Sceptr’d loony bin?

Charles 3 Comments

Some invective from this week’s Spectator. It is by Florence King.

Being English-American can be depressing. For years I thought about giving up my American citizenship and becoming a Brit to get my blood and my nationality lined up without the interference of a hyphen, but then something made me change my mind with a vengeance: Princess Diana’s funeral.  I spent three stunned days staring at the TV screen and thinking My God, they’ve turned into us! It wasn’t England any more, just a sceptre’d loony bin set in a sea of rotting flora, a UK of Utter Kitsch where the crud de la crud built teddy bear temples to a gilded hysteric who resembled nothing so much as Judy Garland with a title. I told myself that if I must live in a country where people who once tipped their hats now tipped the scales, I might as well stay at home and save myself the trouble of remembering to look right instead of left to avoid an oncoming hog speeding up the wrong side of the road. My hyphen, right or wrong.

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Rupert Callender
13 years ago

A touch of inverted snobbery in my opinion. The funeral for Diana was a neat hook for a whole swathe of the population who had grieving issues, myself included, (I was twenty six and less than a year after my mother’s death) Of course it was by turns a bit mawkish and naff, but I cried for the first time in years. It was also fascinating and unmissable.

13 years ago

Diana’s was a bold and innovative funeral – one that broke the mold (mould?) on our 1950’s aping of Victoriam grieving ritual (hideously truncated). I didn’t follow Diana, but loved that her children followed the coffin, and that the applause started outside the cathedral and rolled in through the huge doors of the cathedral to be taken up by (reluctant) dignitaries. It was a grass roots grief revival, and began to resuccitate (sp?) the long overdue British griefstorm. OK Yuk to the lead lined coffin, and condolences to the poor buggers that had to carry it. But we’re an ocean… Read more »

Charles Cowling
13 years ago

Nice one, James. And it’s worth reminding ourselves that not only was the Victorian funeral a blip, but the stiff upper lip was, too. When people feel emotionally safe – as we tend to do now – they express their emotions. What does Ms King think about the death of Little Nell, I wonder. Just a word in favour of Americans. They never got trapped by our production line way of farewelling. They give it time and they get their heads around dead bodies. Okay, so they’re tarted up dead bodies. But they are still a lot easier around corpses… Read more »