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21st Century butler battles: Downton vs Digital

February 2, 2014
By WES BURNS - COPY EDITOR (wburns@timesrepublican.com) , Times-Republican

I was disappointed in this year's State of the Union address.

No one yelling "liar!" during the speech, no lingering shots of the eternally disapproving grimaces of the Supreme Court and Biden stayed awake throughout the entire thing.

Lame.

The major talking point from the speech was just how high the level of income disparity has reached in the United States. According to ultra liberal magazine Mother Jones the top one hundredth of one percent of citizens in the United States have an average income of $27 million per household, the bottom 90 percent have a combined income of $31,000 per household, and the only way to rectify this situation is to collectivize the farmers and march to glorious revolution! Workers unite!

In the interest of fairness I researched the findings of the ultra conservative Heritage Foundation which said that income inequality is none of your business. Do you know how lucky you are to even HAVE a job? I've got a boat full of orphans that would love to take your job and they would only cost me a tin of beans a week! Now get back to work!

So the president spends a decent chunk of his speech talking about what can be done about income disparity. If I recall correctly his solution had something to do with remembering we were all on the same team, and telling people to save more money.

Terrible plan. My savings plan consists of the requisite $25 I need to keep the account active and whatever interest has accrued over the years ... so I have probably about $25.18.

Sure, I could empty out my savings and have one hedonistic trip to Arby's where I order nothing but the finest fast food appetizers that $25 can buy, but then I'd be right back in the poor house as soon as I depleted my high-risk roast beef portfolio.

But I think I have a different plan, and if you happen to know the president pass this one along.

So you've got these super-capitalists, swimming through open waters like a shiver of sharks (look it up) basically eating everything in their path, unburdened by morality of ethics. The Mother Jones' of the world would have us believe that in order to beat the sharks we need to elevate the other fish to shark-status; to spread the wealth, as it were.

You know what happens when a shiver of sharks meet a new shiver of sharks? They all eat each other. And then there's nothing left but pod after pod of seals, mocking us with their barking.

I say why try to be a shark when you can be a remora?

Yes, the honorable, obsequious remora; always ready and willing to attach itself to the side of a shark and feast upon the scraps the shark failed to realize it forgot to eat.

And nothing says "supplicating parasite" quite like a good, ole fashioned butler.

Yes, butlers. Is there a greater tool for the villainously rich than a butler? Ever ready and always discrete a good butler is prepared for any situation, from fetching the laundry to disappearing an overnight guest to lying before Congress.

But what kind of butler do you want to be?

Like any other red-blooded American my first impression when I hear "butler" is, naturally, Batman's butler Alfred. Then "Downton Abbey." Then ... probably Kato, but he was more of a chauffer.

But according to my close, personal friends at the Washington Post (we own a time share) the "Downton Abbey" style butler is on the way out.

All across the butling colleges of Europe a war is raging about the future direction of ... butling.

Some butling schools, like The International Butler Academy, believe that the time honored traditions that have defined butlerhood since before the days of "Downton," subservience, silence and white-gloveitude, are disappearing at a rate so fast it would make one adjust their coat tails in disgust.

Other venerable institutions such as the Bespoke Bureau of London believe that butlering must evolve to meet 21st century standards. They say a butler should be prepared to produce a cell charger or an iPad as readily as they would old standard items like monocle polish or a riding crop.

Clearly a fight over matters this important could rage for decades. What the poor of this great country of ours should do is pick a side in the Great Butler Debate, affix themselves firmly to the nearest one hundredth of one percenter they can find, and proudly stand resolute as their spoiled child pelts them with bits of food that costs more than your car.

At least its a better plan than waiting for them to raise the minimum wage.

 
 

 

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