Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Crown

I have no idea why, beneath an incredible mountain of possible stories to watch on film, I ended up watching The Crown on Netflix. I remember alerting a friend to it when it first came out because of the celebrated digital opening which showed fluid gold morphing into a crown. He ended up being hooked on the series. I was interested neither in the Queen, nor in the digital beauty.

There was one minuscule dialog last night (maybe Season One, Episode Four?) between still-young Queen Elizabeth and one of her mentors, the Queen Mother or Grandmother or Grand Aunt Queen (on that level I simply can't keep track), but in any case a very old woman on her literal deathbed.

Her words were to the effect that the miserable masses need royalty as, and to be, a moral guide and an aspirational model for humanity. The Queen herself could be allowed no personalty nor personality. Somehow, I/we, the audience, could relate to the pain/angst/resignation Elizabeth was portrayed to have felt. 

Now I am hardly qualified to be a writer, and certainly not a story or screenwriter. I remain too far apart from the world. Your enthusiasms are seldom mine. My experience of our collective lives is of horror and terror for the future we promise ourselves, and like many before me I am gladdened that I may not live to see the actual fact of it all.

Momentum carries newly discovered to be destructive patterns of behavior way beyond the edge of the cliff, and while our legs still churn, there is nothing beneath us. We simply cannot carry on as we have been.

And so I am mostly interested in how mankind will morph - must morph - into something quite different from what we are just now. It will not be mastered digitally, that's for certain.

Sometimes I feel quite alone in wondering what I wonder. I feel quite alone in my astonishment, on the one hand, at how rapidly mankind has overtaken the planet, and on the other at, how little we have or wish to be transformed by that evident set of facts. 

Now, instead of Queens, we have influencers. Instead of inward (moral) self-control, we have universal armed policing which, by killing so many of what we privileged still think of and feel as some kind of "other," cannot help but to inflame the issues we can't face. And then we blame the individual officers, without even looking at the big big picture within which they play bit parts. 

The "we" I refer to must, of course, include the shouting uninformed who bring the narrative alive.

And of course, "progress" is being and will be made in these and all other matters, to assuage those who believe in such things. I did and still do, though not, apparently, in the direction that is still most wanted by most of the world's (docile?) peoples.

We did once strive by way of universal education, including education in "civics," to make of ourselves a people. That is now as much by the wayside as is the possibility to afford actual restorative psychological counselling in an insurance structure which has managed to conjur medical-style "cures" from issues which likely require near life-time attention. The working classes are afforded Prozac and its analogs, while the wealthy are treated in Queenly fashion and in perpetuity for what are, in effect, the most petty possible complaints. 

It's all STEM now all the time, even though it remains the culture workers who have all the influence. The salesman still makes more than the engineer, last time I looked. STEM is yet another way to condescend to the great unwashed masses. Like handing out blankets to feel warm inside.

I suppose that, in some distant sense, the wealthy justify themselves as does the Queen (does one capitalize Queen? Seems vaguely profane), except that they get their cake and may eat it as well. No need to suppress personhood anymore, once you're wealthy. No need to model anything other or more than wealth and wealth alone. 

Off with their heads? No, hardly. They are no better (or worse) than the rest of us are. Just more "lucky" if that's what you mean by luck. It's not a sort of luck that I would wish for. There are limits to how much of me and mine I wish to spend my life's attention on.

I am far more interested in the meaning of the virus, say, toward humanity in our collective future. At this scale, there are no accidents. These reminders are more built in. Just as it seems built-in to us, collectively, to ignore all the warnings.

My thesis must be the very Antithesis of Francis Fukuyama's in his The End of History and the Last Man. He seems to have known nothing about the sciences of ecology and evolution. There will and can be no end to natural evolution. And certainly not just because we might be content if there would be. 

Of course Fukuyama's title was taken for its ironic truth right at the outset. He likely even meant it that way. Except for those within his approximate discipline who thought it a better career move to engage him, pro and/or contra, with earnest. 

I have no discipline. And so my talk is free.

If there is to be a humanity beyond the end, the from here and now so-called "last man" will look nothing like we do now. The Recognitions which Fukuyama found foundational, and which William Gaddis mocks so eternally, is but poor substitute for the love we truly crave. Just as earthly wealth shall always be poor substitute for what religionists seem to mean by God's grace.

Love is, of course, far less trivial to organize than an economy. We shall never be captains of Spaceship Earth; we simply can't master her controls, any more than we could master nature; to be redundant and non-sequitur about it.

We shall not master love. There is no calculus for it. Our Earth shall career and careen as she will, with or without us. Unless we learn to return her love. (Earth shall never be masculine, right?)

The Queen may set out to love her people, and sure she has been as good as it gets. A fine thing it is that this TV series was made so long before the Meghan and Harry show. It would hardly be believable otherwise. Yes, yes, long live the Queen who shall be panty raider King Charles before history Peters out. Johnson & Johnson on pause. We do so want our lives back, as though normal were ever a steady state. As the Queen Mother (whichever one hardly matters) did urge, fucking is no substitute for duty.

And so duty is already spent. Alas poor princesses all. 

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