Let us first pay tribute to the great arsenals of stupidity at the disposal of the British state. It begins with empty formalism.
Hours of live broadcast in which absolutely nothing happens, nothing is said, scarcely anything thought by all appearances, but protocol is scrupulously followed. The only news: the Queen’s doctors are “worried” about her health, but she is “comfortable.” Everyone knows that this means she has already died, but it is not time to admit this yet.
The announcement finally made hours later, there begins a solemn procession of moronic piety that will officially last for ten days. Digital billboards all over the capital instantly fill with images of the late Queen. Royal worshippers advance, like celebrity stalkers, on the gates of Buckingham Palace. News anchors perform mandated grief. Prime Minister Liz Truss confuses glowering with gravitas, and listlessly recites her script: “life of service,” “great legacy,” “loved and admired,” “awesome responsibility.” The BBC’s Clive Myrie suggests that the energy crisis threatening millions of people is now “insignificant.” Journalists, such as Andrew Sullivan, declare themselves helplessly verklempt.
Tributes “pour in.” The White House hails “a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy.” Justin Trudeau, like a benevolent teacher writing a dull child’s report card, piles on adjectives: “thoughtful, wise, curious, helpful, funny.” Paris Hilton salutes “the…