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Queen Elizabeth 2

Started by Arn, September 08, 2022, 09:19:09 AM

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Nik

#15
Quote from: herman on September 08, 2022, 10:45:41 PM
Just putting a nice 'civilized' fa├žade over centuries of colonial atrocities, plundering, and reshaping history into the WASP image.

Yeah, I do think that's a good thing to keep in mind. As much as the natural inclination is to be respectful towards her as a person, a lot of the coverage attempted to do that by talking about the institution she served and what it represented and looking favourably on either of those things requires some pretty heavily rose tinted glasses. The nostalgia for the era she was a link to is at best a complicated thing and I don't think it's at all unreasonable for people on the wrong end of Empire to feel very differently. There's really no denying that even at its most benign the Monarchy is a relic of a class system that's not just anachronistic but actively malicious at a time when the story the Queen's death is bumping off the papers is about how the poorest people in the country where she owned multiple castles in might have to choose between food and heating this winter.

I get people don't want this to be "political" but there's really no avoiding it if you're talking in glowing terms about empire or Churchill or the idea of someone being chosen by god to rule over others.
I wish to hell I'd never said "Winning isn't everything it's the only thing". What I believe is, if you go out on a football field, or any endeavour in life, and you leave every fibre of what you have on the field, then you've won.
- Vince Lombardi

Arn

#16
Yup that's fair. I think that the commonwealth was probably an effort to "modernise" and make it more of an even relationship? But obviously yes its roots are what they are.

I think we'll see a lot of those nations now move away from that (a lot of them specifically have Queen Elizabeth as their head of state and would require constitutional or legislative change to convert that to King Charles, so why not just... convert it to nobody when you're making the legislative change?)

I think there is an element of the fact that the Queen as a person managed to transcend the idea of being a monarch that Nik touched on in terms of the impact she individually had on issues relating to Scotland and Ireland that also extend to many of the Commonwealth nations. I can see that particular group shrink rapidly now.

British identity is a bit of a strange one and a lot of it is definitely still tied up in the power of having an empire and I think a lot of British people see QE2 passing as the end of that and a step down in Britain's global standing on top of being sad at her death.

Edit: I've just read this which covers it much better than I've tried to above.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/sep/09/how-the-queen-was-the-beating-heart-of-the-commonwealth
I Saw Jay McClement Score.

Nik


I think this from Bruce Arthur gets it mostly right:

QuoteThe British Empire cast long, dark shadows, but the monarchy allowed Brits to feel like they were still connected to a glorious past, and what for England was less grubby days. Now the nation is a perpetual parody of upper-class rot, all Brexit and Bojo, a careless pandemic and idiot PMs. As Sam Knight once wrote in The Guardian of the plans for the Queen's death, "It will be 10 days of sorrow and spectacle in which, rather like the dazzling mirror of the monarchy itself, we will revel in who we were and avoid the question of what we have become."

It all felt like watching the end of the empire, and everyone affected is allowed to mourn or celebrate accordingly. She was admirable even if the institution wasn't, and that's better than most places, these days.

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/opinion/2022/09/09/queen-elizabeths-death-feels-like-the-final-moment-in-the-end-of-the-british-empire.html
I wish to hell I'd never said "Winning isn't everything it's the only thing". What I believe is, if you go out on a football field, or any endeavour in life, and you leave every fibre of what you have on the field, then you've won.
- Vince Lombardi

Bullfrog

That seems well stated.

I honestly feel nothing about her passing. She was a very elderly person who lead a life of fairy tales and died peacefully of old age. No tragedy, no personal connection.

Despite any feelings about the monarchy as a whole, I can say for certain that I feel any tie of Canada to the crown is absurd. I also think King Charles is an absolute buffoon and think Canada should ditch them as soon as possible.

WhatIfGodWasALeaf

If there is a hell, I hope she burns in hell with the rest of her kind and a pox on any and all who show her and the instituition she presided over anything other than disgust.

Bender

Quote from: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on September 10, 2022, 04:46:08 PM
If there is a hell, I hope she burns in hell with the rest of her kind and a pox on any and all who show her and the instituition she presided over anything other than disgust.


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"They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. So here is the professor's oldest friend, a grotesque, stinking lobster." - Bender

WhatIfGodWasALeaf

Quote from: Bender on September 11, 2022, 01:47:56 AM


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Your phones emojis that you use on tapatalk do not work on the site for anyone not using tapatalk.

Care to elaborate on your monocle smiley?

Bender

Quote from: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on September 11, 2022, 01:58:32 PM
Quote from: Bender on September 11, 2022, 01:47:56 AM


Sent from my SM-S908W using Tapatalk



Your phones emojis that you use on tapatalk do not work on the site for anyone not using tapatalk.

