1.18.2006

Maybe the whole "British Empire" thing wasn't such a bad idea

A while back WR and I were watching Pirates of the Caribbean, and during the part where the troops are all lined up and stuff during Norrington's promotion WR said, "See, you can say what you want about the British Empire, but that looks so cool. I mean, they were organized." I probably said something bratty about men dressed like giant targets, and that was the end of it.

Only this past week I've found myself waxing nostalgic for the days of the Empire, too. You may remember that at the beginning of the semester, all the British professors warned us about the death and carnage that would result from mobile phones which dared to go off in class. And I was all excited about the new Reign of Justice and Death.

Sadly, however, it turns out that those were idle soft and fluffy Commonwealth threats. Because we just had two days full of lectures about Research Methods for our dissertation (thesis) and on the first day I heard FOUR different cell phones go off. And not a single person was killed or flayed or even reprimanded. At the beginning of the lectures I noticed one girl carrying a conversation on her mobile. Also, people kept wandering in late. But it was mostly the mobiles that stunned me. In fact, one phone went off on both Day 1 and Day 2 of lectures. I mean really, these kids have already been here an entire semester--how have they not been picked off by eagles yet???

Also it appeared to me that all the mobiles that rang belonged to East Asian students. But this may just be the law of percentages: If a phone rings it's just more likely that it belongs to an East Asian student (50 percent of the department's postgraduate student population) than an American student (2 percent) or a Russian student (1 percent). So it's not that I'm racist, so don't write in to tell me that I am. (If you do choose to write in, please tell me your ethnicity and I will be sure to look up some racist terms on Wikipedia to call you to prove how not racist I am.)

A professor was telling us about how early in his career he was researching in the Trinity Library at Cambridge and came across an old unopened box containing eight letters from some famous theorist to another famous theorist, and how those letters had never before been published and actually answered some of the unanswered questions about this theorist. It was like something out of Possession by A.S. Byatt. Right as the instructor is telling us how exciting all this was, and how things like this never happen, a mobile phone went off. And it wasn't the one and one-half rings that you're used to hearing, which is how long it usually takes for the embarassed idiot to turn off their flipping phone. Oh no, this phone rang no less than 5 times. The student just took it out of her bag and then held it as it rang, as though she had absolutely no idea how to make the sound stop.

I tell you what: let's bring back the British Empire. Sure, it may have been oppressive and culturally insensitive and full of stupid outfits. But when the British Empire promised floggings, they delivered. Captain Sir Edward Pellew would never have put up with this mess.

You break the rules; you get flogged. That is all.

22 comments:

The Walrus said... [reply]

I have said it before, and I will say it again- Britain needs a benevolent dictatorship. If that means teaching people manners, so be it.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Well, something needs to happen, or I may have to go all Mel Gibson in The Patriot on people.

J alfred said... [reply]

Yeah -- I saw a book recently which was alleging that aristocracy isn't such a bad idea. I thought that was interesting considering the democracy-is-the-only-right paradigm that we all live in.

Of course, even in 'democracies' the balance between ruler and ruled varies. We are a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the monarch's (now symbolic) power is limited by consitution. On the other end of the scale we have countries that use proportional representation, rather than the 'first past the post' system, so that all the (looney) little parties can get a couple of people into the legislature.

The Walrus said... [reply]

The Queen technically could still kick ass, but she's not really bothered. She can refuse to sign for new laws, and can take back the entire landmass of the UK.

Nemesis said... [reply]

I can just see the Queen now.

"Am I bovvered? Face look bovvered?"

Hee hee hee.

The Walrus said... [reply]

Hehehe- I actually understood that one Nem! :)

Cicada said... [reply]

I really don't understand this whole cell phone thing at all. And I really do wish that there were a way to punish offenders.

Then again, there was that time yesterday in the library when my phone rang and I was mortified...

redlaw said... [reply]

I'd respond to this but I am busy taking a call on my mobile right now....

daltongirl said... [reply]

What about the people who are in a meeting, and they take the phone out of their pocket or purse or whatever, and lay it on the table in front of them? I can understand forgetting that your phone is on, and then it rings and you're all embarrassed, but these people really mystify me. I mean, they KNOW the phone is on, they KNOW it might ring, they know when it does it will be even louder, because now it's not muffled, and yet they sit there with it in front of them, and when it does ring, they act all surprised and embarrassed. Not that this happened to me two or three times today at the State Legislature, where there are signs posted all over the place asking us to please turn our phones off. So freakin' weird.

