All Hail King Charles

by Miriam Ronzoni on September 9, 2022

BBC News Plays Sex Pistols' “God Save the Queen” to Mock Pro-Brexit Politician | Pitchfork

My friend Maria alerted me to this excellent obituary of Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday (as probably everybody reading this blog knows). The introductory section of the obituary ends like this:

“The queen was an abstraction: a role, like any other — and it was the person behind her, Elizabeth Windsor, who expertly played the part.

The world’s papers will be full of obituaries of the queen today.

This is the life of Elizabeth Windsor.”

What the title says is true, Elizabeth Windsor’s life was not very long at all: it was drastically and largely unexpectedly cut short on February 6th, 1952 (the Netfix series The Crown makes this quite clear: she did not exactly have a flamboyant personality before, but she did have one. And a private life). Maybe it wasn’t (only) unhappy, but that’s a different story and I certainly don’t know enough about it.

What is also true is one of the obituary’s main point: we might have forgotten, but Elizabeth II was not always very popular: she was criticised for being out of touch even in her early days, and well…Diana Spencer. Indeed, whilst the last couple of decades have been characterised by the widespread feeling that she was the one holding the very institution of the British monarchy together, there have been several junctures of her reign during which republicans thought they stood a chance because, not in spite, of her.

So, how about now? At first sight, the prospect for republicans seem slim. Charles is not as hated as he used to be: he is also a granddad now; most people see him as awkward and entitled but as someone who was also denied a free private life because of who he was; he has softened up somewhat; he has semi-successfully managed to re-brand himself as an environmental champion of sorts; and most importantly, the UK is so riddled with problems that getting rid of the monarchy just doesn’t strike most people as a priority right now. If anything, it might become a bit awkward for Liz Truss to re-liberalise fracking with a new King who has so fastidiously curated his public image along environmentalist lines.

On the other hand, I don’t want to be naive, but there could be a chance for a slightly broader republican movement – one which does not focus only on the abolition of the monarchy in isolation, but which embeds that aim in a larger agenda which points out the need to bring back, quite literally, the “public thing” (res publica) to the centre stage. So the focus could be, not just on a principled objection to the very idea of monarchy in abstraction, but on what the monarchy means and has meant in the UK in particular – how intertwined with privilege it is; how the politics of the last few decades have enabled it to entrench its privilege even further; how many royals have exploited that pro-actively (see various investigations by the Guardian on this) etc. The project could be linked to, rather than compete with, what most British citizens and residents rightly see as their main and most urgent priorities at the moment. I don’t see any likely champions of this cause on the horizon; that’s really a shame.





Phil 09.09.22 at 11:06 am

it was drastically and largely unexpectedly cut short on February 6th, 1962

Wondered where on earth you were going then (even checked Wikipedia in case I’d forgotten something). 1952 shirley.


Miriam Ronzoni 09.09.22 at 11:19 am

ah ah ah! Tru dat! In fairness, I usually have even more typos than that.


engels 09.09.22 at 2:29 pm

Random opinion from not-especially-left-wing 70-something manager of West Country bookshop: “I don’t know why she couldn’t have written it down, when she knew she was going to go, that she didn’t want any fuss or expense. And paid everyone’s electricity bills.”


LFC 09.09.22 at 2:31 pm

The linked obituary (in Politico) cleverly claims to be about the person behind the role, but in fact it largely is not, because, as the author himself suggests, she mostly became the role. The best he can do is to conclude that she was “a countrywoman” who adored horses and dogs and “knew a lot about what she had inherited and not much about anything else.” She never strayed far from the “cosseted surroundings” in which she was raised.

There is some interesting albeit not new stuff in the piece, e.g. the disgraceful way in which “Crawfie” was treated by the royal family, but a lot of it covers much the same ground as the other obits probably do.

So, while claiming to be about the person behind the role, the Politico piece ends up by showing, among other things, that the person behind the role was just not that interesting, and so this “excellent obituary,” in the OP’s words, mostly negates or at any rate somewhat undercuts its own stated premise.


Cheez Whiz 09.09.22 at 6:05 pm

The British monarchy has devolved into a truly weird thing, an almost unimaginable level of privilege almost completely divorced from power and responsibility. It’s one all-consuming job is protection of that position by managing its “brand”, something they’ve been doing since they ruled in fact as well as in name. The gravitational pull of the Queen’s embodiment of the British Empire and WWII experience (which I believe is what kept them afloat this long) is gone, and what follows for the Royals is anyone’s guess.


John Quiggin 09.09.22 at 7:56 pm

The fact that she was also Queen of Australia, Canada, NZ etc largely ignored (except in those countries, and even there without reference to the other “realms”).

Prospects for a republic in Australia quite good now, if we can only agree on a model.


reason 09.09.22 at 8:28 pm

Am I alone in thinking the British (over)reaction to the death of a very old lady is absurd.


William Berry 09.10.22 at 3:13 am

She had a very enlightened upbringing [/s]:
I’m guessing she was the one behind the Royal concern for how dark-complexioned Harry and Meghan’s children might be.

The Queen is dead. Long live the King.

Or something.


Phil H 09.10.22 at 8:57 am

I was pretty disappointed by Charles’s first speech. I know the royals see their role as circumscribed these days, but he didn’t even mention social issues, just blithered about the family and the church. Feels totally divorced from the idea of being in a public office.


nastywoman 09.10.22 at 10:41 am

Oh-kay? –
I try it again –
will an Italian Prof. who teaches in the UK
censor a comment of True International Monarchists –
especially since she
let pass the comments:
‘Am I alone in thinking the British (over)reaction to the death of a very old lady is absurd’.

‘The Queen is dead. Long live the King.

Or something’.

as we had talked to John and John had told US –
ALWAYS would have followed his Queen –
(if the Virus wouldn’t have got to him before)


reason 09.10.22 at 12:58 pm

John Quiggin re agreeing on a model for a Republic. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Age that didn’t get published, where I suggested that what was needed was an acceptability election. One side doesn’t want a divisive character as a figurehead and the other side doesn’t trust politicians to make the choice. I’m sympathetic to both points of view. So get a list of possible candidates (signatures?) and the electorate can accept them (+1), reject them (-1) or be indifferent (0). Then the highest net score is elected.


Thomas P 09.10.22 at 1:14 pm

William, are you familiar with the Bellamy salute? Similar upraised arm, used in the US Pledge of Allegiance until 1942.


Kevin Lawrence 09.10.22 at 1:56 pm

Having a hereditary supreme ruler is corrosive to the idea of democracy and it’s time we fixed it. I expect that some of the other ancient traditions will soon be considered inappropriate at best. Having a Commander of the British Empire will soon be considered offensive and choosing members of the upper chamber of parliament based on the circumstances of their birth or the magnitude of their donation to the ruling party will be considered ill-advised.

I expect a whole bunch of commonwealth countries will soon decide, like Barbados, that it’s not appropriate for them to share King with us. I hope we are inspired to do think similar thoughts. The monarchy has had a good run for a thousand years and we got very lucky with the admirable and recently deceased lady who lived in Buckingham Palace. It could easily have been her Nazi-sympathising uncle who took the throne instead of her. It’s time for us to try something else.

I quite like the Irish & German models of a president who is ceremonial and holds the office for a short period, rather like the Lord Mayor of London. An even better idea to consider, perhaps, would be to nominate a national mascot, rather like the furry mascots who run out onto football fields in Americ. It will no doubt attract bundles of goodwill from the populace and it will be entertaining for visiting heads of state. It is only slightly more ridiculous than choosing a head of state based on the fact that he is descended from the man who invaded our country 957 years ago.


Stephen 09.10.22 at 6:47 pm

William Berry: do you have any reason, apart from the obviously untrustworthy interview with the Duchess of Suffolk, for supposing that there was “Royal concern for how dark-complexioned Harry and Meghan’s children might be”?

And if you do, what weight should anyone give to your guess?

