Good god, when will this end?

The front page of the Washington Post:

The front page of the New York Times:

I don’t care any more. Shove the old dead parasite into her vault and move on, OK? I understand the slow procession of a corpse across a country might be the only news of importance in the world, but I have a suspicion that other things might also be happening, and it might be appropriate to balance a relatively mundane event with some matters of real import.

Oh, look! There was also a football game or two this week, and what? Biden declares the pandemic is over? Sorry, we’re out of time, need to talk about the queues of Brits lined up to watch a hearse drive by.


  1. Mike S Goodmann says

    If they want to commemorate her passing within the UK and the Commonwealth, that’s fine. However, it is sickening how the rest of the world is so obsessed by the doings of the British Monarchy!

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    I’m looking forward to the coronation (probably next Spring). I missed the last proper performance of Zadok the Priest. Powerful stuff. They can abolish the monarchy right after that.

  3. HidariMak says

    The more I look into it, the less sense it makes. People are waiting in queue for 24 hours for this. You’re not allowed to have someone hold your place in queue, so if you have to relieve yourself, you’d better be wearing diapers. You’d better not mind spending more than half a day wearing a dirty diaper. You can’t nap or rest, because the line is moving every 5-10 seconds. And for what? To look at a closed casket, which supposedly holds the queen’s embalmed corpse, for less than 10 seconds.
    That’s assuming that the selected personal friends and family of the queen are not having the opportunity to pay their respects during this time, and are going through the exact same steps to look at a fancy closed box as person #23,791 in the queue. If someone who I’ve never met, who would never be able to spot me in a crowd, passes on, would I go through a process which is several times more trouble than getting a major concert ticket, just to spend a few seconds looking at the box that they’re going to be buried in? Not really.

  4. dictyostelium says

    This really reminds me that pro-monarchist and pro-imperialist beliefs are still alive. I consider them potentially really harmful. I also see that capitalist forces see the undue wealth and respect of another and have solidarity with that.

    It also reminds me that another set of authoritarian beliefs, religion is more harmful. (Unlike many i grew up atheist so not very tuned into that..) Like i don’t want to guilt-by-association anyone. Many religious people are not hugely invested, or don’t believe in some pastor or other religious head just telling them what god says and they should believe them. But they do believe they can just figure out what is true based on what’s in their head already.

    That really makes me want to know how you get at truth better than that..

    Although i suppose part of it is more will to be ethical, sometimes people tell me “lets not go too far”, knowing the facts might require them to go farther. (sorry if this post is too much about how i feel)

  5. hemidactylus says

    I watched like 9 NFL games and several were riveting. Sadly there was no F1 race. Got my polio shot last week. Priorities.

  6. tomh says

    What? PZ missed the most important moment? –“Several eagle-eyed viewers tuned in to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral couldn’t help but notice one unexpected attendee: a spider. The critter was spotted crawling across a card attached to a wreath of flowers on the late monarch’s coffin as it made its way into Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19.”

  7. robro says

    Just received an email news letter from the Washington Post titled, “The most memorable moments from Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, in photos and videos.” I thought memorable took a little longer to get to, but whadda I know. I’ll be glad when this is over so I can start forgetting.

  8. birgerjohansson says

    The Irish knew how to do burials – they made megalith tombs 5000 years ago.
    If the royal family invested in proper burial mounds or pyramids, I would be less hostile to them.

  9. PaulBC says

    The coronation will include the “Queen Consort” wearing the mother of all blood diamonds. (I know I’m stretching the meaning here, but I like the phrase). Should be quite a spectacle. As tempting as “Zadok the Priest” sounds, I think I’ll pass.

  10. aronymous says

    tomh @9:
    I thought photo-bombs went out of style. That would make a great souvenir for PZ’s class//office. A real WTF moment for the sacrilegious few who dare to ignore the spider to read the sign.

  11. billseymour says

    That Cardinals have the day off today.  What am I to do?

    Maybe I’ll watch the Brewers’ game on MLB’s “gameday” feature.  If they lose to the Mets, the Cards’ magic number will be 7.  That’s way more important than the queen’s funeral.

  12. robro says

    I was doing fine ignoring the whole affair, mostly, when my significant other brings her computer into my room telling me ‘She’s about to disappear.” I didn’t see any sign of The Queen, but there were six young Brits lugging a box up some stone steps…apparently Windsors chapel where the box will be put in the basement next to another box.

    All of the young Brits properly white Brits but with various hair color. She said something being “nice looking” young men probably picked for their appearance. Indeed.

    There were some old men standing around doing nothing but looking annoyed or constipated.

  13. Louis says

    The royal family is the UK’s equivalent of an impoverished pensioner’s cigarette habit. “Let me keep my fags, they’re all I’ve got left now.”

    A few quid thrown at a palace or two and some snazzy jewellery, knock out a funeral every generation or so. ‘armless innit? Okay, so it’s not great budgeting and it gives us constitutional cancer. but bless us one and all, we don’t have much left.

    I mean, work doesn’t pay, there are more people on income support and benefits in work than out of it. Can’t afford energy bills, not because of Putin, we’re surprisingly good at producing much of our own energy needs, but because of rampaging profits being gouged out of the paying public (wages go/stay down, prices go up….hmmmm where does the money go?). The little bit of tide turning against wanton bigotry of past decades is buggered, the old racism is very popular now, so in fashion. Just don’t call racists racists, no no, that’s worse than racism that is. We’ve got a bloody silly attitude to our nearest and dearest neighbours pumped by a press generally so at odds with reality I expect flat eartherism to be a top line BBC “balance” piece any day (comment has even been made to this effect, I shit you not). The queue for a dekko at a box with a dead old bird in it is about 10 hours, the time other old birds are left waiting to die in an ambulance or in a corridor is 12 hours.

