Quentin Crisp offers regal advice
Thursday 23 December 1993
'Having worn reginal gowns, I begin to understand why Queen Elizabeth I was not always in the best of moods. She was much troubled by relatives and in-laws, often Scottish - many of whom she axed from life and even more seriously, from the social register.
'Continuing my honest masquerade I appear thus to address the entire British nation on Christmas Day. I am, of course, in mufti. But departing from tradition, I will not speak for myself, Britain, or the strangely misnamed Commonwealth. Instead I will speak of America. I do this because America is the land where I think, despite all its faults, the best of you should be.
'Mr Bush, still President in early 1993, being an elder statesman, wanted everything to stay the same. The same as it had been in the Hollywood sunshine of Mr Reagan's day. Now Mr and Mrs Clinton have entered the White House and by political standards they are a young couple. They watched many episodes of Sesame Street and they wish for change.
'For one thing, they want to transform America into a welfare state. They want everyone - however poor, however foreign, however idle - to be eligible for health care. The trouble with this grand notion is that it will cost money. A lot of it. Americans believe in money. This being so, it is difficult to find out how they lost so much of it. Especially as they did not have Mr Lamont to guide them.
'In the early Sixties not only all the money but also all the power in the world was in the hands of the United States. They could have bombed everything so that there was only America or ashes. The bombing hasn't been done because American politicians were afraid of what the neighbours would say. They want to rule the world and be loved. It can't be done.
'Now America is not in a sufficiently secure position to bomb the world so it has decided to save it, which may prove to be just as expensive. 'Adding to the violence of life in general, women have now decided to become people. This is a change for the worse] Women were nicer than people. If our cities are to be populated entirely by people, life will become faster, louder, harsher. The loudness is already here. The American young are violent because they have no inner life. They have no inner life because they have no thoughts. They have no thoughts because they know no words and they know no words because they never converse.
'They would not be heard above the din that rocks the dim cellars where they jibber and twitch. They have one word a year which means 'I don't like this' and another which says 'I do like this'. One season you can be 'fab', another you can be 'neat' and yet another you can be 'cool'. When you ask the young in what sense their little friends are 'cool', they say nothing. They cannot embellish their judgment.
'Though I regret all this, it does not in any way lessen my love for America. So far I have only once been threatened in the streets of Manhattan, whereas in England I never felt safe for a moment. Indeed it is my impression than everyone in the United States is a friend. In England nobody is a friend.
My advice to the British is - pack tonight. Set out tomorrow like the Portuguese explorers of old for the islands of the blessed. We are waiting for you.'
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