There was a Duke who didn’t know he was a Duke. Over the last 20 years the Duke led what some would say was a very Duke-worthy life, though unlike most titled aristocracy this Duke was actually well loved. He was able to move in the circles formed by the trappings of success while connecting with the regular people.
This Duke often used his publicly prominent position to speak into social issues with a forceful but balanced message. But there were those who disliked his message because it interrupted their cognitive dissonance. Other factions, some sincere and some with overt schadenfreude driven motives celebrated the Duke who was not aware of his title, as it turned out expressly because they, those sycophants, were also unaware of the fact that he was a Duke.
Over those twenty plus years in question, a handful of subjects that had gotten into the Dukes inner circle attempted to elevate his stature to the level of Duke, and they wanted to be known as having been in the Duke’s inner circle. But the Duke ignored their efforts to bestow title on his person. He was happy and wanted to stay blissfully unaware of that station.
The man grew old. In the twilight years of his life suddenly others started cobbling together anecdotes that seemed related. Almost overnight the beloved man was outed. “He is a Duke!” , could be heard on radio and television stations across the land. This was bad.
How can being a Duke in the kingdom be a bad thing? To understand that one needs to explore the history of other Dukes in this realm.
Once upon a time a very famous Duke’s fiefdom was torn asunder by one serf woman. She was an unfortunate outcast, living by selling her favors to the guards of the Duke’s Minor Keep. The Duke was unaware of this, he prided the degree of morality that mainly informed the society that existed in his land. As a feudal executor he did not rule with blood and fist but gently by virtue of generosity born of the land’s bounty.
When news came to him that the Keep’s guard had taken the unfortunate women and used her, as a group, in ways she had not agreed to, he was crestfallen. His words came out choked.
“Bring me the damsel please”. he said. Shortly the woman came before the Duke. When he heard her tale he was deeply saddened and enraged. He ordered the charge of the guard before him and once the man appeared, the Duke had him immediately and publicly executed. He felt that was the right thing and that it would quench any righteous blood lust arising amongst the good serfs. He was wrong.
Word spread to other local Lords that the Duke had executed his captain for behavior his men had been accused of by a woman of the night. When the other Lords learned the name of the accuser, some of them, having availed themselves secretly to her wares, suspected there were things unknown and wondered if their friend had acted impulsively in the interest of balance and tranquility.
As it turned out, they were correct. The harlot revised her story, weeping as she was confronted by the widow of the Captain. The widow, after the recanting, asked, “What is your name woman?”
“Crystal Gail Mangum”, she said.
This was what the new Duke was thinking as he watched his coronation unfold on national television. “I’m not a Duke and don’t want to be a Duke” , he said.
But the land was no longer of serfs. The prosperity of the people had made them lazy thinkers. They rushed from one pedestrian template of opinion to another, like herds, for no better reason than everyone else was doing it, and by the way it really feels good to deconstruct a Duke.
Especially the newly named Duke…..Bill Cosby