• Monarchy

    And God save her

    The timing may be coincidental, but as Queen Elizabeth II marks her historic milestone, my favorite comic strip character, the trailer park resident Agnes, is having illusions of being queen of, er, something. As usual, her friend and neighbor Trout tries to bring her back down to earth. I wonder if a British mass-circulation newspaper could get away with publishing that.

  • Media,  Monarchy

    Are you waiting?

    I’m reminded of the headline that always seemed to appear on the front page of small-town newspapers on Christmas eve: World Awaits Christmas Update: Ed Kilgore observes: “Great week to bury other news.” Further update: It’s a boy. I pity him. Will there again be ceremonial banging of the table? Or was that just a legend? Alec adds: A girl! With two umbilical cords! Alec adds: I am unsure if David Lindsay is making a point too sublime for us lesser mortals to grasp, or if he just has flipped: I am trying to guess the exact difference in age between Audrey Roberts and our future king, both of whom…

  • Media,  Monarchy

    Were you among the “two billion”?

    I was not among the one-third of humanity that allegedly watched The Royal Wedding. But Lisa de Moraes of The Washington Post raises a perfectly reasonable point: Where did the astounding figure of two billion viewers reported endlessly and breathlessly by the media (even before it happened) come from? Presumably, the other two-thirds will be too busy dodging shrapnel, or searching for potable water, to watch the adorable couple exchange vows at Westminster Abbey. Hopefully, they’ll DVR it and watch later. It’s hard to tell from where the press is getting this 2 billion figure. They did not get this number from Nielsen. For all its faults, Nielsen draws the…

  • Monarchy,  North Africa

    Gaddafi phones it in

    Speaking by phone to Libyan state TV, Moammar Gaddafi blamed Osama bin Laden for causing the uprising in Libya through the use of hallucinogenic pills (I’ll bet bin Laden wishes he had that much influence these days). [Gaddafi] also argued that he was a purely “symbolic” leader with no real political power, comparing his role to that played by Queen Elizabeth in England. Maybe it’s a little too easy to ridicule Gaddafi now. It becomes harder to laugh when you think about what he’s likely capable of doing to hold onto even a shred of his former power.

  • Monarchy

    Table banging-gate?

    When Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton was announced, we credulously noted Prime Minister Cameron’s report that members of his cabinet responded with a “great cheer” and “banging of the table.” We even provided what we were assured was exclusive video of the table-banging. Now, in the course of a New Republic article by Marcus Wilford about how the Royal Wedding may or may not save the British economy, we learn: One of the ministers in that cabinet meeting where Cameron announced the wedding plans told a mutual friend later in the week that they did not, in fact, all cheer and bang the table. While welcoming the good news…

  • History,  Monarchy

    Orwell on the Monarchy

    Speaking of the British Monarchy… George Orwell, a democratic socialist, was hardly an enthusiastic supporter of royalism, but– unlike many on the Left– he disdained reflexive sneering and hatred, and actually observed and thought about things enough to offer some fresh (if now somewhat dated) opinions. He wrote for the Spring 1944 Partisan Review: Nothing is harder than to be sure whether royalist sentiment is still a reality in England. All that is said on either side is coloured by wish-thinking. My own opinion is that royalism, i.e. popular royalism, was a strong factor in English life up to the death of George V, who had been there so long…

  • Monarchy

    The traditional banging of the table

    The New York Times reports: After an autumn of dismaying news about budget cuts and Austerity Britain, the engagement [of Prince William and Kate Middleton] provided an all-purpose happy diversion. The BBC started providing saturation coverage of the announcement. Queen Elizabeth proclaimed herself to be “absolutely delighted.” Prime Minister David Cameron said that when he announced the news, members of his cabinet responded with a “great cheer” and “banging of the table.” Harry’s Place has managed to obtain exclusive footage of the banging of the table: A bit more seriously: is this really cause for joy and celebration among ordinary Britons– as opposed to the snarky people who post and…

  • Monarchy

    Kirchick on the Gay Friendly Communist

    James Kirchick has a great piece in the Advocate on the championing by that scion of the Cuban monarchy, Mariela Castro Espín, of gay rights: Like Sean Penn, who has also emerged of late as a self-styled advocate for gay rights, Mariela Castro Espín has a serious blind spot. It is the failure, so pervasive and persistent throughout human history, to understand that no political system — regardless of how wonderful in theory or the marvelous claims it makes for itself — can be considered humane as long as it inherently denies fundamental rights like freedom of conscience and speech, the ability to practice religion, vote for one’s leaders, and…