July 4 is awkward. I am an Englishman in Los Angeles. Everyone here — everyone — celebrates defeating, rejecting and ejecting the English. My friend Barak flew me over L.A. in his Cessna, from where we could see 500 Independence Day fireworks displays, each one of them representing the firepower used to successfully decimate the English Redcoats. Thanks a lot.
Maybe we had it coming. I get it. Your colonists were being ruled by our insane septuagenarian monarch George III, who was a certified lunatic. Why would the intelligent, democracy-loving people of North America tolerate being led by a crazy man in his 70s?
One thing I don’t understand is the simultaneous love and revulsion of the British. Four of the past eight lead actor Oscars went to Englishmen. The TV shows “Downton Abbey” and “The Crown” are massive hits over here, America’s chefs gladly accept verbal abuse from Gordon Ramsay, and James Corden has successfully stormed the entertainment barricades with “Carpool Karaoke.”
This American ambivalence is confusing. During eight years of living in L.A., I regularly have heard dodgy English accents upon meeting people, have been told how they love hearing my British accent, even though I helpfully explain that I am the one without the accent because the language is called “English,” and that there is no such thing as a “British accent” because the United Kingdom consists of four countries. One native Angeleno excitedly identified the U.K.’s four nations as “England, Ireland, London and Great Britain.” Well done, mate. I congratulated him on his geographical mastery, after which he resumed the complex task of consuming his frozen yogurt.
The frozen yogurt lover omitted Wales and the land of the treacherous Scots, who were worth leaving out because they recently tried to devolve from the union. Clearly, the Scots have not learned from Rabbi Mel Gibson’s “Reliable History of the World,” whose Braveheart was hung, drawn and quartered after proclaiming, “They can take our lives but they can never take our freedom!” In the spirit of Yom Kippur forgiveness, we can wholeheartedly forgive Gibson for his anti-Semitic tirades while under the influence of Scottish whisky.
Why not just abandon the whole “democracy” malarkey and submit to the rule of Queen Elizabeth II?
Everything is forgiven in light of the recent royal wedding. My friend Rebecca, a social worker in Silver Lake, casually mentioned a few months ago during Shabbat lunch that her “co-worker’s kid is marrying Prince Harry.” She was working with Doria Ragland, the mother who healed 250 years of American-British enmity as her formerly besuited daughter, Meghan Markle, joined the royal family.
There is a great history of international alliances consummated by marriage, like when Prince Harry’s namesake King Henry V married Princess Catherine of France after we defeated those Euro-rascals (at least that’s the story according to Shakespeare, and who cares if it is creative license, this is Los Angeles).
Once again, our two star-crossed nations are officially united, once more unto the breach dear friends, “Cry God for Harry, England and St. George.”
Surely, it is time to shift the Independence Day fireworks to Nov. 5, the British “bonfire night,” when subjects of the crown light sparklers and set off fireworks to celebrate Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up the houses of Parliament.
I have no particular dislike of President Donald Trump, especially since he installed a Sabbath-observant shomer Shabbat family into the White House environs, but the level of civil division in the United States is particularly unsettling. Why not just abandon the whole “democracy” malarkey and submit to the rule of Queen Elizabeth II? Netflix already has devoted financial support to “The Crown,” and all it would take to complete the transition is a little presidential executive order.
My primary summer activity is sunbathing on the rooftop of my apartment complex and enjoying its 360-degree view of Los Angeles, which is the perfect viewing platform for the Independence Day fireworks. I look forward to the big night. Oh, how I love thee, America.
Marcus J Freed is a devastatingly handsome, incredibly humble and highly eligible Englishman. His website is marcusjfreed.com.