Thursday, April 28, 2011

By ancient custom...

Roomie, ever since learning that a protocol manual was being distributed to invitees to Will & Kate's nuptials, has been throwing out random "Royal Wedding Facts" around the house at odd intervals. Some highlights:
  • It is a little-known fact that Kate Middleton has the largest collection of pressed stoats in Britain.
  • In fact, she is widely credited with the invention of the modern lightweight, folding, portable stoat press.
  • The bride and groom will each walk up the aisle with one foot encased in a block of wax. At the conclusion of the ceremony, a heated sword blade will be used to melt the blocks together.
  • Guests are requested to remain in their boxes for the duration of the ceremony, as live alligators will be turned loose to roam the aisles of Westminster Abbey following the bridal procession.
  • Each guest will be required to have in their pocket a paper sack containing a live mouse. At the end of the ceremony, these are to be dropped into the aisle to feed the alligators.
  • There will be three days of ceremonial bear-baiting before the wedding. This is why the import of foreign bears into the United Kingdom is traditionally barred for the month before a royal wedding; to ensure that all bears baited are British bears and free of disease.
Which is, of course, all meant in good fun, but it does underline a good point...

For Vishnu's sake, people! Royalty? Hereditary nobility? In the 21st Century? Seriously?!? Can there be any belief more retarded (and I mean that in the most literal sense of the term: the opposite of "advanced") than that someone is an extra-special snowflake because they won the Mommy and Daddy lottery? Have you looked at, say, the Habsburg family photo album?

What other charming ancient custom would you like to see them do for a warm-up act? Hold a slave auction? Expel the Catholics and Jews? Stuff a bunch of virgins in a giant wicker man and set it alight? Hey, I have an idea! Let's make sure there's a black bean in the groom's first slice of wedding cake!

The switch to digital television broadcasting happened just in time; I'd hate to think a bunch of advanced aliens were watching NBC's Meredith Vieira gushing her way through this period piece.

66 comments:

North said...

"Royalty" coverage is not news, it is news pollution.

Unless an asteroid strikes them...

North said...

And it would be a meteorite by then...

John B said...

earlier you stated our founding fathers would be outraged to see us so vapidly following the royal wedding.

Um No, not really!

I'm willing to wager, if there were a reliable method to determine certainty, the founding fathers would have as avidly followed a wedding of royalty in their time, under the proposition that if George 3 had someone to tyrannize in the bedroom, he probably wouldn't be taking it out on the colonies.

Y.T. said...

Hey. It's a tradition that works for them, like the M1911 pistols, for some people. I'd much prefer a CZ-97 to a 1911.

Democracies are very short-sighted. Imho, once someone cracks the corruption problem and lying to superiors problem, autocracies are gonna walk right over democracies.

Earl said...

No one is calling the RACE card? The entire devine right, Noble blood, and such is left over from Frequently fallin' Angels having their way with winsom wenches, isn't it. Wish them the best, my understanding is that marriage is really tough now with Progressives everywhere cutting up the family for more better humanless relations.

Tam said...

Y.T.,

"I'd much prefer a CZ-97 to a 1911."

Given that you have the next thing to zero experience with either, your comment is given all the weight it deserves.

DirtCrashr said...

When do the guests jump in the moat and bark? If you want retarded and lantern-jawed hereditary nobility with a uniquely angular proboscis, I believe the Hapsburgs had a lock on that one. It was their trifecta.

tanksoldier said...

Obama was elected. Was the result better than if the position of head of state were inherited? I don't think so...

docjim505 said...

Meh. The royal wedding crap appeals to all those women who started dreaming about THEIR "royal" wedding about the time they could crawl. It's envy. "Gee whiz! I wish I was as thin and pretty as she is! And her DRESS! D-I-V-I-N-E! And wouldn't it be great to be married in that big church instead of the local Kiwanis hall! And if my husband to be was a prince instead of... well... what I got stuck with."

It also appeals to people whose lives (and minds) are so vacant that "the lifestyles of the rich and famous" represents rich, delicious escapism. These are the same sort of folks who obsess over who is dating whom in Hollywood, i.e. American royalty.

Actually, I suppose that it's a bit of an insult to Liz, William, et al to call Hollywood types "royalty"; several of the British royals have served with varying levels of distinction in their armed forces, which means that they have actually contributed something to the world beyond the occasional less-than-mediocre performance in a movie.

