100 days – Day 73: Independence Day.
HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!
Sadly, the following was not written by John Cleese – but still makes me chuckle. For more information about its origins, see www. snopes.com
John Cleese’s Letter to the USA
To the citizens of the United States of America, in 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.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II resumes monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.
Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the 97.8% of you who have, until now, been unaware there’s a world outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America. Congress and the Senate are disbanded. A questionnaire circulated next year will determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid your transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. Look up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. Check “aluminium” in the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you pronounce it. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘favour’ and ‘neighbour’. Likewise you will learn to spell ‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up “vocabulary.”
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.” There will be no more ‘bleeps’ in the Jerry Springer show. If you’re not old enough to cope with bad language then you should not have chat shows.
2. There is no such thing as “U.S. English.” We’ll let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’.
3. You should learn to distinguish English and Australian accents. It really isn’t that hard. English accents are not limited to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier). Scottish dramas such as ‘Taggart’ will no longer be broadcast with subtitles.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.
4. You should relearn your original national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, but only after fully carrying out task 1.
5. You should stop playing American “football.” There’s only one kind of football. What you call American “football” is not a very good game. The 2.1% of you aware there is a world outside your borders may have noticed no one else plays “American” football. You should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls.
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).
You should stop playing baseball. It’s not reasonable to host an event called the ‘World Series’ for a game which is not played outside of America. Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls’ game called “rounders,” which is baseball without fancy team stripe, oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.
6. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns, or anything more dangerous in public than a vegetable peeler. Because you are not sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you need a permit to carry a vegetable peeler.
7. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a new national holiday. It will be called “Indecisive Day.”
8. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left. At the same time, you will go metric without the benefit of conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
9. Learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips. Fries aren’t French, they’re Belgian though 97.8% of you (including the guy who discovered fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Potato chips are properly called “crisps.” Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served warm and flat.
10. The cold tasteless stuff you call beer is actually lager. Only proper British Bitter will be referred to as “beer.” Substances once known as “American Beer” will henceforth be referred to as “Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine,” except for the product of the American Budweiser company which will be called “Weak Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine.” This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.
11. The UK will harmonise petrol prices (or “Gasoline,” as you will be permitted to keep calling it) for those of the former USA, adopting UK petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon, get used to it).
12. Learn to resolve personal issues without guns, lawyers or therapists. That you need many lawyers and therapists shows you’re not adult enough to be independent. If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, you’re not grown up enough to handle a gun.
13. Please tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us crazy.
14. Tax collectors from Her Majesty’s Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).
Thank you for your co-operation.
* John Cleese
[Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers, Torquay, Devon, England]
SUBJECT: NOTICE OF REVOCATION OF INDEPENDENCE
To the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland:
We welcome your concern about our electoral process. It must be exciting for you to see a real Republic in action, even if from a distance. As always we’re amused by your quaint belief that you’re actually a world power. The sun never sets on the British Empire! Right-o chum!
However, we regretfully have to decline your offer for intervention. On the other hand, it would be amusing to see you try to enforce your new policy (for the 96.3% of you that seem to have forgotten that you have little to no real power). After much deliberation, we have decided to continue our tradition as the longest running democratic republic. It seems that switching to a monarchy is in fact considered a “backwards step” by the majority of the world.
To help you rise from your current anachronistic status, we have compiled a series of helpful suggestions that we hope you adopt:
1. Realize that language is an organic structure, and that you aren’t always correct in your pronunciation or spelling. Let’s use your “aluminium” example. Sir Humphrey Davy (an Englishman) invented the name “aluminum” (note spelling) for the metal. However, in common usage the name evolved into “aluminium” to match the naming convention of other elements. In 1925 the United States decided to switch back to the original spelling and pronunciation of the word, at which point we dominated the aluminum industry. We’d also like to point out that the process of actually producing aluminum was developed by an American and a Frenchman (not an Englishman).
However, we’d like to thank you for the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s an interesting collection, considering that over 10,000 of the words in the original edition were submitted by a crazy American civil-war veteran called Dr. William Charles Minor.
2. Learn to distinguish the American and Canadian accents, and then we’ll talk about the English and Australian accent issue.
3. Review your basic arithmetic. (Hint 100 – 98.85 = 1.15 and 100 – 97.85 = 2.15)
4. If you want English actors as good guys, then make your own movies. Don’t rely on us for your modern popular culture. We liked “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels”, “Trainspotting”, and “The Full Monty”. We’ve also heard good things about this “Billy Elliot”. But one good movie a year doesn’t exactly make a cultural powerhouse. However, you’re doing pretty well with music, so keep up the good work on that front.
5. It’s inefficient to have a national anthem that changes its title whenever your monarch dies. Let’s not forget that your national anthem has an extremely boring tune. We suggest switching to that Rule Brittania ditty, it’s toetapping. Or maybe Elton John could adapt “Candle In The Wind” again for you guys.
6. Improve at your national sport. Football? Soccer? This just in: United States gets fourth place in men’s soccer at the 2000 Summer Olympics. United Kingdom? Not even close. By the way, impressive showing at Euro 2000. You almost managed to get through the tournament without having your fans start an international incident.
7. Learn how to cook. England has some top notch candy. Salt ‘n’ Vinegar chips are quite yummy. However, there’s a reason why the best food in your country is Indian or Chinese. Your contributions to the culinary arts are soggy beans, warm beer, and spotted dick. Perhaps when you finally realize the French aren’t the spawn of satan they’ll teach you how to cook.
8. You’re doing a terrible job at understanding cars. The obvious error is that you drive on the wrong side of the road. A second problem is pricing, it’s cheaper to buy a car in Belgium and ship it to England than to buy a car in England. On the other hand, we like Jaguars and Aston Martins. That’s why we bought the companies.
9. We’ll tell you who killed JFK when you apologize for “Teletubbies”.
Thank you for your time. Yu can now return to watching bad Australian soap operas.
P.S. — Regarding WW2: You’re Welcome.
John Adams, who would become the second president of the United States.
On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia voted to approve independence.
Adams continued: “I am apt to believe [July 2] will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.”
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