    Don’t get me wrong, lots of lovely stuff exists here too, best country on earth by miles. Most of the other ones don’t even speak English, and the ones that do are either armed to the teeth or possess wildlife so hostile I’m surprised no one took the hint. Well, there’s Canada as well, but they’re basically French or something. And the New Zealanders have that orc problem, I saw a documentary and everything.

    Anyway, we’ve fucked it all up. They’ve gone and given the job of Queen to a bloke. It’s not right. Someone should say something.

    Still, mustn’t grumble. {Tugs forelock}


    P.S. Bunch of fucking kneelers. We richly deserve the oppression we’re begging for. Whole country has a masochistic class fetish. “Oh please, Your Majesty, fuck me in the arse with a bejewelled dildo! And can you get Rees-Mogg to spaff in my face whilst you do it? You’re just SO much better than I am!”

    Too far?

    Too far.

  14. StevoR says

    @ ^ Louis : Not far enough if the sickeningly, grovelling, cringe-worthy media coverage over here in Oz is any guide..

  15. Louis says

    I quite like the pomp and ceremony, mind you. But only because I look bloody brilliant in ermine with my jackboot on the neck of a prole.


  16. KG says

    The insistence by the UK’s “Deep State” (monarchy, military, hierarchy of the Anglican Church, aristocracy and landed gentry, BBC, owners of most of the media) that we are united in mourning is positively totalitarian in spirit. The proclamation of “Charles III” as King and his son William as Prince of Wales wewre rushed through before the funeral (by law, Charles became King as soon as his mother expired), so that any opposition could be depicted as insulting the dead woman and her family. We are told “hundreds of thousands” queued to see the box they’d put her in. That means tens of millions didn’t, and it’s not even as many as attended the demonstrations against the Iraq War or Brexit, but we’re assured that those who queued are representative of us all. And all the while, Truss has been preparing an agenda for government more batshit hard right than Thatcher would have dreamed of.

  17. says

    The bit I love is that the royals got a tax law passed that says royals don’t have to pay inheritance taxes. Now let’s talk about that alleged lack of political power the royals supposedly have: it takes serious pull to get a familial tax shelter into law. The Koch brothers are envious!

  18. Louis says

    I wonder if we get a bank holiday every time a royal dies.

    Now I’m not saying I love a day off so much I’d do something naughty, but we’ve got to be careful because they’re a finite natural resource, and we wouldn’t want them used up just to get a wet Monday in November off. There are naughty people out there who will have had a big weekend, and need a Monday to get over the hangover and comedown from a handful of disco biscuits.

    Is this an argument to legalise drugs and increase the holiday allowance for all workers? Must we hand out wraps of Charles* in clubs and have Mondays prebooked as holidays for the young people of today? Discuss.


    It should not be lost on anyone that we are going to have bank notes with Charlie on them. Bank notes used by bankers to snort Charlie. It’s the circle of life.

  19. PaulBC says

    On Saturday, we were taking one last day trip before my son goes back to college and he noticed flags at half staff. I comment “Well it can’t be for Queen Elizabeth. I wonder who it’s for.” Something nudged me to check, and WTF, flags are at half staff for the freaking Queen of England. I have nothing against Elizabeth as queens go (she was just a little younger than my mother, who didn’t literally outlive her but did manage to reach a more advanced age of 99). But seriously, I don’t think the US should accord state honors to her. It’s not like she’s lacking in other recognition, and I sort of take seriously the fact that we’re a republic and not part of the Commonwealth.

  20. robro says

    Didn’t catch the spider, but a close up of the box being carried into Windsor chapel revealed a wilted sprig of thyme that my eagle-eyed partner spotted. She’s a plant person through-and-through.

  21. ardipithecus says

    They’re missing a glorious opportunity here. If they threw her in a peat bog, her remains would be preserved for millennia for the archaeologists of the civilization that rises from the ashes of the one we are burning to the ground to marvel at.

  22. Louis says

    In all seriousness, I quite liked the Queen. She seemed a decent old stick by the admittedly low standards expected of members of the upper classes. I hope Chuck 3 is going to clash with the government of Tory scum over matter environmental, accelerating the demise of both the monarchy and this bunch of venal bastards.

    DAMMIT! I keep trying to say something nice and suitably patriotic, but I’m properly in one today, so every nice thing I think is rapidly followed by cynicism and despair.


  23. says

    StevoR @ #24, thank you for that link. Depressingly, the first six “Top Stories” on the sidebar are about the funeral, including one – labeled “Analysis” like the one to which you linked – titled “Harry, William, Kate and Meghan can finally stand together again. But the ‘Fab Four’ is no more.” Just reading the title, I’m embarrassed for the writer.

  24. PaulBC says

    Louis@36 She was fine, but I can do without the gushing. My only disappointment about this whole affair is that Charles didn’t declare himself King Arthur II, which would have been totally legit since it’s one of his names.

  25. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @32:

    I don’t think the US should accord state honors to her

    Anyone who’s job required them to meet, and spend time with, Donald Trump (twice in her case, IIRC) deserves every honour the US can bestow; Medal of Honor, keys to the city of Scranton, etc.

    @38: Well, apart from slight complications like the first Arthur probably not existing, and if he did he probably wasn’t a king, sure.

  26. opposablethumbs says

    Even satirical and critical news shows are giving all this bollocks too much coverage.

    There have been dissenters/protestors, of course, but the way they have been treated (by the police, but in some cases also by the crowd) is making me realise more than ever that it absofuckinglutely can happen here.

    (Celtic supporters have responded to the imposed pre-match one-minute clap (chosen because a one-minute silence would be too easy to disrupt) by raising a huge banner and chanting loudly and clearly throughout the obligatory clapping: “if you hate the royal family clap your hands”)

  27. Rich Woods says

    You think you’ve got something to complain about, PZ. At least you’ve got the entire fucking Atlantic between you and this shit. I’ve barely left the house in a week, knowing how dangerous it’d be to get drawn into a conversation with a well-meaning shop assistant or the suddenly less-than-cheerful postie sporting a Union Flag pin and a black armband.

    On the plus side, it’s not all been quite so reach-for-the-onion fawning as the sudden death of the wayward brood mare back in ’97. That was a bad one.

    Apparently the Met were ensuring easy access for the crowds wishing to line the processional route through London by clearing the streets of the homeless, all so the patriotic faithful could claim their place yesterday evening and sleep on the pavements overnight.

  28. birgerjohansson says

    The Romans elevated dead emperors to “god” status. Mebbe the Brits could follow the tradition started by North Korea and make dead chiefs of state honorary chiefs of state in perpetuity?

    I am told the neolitic proto-english may have kept the corpses (or parts of them) in the home, the way the Catholic church keeps “mummies” of dead people in chapels. This was possibly to mark continuity. If the chieftain/King was attributed with supernatural powers this makes sense, of sorts.

  29. Louis says

    @Rich Woods #42

    Apparently the Met were ensuring easy access for the crowds wishing to line the processional route through London by clearing the streets of the homeless, all so the patriotic faithful could claim their place yesterday evening and sleep on the pavements overnight.

    That and beating the shit out of errant rollerbladers. (Which I agree with. Quad skates or go home. I don’t hold with these modern roller blades.)


  30. birgerjohansson says

    You may want to google “Some Bronze Age Britons turned the bones of dead relatives into musical instruments ”

    This is a bona fide British tradition so Jacob Reese-Mogg should be enthusiastic.

  31. KG says

    I hope Chuck 3 is going to clash with the government of Tory scum over matter environmental, accelerating the demise of both the monarchy and this bunch of venal bastards.

    In line with ancient traditions, there should really be a human sacrifice of some of the monarch’s servants. It would be a fine patriotic gesture for the cabinet to volunteer!

  32. Akira MacKenzie says

    Puerto Rico has been hit by a devestating hurricane and our media is focus on a dead, old, imperialist.

    So nice that our civilization had its priorities straight.

  33. says

    The UK has so many ways to deal with unpleasant old kings. There’s the common beheading, but I rather prefer the legendary wicker man, or binding them up and throwing them into a peat bog, where they can be fished out centuries later, all nicely tanned, and put on display.

    The UK still has peat bogs, right? They must, in order to make those flavorful whiskeys. Adding King Charles essence to the mix might skunk the flavor, though.

  34. brightmoon says

    My neighbor and I both swore that we wouldn’t watch the funeral or those processions. Spent the whole morning glued to the tv watching . All that pomp was kinda fascinating

  35. says

    The ludicrously prolonged mourning period (eat your heart out, North Korea!) and obscenely deferential media coverage has served at least one useful purpose – it’s caused a degree of resentment against the Windsors that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The orgy of synchronized forelock-tugging in London is wildly untypical of the rest of England. I live in a densely-populated suburb of a northern city where the number of commemorative photos/flags displayed in windows can be counted on the fingers of one hand (the same massive lack of interest that characterised the Jubilee), and when I went for a long stroll this afternoon I met even more walkers and cyclists than I’d expect for a holiday or ordinary weekend. We haven’t all lost our minds and self-respect!

  36. Rob Grigjanis says

    PZ @49:

    binding them up and throwing them into a peat bog

    AFAIK, most of them have been found in Denmark, Germany and Ireland, most were killed before being deposited, and there’s nothing to indicate they were “old kings”. Apart from that, spot on!

  37. vereverum says

    #49 PZM “The UK has so many ways to deal with unpleasant old kings”
    The most famous being Edward II.

  38. Rob Grigjanis says

    kingoftown @55: Whisky: Scottish, Canadian, Japanese. Whiskey: Irish, American. Some kind of arbitrary bullshit determined the spellings. Both are horrible transliterations of the Gaelic uisge (pronounced roughly Oosh-guh), meaning ‘water’. Full name uisge beatha, water of life (translated from Latin aqua vitae).

  39. Rob Grigjanis says

    I’ll add that in my limited experience (two Irish, about half a dozen American, and maybe a dozen Scottish), the difference in taste between Irish and Scottish is far less than that between Irish/Scottish and American/Canadian. So spelling be damned.

  40. Rob Grigjanis says

    PaulBC @58: He’s a Hoyle. Like Fred (whether a relative or not), an embarrassment to the North of England.

  41. Tethys says

    The UK has so many ways to deal with unpleasant old kings. There’s the common beheading, but I rather prefer the legendary wicker man, or binding them up and throwing them into a peat bog,

    Placing human sacrifices in peat bogs was more of a Bronze Age thing. There are many sites throughout the UK and Europe where humans put ritual sacrificial objects into bodies of water.

    The Germanic tribes elected their Kings (Rik) and frequently murdered them if they failed to rule well.

    The words rig, and rule, and reich all come from the same root, which means bind/tie as a verb, and ruler/King as a noun. The etymology of multiple PIE words for bridegroom are the same word that means tied, like a team of horses.