Ed Rasimus said...

Heritage, tradition and a national culture aren't bad things to have particularly when your monarchy is totally symbolic. The unification of having such a symbolic group while still enduring the idiosyncracies of a parliamentary democracy is pretty common: England, Japan, Spain, Netherlands, etc. It's only when you get into the despotic ruler stuff that you can really condemn the flashy uniforms.

But seriously, how many virgins are you going to have to collect to fill that giant wicker man? Will the wedding be delayed significantly? Waiving the minimum age requirement might be necessary to get nice fresh ones.

BobG said...

You have to look at it in the proper perspective. The royal family of England are the national pets. They are bred to the proper bloodlines, groomed and trained during growth, and then when grown, they are paraded and displayed as examples of the handler's art. Sort of like people who breed, groom, and display dogs in this country at great expense.

Y.T. said...

@Tam
Funny, I had no idea you were present when I was attending the university gun lessons. True, there were some blondes present, but they were all two decades younger than you.

We got to shoot some dozens of different guns. The 1911 and the Glock stand out as the guns I liked least.

If it were DA/SA, had a decocker, had no grip or other external safety and had a double stack magazine, maybe I'd like it. But it doesn't.

Tam said...

Y.T.

"Funny, I had no idea you were present when I was attending the university gun lessons. ... We got to shoot some dozens of different guns."

Kid, seriously: Shut up. You're making yourself look a fuckwit.

Like I said: You have the next thing to zero experience with either.

Nathan said...

Some people just don't appreciate the classics.

Jenny said...

... once someone cracks the corruption problem and lying to superiors problem..

Somewhere in Eternity, John Calvin and Winston Churchill are getting out the popcorn to watch that show play out. :)

Nolo said...

It's pretty normal to think that pomp and circumstance are a trivial, wasteful remnant of a bygone era.

It's also wrong.

Tam said...

Nolo,

I'm sorry, are you saying that you believe in the Divine Right of Kings?

Nolo said...

Sort of. In Britain it doesn't matter, because the monarchy has no power there; it's all very familiar bureauarchy like it is here that determines policy.

But if you have a real monarchy, pomp and ceremony go a long way to making it work really well. The plebes, I'm afraid to report, are really stupid. Typically, they don't find humble, simple appearances to be all that appealing. What they do find appealing is Lady Gaga in a meat suit and Ozzy Osborne ripping the heads off bats with his teeth. They like the glitz, the glam, and what most of us thinking apes consider to be wasteful, tasteless show.

Consider, if you were an absolute monarch, the tradeoff. You can go around as you'd prefer, in slacks and a t-shirt. Or, you can get really popular with the masses and wear a pimp chain, meat pants, and travel everywhere by jumping from a helicopter on a horse. If the latter has a real and lasting effect on the order of your country; in other words, it helps calm the populace, isn't it worth the few million you spend a year to maintain it (as opposed to maintaining legions of well-armed civic police)?

But, to more directly answer your question, yes, I'm afraid your blog has been tapped by some of the deepest and darkest forces on the blogosphere, the monarchists/royalists/reactionaries/neocameralists/etc. You may call me Darth Snuggums. Pleased to meetcha.

Drang said...

Meanwhile, the denizens of Blighty are getting all PSH because Willz will have a gun-armed bodyguard!

Kate is SOL.

Robin said...

Tam, did you check to see if roomie actually knows what a stoat is?

Ed Foster said...

The virgins in the wicker man bother me most. I suppose it's like religion, harmless enough as long as you don't take it too seriously. Just don't look past the warm and fuzzies.

Not my warm and fuzzies, most of my ancestors spent their lives taking potshots at British royalty's minions, but it makes some folks happy and certainly does less damage than watching Jerry Springer.

Tam said...

Nolo,

"But, to more directly answer your question, yes, I'm afraid your blog has been tapped by some of the deepest and darkest forces on the blogosphere..."

I'm all a'shiver. :p

(FWIW, I gave serious thought to having the receiver of my Mauser chambered in .300 Whisper engraved with "Ultima Ratio Populi...")

Nolo said...

Doesn't surprise me in the least, considering your political leanings.

Though I won't refrain from saying I find much irony in inscribing that on a rifle well-suited for the zombie apocalypse...

Kevin Creighton said...

I don't care what all you colonists say: This proud Canadian and loyal subject of Her Majesty is tinkled pink about all of this.