Writing from an English Republican family background.


Stephen 09.10.22 at 8:23 pm

For Suffolk read Sussex. Apologies to both counties.


William S. Berry 09.10.22 at 10:43 pm

I think I might have ruffled some Brit Monarchist feathers?!

An, yes, the Bellamy salute. Is that the one the Prince of Wales learned from Wallis Simpson? Probably not.

@Stephen: “obviously untrustworthy interview with the Duchess of Suffolk”.

What weight should one give to your characterization of the interview? If anything the remarks were probably a little too on the nose.

Anyway, I’m not rooting for a British incarnation of the Bolsheviki. A peaceful and democratic retirement of the absurdist theater that is the British monarchy — or any monarchy, for that matter — would work just fine.

And that’s it for me. Have a good one y’all.


Suzanne 09.11.22 at 12:08 am

The linked obituary seems a tad over-the-top, also misleading and fond of relying on “rumor said.” By all other accounts Elizabeth’s parents were devoted and affectionate by the standards of the day, with the King and Harry S Truman finding common ground as adoring fathers of daughters. Margaret requested cremation so that there was room for her remains to lie next to her father’s.

“Diana also lost her office, her police protection and her good name — as the tabloids dragged her reputation through the mud, with encouragement from the Buckingham Palace press office. ”

I have no doubt that in the final summing up the late Princess was more sinned against than sinning, but she herself made the divorce she didn’t want a reality with the Panorama interview and a public smear of the reputation of her own son’s nanny, which she was forced to withdraw under threat of legal action. In later life she made it difficult for her PPOs to do their job and rejected police protection that would in all likelihood have saved her life. She was also complicit with the tabloids and made use of them in her war against her husband and also against individual members of the family like the hapless Fergie.

Harry and Meghan. The article implies, without any evidence, that the Queen somehow disapproved of the marriage. All evidence indicates that Meghan was welcomed into the family. Their press was glowing, with some dishonorable exceptions, until after the wedding. We don’t actually know how the Queen reacted to the Sussexes’ money-spinning plans and the Oprah interview, but I’m willing to agree with the author of the article that she was probably not best pleased.

Lastly, while Elizabeth seems to have been quite happy as a naval wife and mother, her life as the monarch doesn’t seem so awful to me. She enjoyed great riches and privilege and was able to indulge to the full her passion for horse breeding and racing. For all the allegations about women Philip was generally an unfailing support to his wife and I imagine a more interesting spouse than the chinless wonders Elizabeth and Margaret were expected to marry. At the end she died peacefully in a beloved place with her children at her side, having enjoyed the best of medical care. Many of her elderly subjects will not be able to say the same.


Harry 09.11.22 at 1:11 am

“Am I alone in thinking the British (over)reaction to the death of a very old lady is absurd.”

One things for sure, her famed restraint is more admired than emulated. Its embarrassing.

My own republicanism was very slightly undermined by the Diana affair. Aware that a different, more republican, PM than Blair might have made some political capital from the Queen’s perceived mis-steps, my feeling was “I want them to go, but not over this, please not over this”. I’ve been very slightly less concerned about the whole business ever since.

I met her mum once. She was both utterly charming, and remarkably argumentative. It was fun!


Joe B. 09.11.22 at 6:09 am

In 1998 I was in Brixton London and fumbling to put a pound note into the ticket machine for the Tube. The man behind me said “Queen’s portrait goes up”. Without thinking I replied “I guess she’s good for something” — and received a warm chuckle in return.

That said, if the opposition to monarchy is an opposition to “privilege” then I think there are more other “privileged” targets that are more deserving. Did the Queen’s privilege do more damage that BoJo’s?

Perhaps the greater danger from Windsor-worship is nostalgia for the idea of an aristocracy. Aristocratic propaganda such as Downton Abbey (as entertaining as is could be, but only because of Maggie Smith) serves to undermine democracy. Aristocracy, whether hereditary through feudal law or through mere property inheritance, is NEVER benign.

