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Beware the Grand Poobahs!

By Donald Michael Kraig

The term “Grand Poobah” is derived from the brilliant comic opera by Gilbert and Sullivan, The Mikado. In it, there’s a character named “Poo-Bah.” Poo-Bah has a long series of titles after his name, such as Commander-in-Chief, Lord Chief Justice, and Lord High Everything Else. According to Wikipedia, the term Grand Poobah is used today “as a mocking title for someone self-important or high-ranking and who either exhibits an inflated self-regard or who has limited authority while taking impressive titles.”

You may have met or heard of people who have given themselves several archaic and grandiose titles, thinking that a list of exalted honorifics gives them the importance and respect their ego thinks they deserve within their usually incredibly tiny group, a group that often consists of little more than a handful of people—if that. Today, with the internet and a few dollars, people can establish an elaborate presence, making their group appear to have numbers far beyond the actuality. They’ll talk about how the vast majority of their membership believes something when really it is just the personal opinion of one person, the Grand Poobah.

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