Now, for a Big Bad Bald Bastard first, I am conducting a poll! Since today marks the beginning of the Conclave to elect the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, I am polling my readers about who they wish to see in the papal throne:
Now, for a quick introduction to the candidates, and a bastardly summation of the pros and/or cons to each candidacy...
First up, we have Shane MacGowan, the monsignor of The Church of the Holy Spook. Shane would be the first Irish pope, which would be a fitting, if belated, display of gratitude for that whole preservation of scholarship through the Dark Ages thing. The one possible wrinkle with Pope Shane I is that he might distribute amphetamines in lieu of communion wafers.
Next up, we have M. Bouffant, who also has had a career doing pastoral work. While most popes have tried to concentrate on esoteric affairs rather than worldly ones, I can't think of anyone whose comtempt for worldly matters exceeds that of Monsieur Bouffant. Also, moving the papal residence to L.A. would make pilgrimages easier for working class residents of Latin America.
Next up, we have Massimo. Do I even need to spell out how awesome a pope in a luchador mask would be? Plus, daily Mass would be a lot more hilarious than it currently is.
Now, we're coming up to Pupienus Maximus, who should be Popeienus. Perhaps what the Church needs now is a motorcycle-riding, man-Ho loving Portland cooking machine. Plus, Portland is supposed to have the most strip clubs per capita in the U.S. while the Vatican has none that I know of. Bringing a Portland vibe to the Vatican would address this glaring lack of nudie bars.
Charles Stross, being the antipope, would, if elected pope, create a pope/antipope reaction which would further the field of particle physics in a way which the LHC could never accomplish.
Paul Ryan would take the name Pope John Galt I and attempt to interject an Ayn Randian worldview into the doctrine of the church. The benefit of a Ryan papacy would be that the U.S. would finally be rid of the sociopathic schmuck, and having a Randian disciple pope would cause Ayn to turn over in her grave to such an extent that we could attach magnets to withered remains and generate enough power to address all of the nation's energy needs.
Now, Fidel Castro... Fidel means "faithful", and faith is a necessary characteristic of a pope.
Kathryn-Jean Lopez, while not a male (unless you count the mirror universe K-Lo with a beard, who is a lefty, atheist writer for the world's best website), is holier-than-the-pope, so she would make an excellent candidate for someone whose honorific is "Your Holiness".
Finally, we have Morrissey, whose candidacy I've touched on before. If elected pope, the "Pope of Mope" will make an ex cathedra pronouncement that transubstantiation no longer transforms bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, thus allowing vegans to partake of communion. While this would initially create some doctrinal problems, I think a solution inspired by a really terrible movie would be possible. One possible complication of a Morrissey papacy is that it would make Mojo Nixon an anti-pope, and a protracted Charles Stross/Mojo Nixon flamewar of epic proportions could possibly rend the internet asunder. Of course, there is a slight chance that Mojo Nixon and Charles Stross could merge to form a superantipope... such a collaboration could be very fruitful, as both Stross and Nixon have written about horrors that humanity was never meant to behold.
Alright, that's our Papal Conclave poll, my first poll ever. Don't forget to vote! Forgetting to vote causes people to worry about your whereabouts. If you have any write-in candidates, please post them in the comments. Off the top of my head, I can think of two splendid alternate candidates. Pope Thunder I would be sure to canonize both Joseph of Strummermathea and Jerry of the Jam. The second great alternate candidate is Italian Spiderman, who would usher in a "puncho puncho" papacy.