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John Cleese’s Revocation of Independence

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Un texte de 2000, attribué à tort au comédien John Cleese (Monthy Python), évoque la révocation de l’indépendance des États-Unis, sous le prétexte que ses habitants ne sont pas capable de choisir un bon président (Je le rappelle, le texte date de l’année 2000). J’avais déjà vu ce texte, mais là je viens de tomber sur une réponse faite à John Cleese, tout aussi marrante que le texte originale. Je vous livre donc les 2, ça vaut son pesant de cacahouètes ! (Par contre c’est tout en anglais, anglophobes s’abstenir :) ).

A message from John Cleese, British comedian

To the citizens of the United States of America:

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent
candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern
yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your
independence, effective immediately.  Her Sovereign Majesty
Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all
states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas,
which she does not especially fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a
Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.  A questionnaire
will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you
noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the
following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

You should look up « revocation » in the Oxford English
Dictionary.

1. Then look up ‘aluminium’, and check the pronunciation
guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have
been pronouncing it.

2. The letter ‘U’ will be reinstated in words such as ‘colour’,
‘favour’ and ‘neighbour.’  Likewise, you will learn to spell
‘doughnut’ without skipping half the letters, and the
suffix ‘-ize’ will be replaced by the suffix ‘-ise’.

Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to
acceptable levels. (Look up ‘vocabulary’).

3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler
noises such as « like » and « you know » an :ahhhh » is an
unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There
is no such thing as US English.  We will let Microsoft know
on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted
to take account of the reinstated letter ‘u’ and the
elimination of -ize.

4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.

5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers
and therapists shows that you’re not adult enough to be
independent.  And guns should only be handled by adults.
If you’re not adult enough to sort things out without suing
someone or speaking to a therapist then you’re not grown
up enough to handle a gun.

6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry
anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit
will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and
you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the
same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and
without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts
and metrication will help you understand the British sense
of humour.

8. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been
calling gasoline) – roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.

9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call
French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist
on calling potato chips are properly called crisps.  Real chips
are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup
but with vinegar.

10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not
actually beer at all.  Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will
be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and
accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South
African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound
the greatest sporting nation on earth, and it can only be due to the
beer.  They are also part of  British Commonwealth – see what
it did for them.  American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen
Gnat’s Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors
as good guys.  Hollywood will also be required to cast English
actors to play English characters.  Watching Andie MacDowell
attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was
an experience akin to having one’s ears removed with a cheese grater.

12. You will cease playing American football.  There is only one
kind of proper football; you call it soccer.  Those of you brave
enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some
similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping
for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body
armour like a bunch of nancies).  Don’t try Rugby – the South
Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.

13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable
to host an event called the World Series for a game which is
not played outside of America.  Since only 2.1% of you are aware
that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is
understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face
the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.

14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It’s been driving us mad.

15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty’s
Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all
monies due (backdated to 1776).

16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with
saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus
strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God save the Queen.

Et voilà la réponse d’un « habitant des États-Unis d’Amérique » :

Dear Mr. Cleese,

We have read your « Revocation of Independence », and, after puzzling
through the rather odd language, we are inclined to agree with you about
the quality of our Presidential candidates. However, I regret to
inform you that we will have to decline your generous offer of reassimilation.
We have consulted our therapists, who suggest that we attempt to work out our
differences via communication rather than grabbing our guns and heading for
Boston Harbor.

Therefore, in the interest of trans-Atlantic harmony:

1.  Re: the OED.  We don’t really need a dictionary as big as an SUV that
is mostly words nobody has used since Marlowe got stabbed in the eye.
Sorry.

2. We appreciate your loan of the nifty language.  However, we have
found the need to update occasionally since the time of Jane Austen.  We
had hoped you wouldn’t mind.

3. If you can get Microsoft to do anything that makes sense, bully for
you.  Please let us know how you did it.

4. July 4th allows us to work out our need for explosions and loud noises.
You wouldn’t like us without the Fourth of July.

5. After having surrendered four of our aircraft to people with nothing
more dangerous than box cutters, we are disinclined to limit ourselves
to vegetable peelers.  Some of us think everyone would be more polite
if we all carried flame throwers.  Certainly it would wake up that
idiot in front of me in the SUV yakking on his cell phone.

6. Roundabouts have already infiltrated American society, and we are
setting up a Congressional Committee on Un-American Activities to look
into it.  We think it might explain your unreasonable gasoline prices.

7. I looked it up on Google.  « Petrol » is some sort of bird, not the
name for a proper automobile fuel.

8. Sorry, even here in the land of Twinkies and Cheetos, we have heard about English
food.  Keep your chips and crisps.

9. However, that’s a big « ten-four » on the Near-Frozen Gnat’s Urine.
Decent beer is one thing we do miss since the unpleasantness of 1776.
Send whatever you can spare.

10. We may be ignorant of geography, however, most of us know that Borat
is not from Kazakhstan.  We can take a joke as well as anyone, but nix on
English actors until Sacha Cohen promises not to do any more nude scenes.
Also, we hear you’re friends with the Aussies.  If you get a chance, tell
them we no longer need Mel Gibson.

11.  No-can-do on the American football thing.  We are too busy
managing our world empire to be amused by what you delicately call
« association football ».  « Soccer », as it is properly called, has found a niche in
America for young men whose mothers won’t let them play real sports.
Tell the South Africans and Kiwis if they want to try a man’s game,
most NFL team have open tryouts once a year.

12.  Just because you lost your world empire is no reason to pick on us
about the « World Series ».  And, last time I checked, baseball-crazy countries
such as Cuba, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic
were still outside the United States.  (I thought you chaps were clever with
geography.)

13. Sorry, gonna have to say no to Cricket as well.  Cricket is to
baseball as dial-up is to broadband.

14. JFK was killed by a left-wing, wacko loner named Lee Harvey Oswald.
I’m sorry you don’t have anything better to worry about.   Get over
it.

15. As you pointed out, only 2.1 percent of us are aware of anything
outside our national borders, but GPS is up and running, and Galileo isn’t.
Don’t push your luck.

16.  Sure, send your tax collectors.  Americas are 51 percent « come-on-in
and-have-a-beer » types, and 49 percent « shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later » sorts.
Try Texas first.

17.  Anyway, thanks for all your help with the war on terror thing, and
if you ever want to be the fifty-first state, we could use some decent
breweries.  We’ve already worked out the flag design.  (3 rows of 8
and 3 rows of 9… see we CAN count).

Give our regards to the Queen, we really loved the movie.

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