Can You Be Named an OBE and Still Be Critical of Empires? Elvis Costello Says Yes.

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By Tobias Carroll For over a century, the OBE has been among the awards that the British government can bestow upon someone. It stands for “Officer of the Order of the British Empire,” and its roots date back to World War I, when King George V determined a new way to honor people for their efforts related to the conflict. But over the years, a number of high-profile figures (including David Bowie and Michael Sheen) have turned down the OBE or similar awards, owing to concerns over imperialism and the British system of class. Other recipients, however, have found a way to rectify the two. Among…

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