Friday, February 17, 2006

More evidence for the end of civilization as we know it

From The Guns of August, 1962

So gorgeous was the spectacle on the May morning of 1910 when nine kings rode in the funeral of Edward VII of England that the crowd, waiting in hushed and black-clad awe, could not keep back gasps of admiration. In scarlet and blue and green and purple, three by three the sovereigns rode through the palace gates, with plumed helmets, gold braid, crimson sashes, and jeweled orders flashing in the sun. After them came five heirs apparent, forty more imperial or royal highnesses, seven queens – four dowager and three regnant – and a scattering of special ambassadors from uncrowned countries. Together they represented seventy nations in the greatest assemblage of royalty and rank ever gathered in one place and, of its kind, the last. The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history’s clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendor never to be seen again.

From The Sydney Morning Herald, 2005

It was part solemn observance - though, significantly, given Packer's lack of faith, the only reference to the true God was contained in a traditional Irish blessing on the back of the service program.

It was also part Big Day Out, as Sydneysiders and tourists gathered round the Opera House in the hope of seeing celebrities, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise and his fiancee Katie Holmes, golfer Greg Norman, captains of cricket and of industry, past and present prime ministers.

If so many rich, powerful, glamorous and talented Australians had ever before been assembled, none could remember it.


We have fallen far and hard, my friends

1 comment:

Alastair said...

When it seems that the ruthless accumulation of vast wealth and power - dusted ever so slightly with infrequent and insubstantial (but much-publicised) displays of so-called "altruism" (e.g. chucking a few dollars at an Eastern Suburbs private hospital + photo with sweet old nun)and a financially rewarding devotion to cricket - is, in the minds of even a few of my fellow citizens, the measure of being "a great Australian", I agree, MC ... we have fallen far and hard.