  42. consciousness razor says

    Puerto Rico has been hit by a devestating hurricane and our media is focus on a dead, old, imperialist.

    Yep, total disaster (again) for a population that’s larger than 21 states. Or to put it differently….

    More than half the population of Maryland.
    More than twice the population of Hawaii.
    More than the combined populations of the three smallest states (Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming) plus all of the other “territories” and D.C.

    No big deal. Better find something else to talk about, since it doesn’t matter. Prepare for the same bullshit as five years ago with Maria, from which it still hasn’t fully recovered.

  43. cartomancer says

    HidariMak, #3,

    My initial response to the queueing nonsense was one of nose-wrinkling disdain and mild bemusement at the silliness of it all. I’m not sure there’s anything I personally would queue for nine hours to see or do. It’s performative patriotism at its very worst.

    But then, a day or so later, it dawned on me. They could quite easily have managed this event so the people didn’t have to queue for many hours in a great big long line. They could have put together a simple ticketing system for example, giving everyone a time slot, and you only had to turn up ten minutes before your slot. They had crowd control experts involved in planning this. There was an interview with one on the BBC. This has all been planned for years. They wanted a great big long queue all along.

    Because this is yet another piece of simpering monarchist propaganda designed to create a spectacle and convince people that the British are massively in favour of the monarchy. It’s a crude theatre of establishmentarianism, nothing more.

    Mind you, they could at least have taken a leaf from the Catholic church’s book and made it into something fun and engaging. Cut the old biddy up into fifteen parts, put each one in a different coffin in different parts of London and give well-wishers a stamp card they can fill in as the go. If you collect all fifteen you get a free box of Duchy Originals biscuits and a mini pencil eraser in the shape of a corgi.

  44. silvrhalide says

    @67 thanks for the reminder. I’ll start stocking up on booze now.
    OMFG, this is the LEAD on every single news station, except for PBS. Which is of course dedicating something like an hour and a half to the damn funeral. But at least THEIR lead story was Puerto Rico.
    It’s not like she’s going to get up and get better, FFS.
    Let whatever family members who are sad about her death be sad about it in private.
    It’s all over US TV, largely to the exclusion of actual, real news. Puerto Rico hammered flat by Fiona! Ukraine still being attacked by Russia! Earthquake hits Mexico, 7.5 on Richter!
    Can we please get some real goddamn news?!

    @53 Love Stross’s Necroqueen. Perfect.

  45. Tethys says


    I am searching for the example I remember that involves either Mercian or Saxon tribes in Britain requesting a new King from Charlemagne, after they had killed the previous King he had appointed. It’s not the only example of king killing that I’ve read in various chronicles, but my memory isn’t coming up with the specific names or authors. Gregory of Tours or Fredegar? It might be in Jordanes Getica?
    Warrior societies had very few qualms about killing people and lots of laws about when it was legal to seek blood revenge.

    Charlemagne’s ancestor was not exactly noble, but became the ruler when his official swordsman killed two Merovingian princes in their Grandmothers arms so they couldn’t grow up to become King. (This is part of the historic basis for the Nibelunglied and Tolkien’s stories about rings.).
    Brunhilde had a very eventful life.

    Arminius was never recognized as the King, but he was murdered by his uncle.

    Odacer was killed by Theodoric (the Great) over personal blood feud issues. They were related ‘noble’ families, and Theodoric was avenging his foster father. Killing your (far more royal) cousin at the dinner table, after he surrendered the Western Roman Empire, was another act of evil that eventually made it into the various sagas. (In very incomplete and metaphoric form)

  46. Ed Seedhouse says

    I can understand the coverage in countries that had Elizabeth as their head of state, like my home country Canada, but fir the life of me I don’t understand the 24 hour coverage in the USA. OK, it’s news and should be covered, but broadcasting the whole thing second by second, really?

    I don’t mind the coverage in Canada, I can just ignore it and get on with my life. It sort of makes sense because she was our head of state for 70 or so years, after all. But what fascinates me is the fascination with the whole thing in the country to the south (mostly) of mine. Whatever is that about?

    (Actually much of the USA is due East of the town I live in.)

  47. Tethys says

    @Rob Grigjanis

    Here is another reference to regicide in Einhards: The Life of Charlemagne.

    14. Danish War

    The Saxon war next came to an end as successful as the struggle had been long. The Bohemian [805-806] and Linonian [808] wars that next broke out could not last long; both were quickly carried through under the leadership of the younger Charles. The last of these wars was the one declared against the Northmen called Danes. They began their career as pirates, but afterward took to laying waste the coasts of Gaul and Germany with their large fleet.

    Their King Godfred was so puffed with vain aspirations that he counted on gaining empire overall Germany, and looked upon Saxony and Frisia as his provinces. He had already subdued his neighbors the Abodriti, and made them tributary, and boasted that he would shortly appear with a great army before Aix-la-Chapelle [Aachen – Charlemagn’s capital], where the King held his court. Some faith was put in his words, empty as they sound, and it is supposed that he would have attempted something of the sort if he had not been prevented by a premature death.

    He was murdered [810] by one of his own bodyguard, and so ended at once his life and the war that he had begun.

  48. consciousness razor says

    OK, it’s news and should be covered, but broadcasting the whole thing second by second, really?

    And flags at half staff all over the place, as PaulBC mentioned. Completely ridiculous. I had noticed it first on the 10th at a bank, thinking it was probably for the dead queen. Then I figured it might have been for 9/11, although it still seemed odd since that was a day early.