Long live Prince William!

(And why do you all insist on singing the wrong words to "God save the Queen"?

Brad K. said...

@ Kevin Creighton,

As for the different words to "God Save The Queen", they have had a different meaning since we lost Freddy Mercury.

And then there is the fact that we are tickled pink that we found new words that make that venerable tune sing.

There is no shame in keeping the older words alive, and we don't begrudge those that haven't learned the new words yet. Heck, I am still working on "Greensleeves".

Enjoy!

Keads said...

Wow! Does not take a lot for people to get all butt hurt around here does it!

Tam, let the games commence! I'll go get popcorn!

ASM826 said...

I, for one, would like to see them starve and mistreat some Irish.

Kristopher said...

YT: You are talking to folks who have owned guns for most of their lives.

Many guns.

My agglomeration would be a prime time news "clandestine arsenal" if discovered in parts of Europe. I can only imagine the pants shitting hysterics the 20mm ATR would cause.

In other parts of Europe ( Finland or Switzerland ), it might get a "nice collection" comment.

( I am glad that you were actually able to finagle a shooting session or two in college. THat does put you ahead of damned near all of your neighbors )

Guffaw in AZ said...

I stand with you, Tam.
I was almost keel-hauled from my last job. I said, "I thought we fought a war to get away from those assholes?"

Drang said...

Correction:
"We already run the misfits outta our country. We sent 'em back to England."

Borepatch said...

Stoats are delicious, although I've never had the chance to try the pressed variety.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Is there any mention of professional Ferret Legging at some point in the marital festivities?

John B said...

I am perched in front of the TV with a couple of cokes and popcorn.

I haven't actually seen a good British Ceremony since Chuck and Di's wedding. Before that was Charles' investiture as Prince of Wales.

Mark said...

How about they export their businessmen, acientists and artists?

Done.

Nathan said...

I'm sure they're very nice people.

But given that my wedding wasn't on national television (and people had been laying odds for years on both of us that neither of us would ever marry), I just don't see the point in flooding the airwaves with theirs.

What was the old saying? There were only three excuses for a gentleman's name being printed in the newspapers: His birth, his marriage, and his death.

John B said...

wasn't it criminals the druids sacrificed in a giant wicker burning man?

Best way I know to sacrifice a virgin is to make them into a conservative.

staghounds said...

I don't get it either. And based on what little I know of the people all the cameras and faces are pointed at, neither do they.

In all seriousness, an inherited source of governmental power isn't a bad thing.

Look at it this way, every single person in our governments got there through exactly the same process- by winning a majority vote in a universal suffrage election. That explains why they are all just about the same.

It would be useful if there was a variety. Random selection, inherited, straight up auctioned, best juggler, whatever.

And remember that monarchy flows ultimately from property rights. Do we not like property or contract any more, or do they only apply to some people?

Of course they are the national pets, and waaaay too expensive. But as compared to our imperator? Not even close.

docjim505 said...

Nolo - [I]f you have a real monarchy, pomp and ceremony go a long way to making it work really well. The plebes, I'm afraid to report, are really stupid. Typically, they don't find humble, simple appearances to be all that appealing.

I think that this is a good point. People like to live vicariously for one thing, and like to think that their "betters" really are "better". So, it's acceptable - nay, necessary - for them to look at their "betters" and see somebody who LIVES like they are better.

Witness how libs go on about Captain Bullsh*t or Meeee-shel's "style".

"We're better than you... and you know it."

Cybrludite said...

I thought it was fail politicians who got barbequed in the ancient Zozobra festivals, but condemned criminals are close enough I should think.

Flighterdoc said...

Drang, the misfits got sent to Canada...the weak, the fearful, who couldn't stand the idea of not having 'Royalty' tell them when they can poop started Canada.

England certainly didn't want them back.

And as far as not having any authority, better stop and think about that: The Monarch has the legal right in Canada (at least) to override any law that is passed, through their appointed 'Governor-General'. The Canadian military (such as it is) takes an oath of allegiance to the Monarch, not to the Country or the pitiful excuse of a Constitution (The Charter of Rights and Freedoms)

tackdriverdon said...

