Tag Archives: monarchy

What The Hobbit says about British society.

6 Jan

2AM Sunday 6 January 2013 Nunhead Heights.

I went with my oldest son, the 11-year-old Mini-Lew, to see The Hobbit at the Peckham Cineplex. I had never read any of Tolkien’s works, nor had I seen any movies based on his work.

When I was Mini-Lew’s age. some of the cooler kids in my hometown of Great Neck were reading Tolkien. I guess it was exotic to them, coming from England. This was many decades ago. I was still into collecting baseball cards and postage stamps and wasn’t part of that cool world. I didn’t know how to be part of that world.

My son, who is English, has read the book and loved the film. He is into that world. 

The essence of The Hobbit is this:

If you get into deep trouble you best have a wizard  following you around to come to your rescue. Otherwise, you’re screwed.

Why have the Dwarves fight or smart their way out of jams when the Wizard will blow up the mountain and crush their enemies? Unfortunately, having your own personal wizard is pretty much up to luck. And my kid, as far as I know, doesn’t have his own wizard.

In  The Wizard of Oz, the Oz Wizard provides no miracles and no salvation. He doesn’t kill Dorothy’s enemies or even gets her home. He only imparts self-belief. One can accomplish what one truly wants, he tells the four of them. Dorothy made her way to the Emerald City on her own and found her way back home on her own.

What is the Dwarves quest?

To recapture their historical home, the Lonely Mountain. It is a place of happiness and culture?  Is it a land of love of one’s fellow man? 

No. It is the bank where their ancestors had greedily hoarded gold and jewels. ‘Now that’s a motive that we can get behind!’ I write sarcastically. ‘Not fighting an Evil Empire, just a lust for gold.’

But Dorothy of Kansas’s home is filled with her lovely family and friends. Decent people. In The Hobbit, the Dwarves are just greedy bastards who invade the Hobbit’s home and wreck it. Rotten people, these Dwarves, on a rotten quest. 

Why is Thorin the leader of the Dwarves? He inherited it. But is he worthy of being followed, as the Wizard says he is?

Thorin is no genius. He is too stupid to know that his kingdom’s neighbors were not his enemies. And then he had expected his neighbors to come to his aid even though it meant they would be destroyed by the rampaging Dragon. And without the Wizard, the Dwarves would have been eaten alive under the command of Thorin. 

Thorin, the King of the Dwarves, is derisively put down by one of his enemies for losing his kingdom. One of the worst thing you can do in Britain is lose your inheritance. To the Manor Born and the Manor must be given to your oldest child.  And there is nothing more laughable than an ex-King. Think of the pompous Kings of Yugoslavia, the foppish Duke of Windsor, or the now irrelevant Mitt Romney.

The motto of the Queen of England is ‘We have held onto more stuff longer than any other British family.’ The Queen of England is President Assad or Mohammar Gaddafi or Assad plus four hundred years.

I grew up believing that ‘A man who dies rich is disgraced’ as Andrew Carnegie said. Carnegie is the man my second child is named after. He gave his money away to build schools and theatres. The Queen hoards her money to give to her children. I am not going to die rich so I have no fear of being disgraced that way. 

The Hobbit is propaganda by the British ruling classes to keep British children accepting the rule of their ‘betters’ and to know their place. 

I hope most Brits don’t believe that rancid ideology. It is so un-American – or the America I believe in – that I almost screamed in the theatre. Not that it would have mattered. We were in Peckham and screaming in the theatre  there isn’t  unusual.  

When the lights came on in the theatre I breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn’t wasted my childhood on that Tolkien garbage.

Sadly, my Mini-Lew has grown up immersed in that pro-monarchy, pro-ruling-class ideology. The ‘know your-place-as-you-don’t-have-a-wizard’ rubbish.  

He loves the Queen. Ah well, I still love him.  

What do you think about this? Tell me. Leave a comment. 

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed 

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio 

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“Britain’s got black people too.” Message of the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. 

