First off, let me send my thanks to Dead Homer Society for placing a link to my last blog at the top of their Friday blog page. I can only assume that means that my two cents on The Simpsons was more highly valued than all the others and that I’m the bestest, most coolest bloggerman, but I’ve been wrong and self-centered before. And even though I don’t agree with their desire to have The Simpsons cancelled, nor do I appreciate their association with anything to do with Ann Arbor during football season (which is year-round here in Ohio), I am happy for the kind words and inclusion nonetheless.
Speaking of cancelling things, England, the country that we Americans more than once called things off with (it’s cool; we’re still friends, and the awkwardness goes away after about 200 years), dodged another boundary-shrinking bullet last week when Scotland voted to remain part of the United Kingdom and not become an independent state. Today I wish to ramble on about this recent decision that could have shook the world as we know it and may still yet. And since I’m the one who writes this thing, I’m going to get my wish. But rather than recapping the detailed results and reactions from the Scottish vote which would require me to have done far more research than I actually have, I want to talk about two main points: the astronomically impressive voter turnout; and how badly I wish that a part of my lineage traces back to Scotland.
In case you haven’t heard about this whole Scotland thing, read up on it real quick by putting down that newspaper and watching this comprehensive explanation of the state of things by John Oliver, aka British John Stewart on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, aka The HBO Daily Show. Thank you, John, funny and educational stuff as always. Of course, this clip aired last Sunday before the momentous election which may or may not have been swayed by his pleas to stick around so as to not have to change his bedspread. Evidently Groundskeeper Willie was less successful in his rallying cry. No matter which side you may have taken, it is truly incredible how many people came out to vote in the polls and by mail. Almost 85% of all registered voters cast a “Yes” or “No” last Thursday. In 2012, during the last presidential election here in the US, only 58% of voters actually voted. In fact, since WWII, the US has never had a voter turnout of even 65% for a presidential election. Sure, country independence is a big deal, but so is choosing who runs the executive branch of your government! So bravo Scotland, you definitely have some very pissed off people on both sides of the independence issue right now, but at least they’re pissed off active voters!
But enough about politics, let’s talk about the awesomeness of the northern realm of the UK that is Scotland. First off it looks a little something like this. Man, I’d love to go there. Yeah, I know it rains a lot, but the desire remains. Secondly, Scotland has a long history of being extreme. Carved by glaciers, the landscape is extreme, and forged by the elements and a continuous assault from England (mostly emotional these days), the people are extreme. And I don’t just mean hardy, many certainly are, but the extreme we all love to see is from a country that boldly declares its national animal to be a unicorn. You go Scotland, you crazy wackadoodles, you go.
Want to know some of these crazy wackadoodles a little better? Well alrighty then, get a load of these Scots!
Macbeth – Mac Bethad was a real King of Scotland in the 11th century who is now most well-known as the title character of Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name. For any Scots who voted to remain with England and aren’t happy with their decision, consider the words of Lady Macbeth.
“Naught’s had, all’s spent,
Where our desire is got without content.
‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.”
William Wallace – Also more well-known in contemporary context by a fictionalized version of the true history, William Wallace was a landowner who became a military leader. He successfully defeated the English in battles like Stirling Bridge before being captured and killed after losing the Battle of Falkirk.
Mary, Queen of Scots – You can guess what she did from her name. Mary was one of the earliest female rulers of the British Isles and was killed by another, Elizabeth I of England. Old Lizzy feared Mary might try and take her place on the English throne, a notion helped by the many English Catholics who called for this very thing to happen. Needless to say it did not.
Rob Roy MacGregor– Another real man made legend helped by a 1995 movie (one that starred an actor who respects Jews), Rob Roy is often perceived as a Robin Hood-esque figure branded an outlaw by the rich and beloved by the poor.
William Forsyth – Okay, maybe no one outside of that Plant Physiology course I took for half a semester will know him for his contributions as a horticulturist, but don’t hate on me for painting with wide brushstrokes.
John Paul Jones – No, not the bassist for Led Zeppelin (he’s from Kent, England), this JPJ was a Scottish sailor who fought for American independence from Britain (I wonder what he’d do today?) and is known as the “Father of the US Navy”.
Alexander Graham Bell – Ring ring! Who is it? The guy who invented the telephone and was actually born with the name Bell.
Sean Connery/James Bond – There may have been five other actors to play James Bond over the years, but Connery is the original and the best (well, Daniel Craig’s is the closest to the book Bond) and he’s Scottish! In fact, after seeing Connery play his title character, Bond creator Ian Fleming wrote Bond’s origin so that he hailed from Scotland. This is why the Skyfall estate from the last movie (what was the name of it again?) was in Scotland. Furthermore, Albert Finney’s role as the caretaker was originally written for Connery until they realized that Connery is THE Bond and cannot be anyone other than Bond in a Bond movie. Actually, he can’t be anything other than a Scot in any movie. Soviet submarine admiral in The Hunt for Red October… with a Scottish accent; Irish cop in gang-ridden Chicago in The Untouchables… with a Scottish accent (for which he won an Oscar); but the most hilariously heinous is best pointed out by another Scot.
Craig Ferguson – As seen in the clip, this comedian now hosts The Late Late Show (for only a little while longer). Before that he played Mr. Wink on The Drew Carey Show.
Montgomery Scott, aka Scotty, Mr. Scott –They don’t all have to be real people, do they? Scotty was the man in charge of beaming William Shatner up on Star Trek and he was only one in a red shirt to not meet a gruesome end in every episode. Today he’s played by a considerably thinner Simon Pegg who’s more funny funny, not funny because he’s not trying to be but is funny.
Groundskeeper Willie – consult last week’s post for more info, you cheese-eating surrender monkey.
My apologies to Billy Connolly, Ewan MacGregor, and the Loch Ness Monster (sum him up Chef’s dad), plus all other Scots for not including them in more depth. Please don’t forsake me, though you are a lovably contentious people.
Return to these polls next week for more fun!