they are not permitted to indulge themselves. And, most importantly, it will permit them to savor a prideful sense of superiority - if only morally - over those who rightly rule their destinies.
Which brings us to the king's proclamation of those illustrious personages who will be elevated to the noble rank for which their bloodline, breeding, wealth, wit, talent, aspirations and manifest superiority so ideally suit them. Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye: Be it known that the title Archbishop of the Most Holy Reformed Church of Nieuw Amsterdamme, Doctor of Casuistry and Machiavellian Advisor to the Crown is hereby bestowed on the Far Right Reverend William F. Buckley, Jr., who will finally get the chance for which he has been longing to teach a richly deserved lesson in manners to the rabble that rejected him at the polls. Another bloodied but unbowed aspirant to the seat of 'power, that soldier of misfortune, the redoubtable Norman Mailer, Esquire, will vie with the archbishop for the royal ear in his new capacity as the Baron of Greenpoint - two-fisted roisterer, free-style polemicist, patron of gladiators, always ready for a joust or a coup. Completing this truculent triumvirate will be Lord Gore Vidal, tile elegant and sinister King's Poisoner, Effete Intellectual, scion of gentility, court chronicler of erotic aberration and archrival of the archbishop, who still bears the scars of a legendary confrontation with this deadly duelist.
No self-respecting monarchy has ever lacked a Bastard Pretender to the throne, and Nieuw Amsterdamme will be no exception. Deposed for the good of the duchy but still beloved by the people, the Duke of Silkstocking, John Vliet Lindsay, will occupy an esteemed place in the king's court-beside the royal mascot - and a comfortable cottage on the grounds of tile Royal Palace, once the site of his pleasant but modest home, Gracie Mansion. His chief official duty, when he isn't out of the country as Ambassador to the Bahamas, will be to present visiting dignitaries with ceremonial keys to the kingdom, which will admit them to the Royal Privy.
Court galas, a weekly ritual, win be orchestrated by the king's Master of the Revels, Supreme Social Arbiter, Diction Coach and Scandalmonger, Mr. Truman Capote, hereafter known as the Duchess of Sutton Place. Testifying not only to the duchess' fashionably exotic tastes but to his admirable disregard for palace gossip will be his social secretary and technical advisor at the king's debauches, the amusing and erudite Black Knight and Emissary to Haarlem, Sir James Baldwin, who will have the honor of throwing out the first grape at royal bacchanalia. But the most ubiquitous guest at these glittering galas will be the brawling, Falstaffian Earl of Bayside. With a foaming flagon in his hand, a fulsome oath on his lips and a saucy trollop on his knee, the former Jimmy Breslin will be the life of the orgy throughout the social season.
Among the monarch's personal courtiers, finally, will be a veritable Who's Who of the peerage: Mr. Craig Claiborne, Royal Taster; Mr. Mario Procaccino, Court Jester and King of Fools; Mr. Anthony Imperiale, imported from the barbarian wilds of New Jersey to serve as Royal Bodyguard and Protector of the Flag; Mr. Carlo Gambino, contracted through the special dispensation of the Duke of Palermo to officiate as Lord High Executioner; Mr. Tiny Timme, Court Minstrel, whose adorable child bride and flutelike trilling of such ancient madrigals as Tipptoe Throughe ye of state for his beloved king; Merrie Andrew of Warhol, the epicene and enigmatic Palace Artist in Residence, with his bizarre retinue of proteges, male, female and otherwise; Dame Susan Sontag, Court Caviler and Epigrammatist, whose cutting sallies will be the rage of the literary salons over which she will preside on the king's behalf; Lady Gloria Steinem, the monarch's personal Scribe, Biographer, Constant Companion and Undercover Agent to the Court of Richard Nixon; and, last but by no means least, the distinguished rabbinical scholar Mr. David Susskind, who will serve in two key roles: as King's Pedant and as Director of Communications for the monarch's weekly throneside chats with the populace, which will be broadcast over gilded loudspeakers in each public square of the kingdom.
Except for a rare public appearance, this will be the only contact the populace of Nieuw Amsterdamme will have with their ruler - Though his colorless counterpart in Washington, D. C., is anathema to him in every other way, the king shares the American President's conviction that personal remoteness from the proletariat is more dignified than rubbing shoulders and pressing the flesh with the great unwashed. Since the monarch is a devout believer in the old maxim that familiarity breeds contempt, and since he wishes to continue loving his loyal subjects, he will therefore go among them only on state occasions with, of course, a perfumed handkerchief to his nose. If a commoner dares - as many will - to risk flogging for a closer glimpse of the sovereign, he may venture to scale the glass-strewn wall surrounding the Royal Game Preserve, formerly known as Central Park, to peer from the bushes as the king and his favorites gallop by on their straining steeds in hot pursuit of an evil, tusked razorback boar.
It will be a spectacle worth the punishment: baying hounds, blaring bugles, the thunder of hooves, the stirring cry of "Yoicksl Hallool" from a dozen noble throats, the glint of the archbishop's jeweled miter as he whips the flanks of his spirited chestnut, the resounding thud of the Earl of Bayside as he tumbles from
his donkey while swigging from a pewter flask, the flash of an arrow from the crossbow of the Baron of Greenpoint as he takes a playful potshot at the gizzard of the king's squire; and, bringing up the rear, the heart-warming sight of the Bastard Pretender-never forgotten or left out, despite his purely honorific officestumbling along behind the last horse on the end of an iron chain. At the head of the party, of course, leading the charge through gorse and thicket-as through the brambles of life itself-astride his magnificent white stallion, the great horse Excelsior, will be the king himself, a dazzling figure in his plumed hat, shoulder-length wig, richly embroidered hunting robes and gleaming golden spurs, beating the hapless boar to death with the meat end of his royal scepter.
The hand that wields that scepter will no less decisively mete out swift and merciful justice to all his people, no less firmly steer the tiller of the ship of state between the rocks of domestic unrest and the shoals of foreign aggression to the safe harbor of tranquility and contentment, no less boldly deal a death blow to the tyranny of democracy that prevents the people of New York City from fulfilling their manifest destiny under the serene rule of an enlightened and benevolent despot. Is there such a man - with the wisdom to understand that freedom is slavery, the compassion to lift from the bent shoulders of his people the heavy burden of self-determination, the fortitude to keep his head when all those about him are losing theirs? There is, indeed, but modesty forbids the undersigned to do more than refer you, gentle reader, to the 23rd Psalm of the Good Book, which offers incontrovertible evidence that the Almighty Himself has proclaimed His preference on this historic occasion. "The Lord," it is written, "is my Shepherd." If there be any who presume to question the divine will, let them speak now - and face the consequences - or forever hold their peace, with the monarch's assistance. Is there no one? Then let the bell towers peal the joyous tidings: New York is dead! Long live the Sovereign Duchy of Nieuw Amsterdamme and its king! - H.R.H. Augustus Rhetoric I