Sunday, March 22, 2009

God save the Queen

You know, we Americans don't have any comparable expression. Can you seriously imagine anyone saying, "God save the President"?

Last night I went to a play. A character who was frustrated trying to come up with an idea exclaimed, "My head is so empty I could run for public office!" It got an easy laugh. Random, nonpartisan denigration of politicans is always good for an easy laugh. Remember this exchange from the movie The Last Action Hero? "There are lots of worse things. Politicians, wars, forest fires, famine, plague, sickness, pain, warts, politicians...." "You already said politicians." "Well, they're twice as bad as anything else."

I could be wrong, but it doesn't seem that people ruled by monarchs and nobles, past or present, have the same attitude towards their rulers as those of us who elect them do. Every president or prime minister has his fans, but I've never seen the kind of affection for them that British subjects have for their sovereign. Nor do subjects joke about their sovereigns the way citizens do about their politicians.

5 comments:

ZAROVE said...

I'm afraid that the Republicans ( And I dotn mean the party) in the UK do, in fact, mock the royals. Then again, they have an ultirior motive, in that they want the entire institution made the subject of Ridicule.

On that note, I'd have to disagree here. Even unelected peopel in our lives who have authority over us, such as employers, are often ridiculed.

I suspect the reason we don't see th emockery in Modern Europe is because the Royals have little real power.

IT is Human nature to make fun of our superiors, even if in their rpeasence, and often in honour of them at events, we show due reverence.

So I susopect this wudl not change if we went over to a Monarchy.


Though my disagrement is only in part, since I do agree that, typiclaly, a Monarch is better respected by his SUbejcts than a Politican is by his constituancy.

The reason for this is in part cultural. Monarchs are not thoguh of as Public servants, btu our protectors, and in a Monarhcy we are told to regard higly our King or Queen. In a Republic, we are taught hat the Politicans are ur representitives and are Public servants, and are suppose to represent us as a whole, so it is easier to make fun.

That, and when you stop and htink abtu it, Politicans are usually the same sorts of people. THose hwo run ffor offuce are those who seek power, and ted to be egotistical narrcisisits.

They seek to engraciate htemselves otthe voters, tellign themhatever they want ot hear to win that pwoer, and hten spenign all theuir time trying to convence us of their ways or changing thir to meetour ends.

This sort of Duplicity, the kind of fake sincerity and broad smiling faces of those who wan tot take advantage of us is eaisly seen though, btu given we hae no real alternative as those hwo also run agisn them are the same way, lead us naturlaly to a sort of revilement of them, that a Monarch, who is not electe dbut wa sborn there, doesn't genewrate since htye don't try to preted to be our friend and tlel us only what we want to hear just to get into power.

But I'd still say they'd be made fun of, thogh perhaos in a different way, and certianly for differign reasons, aside form the usual poitn of them beign in Charge.

BelgieRoyalist said...

I would like to see all monarchs treated with more respect and all politicians treated with less. I would like to see the President of America subject to something like Prime Minister's Questions in the UK. America's problem is trying to maintain respect for a head of state who is also the head of government and thus should be made fun of and scrutinized heavily.

Aaron Davies said...

perhaps it's that we relate more to our country in the abstract, rather than through a single person. the closest american equivalent of "god save the queen" is probably "god bless america".

BelgieRoyalist said...

"My Country 'Tis Of Thee" has the same tune, copied from "God Save the Queen". The US also had, rather than 'God Save the Queen' as a sort of patriotic hurrah, "Hail to the Chief" though it is not much used that way anymore.

Moshea bat Abraham said...

In the movie The Living Daylights, James Bond is given a key ring which emits stun gas if you whistle the opening of "Rule Britannia". Bond asks Q, "What do I do to blow up a room, whistle 'God Save the Queen'?" I was amused to speculate, what if that had been the explosive code, and what if an American agent had had the same gadget cued by "My Country 'Tis of Thee". Could have caused an accident there!