    But they didn’t stop on the 12th or the 13th. That’s when I realized how many people here had lost their minds. If Charles dies soon too, we may not be able to lift our stupid flags all the way up ever again. Who do we call for help with that … Canada? Obviously not. And I’m afraid we already blew it with Ireland.

  49. John Morales says

    CR, it’s British English, not American. So, half-mast.

    (Though half staff does amuse; half the staff is a skeleton staff
    (Too soon?))

  50. kantalope says

    Didn’t we fight a war not to care when an old lady dies? Even my Canadian wife said said that’s a shame Aay.

  51. Silentbob says

    @ 24 StevoR

    Australia has declared a public holiday – the “National Day of Mourning for Her Majesty the Queen”.

    Do you reckon we’ll ever see a national day of mourning – even a single day – for the indigenous people?

    (Here’s some indigenous people enjoying Australia’s recent foundation as an independent nation – albeit part of the British Empire; later bowdlerized to the British Commonwealth of Nations.)

    Nah… me neither.

  52. John Morales says


    Do you reckon we’ll ever see a national day of mourning – even a single day – for the indigenous people?

    They’re not dead, mate.
    The Queen is.
    That’s why the mourning.

    (Also, the British did not exactly treat their own prisoners that well; I’ve seen the apparatus used on them, I’ve seen museums and read about it. Enough cruelty to go around, there was)

  53. Silentbob says

    @ 82 John Morales

    They’re not dead, mate.
    The Queen is.

    Holy fuck, I swear, every time I think I should ease up on you, that you’re just a dope and don’t know any better, it’s like you go out of your way to convince me you are, in fact, an utter piece of shit. NOT FUCKING DEAD?!!

    Experts estimate the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at more than 770,000 at the time of the invasion in 1788. It fell to its low of around 117,000 people in 1900, a decrease by 84%.

    YES THEY’RE FUCKING DEAD, you fuckwit.

    You’re seriously trying to weigh the scales between the death of natural causes of a 96 year old white person who lived in the lap of luxury, and the near obliteration of a not-coincidentally non-white people by that 96 year old’s empire, and declare the former the more worthy of mourning?!

    Go fuck yourself, Juan, you are utterly beneath contempt.

  54. John Morales says

    Mute Bobby:


    Indeed. The Aboriginal People (First People) are not dead. They yet remain.

    The Queen is dead. She does not remain.

    Mourning the dead is not comparable to mourning the living.

    YES THEY’RE FUCKING DEAD, you fuckwit.

    Mate! I live here. I’ve seen them with my own eyes.

    You’re seriously trying to weigh the scales between the death of natural causes of a 96 year old white person who lived in the lap of luxury, and the near obliteration of a not-coincidentally non-white people by that 96 year old’s empire, and declare the former the more worthy of mourning?!

    No. But that was exactly what you did @81, O hypocrite.

    Go fuck yourself, Juan, you are utterly beneath contempt.

    You are not.

    (Also, next time you want to get familiar, my given name is Juan Ramón, not Juan; you clearly don’t understand Spanish naming)

  55. says

    John Morales I suspect the sailors had a commemorative tot of Rum after their “ordeal’ and as for sodomy if you look closely the sailors in the middle columns were holding hands as they walked.

  56. Samuel Vimes says

    FFS, PZ, it’ll end the second you stop paying attention to it. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to give this shit a moment of your time.

    Hells, I mainly watch paleontology and archaeology videos, and so thought the old bat was buried not long after she croaked. I never knew her being planted took so long and was still a big thing until this article of yours. So it had already ended for me until you made a fuss over it.

  57. birgerjohansson says

    I recall the final episode of The Young Ones; Rick had killed the hippie and got rid of the body by burying it in a pile of manure they had purchased for growing stuff.
    Within hours, clones of the hippie sprout, giving Rick the shock of his life.
    Conclusion: You need to bury people in the right kind of dirt.

    Myself, I want my carcass to be loaded in a cannon and fired at someone I did not like in life.

  58. birgerjohansson says

    Option: Load a body into a Tesla, launch it into space and have it slingshot past Jupiter for a gravity assist.
    At the speed of Voyager 1 it should arrive at Alpha Centauri in 60 000 years*
    The car should have a huge sign saying “Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers.”

    at that time, the distance will be just 3 light years, so you save 20 000 years.

  59. birgerjohansson says

    (The title of Red Dwarf, episode 1. Apt, as the whole ship technicalicy was a tolv back then. Except for the cats. And Kryten. And Holly.,)

  60. Louis says

    @Kingof town, #55

    Whiskey is Irish, the Scots make whisky. No idea if there’s any actual difference.

    Please report to Re-education Camp 9 where you will be…{significant pause} “processed”.


  61. Louis says

    @giJoel #67

    If you think this is bad wait for the coronation.

    This is, in all seriousness, the only 100% accurate, completely uncontroversial, utterly factual and objective take I have seen regarding the whole shooting match.

    When The Chuckmeister officially gets lumbered with The Big Hat, shit’s gonna be wild, yo. That’s extra archbishops, days of protocol and build up, lots of big nobs flying in again, top notch pageantry, many utterly fawning discussions (when the old boss leaves, everyone’s nice for a bit, then starts sucking up to the new boss), chunky jewellery, dead stoats, you name it.


  62. Louis says

    A while ago, on a much less happy occasion, the 11th of September 2001, a rather unpleasant minister in the then Labour government of one Mr T Blair commented that “Today is a good day to bury bad news”. The death of the Her Maj and the ascension of His Maj is a blinding opportunity to fill the pages and minutes of the media with obsequious horseshit of the most oleaginous kind. Bumping all manner of “bad news” out of the news cycle.

