January 26, 2005

From John Cleese?

A friend sent me the following tongue-in-cheek(I guess) memo to the US from comedian John Cleese. Normally I wouldn't bother, but I've got a hankering to dismember parts of it.

"To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today.

This looks like a no win situation for the US: Europeans think that Bush is incompetent, while most of know that John Kerry actually is incompetent. I don't see a way out here.

Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

A country's got to know its limits. Start thinking about yours.

Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections.

We're aware that the rest of the world exists. Someone's got to wait on us when we go on vacation. As far a no "need for further elections", I refer you back to my point above.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

Actually, this wouldn't really bother me. Score one for Johnny.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

There are some in this country that think sucking on the ruling class teat is just fine and dandy, but most of us do not. We ain't dependent on nobody except us.

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium." Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.

Please look up torch in the dictionary. Look up flashlight. Compare and contrast.

The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and 'neighbour', skipping the letter U' is nothing more than laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters.

I've read quite a bit of English literature during my lifetime without difficulty. If returning that favor is too much of a struggle for you, then I worry for you as a nation. The effort of inhaling and exhaling an a regular basis could prove to be a challenge.

You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not
'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise."

Please see my previous response.

You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with correct pronunciation.

This is only true in Britain. Germans say "berg" and not "burra". We kicked their ass twice, which means we now officially own the pronuciation for burgh. We can call it whatever we damn well please. Just be glad that we haven't forced YOU to change.

Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary."

Actually, I'm with him on this one. Too many people give me blank looks when I use words such as pejorative, obstreperous or serendipitous. My manager received feedback from someone who didn't like talking to me because they had to "use a dictionary to translate" what I had said. I was surprised that they owned a dictionary and could use it properly, so it all worked out.

Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up "interspersed."

If it were permissible to flog someone that used the phrase "you know" more than once every five minutes, my workplace would be filled with a lot of sore backsides. Third score for Johnny; he's on a roll.

There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary then you won't have to use bad language as often.

That's not true at all. My vocabulary is quite large, but I enjoy the expletive as much as the next person. It provides a visceral outlet for my emotions when speaking. So fuck off, you ponce.

2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."

So we're back to this again. Yawn. Find something else to say. You're boring me.

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard.

Already done. I struggle a little with identifying the South African accent, though.

English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents - Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with subtitles.


While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is "Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

I don't say Queenslandshire or Devonshire; I suspect most other Americans don't either. Maybe you should get out more often.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys.

You haven't paying attention, have you?

Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to play English characters.

England will be required to cast Americans to play American characters. The role does not count if the actor is required to wear a cowboy hat.

British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.

We have more of a taste for the politically incorrect than you guys do. Maybe you haven't noticed because the EU has had you grabbing your ankles for a while.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through.

Like the English, Americans sing "God Save The Queen" if for no other reason than the fact that we don't want Howdy Doody as King. You know about whom I speak.

6. You should stop playing American "football." There is only one kind of football.

Soccer? Are you serious? I'd rather have my son become a figure skater. A pair of skates and a sequined blouse will be better accepted in my home than a soccer ball.

What you refer to as American "football" is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football.

Have you bothered to actually check the news the last 10-20 years? Hello, World League of Football(or whatever it's called).

You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game.

Playing with girls could be accomplished by simply joining the English team. Been a while since the last World Cup victory, huh?

Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by 2005.

I'll take seven NFL players, remove their uniforms, teach them the rules for rugby and then stand back and watch them disassemble the British teams, one by one. To make it fair, though, we'll allow you to field ALL of the British teams at the same time against our boys. The game might last a little bit longer that way.

You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.

Do us the favor of giving up cricket and we'll consider giving up baseball.

Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called "rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

It's really not nice that you keep calling your athletes girls. Oh, and rounders=cricket. Right?

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns.

That's worked out so well for the British citizenry. No wait, it's worked out well for the criminals. After all, we wouldn't want us everyday folks to be a threat to burglars or anything, would we?

You will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

You keep the peelers; I've got a large golf umbrella. We'll see who wins that faceoff.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday.November 2nd will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive Day."

Actually, it should be called Decisive Day, because the folks in this country actually decided who should be their leader. The list of candidates did not include a group of people from a family tree with no branches. Just an FYI.

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good.

A lot of them do suck. I once owned a Ford Pinto. Ugh. We also have the Hummer, though, which pretty much outweighs the other suck vehicles.

When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

Oh, you mean the overpriced, small penis BMW's? Well, I guess if I wanted to receive hand jobs from women who've lived their entire lives while on the English dental plan, then that's where I'd start.

All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts.

I love roundabouts. They are slowly appearing around this state. Not soon enough to my way of thinking, either.

