God Save the Queen’s Face

June 5th, 2012 / #observations, #politics

It occurred to me recently that America’s a funny place. I mean, most places are funny places in the sense that they’re full of funny people who do funny things for funny reasons, but America is funny in an Itchy and Scratchy type of way instead of a Monty Python type of way.

Take the recent hoopla over the Queen Mum’s diamond jubilee: an entire nation – with the notable and slightly bitter exception of Prince Charles, perhaps – looking on to collectively celebrate sixty years under one monarch.

I don’t claim to know anything about British politics beyond Ed Milliband’s dweebish caricature in the press and that some dude exists named Nick Clegg. And this critique certainly isn’t meant to offend Her Majesty. But to an American, the entire idea of a Diamond Jubilee is a pretty silly concept.

Setting aside for the moment the adorable name – a jubilee! – this entire affair smacks of a family gathering for Grandma’s birthday, only on a much larger scale. Some siblings adore her, some abhor her, and all are just sort of… waiting. “Congratulations for living another year! You’ve made it now! You’re sure you’ve got your will signed?”

Which brings me to America and how it’s funny in a much less charming way.

While Britain swirled with the excitement of a jubilee this week, we Yanks latched on to a story (or series of stories, rather) about zombies. Of course, I (and apparently most other news outlets) adopted the colloquial “zombie” term because it’s easy, vivid, and fun. What we were actually tracking was a homicide where the killer was a weird guy on weird drugs.

After considering the memery of cannibalism Stateside and the Buckingham blowout, I tried to think – really, think – of someone the entire country could rally around in the way that Britain’s rallied around the Queen this week.

It almost certainly couldn’t be a politician. I say this partly because of the way the media frames politics as a bitter, partisan, zero-sum game, but also partly because of the growing multitude of communication channels that exist among the electorate. People are encouraged to project their views in ways that were never available before, and we all know what opinions are like.

So, as sad as it is, we’d probably have to rely on some celebrity if we want to stand united behind someone. But it’s got to be the right celebrity.

Could you imagine the fallout from Tim Tebow Day? As much as I’d love to celebrate that holiday by circumcising poor Asian children and shouting 58 Hail Urbans, a vast majority of the country wouldn’t see things my way.

Perhaps you’d prefer Kim Kardashian’s Rhinestone Jubilee?


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  1. Ian spoke up on June 11, 2012.

    Betty White day. She is the only thing that we can all agree on.

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