    In the UK we’ve had a few such opportunities recently. Minor pandemic, anyone notice it? 70th jubilee. Russia doing naughty things to Ukraine. Brenda snuffing it. Charlie getting a promotion. All of which have (coincidentally, but very conveniently) occurred slap bang in the middle of the transition from pre-Brexit to post-Brexit (ish).

    There has been a bloodless (in the sense that there was no civil war) coup in the UK. The Brexit referendum was the first major battle won. Gerrymandering, alignment of a client media serving the same ends (Capital, natch), and the convenience of additional scapegoats (Pretty much anything that came out of a Johnson, Bit-Of-A-Cough-Itis, War, Dead Brenda, New Hat Charlie) to the usual crowd (Barmy Brussels Bureaucrats, single mothers, immigrants etc) will continue it. England (not the UK) will be a perma-Tory nation within short order. What that will do to the Union is not really hard to notice.

    Unfortunately I can’t apply to be Scottish due to a series of “robust” weekends on Sauchiehall Street, and the rain is horizontal up there. There’s no way I’m going to be Welsh even with Snowdonia, they support the wrong rugby team, and the Irish look like they’re gearing up to get moody with each other again. Unless the English piss them off so much, they reunite Ireland and even the DUP agree that the dissolved UK is a sufficient shitshow that centuries of sectarian shenannigans are worth giving up just for peace and quiet.

    Call me an optimist, but it’s a good time to try to be German. They have the right ideas about sausage.


  63. jo1storm says

    I have seen an interesting twitter comment on this whole kerfuffle.

    “That moment you are so devoted to imperialism that you mourn the death of an empress of the empire you fought for independence against.”

  64. mordred says

    Oh wow! just checked BBC News and the eternal funeral is no longer the filling the front page! Looks like we made it.

  65. birgerjohansson says

    A good time to be German.
    And / or Scandinavian (this gives you another five flavors of “being safe from Brit oligarchy”).
    Shit, I realise we may have to airlift American citizens from Florida and Texas one day.
    Will they be OK with somewhat colder winters?

  66. Louis says

    @Birgerjohansson #102,

    Serious question: What’s the situation in Sweden with the election of a significant amount of the parliament coming from an undeniably far right party?

    Is it a bit…scary?


  67. Rich Woods says

    @jo1storm #98:

    “That moment you are so devoted to imperialism that you mourn the death of an empress of the empire you fought for independence against.”

    Liz 2 was never an empress. Bertie 6 stopped being Emperor of India in 1947. If this tweet was aimed at Americans then some of them might recall that George 3 was never an emperor either.

    I’m all for taking the piss out of the inbred pillocks, but don’t go foisting ignorance of history in its place.

  68. says

    Wow – so much hate and nasty childish comments. The woman tried to do the best job she could, inspired and helped a lot of people, moderated several idiot prime ministers and killed no one.

    PZ’s comments are outrageous and insensitive.

  69. says

    Rich Woods @ #104, not officially, but she was queen when the British empire was still actively empiring:

    …What many Kenyans don’t realize, [Patrick] Gathara said, is that Elizabeth was already queen when the British brutally put down the Mau Mau uprising in the 1950s that helped pave the way for the country’s independence in 1963.

    “They put people in concentration camps, they murdered people, they tortured people,” he said. “I know she wasn’t involved in the day-to-day decision-making or what the colonial government was doing here, [but] the fact that she was silent about it — never once did she acknowledge it and never once apologized for it.”

    The Mau Mau uprising was the most prolonged and violent rebellion against British rule since the region was colonized in the late 1800s. During the 12-year struggle that was eventually put down by the British, 12,000 people died and an estimated 150,000 Kenyans, many of them unconnected to the Mau Mau, wound up in those camps.

    One of them was former President Barack Obama’s grandfather Onyango.

    The British government didn’t admit to torturing Kenyans until 2012 when a London court ruled that three victims, including a man who had been castrated by the colonial authorities, could claim compensation for what they endured.

    The British Foreign Office said it was disappointed by the ruling [wow] but chose not to contest it. As for Elizabeth, a survey of news articles found no indication that the queen ever apologized for the brutal manner in which the Mau Mau uprising was crushed….

  70. PaulBC says


    The woman tried to do the best job she could, inspired and helped a lot of people, moderated several idiot prime ministers and killed no one.

    Except for the the part about moderating prime ministers, that could be said about many people who didn’t have a ridiculously long mourning period. And if you want to generalize the concept of preventing world leaders from doing stupid things, there are certainly many unsung heroes in that department, many of whom had to work hard to attain their influence.

    Also, I’m not sure about “killed no one.” By accepting even a symbolic role, she’s complicit in every action taken by the UK during her tenure (or am I suppose to call it a “reign”?).

    The entire concept of royalty is ludicrous. I realize Elizabeth was born into it and no more likely than anyone else in that position to call out the absurdity and step down. So I have nothing against her personally, but I share PZ’s view in entirety. It is not the “most important” event of the week let alone of all time. When I read a headline “what will happen” during the funeral, I can answer easily “Whatever was scripted, as long as nobody screws up.” (my daughter’s softball games carried a lot more drama than that). When I see the NYT referring to the queen’s “final journey” what jumps to mind is that her journey ended nearly two weeks. Can “serious” people just stop being silly about this?

  71. Louis says

    @Chrispollard #105,

    What hate? Indulging in one of the world’s greatest pastimes, i.e. “taking the piss”, is about as British as it gets. In fact, way ahead of queuing, consumption of tea, historical genocide, and convenient forgetfulness about said historical genocide (schtum, schtum!), the national character of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is defined by taking the piss most severely.

