So we’re pretty sure everyone just figured out that petitioning the government is part of the First Amendment, thanks to the White House petition site and that whole Texas wanting to secede thing, because now there’s a petition for just about everything, from calling for the deportation of Piers Morgan for his comments about gun laws (88,000+ signatures, but we’re betting at least a third of those are from people who just want Piers Morgan deported in general) to one advocating the construction of a Death Star. But for all the trollish requests and bizarro displays of democracy, every once in a while, there’s a much simpler request America can get behind.
Today, some fans launched a petition at the White House site calling for John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats to be named the next Poet Laureate of the United States, succeeding the newly-announced Natasha Trethewey. The government may have some more important things to talk about right now, like this whole fiscal cliff fiasco thing that’s happening, but when they eventually have some time to go through the petitions, I’m sure a compelling case will be made.
"John Darnielle is an American institution. An inspiration to poets, artists and sundry other human beings both in America and world-wide, Mr. Darnielle is a unique voice in modern word and music. For over twenty years, Mr. Darnielle has struggled on our behalf to come to terms with the base instincts of the human psyche. In literature, there is no man more worthy of recognition through the award of U.S. Poet Laureate than John Darnielle.
So do it, Mr. President. Do it!"
Darnielle is not responsible for the petition, but was quick to respond to it on Twitter, saying: "I did not do this, but if I didn’t point it out, they’d fail me in Social Media 201: Petitioning Governments for Lols." He goes on: "Do I get powers of clemency if I get this poet laureate gig or are those only for third-level clerics."
At time of writing, the petition has 1,255 signatures and needs 23,745 more before January 25th to ensure some sort of response from the White House. So get on it, because think about it—the U.S. Poet Laureate creates some kind of initiative over that year to bring poetry to the masses, and if anyone can come up with some crazy brilliant idea to get everyone into poetry, it’s Darnielle. Maybe a Twitter poetry Exquisite Corpse, given Darnielle’s social media presence? Nah, he’ll probably come up with something way more clever than that. Anyway.
And, because the greater works of the U.S. Poet Laureate often become part of high school poetry analysis curricula, think of all the high school English classes that will have way more fun dissecting homages to black metal and relationshisp gone explosively awry than some tired-ass dreck about lanyards and waterskiing across the top of poems (sorry I’m not sorry, Billy Collins). This is the way of the future. Get on it, America.
Now, to pick the perfect song for the induction ceremony: