The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

Etiquette shmetiquette

Apparently Julia Gillard gave a small bow when she met the Queen, rather than a curtsey.

A curtsey? Are you serious? Why the hell should she curtsey? Why the hell should she even bow? If I was Julia I would have put up my paw for a big-ass high five (probably soon followed with “Don’t leave me hangin’, Liz”).

Honestly… being Australia, and the year 2011, this is neither the time nor place for arbitrarily defined limb movements required to appease the vanity of undeservedly rich old ladies. This is nothing against the Queen, mind you. I have no idea whether or not she expects a curtsey. But the apparent media furore is just ridiculous.

William Hanson, a “British etiquette and protocol expert”, had this to say:

The Queen tops her, the Queen is the top of the tree, so as a sign of respect, whatever her opinion on the monarchy is, she should have curtsied.

He went on to say that Julia was being a bit “churlish”, and “she should have worn a hat”.


Firstly, the very fact that we need “etiquette and protocol experts” is a sure sign that etiquette and protocol is, quite simply, a load of crap. There has to be a good reason for doing something, apart from someone saying you should.

Secondly, if people are just allowed to invent arbitrary greeting standards, all because they happened to be born into a position of privilege, what’s to stop me from inventing my own? Yes… I think I will. From now on, if anyone wishes to speak to me, they must take a large breath of helium, shout “I am inferior!” as loudly as they can, and then slap themselves on the arse three times.

When you think about it, that’s just as ridiculous as a hat and a curtsey. But at least mine would make for good TV.

Category: Asinine, Media


4 Responses

  1. I read your blog post with interest but you are mis-guided in your attitude. Bowing or curtseying to the Monarch shows respect for the office, and also the person. The Monarchy has been around for many, many, many centuries and will continue to be around for many more to come. Longer than you, longer than me. And for just that reason (there are hundreds of others) then the least we should do is acknowledge it and show some much needed deference.

  2. Tim says:

    Hey mate, thanks for the comment!

    The thing about etiquette is that it’s completely arbitrary. If a given practice is deemed to be good etiquette, there are almost always no reasons for it, apart from the fact that it’s been around a long time (as you suggest). It’s just my opinion, I suppose, but if longevity is all something has going for it, I’m not sure that it’s worth maintaining.

    Also, since etiquette is arbitrary, there’s nothing to stop us inventing our own. If we, as Australians, deemed a high-five to be the ultimate in respectful greetings, what then?

    As for showing deference… I suspect the Queen is quite a nice person, and she’s performed the office that was thrust upon her with competence and dignity, but I really don’t see how she is deserving of “deference”. She is a person, as is Julia. That makes them equals.

  3. Brinski says:

    Much needed deference? “Needed”? What?

    From what I saw, Julia was perfectly civil and respectful. Just because she didn’t grovel and kowtow to the woman doesn’t mean she was rude.

    The Queen should be thanking her lucky stars that the monarchy even exists in this day in age. The institution is completely irrelevant, and as Tim said, I see no need to kiss the shoes of someone who has not earned her position in life.

    A hat? A curtsey? What are these people on?

    Great blog, by the way.

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