“Only fools believe they can change the course of history.”- Laurence of Sicily, “Majoran’s Mistake” (497)
November 12, 2017
12:59 local time,
Alex Carron couldn’t help but feel the atmosphere. Mere seconds were left before he was to address a sold out crowd at the legendary stadium, a stadium that had witnessed so many moments of history.
Today it was the scene of a fundraiser, Carron’s Christmas he called it, an annual tradition that was seen as the beginning of the Christmas season across the English Empire. Many of the world’s top bands, most of them drawn from the Empire but not all, would perform today, with Carron himself performing several skits in between sets.
The tradition began in 2000, a year after Carron’s cartoon comedy, Best Boss Ever, debuted. Despite being a ratings success, the cartoon was critically panned, with critics taking particular issue with the show’s emphasis on raunchy humour and a cavalier indifference to political correctness. Throughout its run, Best Boss Ever has faced numerous calls for its cancellation on both sides of the political spectrum, with conservatives often saying “it compromises England’s morals” and socialists calling it “derogatory and insensitive”. A lawsuit in 2010 nearly saw the show cancelled, but a razor thin 11-10 vote by the Royal Judiciary kept it on the air, where it has stayed ever since.
Still, despite his pride in his show’s success, it often overshadowed Carron’s abilities as an actor, abilities Carron showcased at his fundraiser. He would often be praised for his performances from his even his harshest critics. They earned him a few prominent movie roles, roles which were also praised. It led to calls for Carron to give up his raunchy humour and become an actor full time. Carron would often dismiss such notions, saying he enjoyed his work, but speculation arose that with Best Boss Ever closing in on twenty seasons, he just might change his mind.
So, despite the air of excitement in the air regarding his opening remarks, there was also an air of apprehension. Press releases said Carron was making an “important announcement today”- was the end of Best Boss Ever in sight?
The applause began as Carron stepped out onto the stage, the cheers reaching a thunderous crescendo when he stepped up to the microphone. He smiled and waved several times to the crowd, soaking in the adulation as it poured in. Several minutes went by before it subsided to a point where Carron could finally speak. He didn’t mind- for Carron, the cheering of the crowd never got old.
“Welcome, everyone,” said Carron, beginning his speech. “I’ve done a lot of things- I’m sure you know- that I’m proud of, but tonight- as you always do- you show me why I am most proud of this event.”
Carron then listed all the bands that would be performing, drawing loud applause for each act.
“A star-studded event, as always,” said Carron. “I’m excited to get to it, and believe me we will…but before I do, I must say a few words.”
Carron smiled, though an audible sigh could be heard. Some in the crowd began to gasp, but most were stunned to silence, anticipating the worst.
“It’s been a tumultuous year in English politics,” said Carron, “and, of course, as many of you know, Best Boss Ever was at the centre of it. We had to fend off another lawsuit…this one from the Centre of Japanese Equality, who took issue with ‘Forbidden Dreams’, my episode on the ‘hikikomori’. Some of you already know the episode, but, since it aired ten years ago, some of you may not…that was the one where narcissistic parents too caught up in the ‘partying lifestyle’ drove their own son to isolation and depression because they repeatedly intimidated and threatened him if he ever tried to leave. The episode ended when Paul Chimera found a way to break the son out of his own house, with the son living with a friend of Chimera who actually took care of him and convinced him his parents were bad parents.
“Now, I remember when the episode aired, people praised me- even in Japan- for calling out destructive cultural tendencies in East Asia. People don’t realize that ‘Forbidden Dreams’ is a common occurrence, highlighting the very real problem that society is tied too closely to the family and, unfortunately not every family is going to be looking out for their own children. People in Japan have been saying for years that something needs to be done about the problem, because no society ever benefits when they get as blindly devoted to something as the Japanese do with their families.
“Not saying anything revolutionary here guys…this has been a problem they’ve been dealing with for decades, and I decided to use comedy to address it.
“Unfortunately for me, the Centre didn’t agree with me that the ‘hikikomori’ are really a problem. Not only did they flat out denied that there were depressed kids who were browbeaten by overbearing parents, they went as far to claim that there is no such thing as a ‘problem parent’. That’s right, Hiroshi- your Mommy and Daddy, heroin junkies who couldn’t bother to feed you today because they had to ‘chase the dragon’ and only want you get into IT so you can pay for their drugs, are still ‘good parents’, despite the fact they’re neglectful sons of b****es.”
Carron laughed and shook his head as his audience roared with the approval of his observation.
“I mean, imagine that,” he continued. “The Centre is so blinded by their devotion to Japanese culture that they fail to see its flaws. Of course, me being a white guy…well, criticizing another culture must mean I’m racist, right?”
Carron chuckled as varied howls emanated from the crowd.
“All right, all right,” said Carron, hoping his smile would ease some minds. “I’m not going to go into a rant about the Centre’s stance- we had the lawsuit already. We won, because at least this country still believes in free speech.
“It did make me think about where this country is headed and if it’s really going in the right path. I mean, there’s only so many times people can target my blood, sweat and tears before you’ve got to do something about it- and I will.”
Carron then began to gesture wildly as he talked, his tone getting louder and more forceful as he got into his speech.
“Reflecting on the whole ordeal with the Centre,” he continued, “my first thought, obviously, was about the left. You know what really struck me about the Centre for Japanese Equality? You what did? The name. Think about it- they’re not the ‘Centre for Equality’. No- they’re the Centre for Japanese Equality. They don’t really care about gaining equality for everyone- they just want equality-” Carron pointedly cleared his throat before continuing- “excuse me, they want power for the Japanese people. It’s why these guys will complain about people dressing up as samurais and geishas for Hallowe’en but they’ll howl in protest if you dare call them out for dressing up as a bobby or as a Medieval knight, or why they’ll so freely use terms like ‘limeys’ or ‘pommies’ but don’t you dare call them ‘yellow’ or say anything’s ‘nippy’ around them.”
