Monday, June 20, 2016

Trooping the Queen

Trooping the Colour, while a beautiful display of affection for Queen Elizabeth II, many years ago favored to move away from being the purposeful transferring of battalion flags that represented the spirit of regiment into a commercialized display of spectacle that turns the royalty
into nothing more than objects for the public to awe at.
Debord writes in his analysis of society as spectacle that commodity, “attains its ultimate fulfillment in the spectacle, where the perceptible world is replaced by a selection of images which is projected above it, yet which at the same time succeeds in making itself regarded as the perceptible par excellence”. Trooping the Colour takes an ‘image’, an event rooted in history and heritage, and projects onto it a selection of images that display the grandiose nature and face value of the royalty that becomes the norm of what the event represents. Society soaks up the over the top nature of this heritage and turns it into an event associated with profit. Every corner near The Mall that day had someone selling Queen or other royalty related merchandize with people most definitely willing to pay.   A quote from Richard Hewison that reflects the state of Trooping of the Colour well states that, “instead of manufacturing goods, we are manufacturing heritage, a commodity which nobody seems able to define, but which everybody is eager to sell”.
The Queen’s face placed upon T-Shirts galore and purchased by the masses instills a sense of literal objectification on the Queen. More than just T-Shirts, the Queen displays herself as essentially an object for the people to gleam towards. People don’t awe at the Queen because she has a fantastic personality or because she has made great legislative movements, they awe at her because she is The Queen. In Berger’s analysis of women as objects he writes, “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at”. This is akin to the way the royalty acts and how they perceive themselves. The common man looks at the royalty and the royalty must watch themselves being looked at, to assure that every move they make is the right one, to appear as if they are the perfect person they seem to be. This especially represents The Queen, being more of a neutral figurehead of the United Kingdom and it’s commonwealth than anything. Elizabeth’s neutrality can even be displayed when watching her ride along at her birthday celebration, displaying no smile towards the crowd and only a brief hand wave every few minutes to barley acknowledge the people that so greatly adore her. In this way she perpetuates that this ceremony is about the objectification and commercialization of royalty. Best told by Berger, he writes, “Thus she turns herself into an object – and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”

Kennedy, Dennis. "Shakespeare and Cultural Tourism." Theatre Journal, 50.2 (1998): 175-188.
Berger, John. “Ways of Seeing.” 1973. Chapter 3
Debord, Guy. “Society as Spectacle.” 2005. Chapter 2

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