Admiral Pellew, come back to uuuuuuuuuuuuuusssss!!

kristen said... [reply]

The shop teacher at my school gives a demo at the beginning of each school year--he takes an old cell phone and saws it in half in front of the students with a band-saw, as he says "this is what happens when I catch anyone with a cell phone." (He won't actually do that; just likes to scare the kids). However, he's my hero.

It's just like I always say--some people just don't get it. They are too selfish and self-involved to think they might be bothering others.

I also like the picture. You know--there is something hot about a man in uniform and a man with power.

Th. said... [reply]

.

You cracker.

Stupidramblings said... [reply]

I am a racist.

And I am stupid.

A lot...

Anonymous said... [reply]

I was in a movie theater a while ago when a cell phone belonging to the woman three rows behind me went off. After listening to her ringtone "In da club" for about 10 seconds she answered it and began her conversation. After a minute people started asking her to be quiet but she only got louder and started saying "These ******** in the movie are telling ME to shut up!" and then she laughed very loudly. After five minutes of her ridiculous conversation FULL of obsenities one man turned around and asked her to "please hang up". She got mad and actually said "You wanna peice of this"...who says that anymore?! I almost laughed outloud but knew it would cost my life. He didn't want a peice either because she was about 350 pounds and looked like she could eat him for breakfast so he sat down. Finally she hung up, cursed everyone in the theater, threatened to "whoop all our a**** if we gave her any more crap" and finally walked out of the theater, at which point everyone cheered. This is my favorite story and the one I tell everyone whenever a cell phone is mentioned...

scary woman said... [reply]

That was me.

CoolMom said... [reply]

You know, if I'd been in that theatre with the fat hoochie momma I think the appropriate action would have been for someone to simply grab her phone and chuck it across the theatre. So much for that conversation.

Squirrel Boy said... [reply]

I would pay good money to see Nemesis go all Mel Gibson in The Patriot on people.

Savvymom said... [reply]

ooohhhh mom... you said hoochie mama.

chosha said... [reply]

Flogging's too good for them. But it's a good start.

The Divine Miss A said... [reply]

Teaching 7th grade I run into cell phone troubles all the time. No, not my cell phone, the kids'. Really, who needs a cell phone in 7th grade. We just had a boy this last week who was suspended for taking somewhat inappropriate pictures with his camera phone

CBH said... [reply]

I was on the verge of nervous breakdown the other night, so I grilled and enormous steak and read one of my Horatio Hornblower books. He's such a stud (with the exception of being an adulterous pig). Horatio that is, Pellow's alright too, but not quite as cool.

Lady Steed said... [reply]

I had a Professor at BYU,he was the head of the Graphic Design Department, who would take his cell phone out of his pocket and put it on the table when he came into class. At first I thought he maybe just didn't like sitting down and having it in his pocket while he lectured us, that maybe it was uncomfortable. Then the phone would ring. I remember one time he picked it up looked at the screen and answered it, then had a short and sweet conversation with his daughter, hung up and picked up where he left off in his lecture. I thought this was odd.

I had classes with this man for the next two years, at least three times a week, sometimes twice in one day. His cell phone was always on the table during class. Sometimes he answered it and would step out of the classroom to talk with the caller. Often he checked to see who it was but didn't answer it, just pushed some button to send them to voice mail.

I always found this behavior of his slightly annoying. I understood why he sometimes answered. He had his own rather successful design firm and some clients must be spoken to when they call you. But it still bugged me, especially coming from a man who liked to talk about how rude people are these days.

Perhaps it was because he is from Australia? We all now know from Nem. that Aussies maybe aren't the thoughtful,courteous people we thought them to be.

Nemesis said... [reply]

I'm sorry I took so late to respond to everyone's comments, but they were all so good and right-thinking and hilarious that all I can actually say in response is this:

Word.

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