Open Thread - 06 Oct 2022 - Monarchs Shouldn't Be a Thing

Monarchs (Humans, Not Butterflies!) Shouldn't Be A Thing

I have to admit, I haven't paid much, if any, attention to the death and funeral of 'the Queen'. I couldn't really care less, to tell the truth. I suppose all the pomp and circumstance was cool, the guys marching around in the weird hats and so on. When I was passing through London years ago I'd often watch the changing of the guard, if I had time, and I was in the area. And I love cavalry, so there was that! The parks and gardens were neat, too, and the museums rock.


Guys Marching Around in Weird Hats

And the new guy taking over, King Chuck? I, once again, couldn't care less. Even when I was young, about the same age as his dead wife, Diana, I couldn't care less. He was gross. I couldn't understand how Diana would want to marry such a ... err, to put it in British terms, twat. Yes, yes, yes, it was money and power and all that. I get it. Gag.

Maybe I was just too indoctrinated in American mythos to worship the British mythos: nascent Americans fought against the British and their Crown - we don't need no stinking royalty, and so on. Which doesn't mean the American mythos doesn't cover up a hell of a lot of evil, just like the British mythos. The sets of American and British myths are just different in detail, not in result.

Chris Hedges wrote an article about the British and other monarchies a few weeks ago when the Queen passed on. It's entitled 'Monarchs Belong in the Dustbin of History'. I agree. He talks about how monarchy hides the realities of the British empire, including economic injustice and brutal racism, and wraps everything in nostalgia and coy sentiment. He mentions the enormous crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Empire (he doesn't let off the US Empire either, but that's not the subject of this article), and how the Queen and other royals never once acknowledged those crimes or injustices or apologized for them.


Off With Her Head - by Mr. Fish (from Hedges' article linked above)

Hedges' wrote that monarchs are oligarchs, of course, and brings up a few examples:

The world’s largest landowners include King Mohammed VI of Morocco with 176 million acres, the Holy Roman Catholic Church with 177 million acres, the heirs of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with 531 million acres and now, King Charles III with 6.6 billion acres of land. British monarchs are worth almost $28 billion. The British public will provide a $33 million subsidy to the Royal Family over the next two years, although the average household in the U.K. saw its income fall for the longest period since records began in 1955 and 227,000 households experience homelessness in Britain.

I had no idea how much the British monarchs own. I mean, I knew they were rich, but, wow... I knew they were fed and housed for free, like all tourist traps, and given stipends and all sorts of stuff like that, but I had no idea it was so much. It's kinda sickening. Maybe the tourist economy pays for them?

Hedges discusses how the other global oligarchs, those who aren't monarchs, think about the new set of royalty in charge:

The global oligarchs are not sure the next generation of royal sock puppets - mediocrities that include a pedophile prince and his brother, a cranky and eccentric king who accepted suitcases and bags stuffed with $3.2 million in cash from the former prime minister of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, and who has millions stashed in offshore accounts - are up to the job. Let’s hope they are right.

Here's a quote from Hedges' article which basically sums up how I was taught to look at Royalty by my friends who are British. And I'm not even Irish!

“Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories,” Patrick Freyne wrote last year in The Irish Times. “More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.”

I think that's pretty true, and funny as well, in a sad way.

Hedges notes: 'The point of social hierarchy and aristocracy is to sustain a class system that makes the rest of us feel inferior.' And that is exactly what the British monarchy, royalty, and class system does. Why so many Americans seem to adore the monarchy is beyond me. Maybe for some people it's like worshiping actors and actresses? Or wrestling stars, or something? Or historical figures? Yea, that's it!

Personally, my first experience of the existence of British Crown was both confusing, amusing, and weird. I was 13 going on 14 and on my first trip to Europe. I and my fellow students spent a few days in London getting used to the new time zone, and going to some museums, and watching the guys in the weird hats, before we moved on to our school in Athens. Anyway, I remember going into the loo at one of the museums and coming out holding some sheets of toilet paper. Now, the toilet paper seemed to be, I dunno, some kind of soft cardboard. It didn't even work as it should. It was very waxy too. And stamped on it, in all her glory, was the Queen's emblem and 'Her Majesty's ...' whatever it was, government, museums, I don't remember. But I remember that emblem, the poor quality of the paper (I mean, it wasn't even as good as American rough paper at highway rest stops and so on), and how befuddled I was by it. I mean, the toilet paper provided in other places in England, places not owned by the Crown, was fine.
'Why's this so bad, why is the Queen's emblem on this?' I wondered in 14 year old confusion.
My teacher laughed and grinned at me. 'She owns it, she's giving it to us for free. Her government pays for it'.
'But if it's her's, her government's, why is it so bad??'
Teach shrugged a shoulder. 'Got me.'
And that was that. As an aside I should note, in all my time traveling around and studying in Europe at that young age, I never again encountered such strangely horrible toilet paper.

