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Terry Pratchett Knighted

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  • John D Rateliff
    Just saw the news that Terry Pratchett has now become Sir Terry. Author Terry Pratchett is knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 18, 2009
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      Just saw the news that Terry Pratchett has now become Sir Terry.

      Author Terry Pratchett is knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace
      for services to literature.
      < http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/entertainment/7896865.stm >

      It's nice to see that in the post-ceremony interview here he
      specifically calls out his fantasy ties (great hat, by the way). Does
      this mark the first time that someone who's made his reputation as a
      fantasy author has been knighted? And "for services to literature" no
      less. I wish Tolkien had lived long enough to get this honor (or
      honour) himself, but I'm glad they gave it to Pratchett while he
      could still appreciate and enjoy it.

      --John R.






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Margaret Dean
      ... IIRC Tolkien received one of the lesser honours (Companion of the British Empire?). But yes, I am happy to see Sir Terry get the recognition! --Margaret
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 19, 2009
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        On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 10:08 PM, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...> wrote:
        >
        > Just saw the news that Terry Pratchett has now become Sir Terry.
        >
        > Author Terry Pratchett is knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace
        > for services to literature.
        > < http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/entertainment/7896865.stm >
        >
        > It's nice to see that in the post-ceremony interview here he
        > specifically calls out his fantasy ties (great hat, by the way). Does
        > this mark the first time that someone who's made his reputation as a
        > fantasy author has been knighted? And "for services to literature" no
        > less. I wish Tolkien had lived long enough to get this honor (or
        > honour) himself, but I'm glad they gave it to Pratchett while he
        > could still appreciate and enjoy it.

        IIRC Tolkien received one of the lesser honours (Companion of the
        British Empire?). But yes, I am happy to see Sir Terry get the
        recognition!


        --Margaret Dean
        <margdean56@...>
      • Matt Wirkkala
        Yes, CBE, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire. -mwirkk :) ... From: Margaret Dean; Sent: Thur, Feb 19, 2009 2:36 PM ... IIRC Tolkien received one of
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 19, 2009
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          Yes, CBE, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire.

          -mwirkk :)
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: Margaret Dean; Sent: Thur, Feb 19, 2009 2:36 PM

          > On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 10:08 PM, John D Rateliff <sacnoth@...>
          > wrote:
          > <snip>

          IIRC Tolkien received one of the lesser honours (Companion of the
          British Empire?). But yes, I am happy to see Sir Terry get the
          recognition!
        • William Cloud Hicklin
          Of course nearly a half-century ago the Honours List was rather stingier. I don t think *any* popular author got a shoulder tap before Agatha Christie in
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 20, 2009
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            Of course nearly a half-century ago the Honours List was
            rather stingier. I don't think *any* popular author got a
            shoulder tap before Agatha Christie in 1971.* Now of course
            they hand them out to pop stars and whomever. (The first
            (honorary) KBE to a rocker, Bob Geldof, was for his
            humanitarian work. Recently there's been no such excuse, Sir
            Elton).

            Note: it's rumored, probably accurately, that Lewis declined
            a proffered knighthood. However, that would have been for
            his Christian apologetics, not his fiction.

            *Yes, I know that Dames aren't actually dubbed a l'epee.


            --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Matt Wirkkala" <mwirkk@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Yes, CBE, Commanders of the Order of the British Empire.
            >
            > -mwirkk :)
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: Margaret Dean; Sent: Thur, Feb 19, 2009 2:36 PM
            >
            > > On Wed, Feb 18, 2009 at 10:08 PM, John D Rateliff
            <sacnoth@...>
            > > wrote:
            > > <snip>
            >
            > IIRC Tolkien received one of the lesser honours (Companion
            of the
            > British Empire?). But yes, I am happy to see Sir Terry get
            the
            > recognition!
            >
          • David Bratman
            ... What Lewis declined, in 1951, was a CBE - the same honour that Tolkien received in 1972. That stands for Commander of the British Empire and is NOT a
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 20, 2009
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              "William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...> wrote:

              > Note: it's rumored, probably accurately, that Lewis declined
              > a proffered knighthood. However, that would have been for
              > his Christian apologetics, not his fiction.

              What Lewis declined, in 1951, was a CBE - the same honour that Tolkien
              received in 1972. That stands for Commander of the British Empire and is
              NOT a knighthood. It is a lesser honour of the same kind. (See "Order of
              the British Empire" in Wikipedia if you care.) What Lewis wrote in
              declining was, "There are always knaves who say, and fools who believe, that
              my religious writings are all covert anti-Leftist propaganda, and my
              appearance in the Honours List woul;d of course strengthen their hands. It
              is therefore better that I should not appear there." (Collected Letters, v.
              3, p. 147)

              > Of course nearly a half-century ago the Honours List was
              > rather stingier. I don't think *any* popular author got a
              > shoulder tap before Agatha Christie in 1971.* Now of course
              > they hand them out to pop stars and whomever. (The first
              > (honorary) KBE to a rocker, Bob Geldof, was for his
              > humanitarian work. Recently there's been no such excuse, Sir
              > Elton).