BTW, I would have used “palimpsest” as the metaphor for Elizabeth.


engels 09.11.22 at 11:20 am


James Boster 09.11.22 at 3:52 pm

I’m far from a royalist; instead, I’m a small r republican, and a small and cap d democrat. Nevertheless, I have discovered in the last few days that I have an abiding affection for Elizabeth. She had always been, like my mother, an enduring, unobtrusive, and reassuring presence in my life. (Alas, after lives lasting 90-plus years, both are now gone.) Elizabeth took the throne when I was two, so she has always been there ‘reigning over us.’ It has been a discovery of a well of affection that I did not know I had, similar to one that I recently found for the members of my college cooperative house 50 years ago.

Some comments on the comments. I believe that she had a rich interior life that she kept mainly concealed as she performed the role of the queen. I think that she understood her job was to be dull — to always be there but not draw attention to herself except when the occasion demanded it. How could you not learn enormous amounts from the many places she had been and people she had met? I watched her interactions over her life with her POC subjects from all over the commonwealth — it’s clear she didn’t behave in a racist fashion. Diana Spencer was a wildly overrated borderline personality; I sympathize with the royal family’s distancing from her. Kevin Lawrence called for them to be replaced by national mascots but that is what the royal family has been ever since their sovereignty was taken over by parliament. (The vestige of the political privilege of the aristocracy in the House of Lords is similarly decorative and insignificant.) I think the cultural, economic, and political hegemony of plutocrats and kleptocrats is much more offensive. Elizabeth proved her value as a mascot; I doubt the same will be said for Charles, William, George, and so on. The monarchy should quit while it’s ahead.

For a better idea of who she was, I recommend a documentary by Roger Michel. You can find it on Showtime. It largely avoids judgmental commentary and relies on her life to speak for itself. It’s far superior to the Politico piece.

This is how the .

There are many hints to her sense of humor shown of late — e.g. episodes with and — but my favorite is <a href=” title=”this account of her encounter with American tourists in the Scottish Highlands”/a>.


Stephen 09.11.22 at 7:29 pm

William S Berry
When I asked whether you knew of any credible evidence for your original post, I stated that I am from an English Republican background. Your evasive reply blamed me for being a Monarchist.

I conclude that you have no such evidence, and that there is really no point in expecting an intelligent conversation with you.

To use a Scottish phrase: awa and pap shite at the mune.


notGoodenough 09.12.22 at 8:12 am

Many people in the UK are expressing deep grief at the death of an elderly lady they didn’t know and who didn’t know them. More specifically, an elderly lady who lived a long and privileged life and who – as far as I am aware – passed away quickly and peacefully, surrounded by loved ones, while under the best care the country can offer (an end which, it seems to me, is probably the best most could hope for, and one which few will get).

One might expect such expressions of sentiment from our “ruling class” (who seem incapable of ruling and devoid of class), who may well have good reasons to support and admire the monarchy which, in many ways, exemplifies and typifies the UK’s society. Moreover, if I may indulge in a certain degree of cynicism for a moment, perhaps for some there is also a certain degree of fortuitous timing (if, purely hypothetically, you happen to want to distract everyone from the UK’s continuous acceleration towards multiple crises which will devastate the lives of many of its citizens, to pick a random example). Indeed, I can’t help but notice that it seems that as though it has been deemed that protests, strikes, and discussions about spiraling price of energy must be suspended out of respect, but that rent, bills, and the general exhausting scrabble of life under capitalism must not (for example, recently the DWP announced it will not adjust benefits for inflation or uprate to meet cost of living crisis in a rejection of the recommendation of their own committee).

