OK, in the beginning, there were these islands, and blue people called Brits lived in the South, and red-haired people called Pricks lived in the North, and they used to run around naked and set up big rocks in circles in fields for no apparent reason. Then the Romans got bored and invaded them because all that running around naked sounded like fun. The Romans built public baths, and it was a relief to all their neighbors when the Brits started bathing. Being from Italy, the Romans were lusty lads, which is where we get the word Romance. Then the Romans got bored again and left, and the Brits and the Pricks started carving one another up with broad swords until one Brit king got the grand idea to invite the Angles and the Keats and the Judes to come help him fight. And when the Angle kings Hobbie and Horsie got there, they said, nice place and took over the island and invited their aunties and uncles and ne’r-do-well cousins and everybody else they knew to join ‘em, and soon there were so many clotheslines belonging to Angles and Keats and Judes hanging all over the country that they started calling it Angle-laundry, or Engle-lande, or England. The Angles spoke Old Anglish, or Anguish, which sounded like gargling. That’s where our language comes from.
Then this French guy named Norman decided to invade. He killed the Brick king at the battle of Hasty Pudding, and then Norman and his family built castles all over the place and started putting on airs and speaking all Frenchy to each other, and that’s why today half the damned words in the language you can’t even figure out how to spell them. That’s also why some English people think they’re better than everybody else and why in England, to this day, being all superior and stuck on yourself and talking like you’ve got a banger up your bum is called class.
Well, then the English had lots and lots of kings with names like Egg-wart the Unsteady and Rufus Plant-a-gene-in-it, and their relatives kept killing one another and taking over and putting people in dungeons so often that the Tower of London looked like a Holiday Inn on Homecoming weekend. For centuries, the lords and ladies read poetry and played the lute and hunted deer in the forests while the peasants ate sticks and grass and stayed drunk pretty much all the time on nasty fermented barley with big barley globs floating in it like mucous. The English and the French fought a totally silly war for a hundred years in which they stood on opposite sides of a field and threw roses at each other. This was called, appropriately enough, the War of the Roses.
Next door in Ireland, Saint Patrick preached at such length that the snakes got sick of hearing it and left the island. The Irish were Catholics then, like everyone else, which meant that they believed that God could turn into a cookie and that Jesus was left-handed. Saint Patrick planted the whole country in potatoes and hops for making Guinness, and the second of these is the great contribution of Ireland to world civilization.
Then, in England, some people called Protestants started teaching that Jesus was right-handed, so the authorities burned those folks at the stake, which is what good Christians do. But King Henry the Corpulent wanted a son, and he asked the Pope for a divorce, and the Pope wouldn’t give it to him because he thought that shit was funny, so Henry removed his wife’s head from the rest of her and declared himself head of the new protestant Church of England. He killed off wives as often as you change your underwear, and for centuries thereafter, those who thought that Jesus was right-handed killed those who thought he was left-handed and vice versa until every river in Europe ran red, all under the banner of the Prince of Peace.
Under the Protestants, the English got their panties so much in a wad that they outlawed fun and closed down the theaters and the brothels and the bear baitings and all other public entertainments except hangings and drawing and quarterings. But some of the worst of the Protestants—the Puritans—were so uptight that even the English couldn’t stand them, and these they kicked out of the country, and they sailed off to America where they dedicated themselves to saving the souls of the indigenous peoples there by killing them all.
Now, all this Protestantism made the English so uptight that by the late nineteenth century they were putting little skirts on the legs of pianos to hide them. Pretty soon, every other building in every city in England was a brothel, and every man of means in England tried as hard as he could to spend the family fortune in those places. But all this fornicating in brothels and spending the family fortune made the English men so ashamed of themselves and pissed off generally that they went and took out their frustrations on the rest of the world, in far-flung places like India, where British men would sip tea and have their toenails done by half a dozen house slaves named Mobo and Sambo and Lang-lang and Ling-ling.
But all that drinking tea (and eating Marmite, which is made from leftover yeast from brewing and looks and tastes like toenail fungus) caused the English such indigestion that soon they couldn’t fight or even think straight, so the Empire fell to pieces and the colonies all followed the example of the Americans who, to the ever-lasting annoyance of the rest of the world, had rebelled against the English and created a country where all people would be free to be stupid louts who don’t even understand that football is played with one’s feet.
Then came World War II, and the Germans were laying England flat with rockets, but the British created some very jaunty-looking uniforms, which encouraged them greatly, and together with the American louts, they creamed the Krauts. And after that, in revenge against the Americans for the Revolutionary War, the English created rock ‘n’ roll and the British Invasion and punk rock so that American kids would rebel against their parents and be worthless stoners.
And then, just to show that they were still A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH, the English declared war on a country whose entire military consisted of three pea shooters and a slingshot over some completely worthless islands half a world away called the Falklands. This happened during the time when a hunk of iron ore named Maggie Thatcher was Prime Minister. She was followed by George Bush, Jr.’s boyfriend Tony and then, most recently, by a fellow named Boorish Johnson who–I’m not making this up–looks and talks like Tweedledum to Trump’s Tweedledee and quite frankly and refreshingly refers to those who take seriously anything a politician, including himself, says as utter “stooges.”