    As Brenda was British, and in no way German, that’s right out, we, her loyal subjects, are celebrating her life and work by engaging in that most British of activities.

    Fie, sir! I say, fie! For absent a bloody good mocking, her Maj would disappear for a dirt nap inappropriately worshipped.


    P.S. Although I am, obviously, taking the piss, I think a genuinely serious argument could be made that a specific type of humour is, whilst not exclusively so, very typically British. And therefore part of the great warp and weft that weaves its way through such a momentous event.

  72. birgerjohansson says

    Being dismissive of the symbol för privilege and imperialism is hardly hateful.
    I and many others have stated on this page that it is sad – but expected- that a 94 year old woman has died.
    But life goes on for the rest of us. And the millions of people living in former British colonies often have quite recent memories of the reality of the empire. They do not associate the imperial heritage with a charming old lady.
    Just ask the Kenyans and the Cypriotes.

  73. birgerjohansson says

    Taking the piss: I can think of several Monthy Python references that would be (gloriously in-) appropriate.

  74. birgerjohansson says

    After Chapman died, his ashes were disposed of by rocket during the Y2K fireworks, a very apt way to go.

    And in the latest John Cleese tour ( * Last time to see me before I die * ), the show started with a sign saying “John Cleese, 1939- 202 ? “.
    At the end after he left the stage, there was much tumult after which the sign suddenly said “1939-2022”.

  75. PaulBC says

    One thing that stuck in my mind is a person being arrested for calling Prince Andrew a sick old man. I’m not totally certain if that could happen in the US, though police might come up with some charge such as “disturbing the peace.” And people do get removed forcibly whether or not they are actually arrested.

    But I am struggling to figure out which part of that three word phrase is inaccurate. Whether you liked Queen Elizabeth or not, it’s something entirely different to respect royalty in the abstract, and that seems to be what’s expected. That, aside from the sheer length of the mourning period, is good reason to be tired of it by now.

  76. consciousness razor says


    historical genocide, and convenient forgetfulness about said historical genocide

    That makes it sound like it was so long ago that it is only “historical.” Take Afghanistan, for example…. There’s the war, obviously, but last I heard, the UK is also still keeping some of their desperately needed reserves, which is killing Afghans and wrecking their economy as we speak. (This specific plundered loot didn’t end up in the British Museum, so I don’t think it would be fair to call it “historical” for that reason either.)

    Of course, the US has much more of it than the UK or other European countries — around $7B out of the $9B total I think. (The US also played a bigger part in the war, although the UK did make an effort for over a decade.)

    In any case, the point is that this isn’t just in the past. It’s happening in the present and will be happening in the future until that shit actually comes to an end.

  77. silvrhalide says

    @102 “Will they be OK with somewhat colder winters?”

    Florida is filled with expat New Yorkers. Are you sure you want them? :P
    Jerry Seinfeld: “My parents retired and moved down to Florida. They didn’t want to go but they turned 65 and that’s the law!”

    And of course it’s an excellent time to be German. They are clearly working on their xenophobia issues with the Syrian refugees and the konditorei are beyond compare.
    One day they’ll discover that some decaf brands really are as good as the real thing and they’ll stop being a nation of Sprockets people.

  78. Louis says

    @Consciousness Razor, #113,

    Not that I am minimising it or excusing it (after all, it’s a good episode of war crimes in my view), but the military action in Afghanistan isn’t genocide>/i>. I mean <link=>genocide when I say <url=>genocide. Of which there is plenty and none of it current. And as I mentioned way way above (since it links to the topic), Brenda was monarch during some of said genocides.

    I don’t want to trivialise one by painting it as the other.


  79. felixmagister says

    While claims of ritual sacrifice of monarchs haven’t held up to close scrutiny, it is simple human nature that, where there is no legal recourse for removing an incompetent monarch from power, assassinations will occur.

  80. Tethys says


    One day they’ll discover that some decaf brands really are as good as the real thing and they’ll stop being a nation of Sprockets people.

    Nein! The caffeine is the point of coffee. That’s like claiming grape juice is just as good as wine.

    And now is the time on Shprockets when we dance!

  81. Rob Grigjanis says

    Tethys @118: Exactly. If someone came up with a drink that tasted exactly like vodka, but with no alcohol, my response would be raucous laughter.

  82. Tethys says

    I do enjoy a good strong French Roast with my pastry, but if I’m avoiding caffeine I would have tea or cocoa before getting decaf coffee.

    I found more regicide examples for you. Vikar is the only example I would classify as ritual sacrifice, but it’s from a saga and involves Odin.

    Merovech is semi-mythical, though he was a real historic person who started the Merovingian dynasty. He was killed by his own commander by his own orders, rather than be captured by the enemy, according to one version. It’s equally possible he was assassinated by Fredegund. I found an online Gregory of Tours: History of the Franks. I can’t copy any here, but it’s an extremely bloody read that is constantly referring to the wonders of Christianity. He is also quite a gossip hound IMO. There are very few other supporting sources for the period.

  83. birgerjohansson says

    Despite the weeks of coverage, no one has asked the important questions, like “who benefits?”.

    Did they performs an autopsy to find out why she fell sick after 96 years of perfect health? Did they pat down Charles before letting him go near the queen’s kitchen?
    I bet the answer to both questions are “no”!

    For the second time in 30 years, a royal death happens without anyone daring to check the facts. And what was the role of PM Liz Truss? Two days before the queen’s death Truss just “happens” to drop by.
    Why was Truss and her coterie seen celebrating with champagne* the evening after the meeting? The answer “because she became prime minister” echoes hollowly. Why the diabolical laughter? Why the expression “we got away with it”?