28 Jul

2pm Saturday 28 July 2012 Coaching thru England

The humiliation of the Royals continued last night at the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony. For what end? For a funny YouTube video. 

See how James Bond marches into Buckingham Palace like he owns it. Look at how he walks, full stop! He’s  Liam Gallagher from Oasis.  He ‘ahems’ the Queen. It’s the actual Queen! 

She is our subject. We’re the boss. We can get her to jump out of a helicopter if we so wish. It’s funny!
 
But most of all we’re funny. What ruler would humiliate herself for a laugh? Gaddafi? Saddam? Rupert Murdoch?

What did her family do to deserve that kind of abuse? Oh, the Royals are Assad or Mugabe plus 400 years. 

Look at us, we’re the Great British people: we’re black, too. We got rappers like the Americans. We’re given black people credit for doing stuff – even if they weren’t living in the country at the time the stuff got done. 

We’re welcoming to the world. Don’t hate us anymore. Y’all come on in. There are jobs at the Pret a Manger that we’re trying not to give the locals. Danny Boyle’s house needs painting.

Get yourself a white wife and start a slightly lighter family. And a lovely house. Did you notice our teeth? Good teeth now.

We invented stuff back in the day and we’re still doing it –  like the first website. Our Tim guy is like the American Al Gore. He also invented the Internet.

And the music. The party ain’t over until Macca sings Hey Jude.  The ultimate Karaoke song cause “nah… nah… nah… nah nah nah nah” is the same in most languages. Paul McCartney. Screw Ringo. He lives in the States!

An eternity spent in a celebration to the NHS. Surprised organiser Danny Boyle got the hospital workers to turn up – them being off sick two and a half times as often as your average private sector employee. 

But the NHS is ours. The Yanks don’t have it – though you bet they want it even if they can’t admit it.  

Nor do they have the Monarchy. Britain itself chooses how it wants to be enslaved: To the Queen or to the healthcare monolith. Or to the new religion of multiculturalism. 

Great Britain: We’re multicultural, musical and funny. 

All that said, I watched it. I often cringed but it was watchable. And I’m not Great British. 

Is this post good, bad, or absolute rubbish? Leave a comment. 

The Queen, My Mother and I. Oh, and Holden Caulfield. Some final words on the Jubilee.

6 Jun

5pm Wednesday 5th May 2012 Nunhead Heights

[See below for list of previous posts regarding the British Monarchy]

There are nice things about England, and Britain too. Cups of tea, the football, the Green Belt and planning permission which has, so far, prevented the countryside from being completely over-run. Even the disobedient nature of the people I find very pleasant.

Maybe best part about Britain is that a visitor to this country, such as me, can openly write that they don’t like the Queen and not be put in jail or taken to Heathrow and put on a plane back to New York. That’s actually quite good. [How did I start talking like that? “Actually quite good!” ]

But the royal family and the monarchy are not one of the good things about this country. It is the phoniest institution – completely self-serving and standing for everything that I, an American, am against: Inherited power, deference, and unearned wealth. And no matter how nice the Queen appears to be – and everyone is nice at 85 – she is in it for herself.

Where was she at 25 when her son needed a hug and hold? Off traveling around the world. I’ve seen the video of her holding her young son and it isn’t pretty.

At the Jubilee Concert, Prince Charles calls the Queen “Mummy” in front of the multitudes at his childhood home, Buckingham Palace. Not that Charles had much of a childhood.

Like the child of an absentee footballer he doesn’t often see announcing ownership of his famous father in front of his schoolmates. “Look everyone! The woman you are honoring is my mother! I get to call her Mummy!” I felt sad for the dude.

My mother was a phony, too. She would profess deep love for me but be off doing her own thing in her own world. She loved her world of deep depressions and raving manias.

If the Queen loves her son she would abdicate. Give the keys to the Palace to Charles and move on. But no, she loves being The Queen too much. You can understand why Charles is a bit loopy. He’s gone insane waiting for his mother to love him. That’s what happened to me.