More generally, the queen’s face has been on our money and our stamps, and many reputable and not-so-reputable institutions “belonged” to her – Her Majesty’s Prisons, Police force, Theatre, etc., and in science one of the respected bodies is the Royal Society (not to be confused with the Royal Society of Chemistry, The Royal College of Physicians, The Royal Society of Arts…). While the monarchy’s explicit power may well be debatable, surely one cannot deny that this is, at the very least, good marketing? After all, the importance of the queen has been continuously impressed upon us – police officers, members of parliament, and the military all swore allegiance to her, and our national anthem implored God to save her so that she may continue to reign over us. It seems to me that the constant reinforcement of this presumed importance of royalty has clouded the ability of people to examine the monarchy with any degree of critical thinking. People – often fairly decent people who generally value democracy and are opposed to authoritarianism and despotism – somehow find themselves apologists for an unelected head of state that meddles in our laws and politics for their own benefit (it is worth remembering she did, in fact, wield political influence, and employed it in the service of her family).

While I would not presume to dictate how people should feel, I do think it might be good if people were to interrogate why they feel that way.

This year, on May the 10th, a priceless gold hat with a 317-carat diamond and 400 other jewels was driven – by itself – in a custom-made Rolls Royce to a £2.5 billion palace, where it was placed next to a gold chair in which sat a wealthy man – who had been driven in a separate car – who then proceeded to tell 2 million hungry Britons that there’s simply no money. Now, as we head into a winter that the UK is unprepared for, with a government unwilling and incapable of addressing any of the multitudinous problems facing us today, our (for want of a better-yet-still-printable descriptor) Prime Minister has announced that she will tour the UK with Charles in a role which I can’t help but mentally refer to as “emotional support PM”.

I suspect even Dennis Skinner might have been at a loss for adequate words.

I hope this will indeed prove a time for reflection – particularly regarding the merits of the UK’s class-based society.

So, condolences to the Windsors on the loss of their matriarch, but I’m afraid I’ll be reserving my sympathy for those more in need (i.e., the vast majority of everyone else).


Jim Buck 09.12.22 at 12:23 pm

There may be apple cart upsets ahead .


David in Tokyo 09.12.22 at 12:59 pm

Am I alone in thinking the British (over)reaction to the death of a very old lady is absurd.

I can’t speak for the Brits, but the US and Japanese (over)reactions definately are absurd. As my late father explained to his parents “We fought a war to get out from under your royalty”, so, given that minor historical detail, the amount of coverage in the US press is seriously (and embarrassingly stupidly) excessive. Japan is more complicated, being the only other country that goes in quite so full tilt for a hereditary monarchy they sort of have an excuse for excessive coverage. I guess.

In my household, at least, though, there is far more concern over the LDP being in cahoots with the Unification Church (this is actually much worse than it sounds) and anger at the idiot LDP holding a state funeral for a minor* (and probably seriously corrupt) politician.

*: He may have been PM once, but at the time of his assasination he was a generic member of parliament.


Seekonk 09.12.22 at 2:23 pm

The pomp and circumstance surrounding the monarchy reminds me of the insistence of sports commentators on emotional display – agony/ecstasy — from competitors. They’re trying to reinforce the dubious notion that it’s important.


Stephen 09.12.22 at 6:36 pm

William S Berry@16

I asked you what was your evidence for believing that anyone had said anything about concern for the colour of the Sussex’s offspring. I stated that I am from a Republican background.

In your attempt at a reply, you provided no evidence, but said “I think I might have ruffled some Brit Monarchist feathers?! … And that’s it for me. Have a good one y’all”.

I conclude that you have no evidence to justify yourself, and that in revealing this, confusing a republican with a monarchist, and running away from confrontation, you have shown yourself to be a worthy compatriot of Donald Trunp.

Not that the worthy US posters on this site deserve any such contempt.


KT2 09.14.22 at 7:12 am

Some here may enjoy Thomas Keneally & a bit of history via ol’ blighty through to today.

Thomas Keneally said today, in an ecominium of sorts re “the nonstop public piety in operation”:
“So the encomiums (fn^Folly) fall flat and stick to our earlobes like treacle. Because they are signs of a woman being disciplined by herself to a remarkable extent. Negative virtues are then elevated to the rhapsodies of positive, godlike, saintly probity.”

I wish I was as able as Erasmus & Keneally.

Keneally solves the mysteryof who said this, and quotes John Shaw Strange’s …”But leaves the greater villain loose, Who steals the common from the goose!”

