Steve Jobs, Knight Commander (almost)

sirjobs.jpg Steve Jobs was denied a knighthood in 2009, after it 'reached the final stages of approval,' because he refused to do political favors for the U.K.'s then-governing Labour party.
The former MP was told by Downing Street that the decision was related to a failed attempt to attract Mr Jobs to Labour's annual conference. Given his status as a superstar of business and technology, such an appearance would have been viewed as a coup for Mr Brown.
Given Grand Moff Blairbrown's attitude toward the British honors system, it's hardly a surprise. Bill Gates was knighted in 2005. [Telegraph]


  1. Why would any red-blooded ‘merican want to be knighted anyway? It’s downright unpatriotic, kneeling* before a foreign monarch – especially one we beat the pants off of 230 years ago (metaphorically speaking, of course – no need to imagine Lizzy without her trousers!).

    Any American who accepts a knighthood ought to be stripped of his citizenship and forced to drink tea until he is dead, dead, dead!

    *Apparently non-UK citizens do not actually kneel, but even so, it’s still wrong.

    1. Goddamn rich. First they don’t pay taxes, now they get to play with swords and fight dragons.

    2. Amen to the Weatherman’s advice on revoking citizenship for any American who accepts British Peerage. Back in the day, we used to be the only country that wouldn’t dip our flag for the Queen at the Olympic games (now most don’t).

      Don’t get me wrong, I loved living in England– but wouldn’t bow to the Queen, the same way I never bowed to the Emperor of Japan when I would see his limo in the streets of Tokyo.

      I also respect Canadians who stand up but don’t sing our national anthems at baseball games.

      1. “I also respect Canadians who stand up but don’t sing our national anthems at baseball games.”

        You are too kind.

    3. I am assuming you’re being sarcastic. Knighthood is now nothing more than an international honor. Most countries have symbolic honors they bestow on foreigners of note. It also gets the Queen out of the house.

      General Wesley Clark, Gen. Schwartzkopf, Gen. Powell, Bush I, and Reagan were all knighted. A ton of people –

      That site looks to be tin foil hat bonkers, but I double checked 10 people on their list, and they all came up accurate.

    1. The Sith are the emotional, chaotic ones, that does not fit well with Steve who is the more of a stoic, plain (follow my path, you must) kind of guy. The Empire was not all bad.

      1. The Sith are the emotional, chaotic ones, that does not fit well with Steve who is the more of a stoic, plain (follow my path, you must) kind of guy. The Empire was not all bad.

        Steve Jobs has a very control-oriented, totalitarian top-down management style. He wears a lot of black. He demands perfection. Most of his products have a minimalist monochromatic form factor. He may have looked like one of those hippie rebels back in the 70s, but the Steve Jobs of today would be much more at home on the Death Star than hanging out in the woods with a scrappy band of long-haired granola-chomping misfits. (They use Linux.)

        I say this respectfully as a regular mac user who agrees the Empire wasn’t so bad. At least they got things done!

  2. I think you have fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the British honours system – political favours and donations have been the basis of most honours received since the system came into existence.

    If you honestly thought they were handed out for honourable deeds or pure altruism, then you’re sadly deluded

  3. I’m not sure a short piece in the Daily Torygraph, citing an anonymous source, constitutes an actual story. Particularly given that Brown has flatly denied it.

  4. The ‘Honours’ system is crony-ism at its finest. Knighthoods dangled as bribes, peerages used to leverage business deals, corruption in its purest (and longest living) form.

    Even the royal family are not immune to trading favours; google prince andrew/saif gadaffi.

  5. “If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive, or retain any title of nobility or honour, or shall without the consent of Congress, accept and retain any present, pension, office, or emolument of any kind whatever, from any emperor, king, prince, or foreign power, such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States, and shall be incapable of holding any office of trust or profit under them, or either of them.”

    13th Amendment.

    However, it’s OK if you can get clearance from the Senate (As Alan Greenspan did.)

  6. I get the feeling most people seem against this because of its name.

    To think that the honours system bears any resemblance to the original meaning in the British Empire is to totally ignore a) the decline of it and b) the british ability to take the mickey out of itself. They know they aren’t ‘Knight commanders of the british empire’ but it’s their way of saying this person is cool.

    If it’s not the concept, perhaps the country? Norway gives out the nobel prizes and nobody conflates that with the Nazi occupation. It’s ludicrous to then associate an award – and it is an award- with some contentious time in ancient history. Of which Steve Jobs has had many.

    No, weatherman, I’m afraid you get the Burger King medal of bullishness for being a truly patriotic stereotype

  7. As an englishman, I agree with weatherman. No American citizen should seek or accept foreign honours.
    Equally, the honour of knighthood bestowed by the queen should not be offered to subjects of a foreign power.
    Only Commonwealth citizens should be eligible.
    As for handing it to american presidents?

    1. Foreigners don’t get real knighthoods anyway- they are given honorary knighthoods, so don’t use the title “Sir” or “Dame”.

  8. @noodle: I think that there’s importance in that symbolism, so I do take offense when US citizens put themselves in a position of subjugation to a foreign sovereign. And as for the Nobel prizes, they are not really government awards; they are privately funded from the estate of Alfred Nobel, and awarded by committee. In the case of the Peace Prize the committee is appointed by the parliament, but it’s not coming from the Norwegian government. Also, I don’t really understand where you’re going with the whole Nazi argument – Norway was invaded during WWII, and operated under a puppet government. Perhaps you’re confusing it with Finland?

    @abulafia: Actually, what you’re quoting was a proposed amendment that wasn’t ratified. The 13th amendment actually abolished slavery. Perhaps what you’re thinking of is the Title of Nobility Clause which prevents government officials from taking titles or gifts.

  9. Thanks for that Weatherman, pretty informative.
    The people who sat down and worked out your Constitution really thought about it, that much is clear from the link.

    As for the 13th, I think I was misled by an earlier link to a tin-foil site.

  10. This discussion reminds me of the scene in The King’s Speech that was used in the trailer, where Prince Albert mentions that the other doctors were all knighted, which Logue implies made them idiots officially.

    When the king says later he doesn’t know how to thank him, Logue jokingly mentions knighthood. I thought this was actually a reasonable request, because I’m familiar with how knighthood is treated today, where The Beatles and tons of other people are knighted.

    At the end, it’s said that Logue received the highest honor given for non-military service (or something like that) – perhaps equivalent to the US Presidential Medal of Freedom (what an awful name by the way) as opposed to the Medal of Honor?

    So what that led me to conclude is that in the past fifty years, everything about knighthood changed dramatically. Today, Logue surely would have been knighted, right?

    However, I feel that the honor given to him was probably considered better than knighthood? But why were the “idiot” doctors knighted and not him (maybe just because he was Australian?)

  11. Bill Gates is making the world a better place.

    Steve Jobs is making the world a better place for Steve.

    So there’s that.

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