Thursday, November 15, 2007
One of the things I appreciate about my adopted country the United States, as compared to my country of birth the United Kingdom, is the absence of titles designating social class...no princes and princesses, no lords and ladies, no dukes, earls, barons, counts or knights.
Actually it's not entirely true that there are no American knights. A number of prominent Americans have accepted knighthoods from the Queen of England including Sir Bill Gates, Sir Steven Spielberg, Sir George Bush and Sir Rudy Guiliani. No sorry. I didn't get that quite right. All those distinguished gentlemen are knights but as Americans they don't get to style themselves as "sir".
There is of course an honors system in the USA. There is, for example, the Congressional Medal of Freedom which was awarded to George Tenet for his sterling work at the CIA providing slam dunk intelligence about those WMDs in Iraq. A lot of people didn't approve of that award but at least we don't have to call him Lord Tenet of Mclean.
One of the beauties of the British honors system is the use of the various ranks in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to recognize achievements and service in all walks of life. For example, a few days ago the Queen awarded the MBE to one Des Pawson for "services to ropes and knot-tying".
I hadn't heard of Des before (yes, that's him in the photo at the top of this post) but apparently he is well known in the knot-tying community. He is the founder of the International Guild of Knot Tyers, and of the Museum of Knots and Sailors Ropework. He has published several books on knots and has been a speaker at a number of international conferences on knots and ropework.
Des Pawson. Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. For services to ropes and knot-tying. Isn't that wonderful?
Posted by Tillerman at 11:00 PM