Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Thoughts On England Without Research

  • Second-place in the “most comprehensible foreigner” contest, except for up North or the East or God forbid you have to figure out what someone from Scotland or Wales is saying.
  • Scotland and Wales are not England, but England owns them (kinda) and the whole deal is called Great Britain because the name of the island is Britain, and then there’s the United Kingdom, which also includes Northern Ireland.
  • That last part gets complicated and sad.
  • In some ways, it’s like the individual states forming America.
  • But in all the important ways, it’s nothing like that.
  • They got a whole different system over there.
  • You hear them speaking English, and think that they’ll be reasonable and normal, but no.
  • Foreigners.
  • Not even ashamed to not be Americans!
  • Canadians apologize for not being American, and Australians pretend to be American, but the English just walk around with their umbrellas being foreign; I almost respect them for it.
  • Okay, right off the bat: I am going back to the founding principles for this one, and really not looking anything up; I know that there are British Enthusiasts, and I ask you to keep in mind this fact before being mean in the Comment Section.
  • Here we go: England was discovered in 1611 by Vasco de Gama; he claimed it for Spain and then Winston Churchill stabbed him in the eye with a cigar.
  • Stop that.
  • Fine: the British Isles (the two big ones, Britain and Ireland, and a bunch of little ones like Wight and Man) were settled by by humans a long time ago when French cavemen became bored with sunny weather and decided to live on a rock in the North Sea.
  • (England’s a lot closer to the Arctic than you realize, but the Gulf Stream blips north when it hits the European mainland and warms the place, but not, you know, warm.)
  • There was tribal squabbling.
  • There still is, but back then it was done with war dogs and night raids.
  • Now the English tribes just print newspapers at each other.
  • Rome!
  • The English were not the English yet–the word comes from the Angles, who migrated well after the Romans showed up–and they spoke Brythonic (Byronic? Chthonic?), which has nothing to do with even the Oldest English.
  • The Romans called them Britons, and the island Britannia, but the people were Celts and Picts and Iceni and other geographically-based tribes of filthy savages.
  • All the tribes had traded with Rome, and other countries, for hundreds of years, but Caesar gonna Caesar and in 50 (?) BC he invaded.
  • Then he invaded again a few years later.
  • And again.
  • March 15th.
  • Then Augustus invaded.
  • Caligula tried it next, but something went wrong because he was insane.
  • Who finally took control of Britannia and named her capital city Londinium?
  • Him, Claudius.
  • Along the way, Boadicea (who I am quite certain Emily Blunt is currently in talks to portray) led her tribe, the Iceni, in battle against the Romans.
  • It did not go well for her.
  • So now England was Roman, but it was still an island and therefore developed a much different form of Roman culture than the rest of the Empire.
  • For example, their togas were double-breasted.
  • But, being a part of the Roman Empire, there was a lot of movement back and forth and cultural exchange and all that; genes were moving back and forth, too: your average British subject today is a mutt of just about all of Northern Europe, plus Spain.
  • Unless you’re a part of one of those uncontacted Amazonian tribes, you’re a mutt.
  • Embrace your muttness.
  • Then the Roman Empire became Christian, and then turned into the Catholic Church and England wasn’t a part of the Roman Empire any more, thus beginning the Medieval Period, which is also known as the Dark Ages, maybe.
  • I’m sure historians use those terms for different eras, or perhaps one or both has been exiled to the Problem Attic, but you know what I’m talking about: the thousand years in which Western Civilization wasn’t looking too hot.
  • If you’re a fan of Western Civilization, then the highpoints are the Roman Empire and right this very moment.
  • (And Rome has nothing on us. We have electricity; they didn’t; discussion over.)
  • But for a thousand years, Europe went back to being shit-covered savages.
  • For example: vikings.
  • They were Norse (Norway and Sweden and Denmark) and fucked shit up: they’re still known it for more than a millennia later.
  • Vikings were to fucking shit up what dervishes were to whirling.
  • It it at this point that England got very lucky, because they had access to something the vikings did not.
  • Magic.
  • King Arthur and his knights and also a dragon fought off the invaders, but then winter came and everyone got eaten by zombies or zombie dragons.
  • Moistened bints lobbing scimitars may or may not have been involved.
  • There was no King Arthur (and he most certainly did not ride elephants, no matter what Guy Ritchie will have you believe) and no Merlin, Galahad, Lancelot.
  • Nor was there a Sword in the Stone or Excalibur, which were not the same thing.
  • They were two separate folk tales that got blended together over generations of retelling.
  • The previous sentence is based upon no evidence whatsoever, but that sounds like how stories operate, doesn’t it?
  • There was an Uther, though, and Ulric, and Alfred, and–of course–Æthelred the Unready (the Jeb Bush of Medieval England); these were kings (more like local warlords) who fought the Vikings and tried to expand their territories; they did so for several hundred years because everything in the past happened for several hundred years at a time.
  • There was no 24-hour news cycle in the Dark Ages.
  • In 1066, William the Conqueror did so.
  • Battle of Hastings, motherfucker.
  • Without Research.
  • He was a Norman, and not the fun kind like Crosby or Lear or Bates: the French kind.
  • The Britons took this calmly, and with the equanimity they’re know for.
  • Nah, just shitting you: thousand years of war, on and off.
  • More on than off, honestly.
  • When England and France started fighting, it was typical monarchical bullshit: cousins marrying strategically, and uncles siccing armies on nephews, that sort of thing.
  • Rich people fucking up everyone else’s day.
  • England and France then grew into modern nation-states; they continued having wars.
  • One was called the Thirty Years War.
  • It lasted a while.
  • Another was called the Hundred Years War.
  • It lasted quite a while.
  • 130 years, actually.
  • Until fairly recently, a great deal of England and France’s economies were based around killing each other.
  • They’re friends today.
  • Kinda.
  • Anyway, lot of kings and fighting: Edward and Edward II and Richard II and the Henry IV and Jaws III-D, and others.
  • Also the Black Death, also known as the Bubonic plague, also known as y. pestis.
  • Nasty little fucker: fills your lymph nodes with pus; your neck and armpits and crotch swell up black, and throb until they split, spilling infectious poison all over a room inhabited by people who do not understand germ theory.
  • Lot of people die, but economists think that–in a perverse way–the Black Death (along with the concurrent Little Ice Age) was good thing in the long run: it cut down on the supply of labor, which means the remaining Britons were now more valuable and could maybe stop being serfs that belonged to rich people.
  • (That’s feudalism: the poor people belonged to the land, and the land belonged to the rich people. Next time someone starts in with the “good old days” bullshit, scream “FEUDALISM” at them, and then punch them in the suck. Right in the suck.)
  • Then there was an English Renaissance, and an Interregnum, and the Spanish Armada, and the Glorious Revolution, and several Reformations, and Queen Elizabeth.
  • Not our Queen Elizabeth, the first one.
  • Our Queen Elizabeth has been around a while, but she is not a Highlander.
  • She does have a place in the Highlands of Scotland, though.
  • Shit, maybe she is a Highlander.
  • Empire!
  • England used to be part of someone else’s empire, but now she was getting her own: the New World and Asia and Africa and India; pretty much the entire planet save South America (except for the Falklands.)
  • Colonialism.
  • That topic is a whole Without Research post by itself, so let’s skip over the British Empire.
  • Wait, you can’t “skip over” the British fucking Empire.
  • But I am sleepy.
  • Enthusiasts, we have ourselves a first: this Without Research post is…
  • …to be continued.

2 Comments

  1. Luther Von Baconson

    October 21, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Hilder

  2. Luther Von Baconson

    October 21, 2016 at 11:57 am

    get on board

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