Ryan Alexander-Tanner

LET'S BE HONEST, if you're reading the Portland Mercury, you only had one reaction to the pope visiting America: You loved it! You have Pope Fever, baby. You have Popefluenza, baby. The pope killed you with a sword, baby. Okay, you probably don't care about the pope at all, and you're not wrong. If you're younger than 60 and not an active Catholic, these are the reasons you should care about the pope:

• That Beatles song about the silver hammer is pretty good.

• It's cool that he's visiting in the same way it'd be cool if Gandalf were a real person and he visited America, except Gandalf only pretended to be magic.

That's kind of it... but people have a real connection to the pope. Tickets to see him give a speech about anti-capitalism in Central Park were getting scalped for $1,500. Most days if you want to see someone who claims to speak directly to God ramble about the government in Central Park, it's completely free. There's something undeniable about a pope, though. Not THE pope, just a pope. I like the idea that there's one monolithic figure who represents and guides an entire group of people.

Now the Catholics would never have me—I'm on the wrong side of the Inquisition for those incense swingers—so I have a proposition. (A POPEPOSITION! OH MY GOD, SOMEONE JUST HANDED ME A PULITZER!) I think there should be way more popes. You get a pope and you get a pope and you get a pope. (I'M LIKE POPE-RAH OVER HERE. OH MY GOD, A SECOND PULITZER.)

I'm a big fat Jewish comedian, so I can really only nominate popes for those individual groups. There's only one clear choice for Jewish pope: Mel Brooks. There are Jews in other parts of the world who may not relate to Mel Brooks in the same way American Jews do, but fuck those weirdos. It could only be Mel Brooks—the first guy to really take the piss out of Hitler, an entertainer for all generations, short, Brooklyn accent, probably knows a decent bagel place in every city.

The fat pope would be the Notorious B.I.G., the first person to be simultaneously fat, cool, and famous. Also, I know he's dead, so... Biggie's ghost is the fat pope, then.

The comedian pope is also Mel Brooks.

I sincerely believe every group of people would benefit from a pope. You know who'd be a great pope for black people? Ta-Nehisi Coates! Pope for women? Shonda Rhimes! I'm just kidding—I'm a white dude, I'm not gonna fuck around and suggest other groups' popes. I just wanted everyone to know that I know who Ta-Nehisi Coates and Shonda Rhimes are and that I understand. #INTERSECTIONALITY. Vote for Ian.

So get out there, everyone, pick your own pope. Worst-case scenario, you'll get some rad candles out of it.