So my first impression was that the Queen didn't even care enough to get good toilet paper to put her name and emblem on. I realize it had nothing to do with her in reality and knew that then, but still, that was my first impression: the Queen's label on a roll of really horrible and cheap toilet paper, stamped on about every sheet, showed just how much she cared about the common people.

Living in the North of England later on didn't change my perceptions. Some Northumbrians, and Novocastrians (people from Newcastle) really love the monarchy, many don't. Apparently the dislike was reciprocated. Local legend had it that Queen Victoria would lower her blinds so she wouldn't have to look at Newcastle as she raced through the city station on her steam train to Scotland. And when the royals would have a state visit to Newcastle when I was there (just a wee bit after Victoria's time! Smile ), yes, people would line the streets cheering, but even more would be muttering under their breaths and trying to go about their normal business while the 'toffs' screwed everything up with their parades and such.

Now, I'm going to be the first to admit the hagiography over American elites/heroes isn't any better than Britain's, although our toilet paper was nicer feeling than theirs was in the past!

Here's an earworm on this very subject, from right about the time I was experiencing English bog roll!

So, thanks for reading and here's the open thread - and remember, everything is interesting if you dive deep enough, so tell us about where you're diving!

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Sima's picture

Hope everything is going as well as can be for everyone! Let us know what's up, how you are doing, and anything interesting! I'm gonna be working on archaeological stuff and gardening. Wish me luck!

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If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Which is the wicked witch of the west? Here is one in her castle, a queen of evil.

Thanks for the thread opening Sima!

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Sima's picture

@QMS
That Oz Witch though, only has one castle? She's lagging. I'm sure the British one has more!

Hope you had a great day! and thanks for the laugh Smile

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4 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

usefewersyllables's picture

is downright brilliant!

It seems the royals could pay their own way very nicely by simply selling some of those lands, but who would they sell them to? Just another royal, I suppose. Bill Gates will be standing right there to help them along...

It really is time for that shell game to end, so to speak.

And speaking of shells, courtesy of the Pythons, from the immortal "Holy Grail":

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

Sima's picture

@usefewersyllables
I should have posted a couple of Monty Python clips! Thanks for doing it for me!

I dunno who the crown would sell the land too, maybe just give it to the people, as national parks? Maybe give it to farmers and workers and... I dunno. But definitely do not sell it to another billionaire. That would be useless! As you said, the shell game has to end!

I loved that quote from Freyne as well. It made me think of the acquaintances I know who are so into the royals. I saw a pickup truck going down the street yesterday. Seemed like a normal guy driving it, maybe an electrician. He had a picture of the Queen waving taped to the back side window. Now, maybe he was being mocking, because I took it as him, regular guy, going around waving like the Queen. But maybe it was worship? I dunno. Maybe I'll do a photoshop of my dog, with the Queen clothing on, waving... (and panting, of course!).

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6 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

studentofearth's picture

the masses way beyond an average mega-celebrity publish relations firms.

Would this be happening to an Australian citizen if the monarchy publicly objected?

(first minute recap total time 9.45 min)

Explained: Why Australia Is Still Under The Rule Of British Monarchy India Times Sept 19, 2022

In Australia, the monarch of the United Kingdom (UK) is regarded as the de facto head of state, a title that King Charles III unofficially assumed following the death of his mother.
...
Shortly after Queen Elizabeth's passing, Melbourne-based market researcher Roy Morgan polled 1,012 people throughout all Australia and discovered that 60% of respondents wanted that Australia remains a monarchy rather than transition to a republic.

Bob Hawke, a former Australian prime minister, previously stated in an interview: "I feel we'd be better off as a republic, but I don't think it's a matter of great importance." "Even if we were a republic tomorrow, it wouldn't improve their situation one iota," he said, referring to the problems that average Australians face.

Other powers of the British monarch beyond public relations. (Wikipedia)

The royal prerogative is a body of customary authority, privilege, and immunity attached to the British monarch (or "sovereign"), recognised in the United Kingdom. The monarch is regarded internally as the absolute authority, or "sole prerogative", and the source of many of the executive powers of the British government.

Prerogative powers were formerly exercised by the monarch acting on his or her own initiative. Since the 19th century, by convention, the advice of the prime minister or the cabinet—who are then accountable to Parliament for the decision—has been required in order for the prerogative to be exercised. The monarch remains constitutionally empowered to exercise the royal prerogative against the advice of the prime minister or the cabinet, but in practice would likely only do so in emergencies or where existing precedent does not adequately apply to the circumstances in question.

