Sunday, 1 May 2011

Bohemian Threnody



Royalty, eh? I’ve heard that folks around them have been stoking up bad feelings by speaking of ‘common’ people. I guess I feel bemused both by the sort that use this word and the sort who are offended because such words as ‘commoner’ will never really apply to me. Not because I’m posh, but because I’m such a weirdo and I think that the hatred of the Royals is Caliban seeing his own face in the mirror or something. I can just imagine if for some reason William and Kate decided to pay me a visit just how flippin annoying I’d probably find them. Bet if I asked them what their favourite Byzantine Cathedral was they’d probably be puzzled. Maybe if I asked them what their favourite sedimentary rock is they’d be puzzled. Bet if I asked them whether they think The Rats in the Walls is better than The Call of Cthulhu… well, you get the point. I bet even if I asked them about one of my favourite historical episodes, the White Terror in Jacobin France the ignorant blighters would look blank. There’s me thinking it would be pretty cool prowling like a werewolf and taking out the Masonic republican Jacobins before they can create their cult of the supreme beings, and the Royal so-and-sos would have no idea what I’m on about.

But perhaps because Willo seems like a good natured sort and I feel no animosity to the guy. I am a fairly lukewarm monarchist, though I think they should be taxed far more heavily.

Still, for evidence that you don’t need to be a royal to have a stupid sense of your own self-importance, can I present Martin Amis.

Mart is writing an obitu- eh, tribute, or something, about his friend Hitchens, which is solid gold. He tries to portray Hitch as an existentialist warrior poet, an edgy outsider, a spare tyre Stavrogin, a BO Byron, but really makes him look like that boorish Cockney businessman that Harry Enfield used to act. But try telling that to Amis, whose definition of a rebel will spare you having to read Camus:

'This is the way to spot a rebel: they give no deference or even civility to their SUPPOSED superiors (that goes without saying); they also give no deference or even civility to their DEMONSTRABLE INFERIORS. Thus Christopher, if need be, will be merciless to the prince, the president, and the pontiff; and, if need be, he will be merciless to the cabdriver ("Oh, you're not going our way. Well turn your light off, all right? Because it's fucking sickening the way you guys ply for trade"), to the publican ("You don't give change for the phone? OK, I'm going to report you to the Camden Consumer Council"), and to the waiter ("Service is included, I see. But you're saying it's optional. Which? … What? Listen. If you're so smart, why are you dealing them off the arm in a dump like this?").'

Demonstrable inferiors? Demonstrably inferior to someone who thinks it's clever to write:

"Unkind nature, which could have made a perfectly good butt out of his face, has spoiled the whole effect by taking an asshole and studding it with ill-brushed fangs."

The only way that the people Amis mentions are in any way 'demonstrable inferiors' is that they have less money than he has. It is perhaps bitterly amusing that the self-styled 'bohemians' (i.e. spoilt public schoolboys) of yesterday are the most vulgar plutocrats of today, but it does make me feel there are worse things than royalty.

2 comments:

  1. Indeed. I would trade you the Bush family and the Clintons for the House of Windsor. I will even throw in Donald Trump and the Koch family at no extra charge!

    Even though I can understand some of the arguments against monarchy, there are indeed worse things out there. Big Money and its control over politics and culture is really the major problem of our time, and the plutocrats are overwhelmingly private citizens and not monarchs.

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  2. "But perhaps because Willo seems like a good natured sort and I feel no animosity to the guy. I am a fairly lukewarm monarchist, though I think they should be taxed far more heavily."

    Pretty much sums up my attitude to the monarchy.

    It's hard to say which was worse- the tedious blanket coverage of the wedding or the spate of tedious posturing from all the anti-wedding articles.

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