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Monday, May 1, 2023

John Higgs on magic and the monarchy

The Green Man, from a stained glass church window in Wales, Creative Commons photo, source. 

With a British coronation apparently looming (I don't pay much attention to such things), John Higgs has a particularly interesting essay in his latest newsletter, focusing on the role of magic in the British monarchy, and the "people's magic" that could act as a counterweight.

If I tried to quote all of the interesting things John says, I would wind up reproducing pretty much the whole essay, but I'm guessing quoting the opening paragraph will get some of you to read it:

"When the invites to Charles’ coronation were revealed, there was a minor kerfuffle about the amount of magical, supernatural or pagan imagery involved - especially the figure commonly known as the Green Man. The fuss reminded me of that scene in Casablanca, when Captain Renault closed down Rick’s bar. 'I am shocked, shocked, to find that gambling has been going on in here!', he explained, just before being handed his winnings. Monarchy and coronations are as magical and occult as things get, and to pretend otherwise is always going to be funny."

John also has some short bits on book recommendations and his ongoing tour to promote his excellent Love and Let Die book, here is my review.

Possibly related: Tyler Cowen (who also strongly recommended Love and Let Die) has posted a revisionist review of the Wings album, At the Speed of Sound.  I participate in the comments. 

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