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February 9, 2005

John Cleese's Letter to the US

** I got this via email and can't vouch for authenticity...but its certainly funny **

To the citizens of the United States of America, In the light of
your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to
govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your
independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth
II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths and
other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy.

Your new prime minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the
97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world
outside your borders) will appoint a minister 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:

1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English
Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium". Check the pronunciation guide.
You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour'
and 'neighbour', skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than
laziness on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut'
without skipping half the letters. You will end your love affair
with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed' not 'zee') and the
suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise". You will learn
that the suffix 'burgh is pronounced 'burra' e.g. Edinburgh. You are
welcome to respell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if you can't cope with
correct pronunciation. Generally, you should 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. Look
up "interspersed". There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry
Springer show. If you're not old enough to cope with bad language
then you shouldn't have chat shows. When you learn to develop your
vocabulary then you won't have to use bad language as often.

2. 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".

3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian
accents. It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited
to cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).
You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents -
Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast
with subtitles. While we're talking about regions, you must
learn that there is no such place as Devonshire in England. The
name of the county is "Devon". If you persist in calling it
Devonshire, all American States will become "shires" e.g.
Texasshire, Floridashire, Louisianashire.

4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as
the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to
play English characters. British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving
Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will not be re-cast and watered down for a
wishy-washy American audience who can't cope with the humour of
occasional political incorrectness.

5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The
Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want
you to get confused and give up half way through.

6. You should stop playing American "football". There is only one
kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a
very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a
world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays
"American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and
should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if
you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you
brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is
similar to American "football", but does not involve stopping for a
rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like
nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens
side by 2005. You should 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 2.15% of you are aware that
there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.
Instead of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game
called "rounders" which is baseball without fancy team strip,
oversized gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.

7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no
longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in
public than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are
sensible enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will
require a permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.

8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a
new national holiday, but only in England. It will be
called "Indecisive Day".

9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand
what we mean. All road intersections will be replaced with
roundabouts. 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. Roundabouts and
metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.

10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French
fries are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they are Belgian
though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered fries
while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium. Those
things you insist on calling potato chips are properly
called "crisps". Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat.
The traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be
served warm and flat. Waitresses will be trained to be more
aggressive with customers.

11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added
to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this
quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston

12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not
actually beer at all, it is lager. >From November 1st only proper
British Bitter will be referred to as "beer", and European brews of
known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager". The
substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be
referred to as "Near-Frozen Knat's Urine", with the exception of the
product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be
referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Knat's Urine". This will allow true
Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech
Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.

13. From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "Gasoline"
as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005)
prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to
those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK
petrol prices roughly $6/US gallon - get used to it).

14 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.

15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy. Tax
collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly
to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).

16. Last but not the least, and for heaven's sake.....it's Nuclear
as in "clear" NOT Nucular.

Thank you for your co-operation and have a great day.

John Cleese

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Comments (6)

This an extremely old joke that gets passed around every time there is an election in the US. I first heard in the 1980's, but I have been told that it was created long before that. It used to get posted on student bulliten boards in universities before the Internet was around.

This is the first time I ever saw John Clees's name attached to it. The name is usually the foreign minister of the UK at the time of the election.

Posted by: Eric at February 9, 2005 12:49 PM

That is hilarious! Whoever wrote it (if not John Cleese) should have added in there somewhere that NZ is not a part of Australia :o)

Posted by: flying-kiwi at February 13, 2005 5:48 AM

It's the first time I've ever seen it & I have now printed it out & am planning on giving a copy to my American civilisation teacher tomorrow... Certainly made me laugh in any case!

Posted by: Ally at February 24, 2005 6:53 PM

awesome stuff! thanks for all the information. extensive methods for this: http://www.pardonmyenglish.com/archives/2005/09/the_state_of_bi.html , no proof of ideas

Posted by: eric bartrim at September 14, 2005 7:44 PM

very funny mail that everybody enjoys reading, do you have more texts like this? Also my students will enjoy it when returning from their Easter holidays.

KInd regards,
Irene Wegmann

Posted by: Irene at April 17, 2006 4:44 AM

By Tim Frazier

To the citizens of Great Britain,

I obviously got your letter long after it was written. The last incompetent leader elected in the United States of America was Bill Clinton, and we did it as a joke. It was obviously a mistake and got quite out of hand. We apologize and will do our best to not let it happen again.

In a successful attempt to rectify that mistake, we have twice now elected George W. Bush, who has done a fine job of clearing up the missunderstandings which resulted from the Benny Hill type antics of his predecessor. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is welcome to exercise the same amount of political power over these United States as she does anywhere else. We really don’t think it will hurt anything and doubt that any of our citizens will actually notice.

