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The UK tradition of giving rock stars knighthoods... What say you?

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  • The UK tradition of giving rock stars knighthoods... What say you?

    Sometimes I think about the British way of doing things. Over there, every person is keenly aware from the day he is born that he lives in a monarchy... or at least a symbolic monarchy. Even people who claim to dislike the monarchy would wet their knickers with glee if they could shake Her Majesty's hand or be invited to one of her posh do's.

    And we all know of the policy of Britain to intermittently award OBE's and MBE's/knighthoods to people in the performing arts, including plenty of rock stars. I know you can think of a few, including Sir Bob, Sir Cliff, Dame Shirley, Dame Cilla, Sir Elton and Sir Paul. I suspect eventually, in the fullness of time, we'll be talking about Sir Mick, Sir Elvis, Sir David, Sir Rod, Sir Tom, Sir Ringo, Sir Gordon, Dame Lulu, Sir Bono and others.

    In the 60's the Beatles made that disgraceful show of handing back their OBE's to the Queen, for whatever tempest-in-a-teapot they happened to be protesting that week.

    In the States, we don't have anything like this. I suppose the nearest equivalent would be those "Lifetime Achievement Awards" lukewarmly given to some rock stars, like Bob Dylan recently, as well as those "Presidential Command" performances, like those given by Springsteen and others.

    I sometimes think that, in the UK, this "upward glance" inspires rockstars (and other artistes) to produce more grand, noble and selfless gestures, loftier-themed projects. In the UK, everybody "looks up", so to speak, whereas in the States, we tend to worship football players, rappers, vapid starlets, NASCAR drivers, etc. It's like, our focus over here is to "look down" rather than up. Am I making sense?

    Anyway, what do you think of these two approaches, these two attitudes and traditions?

    Granted, there are plenty of Brits who will surely allege that receiving a knighthood simply turns a once vital artiste into a fat, wrinkley, poncey, naff, toffee-nosed git.

    What say you?
    Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


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  • #2
    I see part of it having to do with nationalism, that Britain, the once-powerful empire, is still a culturally important country in the world having contributed people like Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John. The other part is the cultural mores of the establishment in England - long known for being "stuffy" and "proper" have changed somewhat. I think for some of these recipients -- who have been derided by the older establishment in their prime, they appreciate this sort of acceptance.

    I think for most rockstars that earn the knighthood though kind of take it in stride, they see it as a nice bonus in their life, but they don't take it nearly as seriously as people like, say Sir Winston Churchill did.
    Elson TrinidadSinger, Songwriter, Keyboardist, BassistElson and the Soul BarkadaWeb: www.elsongs.comMySpace: www.myspace.com/elsongsFacebook: Facebook PageTwitter: twitter.com/elsongs

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    • #3
      It's about the Monarchy. The head of state is an inheritance unlike the whole process you guys are going through right now to get a President. Britain is run by the Parliament (congress) and the PM runs the place whereas your President runs the place in spite of congress.

      Australia's head of state is the Governor General who represents the Monarchy, the PM runs the place.

      So the Head of State is non-partisan, therefore awards given by the Monarchy are also non-partisan. I think that's a good idea.

      What award could you have given say The Beach Boys that could match a knighthood?
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      • #4
        What award could you have given say The Beach Boys that could match a knighthood?


        A Ferrari wouldn't be bad.
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        • #5
          - yeah OK surely it should at least be US make
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          • #6
            I lose respect for anyone who tacitly supports the notion of a monarchy by accepting such honors. Lennon had the right idea-the "tempest in a treapot" he protested was the Viet Nam war, which caused the death of a few million people.
            "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act."- George Orwell

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            • #7
              I don't know what to make of the knighthood. I don't feel like I know enough about the machinations or culture behind it.
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              • #8
                I lose respect for anyone who tacitly supports the notion of a monarchy by accepting such honors. Lennon had the right idea-the "tempest in a treapot" he protested was the Viet Nam war, which caused the death of a few million people.



                My British friends (I don't know if they are right) tell me that Britain in the 60's was all about pleasure.... all about the liberation from the grim post-WWII 1950's, still full of rations and privations. They tell me that they were happy to let the USA fight racism, Vietnam, and go crazy with assassinations, while they got into the kaleidoscope of music, fashion, drugs and sex that was Swinging London. [Maybe that's just their rose-colored memory of the time?]

                They tell me Britain had no involvement in Viet Nam. Is that the case?
                Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. Wayne Thiebaud


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                • #9
                  I think that they are correct, from everything I've read and heard. Almost everyone in England who was in their teens coming into the 60s had an ex-military father, and parents in general who had suffered through the war (and of course the depression before that), and they were just sick of hearing about it and the conformity and rigidity.

                  Britain didn't have any involvment with Vietnam that I'm aware of. The French ruled Vietnam before the war. After the war, despite all our talk of fighting for self-determination and freedom, we allowed the French to go back and take up their colonial situation there. And for that lack of insight we lost 50,000 lives and almost tore our country apart, not to mention a couple million Vietnamese. Hypocrasy always comes back to bite you eventually.

                  The amount of death and destruction that came about in the previous two centuries because of bad post-war decisions is amazing. WWII is pretty much a direct result of the decisions made after WWI by the winners, who just completely turned the screws on Germany and created the situations in which a psycho like Hitler could come to power.
                  Dean Roddey
                  Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, LTD

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                  • #10
                    I don't like it but it is no worse than electing movie stars and wrestlers as govenor or president.
                    My friends have big houses and new cars. I own music equipment.

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                    • #11

                      in the States, we tend to worship football players


                      Over there it's a dfferent game, but they have their worshipful followings [woof! I'd put those guys up against our USA tailgaters for raw passion] and, yup, they get beknighted

                      funny historical note on knighthood, there were times when it was a dubious honor as refusing it was impolitic, but it also put you in special subjugation (such as special tribute/taxation) even w/o fiefdom

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                      • #12
                        Damn peasants, shavelings and squires!

                        Anyone who does not own a castle with a moat since at least the 9th century is a nouveau rich!

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                        • #13
                          Verilly! Forsoothe!

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                          • #14
                            I do not know if I would ever be "Sir" Gus Lozada...

                            ... but surely, I
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                            • #15
                              If they make you a knight, do they give you a sword? A castle? A damsel in distress? A dragon to slay? If you don't get all that extra knight swag, it seems kind of, I don't know, academic.
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