Magna Carta Libertatum Semine: Monica’s Blue Dress Revisited

In May 1982 Doohwan Jun stopped at Honolulu on his way home from a visit to the White House, ostensibly to mark the centennial of the US-Korea diplomatic relations but really to suck up to Reagan, hoping to sell his military dictatorship as a democratic civilian government. Almost the entire Korean community of Hawaii turned out and stood in line to meet His Excellency, bloody queller of the Gwangjoo Democratization Uprising and sleekest bandit who in the course of his 8-year term would salt away many times more than Ferdinand Marcos could ever imagine. When her turn came to grasp his proffered hand, one Korean woman was so overcome with emotion at her being in actual tactile contact with the supreme ruler of Korea that she lost it completely and pissed right in front of him. Actually, when I first heard it, I thought the account to be a white-washed version of her squirting. Such is the aphrodisiac potency of power, especially supreme power, but I am assured by multiple sources that it was the other kind of discharge. But I am digressing.

Democracy or government by the governed will not be a reality until and unless the governed, the plain John and Jane, can step up to any governmental agent or office as owners and employers, without losing it, without feeling the least bit demeaned. All pomp and ceremony, symbols and rituals, calculated to do the opposite, to awe and cow, should be eradicated. Only then is democracy complete. Let’s call that final stage consummation of democracy. As initiator of democracy in the modern world the United States is honor bound to lead the way to this ultimate goal.

I thought Bill Clinton had picked up the baton when I saw him on TV stopping at a MacDonald’s during his morning jog and grabbing a hamburger. Then followed a more spectacular coup in the cause: spilling his seed all over Monica, after oral sex, in the Oval Office. Her blue dress stained with Bill Clinton’s semen, saved from dry cleaning and extinction by her friend Linda Tripp’s presence of mind, may well be called the Magna Carta Libertatum Semine (Great Charter of the Liberties through Semen), truly a milestone in the liberation of humanity from awe and reverence for governmental power, especially supreme power, and deserves preservation for posterity in a climate controlled glass case alongside the most treasured documents at the Smithsonian.

During the subsequent Starr investigations our standard bearer conducted himself true to form: he lied and lied like a coward, like any of us, instead of owning up to the monumental service he was performing for mankind, when the pack of wolves, actually cheating sheep themselves in wolves’ clothing, circled around him, baying and snarling for lowering the dignity of his office.

Dignity? The very idea is obscene. Royalty, supposedly shucked in 1776, still sits squarely on America’s back like a crushing millstone. Why should we dignify a guy, a hillbilly from Arkansas as it happens, who lucked out and got elected to do a job for the people, more than, say, a church member selected to greet people at the door or pass offering plates? Do we bow down and worship the usher by virtue of his selection? But vested with dignity is the Oval Office and its occupant, almost with divine charisma. The hillbilly is still addressed Mr. President and nobody dares to call him Bill. And he laps it all up, again true to form. As greedy as any of us, he charges a million dollars per speech, $100,000 to come to dinner, $50,000 to pose for a picture, a monstrosity manured by the rankest, blindest, most herd-driven, slavish environment. So our presumptive trail-blazer for the consummation of democracy turns out to be a fake after all who lands us solidly back where we started, in abject awe of governmental authority.

Regression to pre-democracy is most flagrant in the American court system where the judicial staff is regularly addressed as Your Honor. My skin crawls every time I hear it but it doesn’t bother the robed community on the bench, supposedly the conscience and wisdom of the nation. On the contrary, they love and encourage it, and even order it. I heard a female judge shout to an unruly defendant, “Your Honor to you.” Then there is the nauseating routine of “All rise,” as if the judge is a god descending from heaven. It’s high time the layout of the courtroom is changed: the bench, lowered to the same floor level, should abut the table for the counsel and parties to form a sort of round table configuration. The proximity would not only save on building construction costs but speed up communication among the participants if they really mean to work together, in humility, to seek justice, as fallible and elusive as it may be. Nor would the chumminess cause any confusion as to who is doing what, including the judge’s role as presider.

Of all government employees US Congressmen are relatively free from conceit, as they know they won’t get reelected if they put on airs with their constituents. But in the interest of true democracy they should have the intellectual honesty firmly to tell their sycophants to omit Honorable from their appellation because they are just as devious and manipulative as the next Joe Blow.

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5 thoughts on “Magna Carta Libertatum Semine: Monica’s Blue Dress Revisited

  1. Isn’t the main point of democracy what you rightly point out, that “the plain John and Jane” can make their way into public office? What’s wrong with a “hillbilly from Arkansas” as our president? I don’t think we should vilify Clinton or America’s functioning as a democracy for his love life. His scandal and affair probably popularized and humanized him, as he is brought down to the same level as all other John’s and Jane’s out there.  Not that I agree with the precedent or the celebrity sex tape culture culture that glorifies any behavior by our politicians and leaders to the extreme: Spitzer, Strauss-Kahn, Schwarzenegger, Weiner, Sanford, Berlusconi, the list goes on and on.  The real criticism and condemnation should be against infidelity and cheating, which seems to be increasingly more accepted and expected in today’s society.

    Secondly, I disagree with doing away with titles and the courtroom drama. These signs of respect are important for keeping law and order. Justice, right and wrong, crime and punishment – all of these codes come from a higher power, and the people serving to carry these out deserve our respect and should be addressed differently. Perhaps our Korean or Confucian values, which can go overboard with its honorific forms and other formalities, can teach our Western friends more about respect, deference, and humility.

  2. I met your son at the Winter Harbor Music Festival two years ago,. We have been facebook friends since. I am, indeed, closer in age and generation to you than to him. I am just 70 this past month. Your son encouraged his FB friends to check out your blog. Glad I did. I enjoy your writing, particularly the humor in this article. I look forward to taking the time to read more. ( I retired from Federal Civil Service two and a half years ago, and am finally finding time to do what I like.)

  3. Dear Mr. Pak,
    Mr. Pak,

    Your son Woody is a hyung to me and many people in the community respect him and his work. He recently forwarded me your blog and I thoroughly enjoyed your articles. You’re an amazing writer with high intellect and you’re really funny. Much respect to you. I hope you write a book!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!
    A new fan,

    • Happy New Year to you, my New Fan! I have a few books out, Guilt Payment, Moonbay, Cry Korea Cry, A Korean Decameron, and the Polyglot, soon to be issued. I appreciate having you as my fan. Get back to me with more comments.

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