Monday, March 18, 2013
Knights and Knighthood Today
Thankfully, people like pop stars, comedians and media personalities are generally restricted to the lowest orders of knighthood, though even that is rather ridiculous considering that someone like a movie star will receive a knighthood while someone serving in combat in the military is not. However, even the highest ranks, such as in the United Kingdom for example (being the most prominent monarchy in the world) are often given to retired politicians regardless of whether or not they accomplished anything significant or not. Giving it to one compels that it be given to all the others, I suppose, is the thinking behind this so that the monarch cannot be accused of having any favorites. The situation is even worse when it comes to non-reigning royals and the orders of knighthood associated with their particular house, as such heirs are often targeted and taken advantage of by dishonest and vain individuals who are simply out to swindle as many such appointments as possible, presumably to massage their ego. Personally, I cannot understand that mentality. After all, one could hardly take much pride in such an award and if one just likes to have lots of gongs and ribbons hanging off of them, you can dress up in whatever decorations you like and no one can stop you.
In the future, we will be looking at some of the more famous orders of knighthood from history as knighthood is something inexorably bound up with monarchy in the popular imagination. Those we will be reviewing were very much the genuine articles and a far cry from the often merely political institutions of today. The facts should be looked at clearly though, both to discourage those (and they do exist) whose attachment to monarchy is dependent on their fascination with baubles and to show what these orders have been capable of and, were they to embrace the zeal and discipline of their origins, could be again.