Another Point

This is my last post about the Diamond Jubilee. I am relieved it’s over just like I’m relieved when Christmas passes.

I wish I were Bill Bryson. He always finds a nice thing to say about his adopted land. And he tweaks the British gently. Bill Bryson is a lovely man from what I can read. Me? I steeped in bitterness and anger. Do you think I like always looking for a fight?

Michael Hunter – not that Michael Hunter  but the Michael Hunter who has the blog “Spiked Mike is Breaking a Leg” –  has seen my show quite a few times. He was there in South Shields over the weekend and reviewed my touring free show: “Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous.” He observed that  “[ Lewis Schaffer  ] would rip into an empty brown paper bag if he could get a reaction from the empty paper bag manufacturers.”

True.

But only up to a point. I would rip into the bag if I thought the brown paper bag manufacturers were a load of utter phonies. If the bags weren’t really brown or weren’t really bags. I am like Holden Caulfield in “The Catcher in the Rye.” I hate phonies. Only I’m not a teenager: I’m old.

Another minor point:

At the Jubilee Concert Prince Charles announced how proud he is to be “British”. Innocuous enough considering he spends his summers in Scotland and he’s prince over Wales. But didn’t he forget that if he lives he’s going to be King of Canada, Australia and other minor nations? I’m sure those countries aren’t going to be pleased to hear their king isn’t one of them.  He must be so nervous that he’s going to be passed over in favour of his daughter-in- law’s husband that he’s playing to the home town crowd. Am I the only one to notice this?

Won’t you please leave a comment? Tell me if the above is rubbish, brilliant, whatever.

Five posts that talk about the royal family and class in England and the UK.

Thank God King George lost America. What would have happened if America was given fair representation in the British Parliament.

The real reason the English keep their monarchy. Well, one real reason. Something I don’t think has been expressed too often.

How the Queen is used by the political class and what will happen when the royals turn on that class.

Why English men dress so badly, and how it goes back to the royals.

And finally, what the classes are in the UK and how they are different than in America.

How to see me and reach me:

@lewisschaffer

At the Edinburgh Fringe: “No, YOU Shut Up!” at the Free [Three] Sisters, Cowgate. Free Admission. 20:15 [8:15PM] “No, YOU Shut Up!” at the Alternative Fringe at the Hive, Niddry Street. Free Admission. 16:45 [4:45PM]

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

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Thank God King George Lost America

1 Jun

Friday 31 May 2012 Nunhead Heights

“George III was a schmuck for losing the American colonies. If he had given the Americans representation then the revolution wouldn’t have happened.”

That, of course, is total rubbish.

Losing America was either brilliant or lucky. It is the main reason that there is still a English monarchy. It is probably the main reason there is still an England as we know it – with tea, queuing (orderly waiting in lines), stiff upper lips and the Queen ‘s Diamond Jubilee.

What would England be like had the British in the colonies been given full representation in the British Parliament? The one man, one vote stuff.

America has more than five times as many citizens as the United Kingdom – 315 million to 60 million.  Imagine the House of Commons in London for this “The United Kingdom of England, Scotland, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, et al.” Old Nations Members of Parliament – the ones representing England, Scotland, Wales and a bit of Ireland – would have only 14% of the seats. 91 seats out of 650 – Liberal Democrat numbers.  Representatives from the United States would make up 72% of the seats or 468 representatives. All hypothetically, mind you.  

Old Britain would be swamped by the colonials. The power of the monarchy would have been diluted to eventual extinction.

According to Peter Wilby’s piece in the Guardian this week, the monarchy stands for “hierarchy, hereditary privilege, deference, feudalism, unearned wealth.”

The monarchy also stands for not working. The Queen goes out and looks at things that others have made. She looks after her own family interests. She is busy. She isn’t producing on demand for other people, which is what work is. She cannot be fired – at least easily.

