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The King In I

By       Message Richard Hirschhorn     Permalink
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Halloween, 09

"The King In I"

Click on history. Select "lists", go to "F". Under "F" find the roster of all-star fools. Right at the top are the alchemists. Our great amusement flows not from the conviction that they have never succeeded in changing base metals into gold, but from the understanding of what would result if they did. What could be more stupid than to believe improvementt could result from transforming what is precious because it is rare into what is cheap because it is common?

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Along the way, I had a friend that was something of a wheel in local government. At the time, before the local triumph of gentrification, my friend was working on what might tenderly be called Brooklyn's "image" problem. As a private citizen, I knew it was none of my business. I threw my two cents in.

I suggested clever slogans. These were the kinds of things you could scribble on the signs politicians make magically appear the instant they take office. I sought to add some inspiring verbiage to follow "Welcome To Brooklyn" (Kings County, NY). This, I imagined, could be squeezed in between the large letters of the salutation and the even larger letters designed to advertise JOE FATHEAD, local honcho.

The task was to update the historically negative opinions of America's fourth largest city. Sayings such as "Where Families (7) Make Their Bones", or the "The Slum That Inspired The Black Panthers", were not in keeping with our new image. What was needed was something that, first of all, made Joe Fathead look good, while keeping in step with the new Brooklynites, who, if nothing else, were folks what had tone.

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I suggested "In Kings Live the People", and other variations of that theme like "The People Live In Kings", so on, and so forth. My friend was impressed, even surprised; revealing, if nothing else, that our friendship had not been based on my intellectual potential. In the end, while I couldn't imagine why, nothing came of my work; except in my own mind where the notion of citizen as King survives.

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