Sunday, December 27, 2009
Two Countries Separated by a Common Language
To the liberal crowd on the Thames, the London Daily Mail is the Glen Beck/Nancy Grace/Bill O'Reilly of UK newspapers. To an outsider like me, it's great entertainment. Although sometimes I wish it came with subtitles.
Over the holiday, the articles I read were a little more Martha Stewart and a little less tabloid sturm und drang. Behind the tawdry headlines that included "Mr. X, Soccer Boss in a Brothel" or "Sordid Secrets Behind the Door Marked Unit 1" or "Max Mosley, Abhorrent Behaviour and How the Law Protects the Rich and Powerful," plus standard fare like "Teenage Cocaine Addicts Rocket by 50%," there lurked the warm and fuzzy Christmas fare, such as the headline which beckoned the reader to "Try the Minst Pye from 1624."
A 17th century recipe for mince pie is not an easy task when the main ingredient from those days was a Loin of Mutton, finely chopped. Not to mention certain directions from olden times which some people might misconstrue, such as ". . .the Raisons must be stoned. . ."
My favorite article was a parody of the Queen's yearly Christmas broadcast to her subjects, the traditional brief moment or two when she spreads royal tidings of joy to you and yours on the holiday. A Daily Mail wit [twit?] named Quentin Letts imagined what might happen if her Majesty were indisposed and her "politically incorrect" [their words] husband, Prince Phillip, took over responsibilities for the greeting. Here's a sample:
"All right, you loafers! Eaten too much scoff, have you? Hands out of pockets, stiffen those spines. It may be Christmas, but that doesn't mean you can slacken. . ."
"In case you don't recognize me, I'm the other half, 'him indoors', the Greek looker who's always one step behind Lilibet, wearing the long face and trying not to sneeze from all the bouquets she is given. . ."
"There's going to be a General Election next year and that's always an amusing ritual, seeing the politicians get down and grovel. Not that we royals are allowed to vote. So much for Harriet Harman's Equalities Bill.
"Did you know that harpie Harriet is related to the late fruitcake Lord Longford? Must run in the family. Whenever she comes to the palace, she always wants to know why there are no female footmen. I've told her we'll start employing them when Miss World is opened up to fellas."
[Harriet Harman is a Labour MP and Minister for Women and Equality, a Hillary Clinton of sorts, only not as goodlooking]
His royal pain in the ass finishes with a flourish:
". . .[N]ext year we're off to Canada for a state visit. . .It's always a pleasure to bait the Quebeckers by reminding them who's in charge. . ."
"Must say, I rather envy your lot in your toasty little bungalows. Roll on the revolution, say I. Wouldn't mind returning to civilian life in some ways. A chap can endure only so many greetings ceremonies by big-breasted native dancers outside a decrepit airport building in some rump-end of the Commonwealth before his thoughts turn to republicanism.
"Pull yourselves together and have a good one."
Next time, I'll tell you how to use "wanker" correctly in a sentence.