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Re: [mythsoc] Re: Terry Pratchett Knighted

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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