Opine, O' Mine!
By J.K. Rolling
I've done it. I've convinced the powers that be at Mohican Press to broaden those "mohicaan" horizons by adding a column that has nothing at all to do with LOTM. To be sure, there was the usual hemming and hawing, the gnashing of teeth, the clueless Alician stare. "Why?" "What's the Six Degrees?" "Isn't that expansionism?" "Never." I knew they'd come around eventually. Creative enterprises always seek new frontiers. Some just take their time about it. A patient opportunist, I waited to seize the right moment. I did my research. I took notes. I observed. The scandals, riots, emigrations, international crises, private feuds, public lamentations - this Mohicanland was an internet community begging to be redefined as it discovered its own new 'happy trails.' To be more direct, it was ripe for pickings. So, I, as any altruistic opportunist would do, badgered, begged, and bribed. I persevered and I wore them down. Here I am - one more self-made, self-declared, self-absorbed 'internet columnist' ready to take on the world's issues as if the world really cared it even had issues.
'Who are you and why are you writing a column on the Mohican Press web site that is entirely unrelated to LOTM?' I knew you'd ask that. You've already noted "By J.K. Rolling" just under and to the right of the header. There you have it, sort of. That's the 'who.' J.K. Rolling isn't my real name. It's my nom de plume. And why must I have a nom de plume instead of a name de plain, you wonder? There are very good reasons to choose a nom over a name. There is statistical optimism. Studies, if they were to be carried out and actually studied, would undoubtedly prove the majority of successful writers achieved their success while writing under the influence of a nom de plume. Therefore, the conclusion must be made that the majority of writers who've penned their birth names upon their works were dismal failures. Nom or name, which would you bet on?
Further rationalization for the nom de plume, particularly the choice of J.K. Rolling, is ruthless pragmatism. What good is a writer without an audience? I can, I realize, patiently await the development of a fair readership who will, in time, provide great satisfaction and a sense of pride in 'a job well done.' Or I can cheat. Cheating is quicker. I'm no idiot. I know there's a particular person currently residing in England who has crafted a modern version of an English fairy tale with an incredible 'rags to riches' true life story, and I know the stories written by this unnamed person are a 'smashing success.' (Potter - that's all I'm saying.) I also know a large percentage of internet searches will be carried out with various misspellings of said person's sur-nom. Chances are, not a few of those cyber-souls will happen upon this column simply by way of, oh, a missing 'w' or so. Is this ethical? Is it proper? Sure it is! Web geeks know the value of loading their pages with misspelled and irrelevant key words so they can grab their fair share of market searches. But I like to think of it as the trickle down effect of basic supply and demand economics within a free market internet. All's fair in love and webs. It's all about getting a piece of the action. That's the 'why.'
Statistical optimism and ruthless pragmatism - both ought to net me a competitive edge and a 'thumbs up' for business management. But an equally important reason for the nom de plume is the agreement I have with the Mohican Press 'powers that be.' Throughout the contractual negotiations (from which I received neither penny nor copper so I do need those wayward rolling potters) it was their demand that I attempt a tie-in to LOTM in these columns, and it was my demand that I not be so irrationally bound to do so. It was also their demand that I assume full responsibility for any and all offenses I might cause by anything I might write, imply, or cruelly insinuate. It was, naturally, my demand that I not be so irrationally bound to do so. Such restrictions, I reasoned, might temper my thoughts and dilute my commentary. I simply must have a nom de plume and they should just befriend an attorney. In the end, they (either through weariness, insobriety, or boredom) were reasonable and agreed to all my demands. They did make one small, final "request"; that I offer a bit of personal background and write under my true, full name. My reply ... "Why?" "What's the Six Degrees?" "Isn't that expansionism?" And ... "Never."
Now that I'm rolling (nom de plume pun), what's with the Euro? Does Europe today actually need a pan-union and standardized currency to strengthen her collective economic clout or is this just another feel-good, group-hug unity moment? Putting aside the original post-WWI1 designs to prevent further intra-European wars ('51Treaty of Paris, signed by "The Six"), and assuming the fiscal logic today is to strengthen overall European commerce by easing continental transactions, I wonder, don't credit cards do that? After all, they're everywhere you want to be. Could the Euro be an innovative defense budget that generates rather than spends currency while deterring military aggression? If the introduction of the Euro isn't fiscally or strategically motivated, could its purpose then be more in the line of brotherly love? Sort of a Messier Roger's Neighborhood of political, economic solidarity in a fair playground. 'I'm okay! You're okay! All non-Euros go away! Goooooo, Pan-Europe!' It's not an entirely new concept, of course. In 1846 Victor Hugo urged European governments to "form a fraternity of Europe." Yet, it seems a bit of a throwback to the good old days when European monarchs achieved stability and diplomacy (not to mention some choice real estate) across the continent by trading off their sons and daughters in some nasty, nasty marriage arrangements. Of course, it didn't take long to achieve a nice selection of incestuous heads of state. All in the family, as they say. Perhaps there was just a bit too much fraternizing in the royal courtyards. No wonder so many English rulers were mad. (I'm not singling out the British. It's merely the price of success.)
I've been wondering who is really behind this Euro thing, which makes me ask, who has the most to gain? Russia? It's true the ruble is a rubble and Russia could certainly get a nice pay raise with the Euro, but she's hardly in a position to flex any economic clout. In fact, she's not even a member of the European Union. Greece? Not likely. Too obsessed with old wars and even older feuds to wreak havoc on the European currency exchange. France? Non, non. (Actually - oui, oui, possibly - IF you put it as a Franco-Germanic alliance. Strange bedfellows. More on that another day.) The Netherlands, perhaps? Considering the strong and constant value of the Dutch guilder and the likelihood that Dutch citizens are taking a huge financial beating with the Euro currency transition, I'd rule out the Netherlands completely. Maybe ........ Italy? Well, let's see ... It takes about 5 billion lire to equal one U.S. Dollar, and there is that little matter of Italy getting somewhat short-changed after WW11 (just didn't get the same home improvement loans that Germany and Japan received). I'd say Italy could be the one! Nothing to lose, everything to gain. Lira or Euro? My Euro is on Italy. Bravo!
What of Britain? As an early member of the European Union club, one might expect Britain to trade in the old pounds for some spanking new shiny Euros. Nope. The Brits are holding out. Why? I think they remember the consequences of pan-European trading all too well. They're still getting over the madness of King George. And what do you know ... there's a Six Degrees to LOTM after all.
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