Notice of Revocation of Independence
November 22, 2000 8:49 PM   Subscribe

Notice of Revocation of Independence appears to be spamming all over email. I found it in several listbots and egroups, and after some intensive searching I think I may have found the original source but I'm guessing and may be wrong. Very funny, very telling, and with more than a grain of wake up call to it. Considering how we take our freedom for granted in America, I question whether or not we really deserve it any longer.
posted by ZachsMind (14 comments total)
That's cool because Hawaii has already declared independence (and they're not joking).
posted by lagado at 9:30 PM on November 22, 2000

How is this telling? How is this even funny, except on a Jay Leno comedy scale? I don't see how this is a "wake up call" to anything but the sad -- and unfunny -- state of Internet wit.

(By saying this is not funny, I do not mean, "How can you make jokes at a serious time like this! Our nation hangs in the balance!" or "This is so close to the truth, it's not even funny." I mean in the "People laugh at crap like this? Wow." kind of way.)
posted by luke at 9:38 PM on November 22, 2000

Wow. Did you have a bad day or something?
posted by lagado at 9:53 PM on November 22, 2000

I emailed the guy at He's not the original source. Still not sure where it came from originally.

As for whether or not its actually funny, that is a subjective opinion. Not everyone's going to find any one attempt at humor amusing. Personally I found it hilarious, and anyone who disagrees with that (Luke) is certainly entitled to their opinion and I have no problem with that. =)

I wish Hawaii good luck. Texas has tried to secede. Easier said than done.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:02 PM on November 22, 2000

Tuesday, Nov. 14? Not even hardly.

The earliest version seems to have been posted to on Nov. 8 by one Ken Cope, but even he attributes it to "forwarded by email". It has been substantially added to since then.

Yesterday, it got noticed by the NY Times, who found it while researching an article on, a straphanger whinging site. But that copy only dated from 11/16.
posted by dhartung at 10:24 PM on November 22, 2000

This idea of re-dependence isn't actually that novel. I've seen the concept several times, both in print and from the mouths of comedians.

The earliest mention of the concept I can remember can be found at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. Choose the drop-menu option titled "Hark, transatlantic cousins." Full text below.

PS: I used to work there. I know both the people below. Richard is British, Laura is American.

Date: 6/30/95 11:38 AM
To: Laura Conti
From: Richard Warren

You'all will be standing by your barbecues, sipping your Bud Light this week-end, celebrating your independence from the mother country.

But pray, think a while..

Might you not regret the precipitous desires of your forefathers..

As you cast your eyes across the American cultural landscape and see Newt Ginrich and his demolition of the NEA, the power of the NRA and the wellspring of military militia and the pandering to the Lowest Common Stupidity level by films such as Dumb and Dumber and Mask....

might you not cast a misty eye towards the land of high minded political debate, Absolutely Fabulous, Hugh Grant and bobbies who are still unarmed..

I fancy you might be having your regrets and wish you were still the beneficiaries of enlightened , principled civilised rule.

Date: 6/30/95 12:46 PM
To: Reception
From: Laura Conti

Ah, the mother country: Back to which many of the worlds civil problems today can be traced through her wanton and callous colonization (we were quite lucky to break free when we did, regrets? no.)

The British Empire, which is shrinking every year as countries finally gain there independence, but to which Britain is reluctant to grant, for financial reasons (capitalism? I thought that was an American thing).

The royal family -- no scandal there, eh? Good old Charles -- what a fine chappy, faithful to the end ( or close anyway). Di -- never made a crank call in her life (has to come to America for solace and peace from the ever probing and relentless British tabloids). Sarah Ferguson....need I say more?

Scandal? Just last year, wasn't there a male M.P. who was found deceased in his apt. (oops -- flat) scandalously dressed in ladies panties, garter belt, pumps and fish net stockings? Sure does give Marion Barry a run for his money! And which undesirable country was, former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher's son selling arms to?

Civilized? Why yes, and to properly see the extent of British civility, simply attend a Football game (soccer to us yanks). I suggest you sit near the exit, this may prove safer when the riots start.

Yes lovely England -- a country which has prevailed through numerous wars and centuries of inevitably daily precipitation but which has yet to master the complexities of modern plumbing.

And pardon me, because, I do believe that Hugh Grant is a British.

Warren, when in Rome.....don't piss off the locals.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:33 AM on November 23, 2000

Sounds to me like someone has been reading too much Bill Bryson! and what the hell made the author think that we wanted you damn Yanks back?! We can organise (not spelling it's and s not a z) our own mob demonstrations.

Still it's fun to see the 'most modern democracy in the world' reduced to farce over little dimples in a piece of paper.

Mind you have to agree with the World Series thing, what's that all about? Check out the World Cup (football) and you'll see that every nation in the world has a chance of appearing...hence the use of 'World' in the title.

Ohh, and yes I am British.
posted by snowgoon at 12:39 AM on November 23, 2000

Yikes - serve me right for typing in a hurry - CORRECTION - (note spelling is an s not a z)
posted by snowgoon at 12:41 AM on November 23, 2000

I wish Hawaii good luck. Texas has tried to secede. Easier said than done.

yes, no doubt its pretty hard when you've been annexed by a super power. still the site contains lots of interesting documents about the legal validity of that annexation. it's probably a bit academic but pretty cool.

posted by lagado at 3:12 AM on November 23, 2000

One of the worst parts of this whole election brouhaha has been that fact that I've had to endure it here in England. ie entirely in the company of foreigners.

