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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Notes from the Anglo File

The bumper-sticker (custom made, mind you) says it all:

"WARNING: Gilbert & Sullivan Freak Behind Wheel"

You know, even if you're just some random schmoebert driving behind me, that I'm a little, well, off.  I'm a little, well, smitten with all things Britain.  I'm a little looney.

Just a li'l.

(To be said with a traditional Cockney glottal stop.  Of course.)

Anglophiles are a unique breed, and we're all a bit muddled, a bit befuddled, because, see there's the whole identification issue-- identifying with your oppressor.  After all, Good King George did try to fuck our shit up for daring to take flight, lest we forget.  But for an American who is, after all, half-Israeli and 100% Jewish to boot, that whole dynamic seems almost a bit irrelevant.

I fell in love with English culture years and years ago.  Too much "Monty Python's Flying Circus" exposure at a time when the brain was extremely soft, malleable, and porous.  It's settled some now, but the damage has been done.  And it was done unto others.

Our elementary school had a program where 5th graders were paired up with 2nd graders.  The purpose of this was that the 5th graders would get together with their 2nd grade "book buddies" in the library once a week and read the 2nd graders stories.  Mentoring at a very young age.  It worked-- my book buddy and I are Facebook friends.  And she's fucking hot as balls now, but I digress.  Anyway, I can still vaguely remember reading young Carly "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."  It was a swell time.

Anyway, the culminating event of the Book Buddy program was that we 5th graders were to write a book specifically for our 2nd grade book buddy.  Every page of the book would be laminated (in case, I guess, our book buddy became violently ill while reading it) and spiral bound by the school librarian, and entered into the permanent school library collection, for future impressionable youths to enjoy.  Some 5th graders wrote their takes on traditional fairy tales, some wrote stories where vegetables came to life and some wrote about things that had happened to them in their own lives, like breaking bones or getting puppies.

My story concerned Queen Elizabeth II getting kidnapped by members of the IRA and being hidden away inside the clock tower of Big Ben, and then rescued by members of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guard, assisted by Detective Inspectors from the London Metropolitan Police Department.  That Carly is Facebook friends with me today, and that, to my knowledge, she has never been the recipient of inpatient psychiatric treatment, is nothing short of miraculous.

I'm the kind of Anglophile who believes that everything coming from the British Isles is better than things in America.  Hobnobs taste better than Chips Ahoy.  The English Ford Focus is cooler than the American one-- at least it was for years, until the latest American restyle.  G&S is better than American musical theatre.  The monarchy is cooler than the presidency.  British comedy is funnier than American comedy.  British men's clothing is sharper than American men's clothing.  The British are more refined, more tasteful, more... correct than Americans.

That last point, however, gave me a moment's pause today as I looked through a slideshow from the Queen's Jubilee celebration.


Mm-hm.  And let's not ignore...

And that, my friends, is how an American Anglophile gets bloody well humbled.

God Save the Queen.

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