Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle
Kenilworth Castle, John of Gaunt's Hall

Thursday, April 28, 2011

wet blanket

When news of this "royal engagement" came down the line last year, I was mildly interested; actually, I was trapped, driving to my parents' and unable to tune in any radio stations except jesus radio and, oddly, a BBC station which was wetting itself over the Engagement.

I have no strong feelings about british royalty. It's quaint and outmoded, I suppose. I have a stronger connection to long-dead British monarchs, mainly - only, really - because of the role they played in the history and culture that interests me. [For instance: when James of Scotland became King James I of the United Kingdom, that unicorn got added to the coat of arms of the UK. Previously, that unicorn had been cavorting with its friends only on the Scottish coat of arms].

Everyone's been abuzz about this wedding for weeks now, and still I didn't care until I found, after re-reading for perhaps the twelfth time, Un Lun Dun, the wonderfully museumlike website of China Miéville. Cabinet of curiosities, really; I've been slightly obsessed with it since then, because each new post seems to unfold hidden doors and unseen windows and odd ripples in reality. And I have always enjoyed peering around hidden doors and prying open unseen windows and drifting through ripples in reality.

Well of course Miéville posts about the engagement, and brought me up sharp. Like a quick, businesslike crack to the head, I suddenly feel my nose crinkle in distaste at the wedding coverage.
Especially on this day, on this thursday in april when the President of the United States has to answer to the yatterings of a racist schmuck and his imbecilic cronies and compatriots. For more on Klansman Trump (an appellation I only wish I could claim as my own), please see Baratunde Thurston.

meanwhile, back at buckingham palace: hoop-la-di-da sucking the wells of international attention dry (not to mention the pocketbooks of...who? all over Britain - England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland - presumably, people are being treated to the spectacle of the best wedding their taxes can throw).

Miéville quotes James Connolly, who, to my shame, I had to look up [and who, evidently, was executed not quite 95 years ago, an anniversary we can look for in just over two weeks]. The quote is worth repeating, because it's what lodged in my head and my heart and has made me feel dismal about the wedding of these two fortunate-in-birth-and-genetics people.
we confess to having more respect and honour for the raggedest child of the poorest labourer in Ireland today than for any, even the most virtuous, descendant of the long array of murderers, adulterers and madmen who have sat upon the throne of England.’
The poorest, raggedest child - and my reductionist association of poverty+Ireland=potatoes reminds me of Juliana Ewing's creepy short story "Land of Lost Toys," in which we learn of one of the humblest of toys in the world, who is recognized as nobility amongst the lost toys: a potato, with a face scraped in it, clutched and loved by a small child with no other plaything, a child who dies early of - what? disease? dirt? hunger? neglect? poverty?

I will not be goggling and ooohing at the spectacle of wealth and privilege on display this weekend. And I cannot approve of the media, the - to quote Miéville, quoting Keir Hardie [oh, look him up yourself; I had to] - "toady who crawls through the mire of self-abasement to enable him to bask in the smile of royalty." 

I'll be thinking about that child and its potato-doll instead.

No comments: