January 17, 2008

How to Really Be Remembered

This week I was doing some research into a man referred to in Macedonian as Крали Марко, or Prince Marko, a medieval Serbian prince who ruled over an area that included present-day central Macedonia. Apparently he shows up in some traditional Macedonian, Serbian, and Bulgarian folk stories and songs, but not a whole lot is known about old Marko. And what is known of him is not incredibly impressive. In fact, as one site put it: "It is unclear why he became such an important epic figure, taking into account his relatively small historical role."

Ok. So why was I looking into the past of this mostly unknown royalty from the 14th century? What about this obscure folk hero would ever persuade me to dedicate a few of my valuable internet surfing minutes towards investigating the life and times of said hero? Simple: he has a beer named after him. It's not a good beer; in fact, it's to generally be avoided, but that's neither here nor there.

Sitting there with a cold glass of his namesake beer, how could one feel anything but warm things towards the prince. Knowing anything about him is not a requisite to loving the man, just think of Sam Adams. Who bears any ill will towards that Patriot? Though it was his cousin, John, who went on to be our second president, today it's Sam's face we see on so many bottles. And likewise, Macedonia has had many celebrated heroes throughout its history, and yet it is Prince Marko who is everywhere.

See, these fellows--Sam and Marko--have found the perfect shortcut to enduring fame. It's like landing on that really, really long ladder on Chutes 'n Ladders, the one that takes you nearly the entire length of the board just for helping an old woman carry her groceries. As the competition trudges up the board getting good grades and scraping their knees, you're watching them from the victory circle, relishing your good fortune.

No doubt Marko is somewhere enjoying that same feeling right now. He found that ladder, thereby hop-scotching hundreds of years of famed warriors, kings, politicians, poets, and authors to land himself on a popular label found in every corner store in Macedonia. And when Macedonia joins the EU, Marko will be taking his show on the road, prompting thousands of Europeans to ponder, "Who the heck is Крали Марко?"


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Marko the Magificent,I think I may have the answer to his popularity. He had a great promotional guru who didn't know a good beer from a bad one. I's in the advertising tecknique that really counts. So now you have the honor spreading the good news about old Marko all over the internet. We now know "Who the heck is PrinceMarko." Good hunting Dan. I's sure great talking to you and Jillian on the SKYPE network and we look forward to the next installment of ancient Macedonia history. Love to you both. Grandpa and Grandma