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The CONVERSATION: Canada and the British Monarchy, 13 May 2023

Updated: Mar 24

Published 13 May 2023. Republished 30 Dec 2023


"But Britannia still rules the flag waves. The personal standards of Britain's royal family and the standards of the Governor General and the 10 Lieutenant-governors take precedence over the national flag of Canada."

That ain't right. (sentiment courtesy Malachi Johnson, Silverado)


Yo, Canada. Are we primed and ready to have the conversation?


‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,

‘To talk of many things:

‘Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —

Of cabbages — and kings” (and queens)

What makes a leader perfect for the time he/she lives in?

Take God. God is perfect. From Plato to the Archbishop of Canterbury, idealists and acolytes swear to it: God is perfect. God is Ideal. God is Mysterious. Okay. Okay. There is no god but after all these years of complying with a metaphysical power structure, many sapiens seem too scared to quit. Like riding your bike fast makes you almost afraid to hit the brakes because you'll crash. Homo sapiens is superstitious and superstition comes to us unbidden. We live in hope. Superstition is bound up with our desire for a good outcome (for us). We know it: A good outcome in a bad situation often requires a miracle, a.k.a., magic. Where’s the magic in atheism? You’re daft and asking for a painful shunning if you publicly profess your atheistic views. Nonetheless, it must be said. The whole god-business is grounded in superstition, aided by the belief in the power of an oh-so-convenient, made-up authority. Canada, bless us, is increasingly secular, diverse, and multicultural. But a critical mass of the human population declares an affiliation with some metaphysical authority or other, and the percentage of god-believers worldwide remains high. Why is this? For one thing, we love to imagine the apotheosis of earthly dominators. We pray for their strength and longevity, (all the while we’re busily trading our loyalty for their generosity), and Kings get special attention. Wisely, when your people believe you're perfect, you keep a low profile. You don't want to screw up in front of the herd. So God dwells far away. Hidden either in the Ether, the Quantum or Astral realms, or lurking somewhere on Kepler 452-b, God is a shape-shifter. He atomizes. Poof. Christians are cautioned, tut, tut, He’s not really a Father or a Son or an incest-loving Jewish Greek. He’s a Holy Spirit. A magical, faraway, vaporous, loquacious, bossy God – the Platonic ideal. HE is the ideal model of authority to bring peace to competitive Earthlings. We’re stuck with our instincts, our biology. Sure, sure, but God is eternal like. . . like a real magician – yes, that's the ticket – magicians can make themselves disappear. Observe how fast He disappeared when He heard cries for help at the Azovstal steel plant at Mariupol, Ukraine. The faithful are always having to make excuses. His ways are beyond our understanding. I’ll say. In any event, the faithful want their human dominators to be like God, God-like. Almost perfect. If you doubt contemporary human dominators benefit from a God’s touch, you and I can always refresh our short-term memories. 6 May 2023. Englishman Charles Mountbatten-Windsor was crowned King Charles 3 -– king of the world. The over-the-top coronation pageantry was like Disney-on-acid, so sayeth Helen Lewis of The Atlantic. The King’s ceremony, televised, was thoroughly godwashed. Divine implication infused the air, the rain, the sun, the parade route, even the vegan anointing oil. King and God are at one. There was actually a divine rock, the Stone of Scone. Apparently, the sandstone slab was Jacob’s pillow. (We’re so soft these days.) The stone symbolizes the sovereignty of Scotland. Shakespeare, understanding the far-reaching symbolism of said stone, wrote Macbeth (1606). In the Scottish play, Scone represents mediaeval feudalism, and offers a subtle warning to King James l: Either stick with progressive manners, or (eventually) have a civil war. Shakespeare was a wow of a futurist, almost as smart as Margaret Atwood. With few exceptions, though, no one, certainly no clever spark in Canada, could be rude enough enough to note that last week’s divine pageantry harkened back to an era of feudalism, or to feudalism's hard-on-the-heels' sprout, colonialism, because, as sure as Macbeth was a Scot, Hamlet was a Dane, and Joseph Thayendanegea Brant wasn’t mentioned in the Treaty of Paris (1783), if you raise the issue of the history of the divine stone, up pops the touchy subject of religion, including the fails of a perfect God. In the minds of early-modern Christian European kings and queens and merchants and traders, the Will of God gave them permission, licence, and holy orders: Make your (Earthly) kingdom rich; kill the competition, be they European or Indigenous. Thanks to a nativist god, imperial chicanery ensued. We’ll hit the slave coast of Africa, nab unwilling labour, and trade our way throughout the seven seas like Captain Kidd. As we plunder, we’ll Christianize the natives. Two-for-two. Oh my God, you’re a genius. Last week the new/old king’s bejewelled, Anglican, ungodly buttocks sat gingerly upon the rickety chair covering the aforementioned symbolic stone. Nearby, perched on her own more modern throne, sat the former Mrs. Parker-Bowles. There, as bold as you please, was Charles’s giggle-prone wife, she with the marvellous sense of humour. Good thing. Gazing at coronation photos, the queen would certainly want to laugh. On her aging head she can barely balance her purple hat, barrel-sized, and dripping, as they say, with other folks' jewels. Oh gosh. What fun. Palace officials have declared Camilla is just what Charles, a dour, complaining old fart of an English god-king, needs –– a woman who, like Eric Idle, always looks on the bright side of life. Ah, yes, Camilla. Remember how the Iqaluit throat-singers cracked her up? Despite many modest defences, which fast came to the new queen's rescue (“throat-singing is meant to be enjoyed”), a kind God, the perfect diplomat, should have chosen that very moment to strike her deaf and dumb. Canadians might have felt sorry, instead of embarrassed and a little mad. Good God, why waste a miracle? The royal couple, environmentally progressive, are not culturally progressive, and Canada needs a surefire miracle to get rid of them. We don't know what they're up to. Gods and kings and queens keep their secrets. Otherwise faith in them would be tempered. And what king worth his salt is going to reveal his mysterious ways? Who wants to know what the god-king is worth? Tut tut. Don't ask. Gods and treasuries are keepers of the faith. In faith, what on earth are Canadians to do with the avowed Anglo godhead, King Charles? With provable "divinity" (thanks, James1), the newly crowned king and queen aren't a good fit for Canada's secular citizenry, or Montcalm's Québec, or (some) First Nations. For heaven's sake, this god-anointed soul and his son are the fabulously wealthy feudal overlords of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall. They’re not the ideal or perfect heads-of-state for tightwads (like us). Moreover, Charles and Camilla sit atop an appalling class system, which is very much out of tune with our presbyterian sensibilities. Reconstituting symbols, slowly, stealthily, bit by bit, the Canadian Parliament could step away from the Crown. For instance, parliament could pass a law to ensure the Canadian flag always flies supreme. We want to hear no more about the immutability of a constitutional monarchy. Creepy Andrew (known at home on the Isles as Andrew Albert Christian Edward, duke of York, earl of Inverness, and Baron Killyleagh and not just as creepy Andrew) is slowly regaining his place among the exalted. If creepy Andrew came to Canada, his standard would precede our own national standard, and that ain't right. The conversation about the godliness of kings ought to occur for many great and good reasons; and, I suggest, for at least one spurious reason: The thought of Charles 3's head on a Canadian twenty makes my head spin.







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