You will start driving on the left with immediate effect.

Hey, why don't you send over some test drivers to demostrate this method of driving to us? We have lots of busy interstates for you to practice on.

At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

Psst!. Wanna know how to make an Englishman happy in his old age? Tell him a joke when he's young.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in
Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium.

Au contraire, Belgium makes some simply fabulous beers.

Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called "crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat.

You're a remarkably healthy lot, aren't you?

The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

Warm and flat. Piss, anyone?

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.

Actually, I'm proud of Massachusetts. They nominated someone who had zero chance of winning the election. Of course, I also blame them for Ted Kennedy, so I guess it's a wash.

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager."

Tsk, tsk. I don't think you can afford to piss off your EU friends by calling their ales "lagers". Think of it as a helpful hint. Oh, and how about you call British Bitter, well, bitter? Inquiring minds want to know.

The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine."

Can't argue. Budweiser uses a large horse for its filtration system.

This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

Technically, it's called Budvar, I believe. Maybe you snotty English types can't resist Anglicizing everything, but I can.

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "Gasoline," as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005) prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon get used to it).

Hmm. We actually refine our gasoline here and we pump a bunch from domestic wells. I think we can work out our own market prices, thank you very much. Go talk to cup of Kofi about adding a $4.00 tax to US gasoline; see how far it gets over here. We'll be waiting.

14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.

The litigious nature of people in this society drives me batty. And I'm not too keen that "grief counselor" has become such a popular career choice.

With regards to your gun comment, it's a sad commentary on the Uk that the only real grown ups are the criminals. Not surprising, but sad nonetheless.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.

Us, too.

16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

Since many of citizens are armed, unlike you namby-pamby law-abiding British folks, your baton wielding bobbies will find it quite impossible to collect those taxes. However, feel free to try; we enjoy target practice.

Thank you for your co-operation.
-John Cleese "

Thank you for surrendering 200+ years ago to a ragtag, ill-equipped band of nobodies back when the British Empire was still the bully on the block. It continues to lift our spirits to this day.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 05:18 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
Post contains 2588 words, total size 17 kb.

1 I'll file this one under "guilty pleasures". I'm a big Python fan & enjoyed Fawlty Towers, however, you gave him some sharp & fair groin-kicks. And: "The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat." ...much like the waitresses :-)

Posted by: Harvey at January 27, 2005 05:46 PM (tJfh1)

2 This particular "skit" is so old as to be laughable. The original was done for one of the Amnesty International shows "The Secret Policeman's Ball" way back when - someone has updated it to include various Bush bashing points. Now being English and laughing at the points you made (and not with them but at them :-P) I want to point out a little thing or two... It's called football and not soccer - rest of the world will point that one out... FOOTball as in it is played using your feet? Whereas American Football is mainly about having the ball in your hands and running with it or throwing it and then running with it. Harvey - you sneak! I lived over there in the US of A and some of your heifers women were positively cringe worthy! Ugh! Seen better in an abattoir ready to be dressed and sold. Beer? Don't make me laugh - check out your ABV Bud and the one that is sold here - it's twice as strong! You try telling Sally the women here are flat... :-p

Posted by: Alex at January 27, 2005 09:13 PM (a1D32)

3 The Secret Policeman's Other Ball? I watched that about 20 years ago. No wonder I don't remember it. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by: physics geek at January 28, 2005 04:54 AM (4n1mT)

4 Hey! American women are NOT fat! They're just "padding enhanced" :-) As for the popular domestic beer brands, I will do nothing to defend them except to say that American beer commercials just flat out ROCK! Oh, and please feel free to give the visual evidence on Sally's protrudingness :-)

Posted by: Harvey at January 28, 2005 03:57 PM (tJfh1)

5 Uh.. rounders has NOTHING to do with cricket, and alot of other crap you've though of as proper replies are really useless, and yes football is a man's game and yes nobody outside the US takes American Footy seriously. sooo... yea satisfy yourselves.

Posted by: Az at May 16, 2005 11:14 PM (7tD+f)

6 firstly, who are you as an American to lecture us, the british, on health - obesity anyone? secondy, cricket and rounders; two very different games, played with different bats and on different shaped fileds with different rules. and the fact Americans have to carry this masculine weapon around with them all the time suggests they have to make themselves feel big and maybe that they're compensating for something... Also, seeing as Berg is a german word, the intricasies of the English language should not be applied to the pronounciation of said word. queensland and as english is just that; english, if anyone has to change, it's going to be the americans. oh and Queensland is in AUSTRALIA and is therefore not english.

Posted by: georgia at June 24, 2005 02:19 PM (h5pbX)

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