And the Royals stand for doing things the way they have always been done. They stand for the status quo. A hot water faucet and a cold water faucet in the bathroom sink – one to scald your hands the other to freeze them – when one mixer tap would do. But no, “We have always done it that way!”

Those are completely un-American values. I don’t think those values go down well in Canada or the Antipodes, either. Those  values couldn’t have survived side by side in a Parliament with the vast majority of elected officials following the faith of meritocracy, accomplishment and hard work. And contrary to what Australians tell you, they are very hardworking. And they don’t like people who put on airs.

America was founded by people who got rid of the English king in 1649 and then fled for their lives and minds when that king’s son was brought back into power 1660.

Britain is analogous to the ship in the 1955 movie “Mr. Roberts”. Henry Fonda, the rebellious ships second in command fights for the betterment of his fellow sailors against the tyrannical captain, James Cagney.

Fonda fails to change the USS Reluctant and accepts transfer to a fighting ship. Just as the captain is savoring the peace that came with the removal of his nemesis, his obsequious and cowardly ships’ assistant, played by Jack Lemmon, previously in the thrall of the Cagney, turns colors and takes Henry Fonda’s place. But Cagney’s look says it all: “I’ll break him or send him away, too.”

America is the fighting ship that Henry Fonda gets sent to. Americans are the rebels that the English sent away. What remained in England were people who supported hierarchy, hereditary privilege, deference, feudalism, unearned wealth, the status quo and the prospect of not working, or who were too lazy to fight it.

17th and 18th Century England was like a struggling early 21st Century bank – Northern Rock say – who were split into two. The “good bank” with deposits and the strong loans and the “bank bank” with the toxic “assets” which they believed they’d never see a return. The British Islands were the “good bank” and the Thirteen American colonies the “bad bank” – filled with troublemakers, non-conformists, ideologues, and super-businesspeople.

Wittingly, or unwittingly, the ruling elite of England created a safety valve for Britain in America. America assured them of their own survival.

Am I the first one to think of this? Surely not.

If the English in England want to have a royal family and all that rot, who am I to be angry with them? They chose to stay here and it is their country. They chose to break away from America. Why should I go and protest their choice?

I can rest easy. My English children have American passports and are free to live there, if they so wish.

Another post about the Royal Family: The real reason why the English keep the royals. 

**** Thank you for reading this. Please write a comment and tell me if you think what I have written is not rubbish, half rubbish or all rubbish.  All comments, no matter how negative, are appreciated.

@lewisschaffer on twitter

Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous in Soho
Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Free Admission
Reserve at www.sourcebelow.com

Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer
Every Monday 10:30pm
www.resonancefm.com 104.4fm London
On iTunes www.bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

The real reasons the English keep their royal family.

26 May

1:30AM Saturday 26 May 2012 Nunhead Heights

The English Royal Family is like your wife’s best friends. You’d better be nice to them or they’ll lobby your wife to throw you out of the house. Next thing you know you’ll have trouble seeing your children.

I have to remember that I am a guest here in England. Okay, a hostage. My youngest son is only nine so I am not planning on going anywhere anytime soon.

June 3rd is the 60th anniversary of the Queen being Queen. There will be street parties and celebrations on the Heights. As an American, the whole business of inherited anything – except beauty and athleticism – is an anathema to me. And I’m not so sure about the inheritability of those qualities.

Most English people actually feel England would be worse off without the Monarchy. I read this in yesterday’s Guardian.

The supposed reasons are: One, having a working monarchy in working palaces and working castles is good for tourism. For my money, this is analogous to keeping the gas chambers running to increase visitor numbers at Auschwitz. The  second is that a new Head of State would be even more expensive than a King or Queen – elections being very expensive. The third is that the Monarchy is better because the Americans don’t have it – like the letter “u” in humour or the extra “i” in aluminium. Very Spinal Tap, innit? 

