Friday, April 12, 2013

England, my England

First, Parliament is recalled at vast expense and ten million quid is quickly found from an austerity budget to pay for a funeral for a Prime Minister who left office over twenty years ago and who has become an icon of both the left and right for wholly contrasting reasons.

Second, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead is in the top ten.

Those acquainted with British social history should not be surprised.

The British state has always had a taste for pompous, and expensive, self-congratulation. The people have a long tradition of confronting it with raucous irreverence. In the eighteenth century the solemnity of the gentry was often met with a popular form of ridicule, rough music. Rough music was a cacophony of noise made by an exotically dressed mob to humiliate the target and puncture self-importance. Today it is the same. Except that a man with antlers on his head bashing a tin kettle has been replaced by Judy Garland. I suppose that's progress.

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