@ Y.T.
Unlike you I don't have experience at University shooting a variety of weapons. My only shooting at a University was at Berkeley when our military matches wouldn't be noticed by the stoned hippies. Anyway, I will challenge you and your vast shooting knowledge to a 50 YARD match. You pick, 5, 10, 50 shots. Most on the target gets the others weapon. I will be using my el cheapo 1911 by Rock Island Armory. You bring that CZ-97.

staghounds said...

I believe the digital wireless stoat press now in beta testing will make even the Middleton 9000 obsolete.

Tam said...

Staghounds,

"And remember that monarchy flows ultimately from property rights. Do we not like property or contract any more, or do they only apply to some people?"

I grok that, but at what point did we decide that just because Mr. Johnson's paw died and left him his acreage, people were supposed to get all bendy in the knees around him?

I don't address my neighbor as Fred Johnson, 2nd Baron 123 Strawberry Lane, even though he came by his pied a terre the same way Peter Trevor Maxwell came by his. ;)

The Freeholder said...

Personally, I don't have a problem with royalty, hereditary, symbolic or not.

Basically, because they can't do that much more damage than the fools, morons and thugs we have running things, and there are fewer of them to take to the Tower when you decide regime change is called for.

Besides, I also like to concept of seriously long-term traditions and rituals. It appeals to the old fart in me for various reasons.

The Old Man said...

As was pointed out on ESPN-Cleveland this a.m.,
"Kate Middleton has one more ring than Lebron James."
Since I could not give less of a care about basketball, this summarizes my "two microscope" view of the "royal wedding".

Timmeehh said...

"I grok that, but at what point did we decide that just because Mr. Johnson's paw died and left him his acreage, people were supposed to get all bendy in the knees around him?"

Tam, you miss the point entirely. If you fail to show the proper respect to the monarchy, there will be no cry of 'Off with her head', you will simply not be invited to any further social functions that would allow you to interact with them. It is a privilege to be in a position where you are required to bow or curtsy. Not that you will ever have to worry about being invited to any such occasion. I recall being a member of the honour guard at the Royal Winter Fair and felt very proud to be able to present arms to the GG. Damn that FAL was heavy and those white gloves is mighty slippery!

It is ironic that a person who is as interested in history as you, fails to see that the royal family are not "welfare recipients", but rather the custodians of living breathing history, and as such are actually underpaid.

Anyways, you better get used to it, as it appears OBO will be turning your country into a vassal state of Saudi Arabia.

Salaam Sadeakaty .

Tam said...

Timmeehh,

"It is ironic that a person who is as interested in history as you..."

I am very aware of history, hence my desire to embrace the history of my country from a time when my direct ancestors were still kissing the rings of Swedish kings and Bavarian princelings.

You have your history, and I have mine. ;)

(There's a reason that someone well-versed in U.S. history would be appalled at the sight of Barry bending his knee to Abdullah, and it has nothing to do with Islam or oil. This is a Republic, Timmeehh: A real American's knees don't bend.)

Timmeehh said...

"A real American's knees don't bend."

I repeat :

Not that you will ever have to worry about being invited to any such occasion.

Nolo said...

"A real American's knees don't bend."

That must make running, jumping, and picking up small objects on the floor really awkward.

Jim said...

Funny you should mention that, Tam. I had the strange occasion to wonder if Lackwit there has at least a respectable handshake, even if he isn't very bright about using it. I wouldn't be surprised if it is his left hand that is the strong one.

Jim

DirtCrashr said...

At least it's not a Royal Hereditary Priesthood we're talking about...is it?

global village idiot said...

"It is a privilege to be in a position where you are required to bow or curtsy."

If you're from Great Britain, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands or any other constitutional monarchy, this may very well be true.

If you're from America, that's probably the most appalling, lickspittle thing I've heard all year. By proper tradition and custom going back hundreds of years, NO American is supposed to bow, kneel or curtsey to a foreign head of state.

We make an exception to the Japanese because the bow in their culture is a greeting exchanged even between equals, not a declaration of submission to the sovereign.

And as for the snot-nosed "well, YOU'LL never be in a position..." I have (not the Crown but peers) and it doesn't matter.

I really hope you're not from America. To say such a thing as an American shows not only that you are unaware of American customs and courtesies, but also displays a truly un-American willingness to subordinate oneself to not only a foreign head of state but another human being.

Unspeakably appalling.

gvi

Nolo said...

Clearly on the level with cannibal rape and the Holocaust.

Timmeehh said...