“Though Elizabeth II outlasted and undid our republican impulses, it’s astonishing to see the nonstop public piety in operation

“Nearly every convict sent to Australia was influenced by Spence at least through such rhymes as:

– The law locks up the man or woman

– Who steals the goose from off the common,

– But leaves the greater villain loose

– Who steals the common from the goose!

“[John Shaw] Strange (fn^Strange) would be astonished that this late in history we still, and at such tiresome length, mutter our prayers for the so-called House of Windsor.


“In Praise of Folly
“Wisdom makes men weak and apprehensive, and consequently you’ll generality find the wise associated with poverty, hunger, and the reek of smoke, living neglected, inglorious, and disliked.

“Fools, on the other hand, are rolling in money and are put in charge of affairs of state; they flourish, in short, in every way.”

“John Shaw Strange worked as a personal messenger to the Commandant in Newcastle by 1821, and continued this position when he and his fellow conspirators were transported to Bathurst. … He was the last surviving conspirator.”

“The West End Job: Bicentenary of the Cato Street Conspiracy 1820-2020
“The Cato Street Conspirators were arrested on February 23rd 1820 and executed on 1 May. This was for their part in the ‘West End Job,’ an attempt to assassinate the British Prime Minister and his cabinet.”


anon 09.14.22 at 1:33 pm

I can give you good people a glimpse into what is happening in the American Midwest.
The Chicagoland area.

While it isn’t broadcast 24/7, during the ‘local’ news time, a huge percentage is being devoted to Elizabeth II’s funeral events.

One explanation of why so many Americans are fascinated by all this is that she was the only British Monarch they’ve known for their entire lives. It was something stable for them.

Add in the fact that they weren’t paying for it … why … it’s like a real life Disney Princess movie.

Personally, I’m more interested in sports scores and the local weather.


LFC 09.14.22 at 9:20 pm

Stephen @22

What Wm. S. Berry actually said, or implied, in his reply to you was that he doesn’t think the interview with the Duchess of Suffolk is untrustworthy. (I haven’t watched the interview myself and have no idea whether it’s “trustworthy” or not.)


William Berry 09.15.22 at 3:10 am


For a self-proclaimed “republican”, you really do get heated up about remarks that are critical of the Royal Family. Why do you care so much?

So Harry apparently says it wasn’t the queen who made the remarks; he won’t say who it was, except to say it was someone in “The Royal Family”. A lot of speculation has centered on Andrew and William (I googled “royal family skin color remarks”, which returned many pages of hits, so I’m not wasting time linking to them). In any case, there was evidently enough nastiness that Harry and Meghan felt forced to bust the hell out of there.

So, maybe I owe the ghost of QEII an apology (not really; screw her, and the rest of the arrogant lot), but I certainly don’t owe you one. The German royal family of the UK have always been a mob of colonialist racists; it makes little difference who said what.

Really, I think your feelings get hurt when someone says anything the least critical about the UK. If it helps any. my opinion of my own country is quite low; I think the harm done by American cultural and economic (read capitalist) imperialism at least equals the harm of British imperialism, if it doesn’t exceed it. There’s blame enough to go around.

I’m an old union activist and “rabble rouser”, so not inclined to run away from “confrontation” (as you style these petty Internet disagreements). I just (usually) know when it’s a waste of time. Yes. I admit to having made a mistake in being provoked by a comment of yours (your first reply, which I should have ignored; I am under no obligation to “prove” anything to you). I won’t make that mistake again. I think you’re just a right-wing troll posing as a thoughtful “republican”, always quick to defend what any person of the slightest leftist bent would consider indefensible.

Anyway, given the right-wing garbage you spew here on a regular basis, you’re the one who would be right at home among the followers of the Orange Pustule.

(You can have the last word. I promise (to at least try very hard!) to follow the example of the great majority of CT FP posters and commenters in not having any (future) interaction with you.)


William Berry 09.15.22 at 3:15 am

Also, too, what KT2 said (and quoted).