Care to elaborate on your monocle smiley?
That was more of a question for you to elaborate actually...

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"They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. So here is the professor's oldest friend, a grotesque, stinking lobster." - Bender

Nik

Quote from: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on September 10, 2022, 04:46:08 PM
If there is a hell, I hope she burns in hell with the rest of her kind and a pox on any and all who show her and the instituition she presided over anything other than disgust.

If you'll indulge me that brings to mind something I wrestle with internally. My family has a photo of my Great-Grandfather. A man I never met as he died when my Grandmother was young. He was apparently a bit of a Ne'er-do-well, always skipping out of town just as the bills came due. He went from England to India to Africa to, eventually, Canada where my Grandmother was born and he passed away.

Anyways, the photo is of him when he was in Africa and flush. He's sitting in a nice chair in a crisp white linen suit, smoking a pipe, in front of a large house and his African servants are standing around him. He looks like a smug jerk. The children are dressed in western clothes. The adults in what I assume is native garb and the women are all topless. Almost all of them look miserable. It is, without a doubt, all the ugliness of The British Empire summed up in a photograph. It's mortifying. It's embarrassing to think that's part of my family's past.

But my Grandmother kept the photo. To her it was a picture of her Father and one of the few she had. She was of a different generation and didn't seem to see anything wrong with it. My grandmother was complicated. Like a lot of people of her generation she had some very retrograde views on some things but on the other hand she and my grandfather were in Maclean's in the 50's as one of the small number of white families to adopt a black child and was fine with my parent's interfaith marriage. Now, she's gone and my mother has the photo. My mom never knew the man in the photo but, to her, it's just a connection to her mother. Something her mother valued.

(For the record, it's not hung on the wall or anything. It's just in among the collection of old family photos we have.)

Now, my mother is in her 70's and so sometimes I think about what I'll do with the photo when, hopefully not for many a year still knock on wood, the photo is mine. My sister, who's of sterner stuff than me, hates the photo and would definitely cast her vote for burning it or just otherwise consigning it to the garbage bin of history. Deep down, I think she's right. But still there's that one little bit of me that thinks...well, this was a person. Without him and the lousy things he did, I wouldn't be here. And this photo is something that my family hung onto for years. Through the Depression and WW2, where my Grandmother served in the WRNS. Through many moves both within Canada and even to other countries. I remember my Grandmother and Grandfather talking about it and about him. My mother and aunt joking about it. Despite what I thought of it, it was part of the weirdness that went into my family being who they are.

I don't know, I'm sort of rambling in search of a point to some extent. But I've been thinking about that photo a lot this week. I obviously get why you'd be wishing a pox on me if I looked at the Queen's death and got a little wistful about it because, intellectually, I'm right there with you. All hate to the state, boo to the class system, the Empire was a terrible historical wrong and nostalgia for her era seems to be slowly killing the United Kingdom, etc. But our pasts are complicated things and symbols, even ugly ones that represent historical wrongs, can get filtered over the years through our experiences with them until they mean something very different to us.

I wish to hell I'd never said "Winning isn't everything it's the only thing". What I believe is, if you go out on a football field, or any endeavour in life, and you leave every fibre of what you have on the field, then you've won.
- Vince Lombardi

WhatIfGodWasALeaf

Nik, I appreciate that, nobody is all bad.

There have been monsters in my family too. I appreciate we all have family entanglements that blur the lines, I had an older cousin that was a British soldier in Belfast and I spit on his grave.

Time washes away a lot of sin.

If we live for another 1000 years, I'll never forgive them.

They and the institutions they preside over have destroyed my people, Irish and Scots and millions like us around the world since the history books were first composed..

There are certain things though that are not frivolous enough to partake in whimsical thought exercises.

Genuinely all the best to you and yours, perhaps pox was harsh.  ;)

Bender

Quote from: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on September 11, 2022, 05:52:49 PM
Nik, I appreciate that, nobody is all bad.

There have been monsters in my family too. I appreciate we all have family entanglements that blur the lines, I had an older cousin that was a British soldier in Belfast and I spit on his grave.

Time washes away a lot of sin.

If we live for another 1000 years, I'll never forgive them.

They and the institutions they preside over have destroyed my people, Irish and Scots and millions like us around the world since the history books were first composed..

There are certain things though that are not frivolous enough to partake in whimsical thought exercises.

