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Song Parodies -> "I'm Britain, Britain Great, I Am"

Original Song Title:

"I'm Henry, The Eighth, I Am"

Original Performer:

Herman's Hermits

Parody Song Title:

"I'm Britain, Britain Great, I Am"

Parody Written by:

Tommy Turtle

The Lyrics

As Merry and Piipin's series on the history of Great Britain has befuddled some American readers, here is British history as taught in American schools:
I'm Britain, Britain Great, I am
History as taught, American: [1]
Got invaded by the fellas next door [2]
Re-invaded by a couple more [3]
Not everyone came from Brittany (Brittany!)
Nobody came from Chile or Japan (No San!)
I'm the archetype of venery
Britain, Britain Great, I am!

(Second curse, worse than the first)

I'm Duke of Norman-dy, Yes, sir!
Also known as William, Con-quer-er [4]
I invaded islands 'cross the shore
Earned their enmity for-evermore
In 1215 was the Carta Great [5]
A marriage brought division from the Pope (elope!) [6]
Had a few folks whine of tyranny [7]
Britain, Britain Great, I am!

I'm Emper-ess of India [8]
Alexan-dri-na, Victoria
Public lewdness is what I abhor
Jump ahead to Second War [9]
Then every bike was a Yamaha [10]
They wouldn't have a Triumph or Nor-man (No, man!)
Though invasion leads to penury, [11]
Maybe next: invade Iran!

UK, now know why
HIstory (history)
Mystery (mystery):
US schools don't give a da*n!

[1] Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, there were a bunch of primitive people living in the British Isles.

[2] The Romans invaded Britain during their big Empire thing, whenever that was, giving rise to the Empire dress.

[3] A few hundred years later, the WASs (White Anglo-Saxons) invaded the Roman Empire, causing both the fall of the Empire and also the fall of the Empire Dress on its inhabitants. This also resulted in widespread Vandalism throughout the former Roman Empire.

[4] In 1066, the Normans invaded Britain, so straining Franco-Anglican relations that in England, syphilis was known as "The French Disease", whereas in France, it was known as "The English Disease". By contrast, Franco-American relations were so cordial that a joint venture was launched to produce canned spaghetti, and what were known as "chips" in the UK would be called "French Fries" in the US. This cordiality would last until the French refused to invade Iraq, after which Franco-American spaghetti was replaced by Chef Boyardee, so spelled because the Chef's real name, Boiardi, had Mafia implications. The name "French Fries" was more problematic in the US, as the Americans had already assigned the name "chips" to thin, ovoid slices of potato deep-fried in hot preservatives; therefore, the problem was avoided altogether by the invention of the Combo Meal, consisting of a hamburger (named to honor the US's perennially-cordial relations with Germany, as were the Frankfurter and the German Measles), some of those greasy potato-things, and a very large plastic cup of artificially- flavored, colored sugar-water. The British, however, swore undying revenge against the French and anyone named Frank, including Sinatra. The name "Norman" itself, however, curiously evaded this onus, as evidenced by such noted British names as Archie Norman, Barry Norman, Monty Norman, and the Norman motorcycle.

[5] In 1215, the Magna Carta was signed, the first revolving-credit agreement among the British Crown and nobility. This innovation gave rise to Carta Blanche, the first credit card, and to another such card, British Express, though the latter was subsequently changed to American Express (cf. "American Revolution", infra.)

[6] In the 1530s, as Professors Merry and Pippin have noted, Henry VIII split the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church, causing the former WASs to become WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). This break subsequently would be furthered by Martin Luther, progenitor of the most noted of the WASPs, Martin Luther King, Jr.

[7] Nothing much else happened until July 2, 1776, when the American Congress passed the Lee Resolution declaring the Colonies to be independent of the British Crown. As Founding Father and second POTUS John Adams wrote:

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore."

However, the picnics and massive fireworks displays traditionally used to show devotion to God Almighty were rained out; hence, July 4 has become the traditional day of observance.

The British monarch, King George III, cast a curse upon the new nation, declaring that one day it would have its own King George who would do to the American people everything that they had accused him of doing to them.

[8] Some time during the 1800s (no one is sure exactly when), the UK had a monarch, Queen Victoria, who gave her name both to an era and to an adjective denoting prudery, although she is said to have said once, "I don't care what people do, so long as they don't do it in the street and scare the horses."

[9] In 1944, the British finally got the revenge they had sworn against the Normans almost nine centuries earlier, by the massive invasion of Normandy. Unfortunately, the British had waited so long that by this time, Normandy was occupied by the Germans.

[10] During the 1960s, the Japanese invaded the UK with large fleets of fast, reliable, inexpensive motorcycles, nearly extincting the Norman, Triumph, and BSA in what became known as the Ricewagon Invasion. The invasion extended to the US, causing the Harley-Davidson family-owned business to be sold to a bowling alley.

