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John Cleese's "Letter To America" Answered

Forwarded along by an Aussie. Enjoy.

Dear Citizens of America,

In view of your failure to elect a competent President 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 other territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy), as from Monday next.

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 may 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:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. 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."

3. You will learn that the suffix "burgh" is pronounced "burra"; you may elect to spell Pittsburgh as "Pittsberg" if you find you simply can't cope with correct pronunciation.

4. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels (look up "vocabulary"). Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.

5. 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."

6. You will relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The Queen," but only after fully carrying out Task #1 (see above).

7. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday. November 2nd will
be a new national holiday, but to be celebrated only in England. It will be called "Come-Uppance Day."

8. 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. 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.

9. 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.

10. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean.

11. 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 immediately and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrification will help you understand the British sense of humour.

12. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling "gasoline") - roughly $8/US per gallon. Get used to it.

13. 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 malt vinegar.

14. Waiters and waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.

15. 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." American brands will be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.

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

17. You will cease playing American "football." There is only one kind of proper football; you call it "soccer." Those of you brave enough, in time, will 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 Jessies - English slang for "Big Girls Blouse").

18. 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 and forgiven.

19. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.

20. 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.

Thank you for your co-operation.
John Cleese



10 years ago

Right funny! Anybody have a favorite Python alum? I thought Michael Palin was the funniest / goofiest (although more people now probably know him from the books and PBS shows....)

Eric Idle and John Cleese.

I love the Dead Parrot sketch myself, but Spam comes in a close second.

"Funniest Joke in the World" is my favorite.

Classics! Sketch-wise for me: probably the Argument sketch, or the Upperclass Twit of the Year...

On the "silly side" the ministry of silly walks, comes to mind.

I was walking around work today with that sketch in mind. All because someone I work with does not like Monty Python. My favorite would have to be the mosquito hunting sketch.


I have a liking for the one with all the Bruces in it (the Bruce sketch?). Typical MP. LOL

I like the fish dance sketch.

I don't like to get involved in international hypocrites, er, i mean politics but; LAUGH MY HEAD OFF (I don't know how to write BIG) Cleese is funny. I liked MPFC but Fawlty towers it one of my favourite 70's comedies To anyone who's seen it - Attacking car with branch, been there myself!!!

I agree about Fawlty Towers....it was hilarious and much too short-lived. *sigh*

*nods head* 'twas but one season... Ack well better than nothing.


About time we've been recolonised, I'm bloody fed up with being marked down for using metric and "u"s in my spelling...

Also American Football sucks, please do dispose of it!

Replacing American Foot ball with rugby would be awesome. And we should scrape baseball. Probably is the least athletic sport ever and I can't see why anyone would watch them run around in diamonds for 9 innings.

Your teachers mark you down for using metric units??

For shame!

(And you can tell them I said that.)

Not me teachers (I'm self taught) but this hick co-op proctor grew irritated when all my answerers were in metric. I have an unfortunate habit of luring and baiting people who believe they have greater intellect than me (AKA a dickhead) into situations and arguments that make them look foolish. He was a prime candidate. Roughly 45, had hit the male menopause wee early, had a handlebar mustache and an impressive beer belly. Also thought he was the wisest person that has walked this Earth. I since it's suposed to be an open learning discussion, I contradicted everything we "discussed". I really pissed him off when I told the class that the world was not created by God (acceptable to him), or the Big Bang (would argue with you), but by the Flying Spaghetti Monster (about died after looking up exorcists). I had to remind him + all the other "learned adults" I was granted freedom of speech and religion by this nation's constitution, and I would be able to sue them (<--I was bluffing, but I probably could) if they did not allow me to state my opinions.

*shakes head* It's really sad, many home-schoolers are this way, and it's the stereotype.

ha ha, very funny, i almost went off on a rant about this. Then i thought wait... Isn't John Cleese a comedian? Then i posted this merely to say ya got me. Congrats.

Yeah. He was in Monty Python's Flying Circus.

18. 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.

Funny, I could have sworn other countries played baseball. Just because "one" country will not, does not make all those that do, ineffectual nor non-existent ;-)

Heh - name three other countries that participate in the "World" Series. By the way, Cleese didn't come up with this one - this is a common cause of merriment and derision among most non-US people, when they find out there is such a thing as a "World Series" for baseball. ;-) If it wasn't for Hollywood, I think rugby and cricket would be far better known (as opposed to merely more frequently played) across the world than American football and baseball...

Japan typically plays in the Little League World Series... but as for the MLB, its just the US and Canada. I personally would love to watch a game of Rugby, because I have never seen one. I wish that they would show a few more sports over here. At least show them on a regular basis instead of 3 in the morning so that I could watch it.