    *The frantic denials by the PM’s staff will not impress anyone who has paid attention to the last three years of British politics.

  84. birgerjohansson says

    Louis @ 103
    Especially since the abnormal has been made “normal ” by the political debate the last years.
    A far-right party is employing an army of internet trolls.
    A party leader targeted by said trolls escape by sheer luck, as a killer – who admits she was the primary target- attacks another woman at the same place, but apart from newspaper articles there is no major debate.

    The regular conservative party has had its sight set on government change so long it does not dare to embarass the larger populist party whose support will be crucial.
    A prime minister whose integrity I question has been replaced with a prime minister candidate (regular conservative) I know is unreliable.

  85. John Morales says

    Do I? In your estimation, perhaps, Vicar (definitive), but not in reality.

    (For me, for things to be truly droll they should work on multiple levels)

  86. says

    @John Morales:

    Since the video talks about putting everyone in the UK in the line, therefore making it longer, and you clearly did not know this from your comment, no, you had not visited the link.

    Could you just… stop embarrassing yourself? Please?

  87. KG says


    I had blamed the French – this is after all a long-standing British tradition, and Liz Windsor was getting worryingly close to beating Louis XIV’s record as world’s longest-reigning monarch* – but very likely they were in league with Truss (her recently expressed doubt about whether France is an ally of the UK was probably a clumsy attempt at misdirection), and Charles.

    The Vicar@125,
    Nice! But we have been repeatedly assured that the 250,000-odd** who queued to see the coffin are completely representative of the 68,000,000+ who didn’t.

    *Egyptian Pharoah Pepi II has been attributed a reign of 94 years by some historians, but the earliest extant source for such an extended reign dates from around 1,000 years post-Pepi.

    **Some of them very odd.

  88. astringer says

    KG @130 “Liz Windsor”: Please, show some respect. As Louis has gently reminded us, her name was Brenda.

  89. Silentbob says

    @ 130 KG

    I think special mention should go to Ramesses II who became prince regent (effective ruler) at 14 years old and died as Pharoah at 90ish. A ruler so influential he became known as Ramesses the Great.

    Remarkable thing about him is we can go and visit this 3,300 year old guy in a museum. Alas, I fear future generations will be denied the same opportunity to visit Her Majesty, the late Queen. :-(

    Perhaps we can start a petition?

  90. Silentbob says

    @ 86 John Morales

    my given name is Juan Ramón, not Juan; you clearly don’t understand Spanish naming

    No, perhaps unsurprisingly, I don’t understand Spanish naming, and I apologise Juan Ramón. I remember you sharing the story that you started going by John because when you came to Australia as a boy, Anglos couldn’t pronounce “Juan”, which I found sad. You are a despicable person, but because of your attitudes, not your name, so I’m sorry I disrespected your name and heritage. It’s not your ancestors’ fault you’re such a shit. I won’t call you “Juan” again. Fuckwit, maybe. But not “Juan”. For that, I’m sorry.

  91. John Morales says


    Relax, Silentbob. No worries.
    And you recall correctly


    Basically, given name / patronymic / matronymic.
    Morales is the patronymic.

    After that, the ancestry. It begins with “Lopez de Arroyo” and goes on.
    Seriously. Actually, I’ve forgotten some of the rest.


    You are a despicable person

    Interesting; before, you claimed I was “utterly beneath contempt”.

    (But hey, I’m sure it all makes sense in your head)

  92. birgerjohansson says

    Shinzo Abe’s murder uncovered links between the moonie church and the ruling liberal democrat party (which is neither liberal nor demicratic).
    At his state funeral, a protester set himself on fire.
    Now, that is a level of animosity I can approve of!

  93. Silentbob says

    @ 86 John Morales

    So I looked this up, and there is a kernal of truth to what Morales claims:

    Currently in Spain, people bear a single or composite given name (nombre in Spanish) and two surnames (apellidos in Spanish).

    A composite given name comprises two (or more) single names; for example Juan Pablo is considered not to be a first and a second forename, but a single composite forename.

    And yet…

    Forms of address

    A man named José Antonio Gómez Iglesias would normally be addressed as either señor Gómez or señor Gómez Iglesias instead of señor Iglesias, because Gómez is his first surname. Furthermore, Mr. Gómez might be informally addressed as

    1. José Antonio
    2. José
    3. Pepe (nickname for José)
    4. Antonio
    5. Toño (nickname for Antonio)
    6. Joselito, Josito, Joselillo, Josico or Joselln (diminutives of José)
    7. Antoñito, Toñln, Toñito, Ñoño or Nono (diminutives of Antonio)
    8. Joseán (apocopation).

    Very formally, he could be addressed with an honorific such as don José Antonio or don José.

    In other words, it’s perfectly normal to refer to someone named Juan Ramón Morales as Juan, and Morales is yet again trolling. Surprise. How this dickhead has survived on Pharyngula this long when people who weren’t one tenth the troll went to the dungeon, I don’t know.

  94. John Morales says


    Sure, Silentbob. “perfectly normal”, because you are now an expert, and so you trump my own lived experience.

    Obviously, my teachers/parents/friends back in Spain got it wrong, in your estimation. You know better, after your Wikipedia skimming.

    (So oblivious, you are!)

    How this dickhead has survived on Pharyngula this long when people who weren’t one tenth the troll went to the dungeon, I don’t know.

    I’m John Morales, OM.
    Order of the Molly, back in the day.