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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Message of "The King's Speech"

It's a charming film, that blends the imperious behavior of British royals into piping hot oatmeal, fit for consumption by yeomen and dames alike.

Helena Bonham Carter shows the rest of us that it really isn't such a far fetched idea that a queen-to-be might actually dine with an Aussie!

The English speaking world has blended British royalty into a pablum, of ripe scandal, back-page ready press for the world-wide consumption. The latest revelations about Prince Andrew raise the ante even more. Ties to Qadaffi, as well as a convicted sex offender, and relations with a teenage prostitute are small potatoes - do the royals even eat potatoes? - compared with the death of Lady Diana, which this author feels still needs further investigation.

Royalty will be far more successful in today's world if they can manage more, not less, of these purple revelations.

But what IS the message, of "The King's Speech"? Is there one?

Let's be Marshall MacLuhan for a moment as we indulge a closer reading. The film opens on a fat inflated 1930's era radio microphone, waiting as it were, for someone to say something.

It opens with silence!

We must put ourselves into the period. Talkies, films with soundtracks, all less than ten years old. Film is a baby. So the character of the film is also, a baby.

A thousand years ago this film might have been called "The King's Sword". We've all seen that one. A weak son looks for a sword worthy of the realm. An 'Excalibur'-ish sort of myth. Man finds blade, find power in blade, conquers realm, wins woman. Kings by definition were successful at taking, or keeping power, by force, or by treachery. Being a king meant having your life on the line.

The realm extended as far as the hand that grasped the sword could roam.

Does that mean we need to be watching "The King's Workout?". Yes, but they don't workout. They're weak, coddled, propped by pounds and pounds of sterling. I doubt any royal can bench more than a hundred.

At the end of the nineteenth century it might aptly have been dubbed, "The Queen's Purse". Victoria's queenship meant having her wealth on the line. Such a terrible amount of potentially royal lands were lost when that audacious barefoot 'mongrel' Gandhi gave Britain the shrug.

Language took command from the sword, and Gandhi was a master of language. So was Churchill. At transformative moments, new speakers emerge. "The King's Speech" ultimately show how royals perform a simple ritual. Speak a few words of Royal English, and keep the notion of 'being able to speak', alive.

The King's reach therefor, extends as far as the speech of English itself. That royal jelly, is something that can only legitimately come from a royal throat, even if it stutters. For to be a King, one must be able to speak. This is a requirement. Not a biggie. Not at high speed. Just a few words, something that may be understood through a 1930's radio mechanism. We're not asking more than the competition.

What's next? "The King's Thought?". To rule, a King must be able to think?

This will soon be followed by "The King's Imagination!", and then for the masses, a sequel,  "The King's Wet Dream",  broadcasting the private thoughts of Prince Andrew onto Blackberries round the world. Romps with Qadaffi's models in Tripoli, rampages through East London.

Andrew and William are in line to become your KING!

Shouldn't you know, what they're thinKING??

So, Britian, and other English speaking worlds . . . realize that by expecting a 'show' from your Kings and Queens, you're getting a show. They are performing as asked. It's a Hollywood deal, the night before the Oscars.

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