Genuinely all the best to you and yours, perhaps pox was harsh.  ;)
For me I understand all that. I want Canada to ditch the monarchy altogether. But when QE2 reigned she really didn't have much power and was basically consigned to be a figurehead. For us Canadians I think you can separate what the crown represented historically and QE2, and understand that some may feel a bit odd that this person who was de facto Canada's head of state since before my father was born is no longer here.

And as an aside, I also don't think we need to bring up the fact that we live in Canada (many of us born here) which brings with it its own messy and complicated history...

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"They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. So here is the professor's oldest friend, a grotesque, stinking lobster." - Bender

Nik

Quote from: WhatIfGodWasALeaf on September 11, 2022, 05:52:49 PM
Nik, I appreciate that, nobody is all bad.

There have been monsters in my family too. I appreciate we all have family entanglements that blur the lines, I had an older cousin that was a British soldier in Belfast and I spit on his grave.

Time washes away a lot of sin.

If we live for another 1000 years, I'll never forgive them.

They and the institutions they preside over have destroyed my people, Irish and Scots and millions like us around the world since the history books were first composed..

There are certain things though that are not frivolous enough to partake in whimsical thought exercises.

Genuinely all the best to you and yours, perhaps pox was harsh.  ;)

So that story was about part of my Mother's family. My Father's family, however, is entirely European Jewish Diaspora. Specifically German and Polish Jews. So please believe me when I say "How do you deal with a complicated past?" and "How should we manage the historical grudges we're inclined towards" are very real questions that I've wrestled with myself and very much not a whimsical thought exercise.

So I'm not saying I don't understand where you're coming from, I'm not even saying you're wrong to think the way you do and I bet I could go toe to toe with you on negative thoughts I have towards people who I think embody that history. Plus, as a member of a group of people who Edward the First straight up banished from that Island for over three hundred years, I certainly understand the natural antipathy anyone would feel towards the institution of the English monarchy and those that propagate the ideas it was built on.

My point wasn't "You shouldn't dislike the British monarchy" it was that when things are very old sometimes our feelings about them get caught up with our memories of how they affected us and it's not quite a simple intellectual thought process. What I was really trying to say, in my typical long-winded and rambling way, is that when the Queen died it was hard not to get my feelings towards it jumbled up with missing my grandparents.
I wish to hell I'd never said "Winning isn't everything it's the only thing". What I believe is, if you go out on a football field, or any endeavour in life, and you leave every fibre of what you have on the field, then you've won.
- Vince Lombardi

Arn

I enjoyed reading all the above viewpoints, and have a lot of empathy for all of them.

Being from Northern Ireland and generally brought up by my parents as "unionist" I've certainly drifted a long way from that ideology as I've grown older. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'd be Republican in any way ideologically, but certainly my decision would be made on pragmatic reasons now which may not have been the case in my younger days.

I would say the idea or position of "monarchy" I can take or leave. I'm not massively in favour or against.

But what I will say is that if you are going to have a monarch as a figurehead, QE2 actually I think did a good job of the role and used it well at times. In fact, the below BBC article is a really good example of an area I think she's made a massive difference in

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-62871441

I think sometimes a person transcends the role they find themselves in and I think in a way QE2 has done that (based on my experience in British/Irish relations) and I commend her for that.

Interestingly I was at a hockey game last night and the Belfast team was set up as "cross community" so we're the only team in the league who don't play national anthems etc before games.

Yesterday, however, we did have a 2 minute silence which is the first time in the 20+ year history of the club there has been any recogntion of a death of someone who wasn't hockey related. Indeed, the game was only really permitted to be played during the national mourning period if such a measure was put in place.

It was interesting to me to look around and see the silence absolutely impeccably observed. There were a decent number of people who made a bit of a silent protest by not standing, which is fair enough. But I think even that suggests that there is at least respect for the person if not the office.
I Saw Jay McClement Score.

WhatIfGodWasALeaf

Nik, thanks for the discourse, I can certainly relate to that sense of loss.

Arn, she wasn't all bad, but her crown never seemed to weigh heavy enough for her to actually help those at the bottom of the ladder, some are more impressed than others when it comes to empty WASPy gestures. Much like her Catholic equivalent the Pope, never really intervening in a meaningful way.

Bender, it is true, the lens of history casts a dark shadow.

Arn

If there was a like function I would use it for that post WIGWAL. I feel that she did more than many of her predecessors. I feel that she pushed boundaries that others may not have. But I 100% agree she is constrained by the conventions of the crown in maybe doing more and I think she may have had a personal battle with that balance.

And I'll be curious to see how much her successor goes. He's known for his outspoken views on climate issues particularly. I wonder if those views will now disappear or will he push against the conventions, for example.
I Saw Jay McClement Score.