December 27, 2011 by David Gillaspie
What is more important than The King’s Speech to England and the English?
How many times have you heard ‘it probably doesn’t mean as much to you as it does me?’
How many times was it true?
If you’re driving with someone from the south and hear the opening riff from Sweet Home Alabama, you can’t fake it. Whether they say they love it or hate it, it’s their anthem. A word from you means Civil War all over.
You may scream for Free Bird if you feel silence sends the wrong message. That is allowed in any car playing Lynyrd Skynyrd as long as there’s no alcohol or firearms present.
Songs play at the most inopportune times. Say you are dancing, you know, cutting a rug at a place called The Jug and Sweet Home opens up. Just keep dancing with an eye on the door.
If you’re watching the Daytona 500 with your mechanic and he starts convulsing when the cars head into the last turn, it’s not an emergency and it’s not contagious.
The guy holding his breath knows what it takes to get a car ready for the freeway and the odds of a car breaking down on race day. Don’t crowd him or he might go NASCAR on your ass and start punching things.
You don’t want to fight a racer, a racer wannabe, or even Danica Patrick. She’ll stomp you if she has cause.
If you’re watching a youth soccer game featuring your neighbor’s kid, you are golden. If you’re sitting in a camp chair on the sidelines with the other fans and one of them starts getting loud, don’t remind them ‘it’s only a game.’
You don’t know if their kid just woke from a coma last week and this is their first game, if the kid is a special Manchurian Candidate of Soccer, or somewhere in between.
The reason they yell/cheer for their kindergartener is because they know time is short. Either they come from a family of non-athletes who believe sweating is not be a bodily function to put on public display, or they are spousal kidnappers with a separation plan.
Let ’em make all the noise they want.
If you’re watching The King’s Speech with someone from England the same age as Queen Elizabeth, don’t ask a lot of questions about tea or World War Two. They have a far-away look in their eyes because they remember the times, the voices.
The interiors and social customs filmed in The King’s Speech shows civilization at its finest. It shows the moral fortitude of a people who ruled the world from the opposite end of Hitler’s spitting pep rallies.
King George VI (Colin Firth) sees film of a Hitler speech in German. One of his daughters’ asks, “What is that man saying?”
Colin Firth (King George VI) says, “I don’t know, but he’s saying it quite well.”
What he meant was, “That’s the verbal competition and I’ve got a speech impediment? Oh my God.”
If you watch The King’s Speech with a loved one from England the same age as Queen Elizabeth, one of King George’s daughters, she heard the speeches over the radio when they were new. They are as frightening today.
According to my polling sample of one, Churchill was better looking than the movie actor, but sounds about the same. By the film’s end, Chamberlain has met the Nazis where they lied to his face, and all of England, with a vow of peace in their lifetime. He seems a background character not worthy of scorn.
Besides, it’s the new king’s duty to break the bad news. His father, the old king, died. His brother, the first in line, quit the family business for his love of Wallis Simpson of Baltimore.
Telling a nation they are about to plunge into the bloody trenches of world war for the second time in twenty years takes rare composure, the sort Kings seem to be born with.
“I have a dream,” still echoes across the land.
So does, “I did it myyyyyyy waaaaaayyy.”
Long Live England. It probably doesn’t mean as much to America as it does to England, but they’ve earned it over and over.