[11] The British swore revenge on the Japanese, which they finally achieved by joining the American forces in invading Iraq, or so they thought, due to numerous typographical errors typical in London's previously-prestigious newspaper, "The Times", since its aquisition in 1981 by Rupert Murdoch, also owner of the US's elite Fox Network, home of the innovative series, "Married With Children", and of the leading US news source, Fox News Network. "The Times" repeatedly referred to the "Iraqi People" as the "Iraki People", causing natural confusion with such famous Japanese as Ayase Haruka, Gotō Maki, Itō Misaki, and super-hot model Sawajiri Erika, and it also confused Tikrit with Tokyo.

And there you have it.

Nor about much else, either. Pity. © 2007 Tommy Turtle.

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Voting Results

Pacing: 4.5
How Funny: 4.3
Overall Rating: 4.6

Total Votes: 11

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   1
 2   0
 3   0
 4   1
 5   9

User Comments

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Susanna Viljanen - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
Rule Britannia! For the future 555 years.
Rick C - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
Nice work, TT. Taught me a thing or two. 555
alvin rhodes - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
your parody rules the waves
Ann Hammond - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
If only they would have taught me in parody or song in school. I'm doing a lot of learning and refreashing from paridies like this. Thanks T (green)Turtle.
Accidentally Omitted Footnote - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
The British achieved their revenge against Frank Sinatra during the 1960s "British Invasion" of Rock 'n Roll, which booted Sinatra off the charts so badly that the only way he could score a hit was by singing his own obituary, "My Way". The British, however, following the lead of enlightened conquerers such as Cyrus the Great of Persia (590 - 530BC), spared Sinatra's family, including his daughter, Nancy, although revisionist historians attribute that leniency to the fact that she looked so hot Walking around in those kinky Boots and sipping Summer Wine.

This enlightened policy of Cyrus, incidentally, was cited by 2003 Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi:

"I am an Iranian, a descendant of Cyrus the Great. This emperor proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2,500 years ago that he 'would not reign over the people if they did not wish it.' He promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. "

The successors to the Persian Empire, such as Iraq and Iran, have firmly upheld these policies during the ensuing 2500 years.
Meriadoc - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
Tommy - excellent job in condensing British History to the American version. You forgot to squeeze in the Danes tho' You know, Canute falling on his face on the shore and all that. Not much of an impact, but left us with some useful words like 'skin' and skirt'. Not to mention gave Elton John the ability to sing "Grimsby."
John Barry - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
A terrapin after my own heart. . .explanatory matter longer than the parody.
Tommy Turtle - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
Susanna Viljanen, Rick C, alvin rhodes, Ann Hammond, Meriadoc (not sure EJ was a gift lol), John Barry, thanks.
Below Average Dave - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
Oh my goodness, footnotes gone crazy. . .I should make a huge comment but I think saying that this one was over my head is near impossible[1] because there is an explination for almost every line. . . [1] I say near impossible because obviously it isn't completely impossible and I figured using a footnote out of respect for the parodist was only right.
Tommy Turtle - February 07, 2007 - Report this comment
Below Average Dave: [1]

[1] Nice gesture, and thanks.
Peregrin - February 08, 2007 - Report this comment
Excellent !
Susanna Viljanen - February 08, 2007 - Report this comment
AOF, that would indeed be case - had the Persian Empire and Roman Empire got not gotten locked in 500+ years of war. The final sack of Niniveh by Emperor Heraclius AD 626 meant the death knell to the Persian Empire - and to Zarahustran religion (the oldest still extant Monotheistic religion in the world). When the two giants, Persians and Romans, fought each other, leaving Persia (Farsism) mortally wounded and Rome (Christianity) seriously weakened, it was a pushover for a new and fresh force, Arabs (Islam) to take over Persia and conquer much of the Roman lands.

If Zarahustran religion was today still the dominant religion in Persian lands, there indeed would be no compulsion on religion - Islam isn't quite that lenient towards infidels.
malcolm higgins - February 08, 2007 - Report this comment
all I ever will need for references to my past.. thanks
Adagio - February 08, 2007 - Report this comment
Good parody, turtle. Unfortunately, I forgot that history gives mea headache. : ) 5's
Andy Primus - May 15, 2009 - Report this comment
In response to your comment yesterday - fair enough. You don't need to know British history unless you're British. To gloss over your own US history is a different matter
Tommy Turtle - May 16, 2009 - Report this comment
Andy Primus, thanks for the read and v/c, but I think we in the US need to know a wee bit more about the country/empire from which we inherited our common law, the principles of the Enlightenment, and even the Magna Carta -- and for that matter, of the Roman, Greek, Ottoman, and other empires that led to our modern civilization. And of the East as well. The reason history keeps repeating itself is that no one learns from it. You can't learn from it if you don't know it.

