The Queen as Revelation


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1) The fawning and fluttering of the rulers and chatterers of These Island’s over the Queen’s ‘apology’ AS IF SHE WERE SINCERE and AS IF SHE WROTE IT HERSELF shows their amazing capacity to suspend their disbelief as long as they are allowed to be part of the pageant themselves. The Irish ruling class are like a theatre audience who at the end of a performance of Hamlet divide into two groups- those who want to be seen at the funeral of Hamlet, and those who want an immediate audience with Fortinbras to propose him a pyramid scheme.

The Queen did not deliver her apology to the class of people that suffered most under British Rule, or to their descendants, but to the native oppressing class. People like the descendants of the victims of the Dublin-Monaghan bombings were absolutely excluded from proceedings. She was the aristocracy speaking to its Irish replicant, the perpetual motion machine  left behind in 1922 to do the same job in absentia, and to keep Dublin Castle and the others dry and warm for royalty’s return.

2) One cannot look at the image of Seamus Heaney seated companionably opposite David Cameron at the President’s Apology Pageant without being reminded of Walter Benjamin’s famous and admittedly over-employed dictum that Every document of Civilisation is at the same time a document of Barbarism.

But I think Benjamin is better understood for us in this context when translated through his (almost) contemporaries Flann O Brien and Mohatma Gandhi. Gandhi, when asked what he thought about  Western Civilisation said that ‘it would be a good idea’. This reminds us that, from a certain intelligent perspective of the wretched, Imperialism does not have an internally contradictory element. It has no angelic immanence, not even that radically conditional one posited by Benjamin. There is no bright side. Every part of Imperialist culture and heritage, including its art and its artists, is barbaric or barbaric residue. There is no document of civilisation.

Flann O’Brien’s freak physics provides another illuminating gloss. According to Flann, when people or things rub up against other people or things an exchange of being takes place, at  a more that merely sub-atomic or material level, so that eventually, if proximity continues, one thing turns into the other. A man becomes whatever he rides. A bike takes on a human personality. Seamus Heaney is the leader of the English Tories. David Cameron is high chief of all the pastoral mystics. With equally barbaric and perhaps indistinquishable consequences. Civilisation cannot compromise with Barbarism without becoming it.

3) The Queen’s visit has mapped out the grand constellation of the Irish ruling class and of those minor, lifeless stars that adhere to and highlight them.

Read the itinerary and the invitation list and you will know the Irish ruling class, their lackeys, and their temples by name.

Labour Bureaucats, GAA stars, the Saoi of Aosdana, the Counts of the national stud, the glamorous historians of UCD, the provost and the departmental heads in their Trinity gowns, the rock idiots of the late 20th century- all of these are groups among whom the flatulence factor will have burst upwards in the last week as a result of fine dining at the taxpayer’s expense.

The police are there to protect the rulers of the Irish as much as they are there to protect the Queen. The ruling class fear for their existences, for their continuing reality, for which the police provide the hard substance. Without the police a ruling class dissolves into the thin air of posterity. Ask the Mubaraks.

The police operation is a machinic memory routine for the police themselves, helping them to remember their instructions. It gives the police-as-a-body a much needed total-body workout and health check. In addition, mass mobilisation of such a pointedly ideological kind reminds the individual police  agent what they are there for- important in these times of debt-ridden low-morale in the rank-and-file and far from enough protesters for them to vent their frustrations on.

The Queen’s visit gives the Irish apparatus of repression an existential uplift.

4) About stars and queens, remember that their glitter crowns a void. About constellations, especially grand ones, remember they are mostly made of nothingness and dark.

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Dave Lordan is activist, poet and teacher. He blogs at

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9 Responses

  1. Connie

    May 19, 2011 2:14 pm

    The naked face of imperialism: vile and putrefying, staining and defiling everything in its path. Seamus Heaney should be ashamed of himself to break bread with this pack of royalist Tory jackals. Enda Kenny is already proving to be an utter joke, fawning over these bejweled murderers and thieves who are still keeping Ireland under occupation. And the Irish plutocracy are like all plutocrats, historically short sighted and incapable of being anything except parasites.


    May 19, 2011 9:39 pm

    Charming stuff.

    Poor unemployable Irish headbangers VS rich unemployable British headbangers. One with a half-baked political agenda and the other with a pocketful of meaningless platitudes. Sometimes I forget which is which.

  3. d

    May 20, 2011 1:11 pm

    i forget the actual issue, it seems a world away and its hard to go back to be eaten, no heroics here no, id rather let them have the day, it feels like there is no choice, i dont think there is. Some real points of interest, not least the foftos and all is commendable as thought as hyper real in terms of its true effect on the psyche of irish being, but if its needed to be said then lets be honest and say that the damage has more than likely been done. Be it hundreds of years ago or now, its hard to stand up when you believe that you have to crawl.

  4. radio hanoi

    May 20, 2011 7:17 pm

    My guillotine, My guillotine, My Kingdom for a guillotine.
    This is the moment that the parasatic Irish aristocrats have longed and waited for, final recognition from the Realm of their Aristocratic status.For so long they have only been de-facto Aristocrats,they have showed contempt to their lessers with the introduction of so called austerity measures, so that their fellow aristocratic paracites ( so called free markets)do not have to pay the bill of their gambling debts. Typical aristocrats let the peasants do without they can pay. The peasants will do what we tell them,they will not get a referendum on our bailout, we will decide on what democracy they will get, bring in osterity measures, let them pay for our deborachery and greed, we are their betters we should not have to pay, if they cant feed themselves let them eat cake, but preferrabily grass. If they cant pay the motgage throw them out into the ditches and house our cattle in their houses, we done it during the famine we will do it again to day. Let them work for food only, we should not have to pay them,they should be thankful for small mercies,keep them down, they dont know any better. The more those peasants get the less we will have.
    This is what is down the road if they continue to have their way. Is their anyone out their with balls enough to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. NO NEED FOR FASCIST ELEMENTS OF THE STATE TO REPLY. MY GUILLOTINE, MY GUILLOTINE, MY KINGDOM FOR A GUILLOTINE.

  5. radio hanoi

    May 20, 2011 7:56 pm

    Photographs exhibited show the desecration of our national flag by agencies of our state.
    This desecration raises many questions, if they are being trained to show desecration to the national flag, are they been trained to show similar contempt to the free state constitution? are they been trained to show similar contempt for the irish ctizen?
    We have recently just witnessed the reverence that this particular agency and other agencies of the state have shown towards the Union Jack, the Aristocrats have trained him well, show utter contempt for that which represents the citizen and the sacrafices of the citizen forefathers, just like the present servants of the Aristocracy have shown and are continuing to show utter contempt towards democracy for the Irish Citizen. This desacration of our national flag is an absolute discrace. I wonder what are the laws if any, should this desecration have been carried out for example in France, U.S.A or indeed Britain.