Oh, one other thing, the way US Football is headed, with all the methods of protecting the "mock gladiators" from harm now, I am sure Rugby would suffer much harm in this country, to say the least. ;-)

I remember seeing a study comparing the accident rate between American football versus rugby players. IIRC, the latter was actually lower, and an experiment with introduction of additional protective gear for rugby players made the accident rate go up -simply because players thought they were better protected. (From memory - feel free to correct if I got that wrong...) Hence my proposal to install sharp metal spikes in the middle of car steering wheels, aimed right at the sternum of the driver. I'm sure people would drive a LOT more carefully! ;-)

Hm - scientific evidence does not seem to support my above statement. But hey, why let the facts stand in the way of a good story, right? ;-)

I haven't the foggiest about the study you mention, but I do know the direction this country is headed (what with putting labels on everything....like "Do not drink the contents" on the outside of an automobile battery, etc) you should probably be thankful the bureaucrats do not have their mitts on your games :-)

18. 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 and forgiven.

The problem is that it appears that it is implied that no one else plays baseball. But that is simply not true....at all. I am sure if others could compete on the same level they too would be allowed to participate, but most other countries play on a much smaller field, and so would be at a serious disadvantage playing here, and we would be have a serious advantage playing there.

Honestly though, I don't see why each of the games (baseball, USA football (American implies that anyone in America, north or south lives in the USA), soccer, rugby, cricket, badminton and Croquet) can't all exist together in harmony :-)

Oh sure - other people play baseball. It's just that nobody else is much interested in it. :-P

As a point of reference, in Belgium baseball was about as much in the public eye as, say handball or korfball - sports which may seem pretty obscure to you, but I can assure you, they were just about as obscure in Blegium. ;-)

Oh sure - other people play baseball. It's just that nobody else is much interested in it. :-P

Really ? here are just a few news storied from one country....Link to Baseball outside the USA ;-)

Except for the japanese. Oh, and Cuba, which is obviously a major player in the World Series. :-P

Well, now switching back and forth between interest and the "series" again ;-) I don't even care for watching any of the games myself. I would like to be in the shape to play them, but watching? I can get more from watching a game of chess (yes, I AM a boring old man LOL) .

Oh and I apologize to anyone that feels I am upset, I am not in the least. But some inaccuracies do make me react a little. A good example is Carlos Mencia. Some of the things he comes off with are completely offensive to me, and I am not even the on the receiving end of his "humor". Some of it is funny, and a lot of what Clease wrote is funny. So, just to set the record straight, I am not perturbed in the least.....just had a knee-jerk reaction to correct a few things


11. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. Dear Lord, no. There is a roundabout near here, and I can't believe that nobody has been killed there yet. People don't realize that you have to slow down before turning into it... Nor do they realize there are "yield" signs at it. The bricks around it have tire tracks where people have had to hit their brakes to keep from hitting the idiots coming in. "Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with malt vinegar." I guess I have been really wrong eating mine with mayonnaise... All in all, hilarious. I wish I had ink in my printer.

Interestingly, roundabouts do actually cause more accidents than stoplights.

... it's just that the accidents tend to be fender-benders, rather than involving loss of life. So overall, the roundabouts wind up being safer.

(Just another piece of useless trivia dug up from the nether regions of my brain, which may or may not be completely invalidated by actual scientific results. ;-)

New round abouts are actually illegal in some areas, because they are so accident prone. We have 3 on the way to Gettysburg, and it is quite a terror to enter the circle when traffic is bad.

"Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with malt vinegar."

Actually, we HAVE chips like that, several places and a few restaurants serve "salt n vinegar" chips. :-p

However, variety IS the spice of life as they say. So I rather like them in many different ways LOL

> Absolutely peeing myself laughing <

(Opens new tab to email letter to entire contact list)

American usage in many cases retains the u in the word glamour, which comes from Scots, not Latin or French; saviour is a common variant of savior in the US. The British spelling is very common for "honour" (and "favour") on wedding invitations in the United States.[23] The Space Shuttle Endeavour has a u as it is named after Captain Cook's ship, HMS Endeavour. :-p

And no amount of pedantry can rob the text of the pure, delicious hilarity it generates in the British soul.

And, well, I feel the same way, but from a different point of view ;-)


10 years ago

4, 8, 10, 15, 17 and 18! 'Nuff said... :-P

Yay! Britain! this is why everyone should move to the UK.

. Now that's funny. I don't care who ya are. Thank goodness for our differences and God Save Freddie Mercury.

ive seen this somewhere.... sadly its halarious.


10 years ago

3. You will learn that the suffix "burgh" is pronounced "burra";

How else it is pronounced?!!? 0_o

Most of the time it is pronounced like: "berg"

Funny :-) but I still rather we move forward rather then stagnate, so if our Comedic friend wishes to move backwards, let's re-instate Old English. That should "ábacan hiss áwierdan" LOL

Sometimes, I find it funny that some find it funny LOL ;-)