Say what you will about Friday night’s Olympic opening ceremony — a bizarre and exceedingly ugly bit of buggery orchestrated by Danny Boyle, the acclaimed director of Slumdog Millionaire and 28 Days Later — but if it proved anything, it’s that the British Empire is alive and well. And that when it’s all said and done, the Limbaughs and the Hannitys and all the other dittoheaded disciples of American exceptionalism are a short-sighted lot, whose entire grasp of history is obstructed by their own oversized guts. They mistake the small for the large, the massive for the puny.

The fact of the matter is the British Empire is the most important cultural force that has ever existed. And their reign is far from over.

Forget Boyle’s cadaver dog of a spectacle, with its nods to the Beatles and the Stones, James Bond and Harry Fucking Potter. Yes, the Brits have had a profound effect on pop culture, as the director crassy asserted with bobble-head Ziggy Stardusts and an inflatable car-lot Voldemort, but it was the Parade of Nations that truly speaks to the ongoing hegemony of the British Empire, as one member of the Commonwealth of Nations marched by after another, Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, and 40-something other countries. And that’s not counting the U.S. — the U.K.’s rebellious teenager — or acknowledging China’s post-Hong Kong turn towards capitalism. Forget the Stars and Stripes and the United Nations flag. Only one flag flies over the world and it’s the Union Jack.

So if and when you’re tempted to proclaim that the United States is the greatest nation ever, remember that George Washington is on the dollar bill, but Queen Elizabeth’s mug is featured on money around the globe.

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