FRONT PAGE / POSTS
Friday, 22 April 2011
Linked by Malcolm Evans
tags: culture, europe, making sense, semiotics
British royal weddings, since the ill-starred Charles and Diana saga, have been understandably downbeat affairs. The return of the Diana factor this time around, at one step removed, has helped boost the ratings a little. Press, TV and the souvenirs business in particular are ramping up at least their own enthusiasm. Like anthropomorphic puppies anticipating a free lunch of Cesar, familiar TV news faces flushed with excitement display simpering smiles and faraway looks of infinite tenderness and solicitude. One suspects that any half-reputable lie detector test or MRI scan would reveal an aurora borealis of activity going on simultaneously in the most cynical and atavistically fearful, even desperate, regions of their collective brain. The best semiology, wrote Roland Barthes is also SEMIOCLASM. This means vigilance and resistance at every turn, breaking open mystifying language and imagery, refusing to let it function as it would wish – to slide past our critical faculties by appearing perfectly ‘natural’ and incontestable. If we believe that education can help people realise their potential and become smarter then it follows (any statement being logically meaningful only because it’s opposite means something different) that there are other activities that help make people more stupid. A random check on two UK primary school children nearby, thankfully, evokes the same one-word reaction to the royal wedding – “boring”. Then an elaboration from one of them: “but the teachers have to pretend to be interested”. For the millions of indifferent or slightly nauseous Brits (appreciative nevertheless of a day off work, even if it was Gaddafi coming to town to dance a jig with Tony Blair) award-winning journalist Johann Hari, in the linked article, semioclastically pinpoints who the real killjoys and betrayers of the national heritage are.
(At the time of writing this introduction Google, with immaculate taste, is displaying ads for royal wedding memorabilia alongside the online version of the article).