Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Царь умер. Да здравствует Царь!

The P-G had this article on the new "bike czar", who, apparently is supposed to solve every bike related problem in the city... which I presume to mean the fucking hills.

The new Pittsburgh bike-pedestrian coordinator's job, though, is to make pedaling or walking the city's 89 neighborhoods, car-choked pinch-points and steep slopes a little less of a thrill ride.

Mr. Patchan, 32, of the South Side Flats, started work Aug. 4 and yesterday he got his marching orders from Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Councilman Patrick Dowd and cycling enthusiasts who crowded Enrico's Tazza D'Oro, a Highland Park coffee shop...

Over the next two years, though, Mr. Ravenstahl and Mr. Dowd want to see tax credits and zoning preferences for businesses that accommodate cyclists, better bike route signs, more bike racks, local and national pedal-power events, and volunteer bike registration, among other things. They'd like to find money to repair city steps, with Mr. Dowd suggesting that the focus be on staircases that lead to transit.
Where the power to exalt every valley and make every hill low comes in is not indicated by statute.

My real interest in this story, however, comes from the assignment of the title "Czar" to this new position. One should remember that the erstwhile Pat Ford was given the title of Economic Development Czar before he decided to take gifts not unethically.

So what is it about this title of "czar" that has compelled the media and the administration to use it so frequently, over such equally impressive titles as "marquis" or "generalissimo" or even "high exalted grand poobah".

Does it evoke images of absolute power and authority over a given realm, or is it merely a warning to the officeholder that at any given time the proletariat could revolt and you may find yourself in front of a firing squad.

I'm obviously opting for the latter.

Mr. Patchan better start sending jaywalkers to the gulag now, before it's too late.


redhorse said...

Fred Flintstone was a water buffalo, but you never hear about the new Bicycling Water Buffalo. Testament of our this damnable times.

MH said...

Czars with Gulags?