“Are you sick of this “royal family” shit? Who gives a fuck about these people? Who cares about the English in general? The uncivilized, murderous, backward English. Inbred savages hiding behind Shakespeare, pretending to be cultured. Don’t be misled by the manners-if you want to know what lurks beneath the surface, take a look at soccer crowds. That’s the true British character. I’m Irish and American, and we had to kick these degenerate mother fuckers out of both countries.”—-George Carlin.
(Well, we tried.)
Anglophilia is a serious mental disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Broadly speaking, it is defined as an affinity for all things British; however, the term is most often applied to one who has an obsession with the British royal family.
As an observer of human behavior (everyone’s but my own), I have witnessed this psychological phenomenon on many occasions, in many countries. In England itself, it’s not so much a disorder, but rather a strange fascination. Outside of England, it’s another situation entirely. I could give many examples, but the following were the most shocking to me.
The first involved my own mother, a staunch Irish Republican and ardent feminist. When Prince Charles wed Lady Diana, the event was broadcast all over the world.
My mother stood in front of the TV for the entire event.
I looked at my father in horror and held my hands up, as if to say, “WTF?”
He closed his eyes and shook his head, which meant both “I don’t know” and “keep your mouth shut.”
Fortunately, she later recovered.
Although I did miss an episode of “He-Man” because of the incident.
The worst encounter with an Anglophile I ever had involved an elderly woman in America. She owned a hotel/restaurant, and was one of my customers, as I was employed as a produce delivery-man at the time.
The foyer of the hotel was bedecked with all sorts of English antiques; nothing wrong with that.
But then one day, I asked to use the facilities, and I came across…a shrine. Proper. Dedicated to the British royal family.
Union jacks everywhere. Photos of every royal family member you can think of…and in the middle of it all was a photo of this old woman shaking hands with Maggie Thatcher.
I was aghast.
I turned to flee, despite my desperate need to relieve myself, but it was too late. The proprietor was standing behind me.
“Don’t you just love it? I’m English, and I go to England every year, and…”
On it went.
I couldn’t be rude to a customer, and although I kept politely protesting that I needed to leave, as I had other customers to serve, she wouldn’t have it and gave me her whole life’s story.
She was about as English as sushi; but on and on she went; I was having a panic attack, and finally, she said; “You’re English, aren’t you? I know. I can tell.”
“Ah, actually, I’m Irish.”
“Pssh. Nonsense. You’re tall and blond and have blue eyes. Irish people have red hair and green eyes.”
“I really have to go now, or I’m going to lose my job.”
“Well, we’ll talk about it later, but for now, walk tall, you proud, Anglo-Saxon!”
The horror. The horror.
As I said, Anglophilia is a disorder and not to be made light of. This fact was struck home to me when my wife pointed out that, despite my non-concern for the British royal family, (and dislike for England in general), that I generally use British spelling, listen to a great deal of music from England (just got Zeppelin’s “Celebration Day”!) and admire British cars, motorcycles, and British-cut suits, none of which I can afford.
“That makes you an Anglophile.”
Sometimes the truth hurts; but that hurt can be your first step on the path to healing. And so, despite my many mental difficulties over the years, I am now going to, for the first time, seek professional help.
At a pub.