A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dictators and the Former Kings That Love Them

Anne Marie and I went to the movies for the first time in over a year last weekend to see The King’s Speech. It’s received much acclaim since its release, and it should do well when the Oscar nominations are announced next week. The acting is wonderful; Colin Firth’s performance as King George VI richly deserved the Golden Globe award he won. Hopefully Oscar will smile upon him too. Likewise, Geoffrey Rush’s role as the speech therapist Lionel Logue also deserves an Oscar nod in the Best Supporting Actor category.

The film piqued our interest in Great Britain’s royal history in the 1930s, which was heavily influenced by the abdication of King Edward VIII enabling him to marry the woman he loved, American divorcee and commoner Wallis Warfield Simpson. The royal family tolerated her until it looked very likely that she would marry George Vs eldest son, who was first in line for the ascension to the throne. The brewing scandal threatened to tear the country apart, and so with great reluctance King Edward announced his resignation and passed the throne down to his younger brother. So, boo Wallis Simpson!

Our research about King Edward/The Duke of Windsor reminded us of a small fact about which we had forgotten: he was widely believed to be a Nazi sympathizer. At the time, it appeared that the young King had given up his throne for all the wrong reasons. In retrospect, if he had remained as the head of the British monarchy, then there is a very good chance that Hitler would have prevailed upon Great Britain to join his side against the Allies.

Imagine England on the side of the fascists! It was a very real possibility (with much support within Britain’s high society) in the 1930s. Yet, because the king had fallen in love with this American woman, Hitler was robbed of his chance to include England as another Axis partner. So, three cheers for Wallis Simpson!

This leads me to another point of historical theory: how much of the Duke’s fascist sympathies were known at the time. What if His Majesty had been ambushed a la 60 Minutes during an interview in which the world learned once and for all where he stood. I propose this idea for its thought-provoking possibilities, and I need a break from picking on poor Sarah Palin. Since this blog is too cheap to hire Dan Rather or Mike Wallace, and we don’t have the wherewithal to raise the spirit of either Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite, we’ll call in our very own Rhett Crit to do the deed. I think the interview might have happened something like this.

Rhett Crit - Your Royal Highness, many people are questioning your attitudes about the Third Reich.

Duke of Windsor – I’ve already explained this. I do admire Hitler, but I am not pro-Nazi.

Crit – Really? Well, I have some photos here that might raise some doubts.

Duke – Photos?

Crit – For example, here’s one where you and Hitler are shaking hands rather vigorously.

Duke – I was on a state visit and it’s considered normal to act friendly when you’re visiting another head of state.

Crit – Well, what about this one? You’re reviewing a group of German soldiers and returning their Nazi salute.

Duke – Um, well, you see...oh, now I remember! I had injured my shoulder and my doctor recommended that I stretch my arm in that position for long periods of time as therapy.

Crit – Therapy? Okay, how about this picture. You and Hitler are standing on a stage.

Duke – (Sighs) Yes, alright! So Adolf and I did a cameo appearance at the Oberammergau Passion Play! So what?

Crit – Adolf?

Duke – Did I say Adolf? I meant to say the Fuhrer.

Crit – And this looks like you and Hitler are doing a...cabaret? he in drag?

Duke – Yes, that was the summer we toured in La Cage Aux Folles. The Fuhrer stopped the show every night with his tribute to Marlene Dietrich.

Crit – I...I don’t recall a Marlene Dietrich tribute in La Cage Aux Folles.

Duke – It was his idea! And back then, no one dared say no to the Fuhrer!

And so on and so on. This might be a good point to end this episode of historical theory before this entry is interrupted by...

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This has gotten silly, not to mention grossly inaccurate! We’re stopping here and hoping that Sarah Palin says something really stupid by Monday.)

(Thank you for reading! Come back, Sarah! All is forgiven!)


Anonymous Janey said...

RHETT CRIT!?!?!? Too Funny... :-)

January 22, 2011 at 7:20 AM  

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