Howls could be heard from the crowd.
“Don’t get me wrong- offensive terms are offensive terms,” said Carron, “but the Japanese don’t get a pass because the English are the dominant members of our society. Racism is still racism…that’s a fact. We’ve got inequality in our society, but we’re not going to address it if all we do is snipe at each other.”
This time the audience was less divided, cheering for Carron’s statement. Carron smiled, but then immediately returned to his serious face.
“See, that’s the thing about the Centre and the left in general,” said Carron. “They don’t care about equality for everyone- they just want things to be better for themselves, and screw how things are for everyone else. It’s why they want massive handouts for the poor and don’t care that they’re taking from the rich who are actually working for that money. It’s why crime advocates push to end violence against women but they don’t care one whit about male victims. It’s why they’ll bend over backwards for poor people of colour but they’ll do absolutely nothing for poor Englishmen- ’cause the English are supposed to be ‘privileged’ you see.”
The audience began to howl- some cheers, some groans- before Carron cut them off.
“Let’s not act, though,” he continued, “that the right are off the hook. Yeah, I should be all up in them- after all, right wing activists were front and centre in my defence during the lawsuit, because, sadly, they were the only ones who cared about ‘free speech’. I mean, I’m grateful someone cares about that kind of stuff…but listening to what the activists were saying in defence of free speech really left me uneasy.
“These guys were front and centre with their placards, saying all kinds of nasty stuff about the Japanese. These guys were shouting obscenities, wearing mocking costumes, harassing Japanese people and making all kinds of statements and nasty comments about the Japanese that were downright falsehoods. It was tough to stand in solidarity with them and many times I didn’t. When the lawsuit was over and I finally won, there were these two guys who made a show in front of the courthouse. One was dressed as a bobby and the other guy was dressed as a samurai, and they acted this scene where the bobby kicked down the samurai and ‘made’ him beat himself to death with the bobby’s baton.”
Carron chuckled in disgust.
“I mean, I could only look at that in disgust,” said Carron. “That’s not free speech- that’s hate speech, pure and simple.”
The audience gave him a thunderous ovation in appreciation for his observation.
“It’s then I realized,” said Carron, emboldened by the crowd, “that the right are just as much of hypocrites as the left are. See, if the left is using ‘equality’ to further their own agenda, the right uses ‘free speech’ to further their own. See, they don’t want free speech to protect the rights of anyone to say what they want- no, they want free speech so only the right get to say whatever they want, and do whatever they want. The right is just latching on to free speech because it gives them sympathy with the public, since it allows them to spew whatever they want. ‘Yeah…I know what I said was offensive…but it’s okay…it’s free speech and you wouldn’t want someone to take away your right to speak, do you?’ ”
More applause came from the audience.
“It’s really a great swindle, isn’t it?” said Carron. “Say you’re defending basic freedoms and rights just so you can stifle any criticism you receive about what you say…and then turn around and push your agenda because the public believes you’re serving them…I mean, you’re defending free speech, how bad could you really be? Well I’ll tell you…really bad.”
The audience let out a loud ovation, sustaining it for several minutes as Carron smiled smugly in appreciation. He stood there, soaking in the ovation, proud of the point he made. The ovation still moved him, though, as it was clear to him that the audience’s appreciation for his speech surpassed anything he could have expected.
“This is why tonight,” said Carron forcefully, “on this very stage I am announcing the creation of a new party- the Royalist Party- that I will be the leader of. We will not only contest the next election but we will do everything we can to win the next election. Next year, we all know the Conservatives have to call one- they can’t put it aside any longer- and they’re vulnerable. They know it, the Labour Party knows it and we know it too.
“That’s why we’re jumping in- because we believe the English Empire deserves a real third choice to counteract the B.S. that passes for politics these days. We believe in serving the people, and we believe in doing it without agendas. We will protect equality not to further some special interest group’s cause but because England should be a truly equal and fair society. We will protect free speech not because we want to promote only one way of thinking but because we want everyone to be able to express their thoughts and their feelings without restriction, because only when we talk to each other do we ever get things done. We will focus on the things the English actually care about, things that will make the Empire great again, like the economy, infrastructure and real solutions to poverty. We also pledge to listen to other parties and other groups, even if we’ve got a clear majority in Parliament, because democracy is founded on the principle of everyone working together and listening to each other, because real solutions involve multiple perspectives, the kind of perspectives no one person could ever generate on their own.
“Because we’re tired of the games. We’re tired of the sniping…the name-calling…the bashing. We’re tired of disunity and dysfunction that serves no one and gets nothing done. We’re tired of politicians who speak in platitudes and only look out for themselves. We’re tired of the ‘same-old, same-old’ that gets us nowhere.”
The audience then roared in appreciation, howling for several minutes as Carron soaked up the immense support.
“We’re tired of all of it,” he said triumphantly, “and you should too. Join us in bringing real change to England.”
The audience again gave Carron a thunderous ovation, sustaining it for well over ten minutes, as Carron smiled and gestured his appreciation for the crowd. He tried several times to announce the first band to take the stage, but the crowd was so enraptured in delirium that they wouldn’t relent enough for him to do so. The support was overwhelming, bringing a tear to Carron’s eye and making him believe he really could enact the change he’s always wanted. He also knew that his work was far from done.