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Re: [mythsoc] Terry Pratchett Knighted

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  • 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 1 of 8 , Feb 19, 2009
      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 2 of 8 , Feb 19, 2009
        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 3 of 8 , Feb 20, 2009
          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 4 of 8 , Feb 20, 2009
            "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 5 of 8 , Feb 24, 2009
              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 6 of 8 , Feb 25, 2009
                --- 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 7 of 8 , Feb 25, 2009
                  "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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