The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP is welcome to come visit and give advice. We like him just fine, even if he is a labor—sorry, labour—party leader. People can be as liberal as they want as long as they jump in with us and start kicking butts when some back-woods mountain pirate in the middle east crosses the line. Here are our responses to the list of rules you sent us:

We looked up “revocation” in the Oxford English Dictionary. We don’t care. We checked “aluminium” in the pronunciation guide. We are amazed at the fact that we use this material than anyone else in the world yet you want to tell us how to pronounce it. We are working on a language efficiency guide for you, to demonstrate how additional unnecessary letters like “u” in many words wastes valuable computer hard drive space. I agree we took these efficiencies a little too far in the decade or two prior to Y2K but we have learned our lesson and will restrict our tendency to abbreviate to common words, not date and time stamps. We recommend you obtain a copy of the “Blue Collar TV” “Redneck Dictionary”. We agree that using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as “like” and “you know” is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. That (and many other reasons) is why we wholeheartedly support your immediate aquisition of the state of California. We won’t lift a finger to stop you and only request that in return you put a very high, impenetrable fence between them and us.

You’re right, there is no such thing as “U.S. English.” Let us know when you plan to assimilate California and we will make sure we have moved the contents of Redmond to Silicon Valley prior to the aquisition. The software company you mentioned (I’m afraid to put their name in writing due to the proliferation of lawyers you pointed out) headquarted in Redmond could do with a little British intervention.

We don’t need to learn to distinguish between English and Austrailian accents. Why would we bother when we don’t listen to anything either of you say anyway?

Regarding your request for us to learn the words to “God Save the Queen”, we have never understood why the Queen needs to be saved. Hasn’t she been saved yet? It seems some Brittish gentleman should get off his keister (look up “keister” in the “Redneck Dictionary) and save her, because you’ve been asking God to do it for a long time and it doesn’t appear He feels it’s an urgent matter (neither do we, we tend to be on His side—look up “Abraham Lincoln”).

We’ll just have to agree to disagree. You mentioned “American” football. We also believe it should just be plain ol’ “football”. The kevlar body armor—sorry, armour since that’s what you prefer—see how inefficient that is???—is a result of the proliferation of insurance companies and lawyers. We’re working on it. We have rugby, but it is played at secret locations and times to avoid insurance auditors and lawyers. We have successfully disguised it as Hockey…don’t get me started on why we didn’t have a hockey/American Rugby season last year, it’s a whole different topic…

Regarding your demand for us to stop playing baseball, the baseball team in my area shows up on game day, but apparently has stopped playing baseball, so you win that one.

Sure thing on the guns, just come on over and start taking them from us. You might want to bring some of that American Football kevlar body armor and a whole lot of Australian army buddies with you. And plan on it taking a looooong time (look up “infinity”).

Regarding your demand we carry nothing more dangerous than a vegetable peeler in public: like I said, we’ll comply with this a soon as you’ve successfully achieved your goal of taking away our guns (look up “cold, dead fingers”, “NRA”, and “Charlton Heston”).

We agreed with the American Car problem a long time ago. Thats why the American car companies now own most of the Europeon car companies (look up “Jaguar is now owned by Ford”. We do need help with our traffic system. We can’t even get people to walk on the right side in the mall here. I think we’ll outsource our traffic problems to Sweden. They have Volvos (look up “Ford owns Volvo”) so they are used to designing traffic flows for heavy, powerful vehicles, not dinky underpowered British horseless carriages.

Belgium is a country??? I thought it was a chocalate manufacturer.

I can’t speak to the opinions of other Americans, but you have valid points regarding beer. Guiness, however, licks anything else you have hollow. Imagine what the Irish could do if you guys got out of their business!

US gas prices syncronized with UK: This is apparently already in progress. My Dodge Magnum burns $300.00 worth a month (Look up “Daimler-Chrysler” and “American Muscle Car”)

In regards to learning to resolve problems without guns, lawyers, etc. you should become familiar with our continuim of force policies. We’re working on getting rid of the lawyers and therapists and escalating straight to the guns every time in order to make the dispute processes less time consuming.

Who killed JFK? It’s driving you crazy??? So THAT’S what happened to you guys!

Regarding your desire to collect taxes here back-dated to 1776, you are welcome to do that as soon as you complete your project to confiscate all our guns. You might want to get those vegetable peelers banned as well. We’re funny about higher taxes and have been trained to dispatch tax collectors with common houshold items such as bananas and whiffle balls. You’d be amazed at how much damage we could do with a peeler.


Tim Frazier
President of Fraziertopia
Grapevine, Texas
These United States (Except California)

Posted by: Tim Frazier at January 30, 2007 12:20 AM

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