End of an Era

Why should I care, why should I care?
     Lyric from 5:15 by the Who

Poor taste. I turn sixty next month. The next line of this song is ‘Girls of fifteen, sexually knowing.’ Every time I sing that lyric, I feel tarnished—stained, dirty. Is it creepy that Joan Jett still sings I Love Rock and Roll?

I saw him dancin’ there by the record machine
I knew he must’ve been about seventeen
The beat was goin’ strong
Playin’ my favorite song
And I could tell it wouldn’t be long
‘Til he was with me, yeah, me

Lots of child molestation in rock songs.

I digress. Why should I care? Why do any of us care, we Americans? Today’s is the largest headline I ever saw on CNN: QUEEN ELIZABETH DEAD AT 96. I know, head of state of several nations, blah blah blah, it’s a big deal, but her death affects me how? Truth be told, I’ve never given a shred of attention to Queen Elizabeth. In my lifetime, I first watched Charles and Diana. Later, I just watched Diana. Now I watch Kate and William and Meghan and Harry. I went through a brief phase in the eighties when I obsessed a bit about Stéphanie Grimaldi, Princess of Monaco, because she seemed like the bad girl, and who doesn’t love the bad girl. Fergie too, she caused some agitation.

Now Harry and Meghan satisfy my troublesome royal cravings—in fact, Harry filled this role since his strip billiards fiasco ten years ago. A month later, in the greatest public relations stunt of all time, Kate got herself photographed while sunbathing topless from a mile away. The world was outraged. FOUL! Such an invasion of privacy! Can’t we let the poor Windsors be? Harry’s behavior was forever knocked off the front page. Well, until he married that American.

I mean no disrespect to Queen Elizabeth. I fully expected this reaction to her death, and I think it’s well deserved. The Elizabethan Era will be discussed for centuries. Over the past seventy years, the entire world changed; Elizabeth did an amazing job changing with it. Rock-steady, that’s what I’d call her, but always adapting to be aligned with current times.  

Such a milestone: I can’t help thinking her death today is a marker—a before and after. Many of us believe the world is in decline—climate change, war, water scarcity, a rise of racism and nationalism, covid, monkeypox, etcetera, etcetera. What if the Elizabethan Era was the good times. What if her reign was the magic glue holding everything together. When I saw the headline this afternoon, I thought beginning of the end. My pessimistic nature makes me look for trouble at every juncture. I worry that now things will start to get bad.

Ninety-six years is a life well lived, and incredibly, seventy-five of those with the person she loved. What a happy achievement. I’m sure she will be missed dearly by her family, and in a less direct way by millions of people around the world. In accordance with my spiritual beliefs, she isn’t now on to the afterlife, but her next life. If, as I’ve written before, our position at the start of any given life is determined by how we lived our last life, I expect Elizabeth to start at the top of the heap.

Why should I care? I don’t know, but like everybody else, I do.

44 thoughts on “End of an Era

  1. It’s the institution of the monarchy that I’m fond of and she represented that institution extremely well. I don’t see her passing as having much effect on how I view the role she held for so long – all but three years of my life. As the the personal lives of the royal family, I take as much interest in that as I do in the personal lives of anybody I do not know in person: it’s none of my business.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Perhaps it’s a personal quirk, but I have no more interest in the lives of celebrities than I do of the life the the next door neighbour’s brothers’s friend of a friend of a friend’s sister’s former husband’s cousin twice removed. I know I’m an exception in this regard, and if i wasn’t I might have more success in making small talk.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not worried. There have been many scoundrels who’ve sat on that throne before her, and somehow the world survived.

    According to my spiritual beliefs, we humans are at the bottom of the heap. Reincarnation to any other life form would be a step up.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. A juxtaposition of Joan Jett and the Queen? I don’t know how you pulled that one off Jeff, but you did. Perhaps too, you are right about news of the death of the Queen being universally significant because of the perilous times.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I guess, like you Jeff, I could write about the death of Queen Elizabeth II. After all, she is the Queen of Australia. But I guess I feel about the monarchy like I feel about those amazing ancient castles throughout Europe. I like looking at them, but I don’t really want to live under one.

    Liked by 3 people

      • The royal family aren’t actually supported by taxes; rather, the Queen (I guess now the King?) is one of the largest land-owners in the world, so, rents. And most of the income they get is actually passed on to the government if I understand correctly. Also their involvement with the actual government in regards to ruling and policy is largely ceremonial. I don’t know, I’m not a ‘royalist’ necessarily but I think they probably do more good for the country than bad.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I guess that makes sense about their wealth. I think I was reacting to a brief news skirmish between Harry and the Canadian gov’t over who would foot the bill for increased security costs if they moved there. Is there a popular antiroyal sentiment?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah that’s interesting that they expected the Canadian government to pay for security. Just looking it seems like there’s some kind of law around “internationally protected persons” but I haven’t much idea what that really means in Canada. I think the royal family has said they won’t pay for it since they gave up their titles. Which, I mean, if they’ve said they want to be “financially independent” then that’s something to consider.
          I don’t think the anti-royal sentiment is popular, but it does exist, seemingly as more of an anti-establishment thing in people who don’t really understand how the money works but just don’t think there should be people as rich as they are. That’s my take, anyway. Personally I am sad about the Queen’s passing.