David in Tokyo 09.16.22 at 6:37 am

The European nobility system has five levels, count, duke, archduke, whatever, and they have a very particlar pecking order, which I tried to memorize and couldn’t come up with energy energy or interest to succeed. To the best I can tell, all of them can be translated into American English as “entitled schmuck” with no loss of information or utility when reading European literature that has them as characters. But I worry that my laziness will catch up with me. Here in Japan, the Meiji Government (which did a bunch of kewl things like Asia’s first written constitution, modernizing the language and thus creating one of the most vibrant literary cultures around) created an exact copy of that system to reward folks who backed them or had enough clout or money that they needed to be placated. Fast forward (just a bit) to the prewar years, and Yukio Mishima (the bad boy of postwar Japanese literature, son of an uninspired government beaurocrat, but with pretentions to pre-Meiji Tokogawa “royalty” (of the military dictatorship kind) on his maternal grandmother’s side) goes to the Peers School (around the corner from here, I go by it every time I go grocery shopping), which is a first to twelfth grade prep school for kids of rich folks and said fake Meiji Aristocracy (said aristocracy was disbanded by the US occupation). Where he was brutally hazed and tortured by (kids of) said fake Meiji aristocracy, leading to a lifelong hatred of said aristocracy (and also of the nuveau riche of the Meiji through pre-war periods).

Now, while I still feel that “entitled schmuck” is a perfectly correct rendering for all European usages of those terms (including “king”, of course), I may have to bite the bullet and memorize both the English and Japanese terms (and their order), just in case Mishima’s usage of them actually has some content relative to the stories he was trying to tell. Sigh.

The good news for you all is that if it’s just “king”, then “very entitled schmuck” will work fine.

Sorry if this is too random for this thread. Despite being a militaristic* right wing hack and wack job, Mishima was one of the best (in a technical sense; his language was amazing) and most prolific writers in postwar Japan. So having pretentions of knowing something about Japanese literature means one has to deal with him. (This is not even at the “work in progress” stage. I’m just starting. (For example, Kawabata was Mishima’s mentor, and while I have a book of essays on Kawabata by Mishima, I haven’t yet figured out what Kawabata thought (or even said) about Mishima.))

*: His fans were outraged, incensed, and majorly pissed off that Kawabata got the Nobel lit. prize and Mishima didn’t. But, in real life, it was unreasonable to think that the Nobel lit. prize would go to an over-the-top warmonger. Meanwhile, Kawabata was checking all the right boxes for said prize.


LFC 09.17.22 at 4:13 am

@ David in Tokyo

I’ve read one Mishima novel, Runaway Horses (in English trans. by Michael Gallagher). It impressed me from a literary standpoint (not the politics) but, for whatever reason or reasons, I haven’t read anything else by him (though I might have glanced once at a shorter work in a library or bookstore).


Suzanne 09.17.22 at 11:37 pm

@31: Well…not quite. The Sussexes apparently wanted a half-in-half-out arrangement that was obviously unworkable to everyone save the Sussexes. As to who said what about Archie’s skin color, Harry and Meghan have yet to get their story straight; during the Oprah interview they did not even agree on when it happened. No doubt Harry’s forthcoming memoir will clear this up.

The Sussexes have made many of the right enemies, but some of their anecdotes have not held up to scrutiny – the private garden wedding, South Africans taking to the streets to rejoice at the news of Meghan’s joining the royal family, etc. I’m guessing that some kind of remark was probably made, but we do not know in what context, and Meghan’s larger claim that their children were going to be denied the titles of prince and princess because of their skin color seems unlikely; there’s no question that the royal family wanted this to work, whatever mistakes were made.

I’m sure Meghan felt isolated in a milieu with few if any people of color – the Palace has yet to appoint a diversity officer as was spoken of previously and I gather they need one desperately. Unfortunately by her own account she did little to educate herself about the institution and family she was marrying into. I have no doubt that they were unhappy as working royals and they are said to have found freedom and personal happiness. If so, good.

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