Opinion

Paul McNamee: Some things are better left un-zed

Charles’ IZE is really grinding the gears of much of the populace

Last week, Prince Charles was blasted, slammed and placed in the dock. He also came under fire. Poor Charles.

Of course, nobody ever is ACTUALLY blasted or slammed. It’s old newspaper talk, hyperbole. It’s the language of Fleet Street, a nonsense nobody ever says. It goes alongside snubbed and revealed and laughed off. I love such nonsense.

So, when Charles was blasted and slammed, he wasn’t really. He was gently chided. That doesn’t work so well in headlines. Charles was MERCILESSLY SLAMMED for introducing an Americanism into his correspondence.

Following the Notre-Dame fire, Charles wrote to Emmanuel Macron expressing sympathy and saying ‘I realize only too well what a truly special significance the Cathedral holds at the heart of your nation.’

See? SEE?! AREN’T YOU FURIOUS?!

It’s the IZE in realize that had the future king (if he EVER gets his chance) in the dock. It should be ISE, raged the raging. Damn him. Blast him. Slam him.

Turns out, that’s not the case. It is not, in fact, American English to substitute the ISE with IZE.

And Charles, a very keen letter writer – his ‘black spider’ memos have been contentious for more than a decade – has form. He has been using that IZE willy-nilly all over the place for years. Turns out that the spelling has been around since the 15th century. Slam that, haterz!

This is more telling than it looks. At the height of a big international moment, when the world is considering why a fire at a cathedral means so much more, tied to identity and shared pasts and future, a leading member of the British royal family sends a message of support and hope to a head of state and the response of the public is not to echo it, but to deliver a stiff, but quiet and focused, fury at a minor spelling issue.

The streets of cities across Britain are being brought to a standstill by climate protests. New information is breaking about the level of Arron Banks-driven lies and misinformation ahead of the EU Referendum. The Trump/Mueller fandango is far from over. AND Manchester United are a dull husk of their former selves!

This explains so much about the conundrum of Britishness that the EU can’t quite reconcile

Yet, it’s Charles’ IZE that is really grinding the gears of much of the populace.

I say much, but in reality it’s just a small percentage who took to social media to complain. The rest are quietly seething. They wouldn’t be so unreserved as to open up. That wouldn’t do.

And this is it. This explains so much about the conundrum of Britishness that the EU can’t quite reconcile. It’s all very well for Britain to complain about their future monarch using the slack language of the lost colony. But if anybody non-British was to even sniff at the royal family, well, get them to the Tower, then cut all ties to whatever jumped-up nowheresville they hail from!

The sooner the EU navigates this mixed-up reality, the better for everybody. Or the worse for everybody.

I don’t really know. I’m from Northern Ireland. Our ideas of spelling and identity are WAAYYYYYY all over the place.

I should have realized this when I started writing.

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