Queen Victoria, Kick-Ass!

You’re never too old to learn, they say. I say you’re never too old to learn you’re ignorant.

Why, just the other day, I learned that the chorus of the Beck song “Loser” is partly in Spanish: “Soy un perdedor,” it goes, which translates as “I’m a loser.” I’ve been mumble-singing “sore I am head the door” for the past 18 years, never considering that the lyrics might be in a different language. Does that make me racist? It’s true that a lot of things that never used to make you racist now make you racist. I was imitating an Asian accent the other day and my son said, “That’s racist.” Really? I would think it would be more insensitive than racist. But doing a British accent is still okay, right? What about doing Newfie? So confusing. Sometimes it’s just not worth trying to be funny and white.

Speaking of unfunny, white and British, the same day I had the “Loser” revelation, I learned that Queen Victoria’s birthday is celebrated only in Canada. I always assumed that Victoria Day was an Empire-wide thing, like licorice allsorts and a fearless embrace of drink. But only in Canada, you say? Pity.

The holiday goes way back to 1845 when the Legislature of the Province of Canada declared May 24 a holiday in recognition of the Queen’s birthday, making Canada the suckiest of all the colonies, a tradition we uphold to this very day.

Queen Victoria, of course, has been dead for over 100 years, and yet we still celebrate her birthday. I’ve had birthdays that carried on after I’d gone to bed but 100-plus post-death years is plain impressive. The question is, would Queen Vic be amused by this extended party? And, more important, would you let her be in charge of the music?

Despite naming a holiday after her, modern Canadians know very little about their former favourite sovereign. With Victoria Day falling as it does at the height of spring, many Canadians are under the impression that Victoria is the patron saint of lawnmower sales. But this is not the case. Queen Victoria did, however, file a patent for a prototype of what would later become the Garden Weasel (coincidentally her nickname for Sir John A. MacDonald).

As you get ready for your Canada-only long weekend, here are some other facts about Queen Victoria, party-rocker:

  • Victoria came to the throne in 1837, which was just in the nick of time because there were cities and towns all over the world waiting to be named. What became known as Victoria, BC, for example, had previously gone by the description “stuffy Pacific outpost.” This remains the city’s motto.
  • Victoria was a mere 18 years of age when she became queen. This seems awfully young, but it’s important to remember that, taking inflation into account, that’s the equivalent of 76 years old today.
  • Queen Victoria never said “We are not amused,” as is often attributed to her. What she said was, “We are not a moose,” which was her response to some rather hurtful comments in the press about some recent weight gain.
  • After Prince Albert died, the queen’s companion and personal servant was a Scott named John Brown. Though he was never formally recognized for his service, that’s Brown’s face you see on Canadian Tire money. This explains why going to Canadian Tire is a traditional Victoria Day activity.
  • Queen Victoria could bench press 120 pounds.
  • Queen Victoria hated olives.
  • Queen Victoria never visited Canada, which just shows what a fat lot of good sucking up will do.
  • Queen Victoria thought the lyrics to “God Save the Queen” were “Send her victorious/Happy and glorious/Lawn terrain over us…” Some say her long period of seclusion was due not to mourning but to profound embarrassment once she learned the truth.
  • Queen Victoria could put on a wicked Indian accent but was not considered racist. Taking inflation into account, however, that’s the equivalent of pretty darned racist today.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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37 Responses to Queen Victoria, Kick-Ass!

  1. Very funny, Ross!! I stii do Asian and Indian accents in my act……*&^% em all if they can’t take a joke! I’ve gigged with Asian comedy acts and they do “white and black” accents too!! And, they get laffs too!! When will people (incl. your son) finally realize that comedy is comedy, not reality, eh?

  2. Laura Lynn says:

    Yay! Victoria Day, as a Canadian stuck in the States I’ll take it! Party on expats…Oh and I got reamed out yesterday for laughing at my13 yr old nephews jokes because they were perceived as ‘racist’. They were’nt!! He just does a really bad accent, I laugh and we’re BOTH in hot water?! so unfair…

  3. peachyteachy says:

    Your blog is janky as hell today. I commented here and then I disappeared. That’s tough on the ego. The gist was this: you well know that I am all about the awesomeness of Canada and its inherent humorousness. Also, the fact that “Loser” is 18 years old gave rise to a spit take incident. My version was something like, “Sore, I’m a troubadour.” Finally, I can rock a wicked Cockney dialect, thanks to performing “My Fair Lady” in days gone by. Oh, the oppression of the British in all of their otherness.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I hate it when that happens, the disappearing comment, that is. Expertly crafted, filled with passion, then — bam! — the lost chord. That said, I love this comment, because it brings us all together in a big, sweaty Benny Hill hug.

  4. Your blatant racism sickens me! It Reary reary sickens me wrong time, Ross!

  5. Did you know good Queen Vic was also a sex maniac? True story. She used to stand outside Albert’s bedroom, screaming at him in German to let her in, while he tried to hide in hopes she’d give up and go away. She didn’t much like babies, but because birth control was nonexistent, she had rather a lot of them…until her doctor told her she had to stop. Apparently she was in a bit of a snit about it, too.

  6. List of X says:

    Another interesting fact is that queen Victoria was named after the Victorian period.

  7. I’d like to say that your description of Victoria, BC is a little off. It’s not stuffy here, we’ve got a bracing pacific breeze airing everything out. It is, however, a snobbish Pacific outpost.

  8. Marguerite says:

    Newfies seem to be the only ones who are capable of laughing at themselves these days. And you do know why Newfie jokes are so simple don’t you? It’s so that you mainlanders can understand them.

  9. javaj240 says:

    Funny AND educational. Thanks, Ross!

  10. Just out of interest… what exactly is an “Asian” accent? That’s like saying somebody has a “European” accent. Unless they’re making a distinction between, let’s say, European and Brazilian Portuguese, in which case it kinda makes sense.
    When speaking English, a French person will sound completely different from a Swedish person. A Chinese person sounds very different from somebody whose native tongue is Japanese when they speak English.
    Racism, not necessarily, but what you said about ignorance might just hit the spot… 😉
    Amusing blog 🙂

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Yup, you’re right. Mea culpa. The only reasoning might be that the accent is so vague (which is in itself patronizingly offensive) that it probably can’t be applied to anything more specific than “Asian.”
      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      • This is an interesting line of thought… does racism imply that there’s an underlying malicious intent, or does mere ignorance qualify? In the latter case, every single person is racist, as we can’t be aware of all cultural differences etc. that exist in the world, and there’s always somebody who might find that irritating. I think I’ll go with malicious intent for my personal definition.

        • rossmurray1 says:

          This is quite a coincidence in that I was thinking this very thing the other day when preparing my recent post about intolerance (in my case, country music). I think that, once we become aware, say around toddlerhood, suspicion of the other is our natural state. It makes sense from a biological/evolutionary perspective. Tolerance of difference is learned behaviour and ultimately encouraged for the greater good of the larger social group. Who knew it would take us so long to learn…

          • I totally agree, it’s a learnt behaviour. But there remains the tricky issue of whether mere ‘tolerance’ is sufficient. A white supremacist, for argument’s sake, may ‘tolerate’ black people, but with the inherent conviction that they are inferior to him/her. This would mean that tolerance and racism aren’t mutually exclusive.

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