Monday, June 04, 2012

The Queen

"The barge she sat in, like a burnish'd throne
Burnt on the water ..." - Shakespeare

"Once again, the monarchy allowed people to connect through powerful symbolism to their collective history and their identity as a nation. And what a stroke of genius it was to use the river to make that visceral connection."

So wrote British journalist Melanie Phillips in yesterday's London Daily Mail. 

"What a fantastic, glorious, emotional, quite overwhelming spectacle. It wasn’t just that it was flawlessly executed. It wasn’t just that, as billed in advance, it would provide a sight that people would never have seen before. 

"It was also a triumphant restatement and reaffirmation of a Britain that people love so deeply but which so many fear may have been lost for ever."

This is of more than passing interest to me, inasmuch as I am currently trying to assess whether modern or postmodern cultures still have the ability to foster and sustain a center of gravity with sufficient assimilating power to inspire the trans-generational loyalties and sense of purpose on which a healthy culture depends. The jury is still out as far as I can tell, and there are plenty of failed or short-lived attempts. However evanescent the current revival of British esprit de corps might prove to be, it is worth noting that is indebted to a remnant of a pre-modern institution: the monarchy.

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