If it wasn't clear, the parody was satirizing this failure of US schools, not down--playing the need for education in British and other history. If you got that impression from it, I'm truly sorry. Please try it again now that you know the author's intention. Thanks for taking the time to read, Andy.
Andy Primus - June 30, 2009 - Report this comment
Bit late answering this. What I meant was that the most important history to teach kids is the history of the country in which they are born & raised. There's not enough time to learn the ins & outs of them all so I think it's fair enough that we only learn the basics of other countries/cultures & spend most of the time learning about our own history. Personally I'd love to see more taught in schools because it's one of my fave hobbies along with castles & classic British motorbikes. I've been studying European history as a hobby on and off for about 30 years & the more I learn, the more I want to learn.
Tommy Turtle - June 30, 2009 - Report this comment
Andy Primus, thanks for the re-read. Yes, definitely need to know about one's own country, and our schools fail at that, too -- miserably ;-( .But with the US being a relatively young nation, and with all of the world essentially interconnected at its roots, I would still say that the most important points of all the major civilizations along the way should be in the curriculum. Not time to learn every detail or every castle in Germany or Switzerland, of course, but the civilizations from ancient Mesopotamia, Greek > Roman > Western; India > China > Eastern, etc. Otherwise, we just keep making the same mistakes they did -- as we all are. Cheers!
Tommy Turtle - June 30, 2011 - Report this comment
How did I forget to reply to four comments? (scratches head)... ADD + brain the size of a pea. :-(

Peregrin: Thanks!

Susanna Viljanen: Thanks for contributing that bit of enlightenment, which is not taught *at all* in US schools: Zarathustrainism itself, and the benevolent policies of Cyrus -- also, the genuine contributions of Islamic scholars during the West's Dark and Middle Ages, as related here:

It's unfortunate that such a tradition of tolerance was abandoned. Thanks again for v/c.

malcolm higgins: R.I.P., my friend.
@ malcolm's friends who see this: Sorry for missing the comment - malcolm didn't comment on a lot of my songs, but when he did, they were always perceptive and witty.

Adagio: Which was why this was intended to be comedic satire, i. e. "funny". Sorry it didn't work for you, but just to be on the safe side, please know that the history related, especially in the footnotes, is heavily satirized, stand-up-comedy-type versions of actual incidents - hence, hoping for "funny". But I guess it isn't as funny if one DK the actual history. Thanks for v/c.
Patrick - July 05, 2011 - Report this comment
It took me years to understand the original song. This version makes a great history lesson. I knew about John Adams' prediction of the future celebration of July 2. I tried to use that as an excuse for my parents to buy me more fireworks to shoot on both days. Not sure why, but it always rains in Kansas City on July 3rd.
Tommy Turtle - July 05, 2011 - Report this comment
Patrick, and Everyone Else: The Lee Resolution, declaring the Colonies independent of the British Crown, was indeed passed by the Congress on July 2, 1776. In today's world, that would be all over the Net in seconds. But back then, it would take weeks or more to courier the news back to England., although it was reported in a local (Pennsylvania) newspaper that evening.

So the Congress had time to draft the "press release", in effect, explaining to the world what they had done, and WHY they had done it. The final draft was approved on July 4, 1776, and released to the public that day, as the famous Declaration of Independence. But the actual declaration - the law -- did indeed pass two days earlier. They just didn't have our modern press secretaries to whip these things out quickly - or ahead of time. Hence the celebration of the incorrect date.

Thanks for read/v/c.
Patrick - July 06, 2011 - Report this comment
I heard a story, perhaps apocryphal, that Thomas Jefferson said to an associate, "I haven't heard from my Ambassador to France in two years. If I've no word from him by this time next year, I may write to him and ask what has happened. I marvel at how people were able to communicate at all in the pre-electronic era. When William Quantrill attacked Lawrence, Kansas in 1863, a rider set out for Fort Leavenworth to ask for help. That would not be a quick drive in a car today, even on the fine paved roads. I can't imagine doing it on horseback. Then try to imagine the whaling ships, whose journeys could take 3 or 4 years.
Tommy Turtle - July 06, 2011 - Report this comment
Patrick: I try not to imagine the whaling ships, thank you... :)         Look up the origin of our term "marathon" for a 26.2 mile footrace, or any extended contest (24-hr dance marathon, car dealer's "All-weekend sales marathon, etc.) to see how much worse it was at times.

That increased pace of communication and travel has definitely changed our world rapidly, in ways to which the human race wasn't accustomed. There was a "joke" shortly after 9/11 that if the terr*rists really hated the West so badly, they should have abjured all Western technology, gotten on sailing ships, taken three months to sail to the US, ridden their camels into NYC, and thrown spears at the WTC.....
Patrick - July 08, 2011 - Report this comment
While waiting for the start of a parade in honor of Jesse James, in his hometown of Kearney, Missouri, I caught the tail end of a 10 kilometer run from the James family farm to downtown. Several of the runners were wearing shirts with the name of Phidippides, a store for running shoes and athletic gear. I wondered if any of them realized that the fellow for whom this store was named had dropped dead from exhaustion at the end of his "Marathon".
Tommy Turtle - July 09, 2011 - Report this comment
Patrick: Probably not many. You and I know how poorly history is taught these days. Even more for "foreign" history, despite the great heritage that ancient Greece left to our modern world. Thanks for the nice irony.

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