          Liked by 2 people

      • I wouldn’t presume for even a second to hypothesise what all this might mean to a US citizen, but as I watched a couple of hours of TV reflection tonight I was reflecting on the constancy, the stability of QEII throughout my lifetime (and more!). As the world (and especially, in political terms, your bit of it) trends towards an erosion of democracy, I wonder if the departure of someone who embodied a dedication to service and integrity hits just that bit harder, wherever we live.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Well my hypothesis that all good things come to an end right now would bolster your concern. All we can do is wait and see. I wrote about you and Bill and the 33 1/3 book club for my library newsletter today. I was describing how easy it was to get the book I wanted through an interlibrary loan despite the fact that the library doesn’t own any copies. BTW, I read the writeup on the Ramones 1st album and I wasn’t overly excited about it. From Bill, I know you guys read Horses. Is that a decent volume?

          Liked by 2 people

        • Hi Jeff, re: the Horses 331/3 I recall that one going into Patti’s childhood a bit and dissecting the lyrics in a way that drew me to the album (that album had never stuck with me, even tho I knew I should like it but never really did). If you’re a fan you’d probably enjoy the book. Of course I assume you read Just Kids, which is far superior to the Horses book, as I recall. As with any other series, some are better than others. I’ve probably read 25 or so, maybe 5-10 out of them I’d recommend. I think Horses would make the cut. They also kind of blur together some…I don’t recall the Ramones one being great, as you said.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Seems like a while since we read the Horses book, but my (unreliable) memory is that it was well written, if a trifle scholarly. Lots about her performance art and poetry. I’d probably advise getting the thoughts of someone who really loves Patti Smith’s music rather than someone who more admires it.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I was scrolling thru Washington Post when I read the news today (oh boy… keeping the Musical theme😂) and then I read more news, and kinda got sucked into it for a little while.

    Thanks for putting into words the feelings I’ve had since I read about her passing. I care too🤷🏼‍♀️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Clever starting this with a Beatles quote. Maybe us caring about the royals is just a reflection of a banal life, but I miss out on celebrity culture in general, so this small swath of rich and famous seems to be my due. I did read today that Kim Kardashian is now a billionaire. Not sure how that happened. I didn’t know she actually produced anything to be consumed by society other than gossip.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for your words and views, Jeff. As a Briton, I am very sad about the loss of our Queen. She will be very much missed. She really was like no other Monarch in the history of the UK. Somehow, despite her age, it still came as quite a shock. Naïve perhaps. I had my son and grandchildren staying here yesterday and last night – my nine-year-old granddaughter was terribly upset. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure the royal family are rock stars to many British children. When someone so old dies, I think it can be quite a shock. They just go on living and living, seemingly invincible. I hope the reign of Charles is similarly satisfying for the UK. For me, it will lose that air of permanence I grew to expect.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. To me the Queen stood for everything that is being eroded in modern times. I feel a deep sense of foreboding, as if her passing is a demarcation point between order and chaos. And I know there has always been chaos, but still…I think she was a rare and wonderful leader who will be sorely missed

    Liked by 4 people

  8. My son sent me a text asking if I knew she passed away. That was odd that he knew before I did and thought to text me about it.

    She’s a survivor, and her story is interesting. If her uncle hadn’t abdicated the throne,
    Elizabeth wouldn’t have been in line to be Queen-but she was for so many decades. She is part of the generation that lived through WW2. She learned how to drive ambulances at the end of the war.

    I have had up and down periods of being interested in the monarchy. I saw a museum exhibition that featured Diana’s wedding dress years ago.

    I think now being in my fifties I have much greater appreciation of her life than I did years ago. As a child, I used to have a great aunt that I thought looked like Queen Elizabeth. Even though I’m American and she was not my queen it seems remarkable that she has had such a long presence in our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was sitting around in a doctor’s waiting room, so I was actually reading update about her health before she actually died. As I wrote, she really wasn’t the royal that I watched, but as the queen of England (which in my mind is THE queen), she’s been omnipresent my whole life. Have you thought about this? I bet Charles is in the bathroom, looking in the mirror, trying to come up with his signature wave.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Harry and Meghan are a couple of look at me, we are victims, narcissists. It’s not strip billiards that I think of when I think of Harry it’s this bad boy poncing around in a Nazi uniform. I think of his great grandmother who preferred to stay by her husband’s side and give her people courage rather than be safe away from the shelling.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I watch a lot of docos, Jeff. 🤭
        What’s more amazing, I think, is that she lived as long as she did, doing her job till the very end. She understood the strengths and limitations of the office, that it was non political, so had good relations with both sides of the political divide.
        What I’ve appreciated most is being part of a constitutional monarchy. The pro republican activists will be out in full force now pushing their agenda.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. in similar way, the Queen really had no impact o my life, but I found myself caught up in all the outpouring of love over the past 24 hours. She seemed to be an amazing woman, and she will be missed. I hope her passing does not mean we are headed towards a decline in humanity – I’m counting on the reverse. Long live the King…

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m not sure how to respond to this lol. Honestly I love to think some people might give you the side eye, Meanwhile I am singing Joan Jett. Lol.

    For me… my daughters are the same ages as William and Harry, and I always found that intriguing. Very different lives, one I would not want for my daughters. Besides I am the matriarch here.

    A great read to ponder…. And happy early birthday. Since I turn next week ( as you know) I am also older and wiser… just saying. Have a good day.

    Liked by 2 people

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