@ village idiot :

Nope, I am Canadian. That mean's they are MY royal family. As you are a self admitted idiot, let me explain to you what that means. I don't belong to them, they belong to me.
Furthermore, I guess I have to explain to you why it is a privilege. It means that you have been INVITED to attend a social function where royals will be in attendance. No one will put a gun to your head and force you to go. If you can't bring yourself to show the proper respect for the POSITION (not the person), then don't attend. Obviously, you won't have to worry about that either.

Free-range Oyster said...

"It is a privilege to be in a position where you are required to bow or curtsy."

So you find pleasure in being in the presence of your betters. Fine. I accept no man as my master. I accept no one as my better except in proven skill or strength. Above all I bow to no one but God Himself.

"I don't belong to them, they belong to me."

When you start bowing to your dog, I might give that some credence. A bow, with few exceptions, is a sign of submission. Take your arrogant servility and insert it someplace anatomically uncomfortable.

Nolo said...

Sheesh, we're getting a hefty dose of MURICA in this thread.

Nolo said...

NO ONE IS MY MASTER BUT THE IRS!

Tam said...

Timmeehh,

"Not that you will ever have to worry about being invited to any such occasion."

To paraphrase your fellow crown subject, this must be some strange new definition of "worry" that I'm not familiar with. ;)

perlhaqr said...

So, what's the polite way for an American to address the Queen of England?

Does one refer to her as "Miz Windsor" or does a simple "Ma'am" cut it?

DirtCrashr said...

...Arrgh...must...restrain...refrain...resist...!...

Tam said...

Nolo,

"NO ONE IS MY MASTER BUT THE IRS!"

I don't know about 'master', but I'll concede they have a few more guns than I do. ;)

global village idiot said...

The correct form of address for the Queen of England (or of Denmark or the Netherlands, the only current Queens Regnant) is "Your Majesty."

Addressing such a personage using her honorific does not convey subservience; rather, it's a recognition of honor and of office. Congresscritters and judges are refered to as "Honorable" whether they are or not, and even our own ambassadors are refered to (particularly in foreign countries) as "Your Excellency" even if they're mediocre.

Kneeling, bowing or curtseying, on the other hand, is a physical demonstration of inferiority and subservience, which no foreign sovereign has any right to expect from any American (those who do so are in error) The proper respectful gesture is the handshake (if the hand is offered by the lady).

gvi

Anonymous said...

Quote GVI: "Kneeling, bowing or curtseying, on the other hand, is a physical demonstration of inferiority and subservience, which no foreign sovereign has any right to expect from any American (those who do so are in error) The proper respectful gesture is the handshake (if the hand is offered by the lady)."

I disagree. Back in the days when women were seen as little more than baby-making machines who certainly shouldn't be allowed to vote, a gentleman would be expected to bow to a lady, remove his hat in her presence, get up when she entered the room, open doors for her, etc., etc.. None of which was remotely seen as a mark of 'subservience', but merely of good manners.

By failing to bow/curtsey/do the Charleston/whatever to a foreign head of state, you're _not_ 'firing the shot that was heard around the world', but simply being incredibly rude. Ever notice how a handshake always comes before/after whatever other cultural greeting takes place? That's American custom being acknowledged -- to fail to acknowledge the other culture really would be shameful, for all concerned.

MJ

Tam said...

MJ,

gvi is absolutely correct on this matter of protocol:

http://www.formsofaddress.info/BRI.html#074

A citizen of the United States is the citizen of a republic and sovereign in his or her own right.

(This bowing thing is a recurring theme, btw, in U.S. fiction well up through at least the 19th Century.)

If you think that's a chauvinistic custom, check out the US flag code, and find out when it is appropriate for a US ship to dip its flag to a foreign flag.

LMWatBullRun said...

@Tanksoldier-
"Obama was elected. Was the result better than if the position of head of state were inherited? I don't think so..."

Neither do I, which makes the point that in a hereditary monarchy, the monarch has a vested interest in decisions which benefit them for multiple generations. Weber's fictional treatment of the matter (in the Honor Harrington novels) raises some interesting points, despite my being a bone-deep supporter of the republic comprised of these united States.

John B said...

Is Tam related to Eddie Money's Guitarist? 'Cos I get the urge to kowtow to her once in a while.

Not today though, "A real American's Knees don't Bend!" I'm so American today, It's going to take 2 days worth of pain meds to get through today.