Monday, June 21, 2021

The Queen Laughs

All things considered, it was a noteworthy smile. The Queen of England showed up at something called Ascot, with a smile on her face. The event elicited some reflections from Julie Burchill, a newbie at Substack, always worth reading.

Burchill's reflections concern our culture. In particular, they concern our therapy culture and the mewling masses who insist that we ought to express our emotions, openly, honestly and shamelessly.

Well Queen Elizabeth has never been one to wear her heart on her sleeve. As opposed to her late lamented daughter-in-law she has been loath to turn her life into a public spectacle. Has she thereby set an example for the rest of us? Or has she exhibited what is wrong with British culture, a culture that values a stiff upper lip?

Burchill is now going with the former-- stoic forbearance, setting an example of maturity and decorum-- these are good things, despite what therapy culture says.

Burchill explains that the Queen is so tough that she has processed her grief over her husband's death and has returned to her duties:

Which brings us back to the Grandmother Of The Nation. At the time of the funeral I wrote ‘We can only imagine how much sorrow she must now feel. But it will remain purely in our imaginations, because the queen will never complain, knowing as she does that if the under-examined life is not worth living, equally the over-examined life becomes half a life, once the world has finished picking the bones of it on primetime TV.’ We can imagine the depth of her grief - but we can see before us in the Ascot photographs the proof of how quickly and efficiently she has processed it. She really is hard as nails, and that's a compliment. 

Think about that. The Queen never complains. How many of us can say as much? How much of our national conversation is filled with non-stop complaining? Some people, if they did not have anything to complain about, would be struck dumb. Wouldn't that be a vast improvement?

Now the sexagenarian Burchill reflects that in her youth she believed that it was good to be more emotional. Now, she has understood that emotions are a side dish, not the main course. This should put quit to all the sanctimonious advice givers who tell us to get in touch with our feelings and to feel our feelings and to share them promiscuously with whomever:

When I was young I thought that the more emotional one was, the more one experienced life - but now I believe that life can never be fully enjoyed if we lead with our emotions. They should be a side dish or a starter - not the main course.

And she adds, in a perfectly unscientific survey, that her atheist friends are more unhappy than her religious friends. I will note, in passing, that some recent research has belied the assertion, but still, research studies on such matters have also been shown to be extremely dubious-- that is, they can often not be replicated:

It’s funny that many atheists believe they’ve thrown off inhibiting shackles and embraced life joyously by rejecting religion; the happiest people I know are Christians while some of the worst miseries I know are non-believers, especially when it comes to the business of turning up one’s toes.

So, Burchill opposes indefinite moping, even when faced with the death of one’s husband. And she compares the Queen’s quiet dignity with the appalling behavior of her grandson and his wife. For those who are not up on the most recent jargon, Burchill’s Gruesome Grabication Twosome refers to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Moping indefinitely is often an inappropriate response to death; when a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death's perfect punctuation mark is gratitude. And considering the recent digs from the Gruesome Grabication Twosome about the bad mental health of the Windsors, I know who I think is the more mentally healthy; this old lady who has bottled up her feelings all her life, rather than her whinging, emoting, monstrously privileged grandson who really is neither use nor ornament. Lord bless you, ma'am! (Still a Republican though.)

Yes, indeed. Our culture is filled with stirring admonitions about the bad things that will happen to you if you bottle up your feelings. In truth, Burchill has learned, there is no special virtue to making a public spectacle of your whining, especially when you are monstrously privileged.

If Harry and Meghan imagined that their tell-all, rather pathetic interview was going to elicit gales of praise and love, they were seriously wrong. They mistook Hollywood for the world. It was a very large mistake. 


Webutante said...

Such a good post, Stuart! My guess is The Queen has less grief over the loss of her beloved husband and companion of seven or so decades than over the disloyal and inappropriate behavior of her immature grandson.

Comparing The Queen to the Markles is a good way to see what's wrong with the world today. Thanks for writing this. Great seeing her Highness laughing!

Sam L. said...

I am in touch with my feelings. No one but my wife needs to know my feelings. "Ain't nobody's bidness but my own."

Cancer killed my first wife. Cancer is progressive. The word "Progressive" always reminds me of cancer.

whitney said...

Julie burchill got fired the telegraph for tweeting this about Harry and Meghan's new baby name. Hilarious. I think that is probably a pretty satisfactory way to go out

What a missed opportunity! They could’ve called it Georgina Floydina!”