Thursday, July 25, 2013

william, it was really nothing

I had an educational exchange of views on Facebook last night which helped to crystallise some of my annoyance about the acres of uncritical blanket coverage devoted to the arrival of the royal baby. In fairness to the media, it is the silly season and there is literally fuck all else to report, except David Cameron's laughably ill-thought-out and undemocratic attempts to police the rude bits of the internet. More on that later, perhaps.

I take the view that if you put your ill-considered views on the internet you are personally responsible for any public ridicule you receive, and furthermore if that ridicule causes you personal offence or discomfort then you should consider re-evaluating those views. I certainly willingly submit my own ramblings on this blog, on any topic, to those rules. That plus having redacted the names of the protagonists (except my own) clears my conscience regarding reproducing the Facebook exchange here. I do so not to poke fun (well, maybe a bit) but to illustrate the ticking-off of various Royalist Bingo boxes.

I hope it's legible; Blogger's image reproduction options remain a bit shit, unfortunately. I've labelled a few points that I think are of interest.
  1. first appearance of the "if you don't have the monarchy, you'll have President Blair; IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT" trope;
  2. not really sure what this is about; yes, there are other rich people in the world, and some of them may well have come by their riches by dubious means, but not many of them are heads of state. In any case this is a blatant "look over there" argument;
  3. a variant on number 1; get rid of the royal family and the only choices are a US-style presidency or Zimbabwe-style anarchy. Personally my preference is for something like the Irish system whereby the President is pretty much a ceremonial role, with the ribbon-cutting and the state openings of parliament and the like, but can express opinions freely. My affection for this system is no doubt tied to my affection for the current Irish president Michael D Higgins, who I think is a pretty splendid bloke. Here he is just shooting the shit on a talk show in a casual way, a way you couldn't really imagine Lizzie Windsor doing, and here he is in slightly more combative mode (to be fair, a year or so before he became president) ripping some Tea Party guy a new one. 
  4. argumentum ad populum. If 51% of the population don't agree with an opinion you hold, you are apparently not allowed to express it.
  5. I presume that this is a reference to the Crown Estates; obvious points in relation to this are that firstly the monarch's claim to these inheres in their office as monarch, and not in their person, so it's a moot point what the position would be if the office got abolished, and secondly it's another "look over there" dodge. To put it another way, I'm allowed to say "cancer is bad" without having found a cure, and in a similar way I should be allowed to say "hereditary monarchy is bad" without having a specific roadmap for its abolition. 
  6. argumentum ad populum again
  7. this is a whiplash-inducing oscillation between two positions, firstly the PRESIDENT BLAIR position from #1, but also the entirely contradictory position that the monarch wields no political power anyway. Well, if that's the case it doesn't really matter who does the job, does it? or even if the job exists at all?
  8. I couldn't resist throwing the God thing in as a bit of chum in the water. I have literally no idea where this came from though, or what it's meant to mean;
  9. Well, that was asking for both barrels;
  10. And a bit of passive-aggressive bullshit to finish. 
I should say, in the interests of full disclosure, that there were a handful more comments after the point where I've cut the thread off, but none of them particularly relevant to the topic. As I've said before, the subject of the monarchy is quite a good litmus test for people you thought were just regular people; express the mildest dissent from the default position and some of them will lose the plot in a pretty spectacular way.


The Black Rabbit said...

As if I needed any more reasons, you've given me another reason (and a timely reminder) that I really should not re-open my facebook account. Ever.


electrichalibut said...

Well, as I said in the post my intention was more to illustrate some widely-held views rather than to "out" anyone, which is why I was careful to redact any personal information. I had to keep the first names because otherwise it would have been impossible to keep track of who was saying what to whom.

So the actual identities of the individuals concerned (myself aside) is hidden from anyone who doesn't have access to the original FB thread. If you (generic you, not you personally) hold views that you would be embarrassed about having made public even if they were not identifiably yours when that happened, I would strongly recommend holding different views.

I am not the Pope, though, so my moral compass isn't infallible; if you feel some sort of line has been crossed, feel free to explain.

And you should get back on Facebook. Just don't post any nude photos (you know the ones I mean) or your bank account details and you'll be fine.

The Black Rabbit said...

"...if you feel some sort of line has been crossed, feel free to explain."

No line crossed bate. Just a reminder that my home on the aptly named 'twitter' is far more comfortable for me. 140 characters max, a photo of flooded nottingham, a nice moth - that sort of thing. Boring to most I know but nice and stress-free for me.

So no. In my case.... I really shouldn't be on FB.

electrichalibut said...

Well, there you are, I never knew you were on Twitter. Horses for courses and all that, but I've quite lidderally never seen the appeal: 140 characters is barely enough to clear your throat. But maybe I should register just so I can annoy you.