This is not to say something xenophobic or whatnot, but simply that the experiences of the people around me are not the American experience, and they are not coming from the same base of understanding as I am.

This election has sort of given license to everyone in the world to make various and sundry proclamations about the States and feel that their comments have empirical validity, ie this election is being taken as evidence for a whole lot of theories about America. Every day at meals, I have to sit through one or more "This (insert latest news) just goes to prove (insert latest theory)." The vast majority of these theories exhibit a very basic cultural misunderstanding of America, and a basic misunderstanding of the issues at stake in this particular point.

This email about the revocation in Independence is very much a case in point. Everyone here in England has received some form of it(strangely I did not) and has found it to be absolutely hilarious. They say " this is exactly what we're talking about. You Americans have loused it all up and can't do anything right, and really you're all ignorant uncultured idiots, and we over here do every much more sensibly." I'm paraphrasing, of course.

I usually respond the pervasive digs with a "you're welcome to try to revive the Empire, but rest assured we'll rock your world," but this is simply a defensive response of someone used to being surrounded by people who understand the US. I'm rather used to be one of the vast US majority of people who could care less about what the rest of the world thinks about us because we are so obviously in position to do whatever we what about pretty much anything.

It is strange to be surrounded by people who not only don't agree that we can do anything, but feel that almost everything we do is wrong, but the only experience they have of America is they American TV that arrives over here(shades of the WWF) and of American news stories big enough to make the rounds, eg the election. So the impressions people here have of the US is very narrow and biased, and the fact that we are indeed at a rather embarrassing juncture in our history makes it hard to successful defend ourselves(or specifically, myself) against their attacks.

I guess I just mean I'm sick of being the target of anti-US jokes in my dorm.
posted by dcodea at 6:20 AM on November 23, 2000

dcodea, it's actually kind of nice to see Americans squirming at the narrow and biased impressions other people have of your country -- makes for an interesting shift in balance, given that most Americans (and I don't feel "most" is much of an exaggeration) have narrow and biased impressions of everyone else. It's a tad hard to feel sympathy for a nation that constantly and unapologetically bashes its, um, superiority over the rest of the world's head, y'know? If the US can't take criticism from the rest of the world, then perhaps it shouldn't be dishing it out so freely.
posted by lia at 7:44 AM on November 23, 2000

Granted, I'd say the irony would be delicious if it wasn't founded on a misunderstanding. You say that we dish out criticism to everyone else and unapologetically bash others, when in fact I say we just pick a course of action pretty much without concern for everyone else and anyone who gets steamrolled is SOOL. That's distinct from intentional bashing. And I mean to say this characterizes our behavior with regards to cultural issues rather than more substantive issues like policy and defense and whatnot.

I think the difference between thinking we're superior and not thinking of others at all is non-trivial. It is founded on the actual reality of our position in the world with respect to everyone else. When we fail to understand other countries, we feel it's okay because those other countries don't matter. We have no real opinion of Slovakia. Whereas every single person in the world who is not horrifically oppressed and has never heard of us has an opinion about the US, and these opinions hold more or less weight depending on how much they conform to the actual state of American culture. The fact that actual American culture(or British culture or French or what have you) can't really be ascertained via news and TV is disregarded.

I'm not saying this is a good thing. the world would probably be a better place if we and everyone else put real effort into understanding where others are coming from. But this latest episode I think highlights, in my personal experience, the ignorance of England to the way Americans actually think and live. And I'm sure if you'd asked me about Brits last year, I would have been just as ignorant. The difference is I wouldn't have been making judgements based on that ignorance.
posted by dcodea at 9:28 AM on November 23, 2000

That doesn’t make very much sense. I might be misrepresenting you here, but as far as I can follow your argument you’re saying that it’s OK for Americans to be ignorant about other countries because they don’t think those countries matter, whereas the opinions held by everyone else in the world about the US ‘hold more or less weight depending on how much they conform to the actual state of American culture’.

Could you explain how that works? And, for extra points explain the distinction between culture and politics in your first paragraph.
posted by Mocata at 10:04 AM on November 23, 2000

It's a reasonable point to complain about ignorance in any form.

As for the rest of your argument, I'm totally lost. In my experience, the people in the US are just as quick or quicker to judge other people. They do it from a perspective which is informed by their cultural biases and prejudices.

I have been interested in the irreconcilable differences that have emerged while discussing the US voting system. To me, the system looks to be riddled with flaws. To my surprise, most Americans don't agree and point out that it works well enough: "the electoral college was designed to deal with this problem", "it's not the job of a foreigner to tell us how to run our elections", "at least it didn't end in a bloody revolution", "a revote in one state would be unfair to everyone else" etc. Criteria that I would use don't seem to apply, I call them fairness, independence and accountability. In reality, they mean advocating a totally different system which differs radically from the current one. I guess, that's because I come from a different country (with a better system ;-j).

I think it's because there are fundamental philosophical issues here: individual rights are more important than collective rights except when that comes to state rights. The rights of states in the Federation must be safeguarded against the tyranny of central control, even if it means defending the right to botch the election. Recounts and revotes are alien concepts which can only unfairly skew the result in favour of one state. etc.

Standing from the outside, this stuff looks totally bizarre but I can see from the consensus of Americans of diverse backgrounds, that it's an American cultural difference. I think I have learnt to respect these differences. I don't really understand them or agree with them, but I can see that they are real.

posted by lagado at 3:05 PM on November 23, 2000

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