In its purest sense, nicknaming is an elitist ritual practiced by those who cherish hierarchy. For preppies it's a smoke signal that allows Bunny to tell Pooky that they belong to the same tribe, while among the good old boys it serves the cause of masculine dominance by identifying Bear and Wrecker as Alpha males.
Time has lost all meaning in that nightmare alley of the Western world known as the American mind. We wallow in nostalgia but manage to get it all wrong. True nostalgia is an ephemeral composition of disjointed memories... but American-style nostalgia is about as ephemeral as copyrighted d?j? vu.
We want a president who is as much like an American tourist as possible. Someone with the same goofy grin, the same innocent intentions, the same naive trust; a president with no conception of foreign policy and no discernible connection to the U.S. government, whose Nice Guyism will narrow the gap between the U.S. and us until nobody can tell the difference.
America is not a democracy, it's an absolute monarchy ruled by King Kid. In a nation of immigrants, the child is automatically more of an American than his parents. Americans regard children as what Mr. Hudson in Upstairs, Downstairs called betters. Aping their betters, American adults do their best to turn themselves into children. Puerility exercises droit de seigneur everywhere.
Self-help books are making life downright unsafe. Women desperate to catch a man practice all the ploys recommended by these authors. Bump into him, trip over him, knock him down, spill something on him, scald him, but meet him.
Any hope that America would finally grow up vanished with the rise of fundamentalist Christianity. Fundamentalism, with its born-again regression, its pink-and-gold concept of heaven, its literal-mindedness, its rambunctious good cheer... its anti-intellectualism... its puerile hymns... and its faith-healing... are made to order for King Kid America.