i hope you get cancer™

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The semiology of decadence

Guy Debord called it the society of the spectacle. Jean Beaudrillard coined the notion of the simulacrum. Roland Barthes and other 20th century thinkers helped us make sense of a world of signs, of socially-constructed myths. You and I are living in it now, friend, and in this hall-of-mirrors world where we engage in a "reality" which has no referent, good to see that the ultimate symbol of decadence, our very own royal family, is as able to delude itself as easily as the rest of us. Charles is reported to be seriously considering calling himself King George VII, "to avoid unhappy associations with some of the bloodiest periods in the monarchy’s history." The Times goes on: "The name Charles is regarded as jinxed in some royal circles. Charles I was the only monarch to be executed. His beheading in 1649, after the English Civil War, brought about the short-lived republic under Oliver Cromwell. Charles II, the son of Charles I, returned to the throne at the Restoration in 1660, after spending 18 years in exile overseas, but was mocked as the Merry Monarch because he had a string of mistresses, including the orange-seller Nell Gwyn. There is sensitivity in royal circles about Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender, who was known as Charles III by his supporters. Despite his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he is still seen as a Scottish romantic figure." Talk about missing the point. Never mind the anti-democratic absurdity of an hereditary monarchy, the obscene waste of our money. Let's worry instead about whether we call it a shit or a turd. This is how seriously Charles takes the rest of us. Link: Republic - the Campaign for an Elected Head of State