I probably seemed a bit curmudgeonly in my disdain for the royal wedding yesterday but I wasn’t negative about the pleasure other people found in watching it. I am not even against the odd bit of pomp and circumstance. In fact I even watched some edited highlights and these included Parry’s wonderful anthem I Was Glad which brought back memories of the many times I sang it as part of St. Salvator’s Chapel choir in St. Andrews. I remembered taking part in the many formal occasions that the royal couple must similarly been involved in while they were there.
So what’s been bugging me. I think it centres around a couple of words used by the BBC anchor man for the day. I was out of the room at the time but overheard him commenting on the size and enthusiasm of the crowd and contrasting this with our “cynical society” and “lack of deference”. At this point I yelled “Oh fuck off” from the kitchen much to my wife’s annoyance!
Both of his assumptions bugged me. I don’t think we are a cynical society. I think people are generally healthier, happier and in a better state than they have ever been and I marvel at the many ways they show energy and enthusiasm for all sorts of things. I also appreciate the best in people and even reckon the Queen does a good job in a tough role.
But the other word is the one that really gets me – deferential. Dictionary definition “humble submission and respect”. Why should I be deferential simply because of the position someone holds? Why should I accord the decidedly weird group of people who have become our royal family through some pretty dodgy dealings throughout history “humble submission and respect”? There have been enough occasions when people in positions of authority have shown that they don’t deserve my deference to make insisting on it a form of madness.
Respect – fine. Acknowledgment of authority – fine. But deference – oh fuck off.