The Royals are embedded in this country. Commoners killed King Charles the First in 1649 and eliminated the Monarchy – temporarily. 12-years later they brought his son back and restored the throne. That was 350 years ago.

Since then, the English have had 350 more years to grow attached to the Monarchy. Imagine if Gaddafi’s son’s had survived and the Gaddafi family had then ruled a thousand years. Or it’s like when Woolworth’s closed in the UK after 100 years in business. The English mourned as if they still shopped there.

The existence of the Royals stops even posher twats from acting too superior over the common schlubs. When someone acts a bit snotty in England the Average Middle English Joe sneers: “Why are you acting all lordy? You aint the Queen.”

That is the main, real, reason, as I can see, for the English for keeping a class of unelected rulers.

President Obama has to defer to Congress, the Supreme Court and to Michelle. He’s got to get re-elected so he has to be nice to the little people. And if he can’t run for office again he’s got to raise money for his Presidential Library. That stuff will keep you humble.

The Monarchy keeps the David Camerons and Tony Blairs in line. The Prime Minister has to bow to the Queen. The Queen is the last line of defense against upper class snobbery. And that makes everyone happy except for the Prime Minister and Charles the III, the guy waiting to be King.

The Queen is bred to be the leader and she is anointed by God. I read that she believes this.

If you were called “Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”…

And if you were given castles and estates, people were bowing to you right, left and center, and your husband walked three steps behind you, you’d believe you were anointed by God, too. Damn, Americans swear that God helped them catch a football in the Super Bowl.

[Did you know Queen Elizabeth didn’t expect to be Queen? Wallis Simpson got her uncle, King Edward the Something, away from his crown and Elizabeth’s stuttering dad became king.

Wallis got what she wanted but I can’t imagine she was happy. Not that any woman is happy. Any woman would prefer to be the mistress of a king than married to a duke living in exile. God punished Wallis for her greed. And punished her in death by having Madonna make a movie about her.]

The second main real reason is that the Royals are the Number One role model in England.

In America, making oodles of money is important and then giving it all away if you’ve got too much. You want your children to make it on their own or at least have the appearance of making it on their own. No Tamara Ecclestones in America – the flush daughter of Formula One Bernie. Paris Hilton made it herself. I know: I saw the DVD

[Sure, that’s a lot of rubbish about America but we believe it. Or we used to believe it. Or we used to think we believed it.]

In England, the game is to hold on to the money you were left by ancestors. If you lose the country “pile” to the tax man, your life is considered a waste. No one has held on to as much stuff for as long as Queen of England and her family.  

By that measure, I’m a success. My father died broke and so will I. Americans respect economic, social and emotional growth.

Okay, that is my post about the Queen’s Jubilee.

I don’t like the Monarchy but I am going to make nice with them and the people who love them – not that many English people would give a rat’s tail whether I liked their Royals or not.  The English have no fear that the Royals are going to be removed anytime soon.

NB: Britain is to the old Soviet Union what England is to Russia and Scotland is to the Ukraine. Great Britain is the island and includes England, Scotland, and Wales. The United Kingdom is England, Scotland, Wales and part of Ireland.

I use the term “England” because I am not quite sure what is going on north of the border in Scotland or west in Wales. And the way things are going this country will be like the Soviet Union and disintegrate and the United Kingdom will be no more. That would be sad.

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@lewisschaffer on twitter

Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous in Soho
Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Free Admission
Reserve at www.sourcebelow.com

Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer
Every Monday 10:30pm
www.resonancefm.com 104.4fm London
On iTunes www.bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

SO IT GOES - John Fleming's blog

John Fleming’s blog: human interest, humour, humor, comedy blog featuring eccentricity, performance, movies and occasionally a few tears

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Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comic

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

SO IT GOES - John Fleming's blog

John Fleming’s blog: human interest, humour, humor, comedy blog featuring eccentricity, performance, movies and occasionally a few tears

Nunhead Nags

A blog about Nunhead regeneration

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comic