Today, the royal prerogative is available in the conduct of the government of the United Kingdom, including foreign affairs, defence, and national security.

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

Lookout's picture

@studentofearth
Good on her! Thanks for the clip.

Piers is also joined by former U.S national security adviser John Bolton who thinks Assange should face the maximum sentence of 175 years in U.S jail for his breach of national security.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Sima's picture

@studentofearth @studentofearth
Stella was awesome and I loved seeing Bolton get hammered for his lies.

Damn, I hope Julian gets released. A thin hope, I know, but I do hope...

As for royal prerogative... maybe Chuckie could use it to release Assange, and withdraw from the last colonies and free Australia and Canada and New Zealand... At least it'd be useful then. Of course, his time as King would be even shorter, but he'd do some good!

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

enhydra lutris's picture

obligatory Denis Diderot:

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. ·

OTOH, there can be worse things. Try Prince/King Norodom Sihanouk, (never kept the succession over there straight). Benevolent ruler beloved of his people so much that Khmer Rouge recruiting got nowhere, nobody was pissed off, except Uncle Stupid. Cambodia adopted a policy of strict neutrality and refused to join SEATO, so we overthrew their government and installed horrible fascist rat bastard Lon Nol as dictator. He was so horrible and consequently so hated that the populace flocked to join the Khmer Rouge in droves eventually resulting in Pol Pot and the semi-open US war on Cambodia.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Sima's picture

@enhydra lutris
It's spot on. I didn't know that about the Royalty in Cambodia. It figures that the USA screwed them in order to get power. That is a very British way of doing things, after all.

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

enhydra lutris's picture

the white crowned sparrows arrived in my part of Castro Valley early yesterday morning. The year marches on.

be well and have a good one

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4 users have voted.

That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Sima's picture

@enhydra lutris
We are in the midst of the warmest October, and driest summer/fall ever. I was so happy to get overnight mists and leave a bit of dew. Everything is so parched. I know it's much worse in other places in the world. It's so strange to deal with frosts being almost a month late. The birds are happy to be get from the feeders and provided water from the bird baths, goat water bins and chicken water contraptions.

I'm glad to hear that your mornings are getting crisp and that the sparrows have arrived! Maybe here the geese and ducks will show up when the water does.

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

bowing or curtsying to another human being.
My second visit to London was with a friend who was fixated with Diana, tearing up at the mention of her death. She wanted to go to her burial site. I finally got enough of it, reminded her that Diana had several affairs, one with her royal equerry, was engaged to marry a Muslim, and hardly associated with her sons, except for photo ops.
Royals hold no aura with me.
Screw them. They need to get jobs cleaning commodes.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

@on the cusp at all amused when I saw the photo of Obama bowing to the Saudi king on a visit to SA. Obama was the US president, not a Saudi citizen.

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@wokkamile on bowing, curtsies, and how specifically to address the British royals.
PUKE!
I guess bowing to the Saudi beat getting beheaded.

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"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." ---- William Casey, CIA Director, 1981

Sima's picture

@on the cusp
Yea, I agree, they can bugger off with that. I will be respectful, but none of that crap.

As for graves... I have promised myself that if I am in the area, I will dance on Thatcher's grave. Wonder if that would be allowed?

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1 user has voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

Lookout's picture

...is because they're full of ..it

the throne.jpg
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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Sima's picture

@Lookout
Doesn't have cardboard 'toilet paper' provided, although it still might be stamped with some emblem!

up
1 user has voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so

by far would have been the one to spare in any violent popular uprising.

But it would be nice to see the Royal tradition phased out, say over a decade, gradually decreasing the number of them until it's just the immediate family, and at the same time reduce their public subsidy substantially each year, including salaries and exemption from property taxes if applicable.

In a similar but much more accelerated fashion, I would like to see our judicial royals in this country also brought down a few pegs. Adjust their alleged life tenure to 16 yrs then it's off the Court to work as senior judges in the lower appellate courts, limit their jurisdiction only to the required few cases of original review as provided in the Constitution, greatly reduce their annual budget, and take back the bombastic temple building their work in and make them work out of a modest office building, like the rest of us. All these things Congress can do, and without a constitutional amendment.

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Sima's picture

@wokkamile
About limiting the royals, and the supreme court. Could do congress critters too, by age. I know, at my age, 70 ain't that far away and I intend to be completely competent still but, 70 or 75 should be the limit for serving in government. Out with the old and in with the new!

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2 users have voted.

If you're poor now, my friend, then you'll stay poor.
These days, only the rich get given more. -- Martial book 5:81, c. AD 100 or so
Nothing ever changes -- Sima, c. AD 2020 or so