              Actually, the MBE in particular - another, lower, honour in that Order - has
              been a subject of scorn since it was invented during WW1. A.A. Milne wrote
              a deeply sarcastic poem criticizing war profiteers who received it. The
              first pop stars to get it were the Beatles in 1965, and wasn't there a furor
              over that. It was the government's idea - they wanted to seem hip - and the
              justification was that the Beatles had enormously helped Britain's trade
              balance.
            • John D Rateliff
              ... The major exception being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, though he received his knighthood (in 1902?) for writing propaganda in support of the Boer War (ugh), not
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 24, 2009
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                On Feb 20, 2009, at 6:47 AM, William Cloud Hicklin wrote:
                > Of course nearly a half-century ago the Honours List was rather
                > stingier. I don't think *any* popular author got a shoulder tap
                > before Agatha Christie in 1971.

                The major exception being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, though he received
                his knighthood (in 1902?) for writing propaganda in support of the
                Boer War (ugh), not for the Sherlock Holmes stories.

                --JDR
              • William Cloud Hicklin
                ... declined ... for ... that Tolkien ... British Empire and is ... kind. (See Order of ... wrote in ... who believe, that ... propaganda, and my ... their
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 25, 2009
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                  --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "David Bratman" <dbratman@
                  ...> wrote:
                  >
                  > "William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > Note: it's rumored, probably accurately, that Lewis
                  declined
                  > > a proffered knighthood. However, that would have been
                  for
                  > > his Christian apologetics, not his fiction.
                  >
                  > What Lewis declined, in 1951, was a CBE - the same honour
                  that Tolkien
                  > received in 1972. That stands for Commander of the
                  British Empire and is
                  > NOT a knighthood. It is a lesser honour of the same
                  kind. (See "Order of
                  > the British Empire" in Wikipedia if you care.) What Lewis
                  wrote in
                  > declining was, "There are always knaves who say, and fools
                  who believe, that
                  > my religious writings are all covert anti-Leftist
                  propaganda, and my
                  > appearance in the Honours List woul;d of course strengthen
                  their hands. It
                  > is therefore better that I should not appear
                  there." (Collected Letters, v.
                  > 3, p. 147)
                  >
                  > > Of course nearly a half-century ago the Honours List was
                  > > rather stingier. I don't think *any* popular author got
                  a
                  > > shoulder tap before Agatha Christie in 1971.* Now of
                  course
                  > > they hand them out to pop stars and whomever. (The first
                  > > (honorary) KBE to a rocker, Bob Geldof, was for his
                  > > humanitarian work. Recently there's been no such excuse,
                  Sir
                  > > Elton).
                  >
                  > Actually, the MBE in particular - another, lower, honour
                  in that Order - has
                  > been a subject of scorn since it was invented during WW1.
                  A.A. Milne wrote
                  > a deeply sarcastic poem criticizing war profiteers who
                  received it. The
                  > first pop stars to get it were the Beatles in 1965, and
                  wasn't there a furor
                  > over that. It was the government's idea - they wanted to
                  seem hip - and the
                  > justification was that the Beatles had enormously helped
                  Britain's trade
                  > balance.
                  >

                  Oh, there's always been a bit of scorn for the way the lower
                  grades have been (according to some) passed out like
                  popcorn: "Minimal Bloody Effort" and "Other Buggers' Effort"
                  are some of the snarks. But awards of the K's used to be
                  held on a tighter leash than they are now.
                • David Bratman
                  ... What is true is that there s been grade inflation, at least in these specific areas of renown. A degree of pop-music, or literary, fame that might get
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 25, 2009
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                    "William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...> wrote:

                    > Oh, there's always been a bit of scorn for the way the lower
                    > grades have been (according to some) passed out like
                    > popcorn: "Minimal Bloody Effort" and "Other Buggers' Effort"
                    > are some of the snarks. But awards of the K's used to be
                    > held on a tighter leash than they are now.

                    What is true is that there's been "grade inflation," at least in these
                    specific areas of renown. A degree of pop-music, or literary, fame that
                    might get you an MBE forty years ago is more likely to get you a knighthood
                    now. And certain areas of past abuse - honours to corrupt political party
                    contributors and such - are not quite as blatant as they used to be, though
                    problems still crop up.

                    But a statement that the Honours List used to be "stingier" might be read
                    that it used to bear more relation to actual merit than it does now, and I
                    don't think that's the case. Over a longer term - look back more than 150
                    years - and literary merit was rarely recognized at all.

                    That wasn't even viewed as the purpose of honours. They were more
                    recognitions of social standing. Lord Melbourne famously said, "What I like
                    about the Order of the Garter [the highest order of knighthood] is that
                    there is no damned merit about it." Partly to address this is why a
                    non-knightly honour actually called the Order of Merit was created in 1902.
                    It was intended to be without the social cachet of a knighthood or peerage,
                    in particular that you didn't have to be rich to live up to social
                    obligations that went with it. And some of the same spirit has leaked into
                    the OBE and other honours since then. Now that the hereditary peers are out
                    of the House of Lords - and even to an extent before then - being granted a
                    peerage today pretty much means only that you can speak in the Lords, with
                    none of the subjective connotations of nobility that being a peer used to
                    have.
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