Saturday, June 15, 2024

Queen’s death sparks memes

By Bryn Fawn

Queen Elizabeth II died Sept. 8 ending her 96-year-long reign. Her death has resulted in criticism and comedy, much to the delight of users of social media websites such as Twitter and Tumblr.

Soon after, news broke sharing the Queen’s doctor’s concern for her health. She was placed under supervision and was reported to be “comfortable.” The Queen had recently recovered from COVID-19 in February. The Queen died between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. as Liz Truss, the prime minister, was alerted then, but it was not until 6:30 p.m. that her death was publicly announced through different news outlets. Much of regular programming on television was canceled for 12 days to enforce mourning in the U.K. 

With the sudden shift in the social landscape of the U.K., many have used it as an opportunity to comment on the barbaric nature of the British Monarchy. Currently, the U.K. is having an economic crisis. Many cannot afford heating nor food, but the royals have always and will continue to — unless change is made — live in the lap of luxury. With the online response, people are not just celebrating a colonizer’s death, but also placing a magnifying glass over what the Queen really did during her reign. According to the University of Central Florida, the Queen ruled over 15 countries in the Commonwealth and an additional 14 overseas at the time of her passing. Many colonized peoples have begun to demand freedom from their colonizers. Even the Irish joke and even suggest to take back Northern Ireland and become whole once more. 

Many social media users on sites such as Tumblr had suspected the Queen’s death before the official announcement. Many noted how broadcasters, even the British Sign Language interpreter for the news broadcasters, were wearing full black attire before the official announcement of her death, in the early afternoon.

Many are enforcing the Queen’s mourning in different ways. British Cycling, the organization that oversees competitive cycling within Great Britain, advised people to not ride their bike during the 12-day period. However, the organization has since redacted their statement due to online ridicule. Wimbledon Food Bank, run entirely by volunteers, has closed out of respect for the late monarch, but has since reopened due to volunteer support and demand. Morrison, a grocery store in the U.K., was alleged to have turned down the “beeps” of self checkouts out of respect for the monarch, but have since come out publicly to deny such claims.

A spokesperson for Morrison told the Yorkshire Post, “Our checkout beeps are not off. They have just been turned down as our music and tannoy announcements have been switched off in stores.” Morrison will close all stores Sept. 19 for the Queen’s funeral. The British government announced Sept. 19 would be a national holiday for the Queen’s burial. 

Musicals such as “Les Miserables” and “Hamilton” released PR statements on twitter echoing each other. Many mocked “Hamilton,” as there is plenty of criticism of the English monarchy in the show itself, as the character of King George III is represented as a bumbling fool who is childish in nature and will use his power to take what he wants. Heinz, the company responsible for the popular ketchup product, also released a PR statement on Twitter similar to the two musicals. However, Heinz Ireland requoted the American branch with a simple reply of “Nah.” 

The period of mourning did not stop individuals from criticizing the Queen or even taking light of the situation.

Citizens have begun to protest the monarchy and the new King Charles III, which has led to arrests. According to Aljazeera, Symon Hill, a peace activist, was arrested after declaring “Who elected [King Charles]?” at a protest in Oxford. Paul Powelsand, a lawyer, was questioned by police outside of Parliament, because he held a large blank piece of paper. Powelsand did have intentions to write a phrase on the paper to join in the protest, but was stopped by police before he was able to do so. 

“NotMyKing” has become a trending hashtag on Twitter. 

A user on Tumblr with the screen name Monad wrote in a blog post his criticism of the British government. Monad chastises the manner of which the funeral and subsequent coronation of Charles will only further cost taxpayers, while the cost of living is only continuing to increase. 

“And I can’t even sit here and type that the system is broken, because it’s not. It is working exactly as intended,” Monad wrote. “The majority of the population are too blinded by the stolen jewels of the monarch’s bloodstained crown to see that this is fascism, functioning and thriving. Off with their f—ing heads.”

Other forms of criticism have manifested themselves in the form of memes. 

Other memes and jokes have spurred from how it was evident the Queen disliked Princess Diana. It has even been rumored that the Queen ordered her death. Many now make remarks that Diana can now finally seek revenge on the Queen in heaven, or hell. Some even went as far to say Diana broke out of heaven to climb down to hell to seek revenge on Elizabeth.

Finally, another big announcement of that day was the birth of Trisha Paytas’ child. However, it has now been revealed Paytas was not going into labor at the time. Paytas, a “professional online troll,” is largely despised by the internet. She’s allegedly anti-Semitic, transphobic and homophobic.  Due to the news of a potential new Paytas entering the world mere hours after the Queen’s death, many took the opportunity to joke that the new baby was simply Elizabeth reincarnating. Paytas would not be a mother most would willingly pick to have. 

While the jokes have been delightful to partake and witness, it cannot be understated the rippling effect the Queen has had on the world, good and bad. It is fine to joke, good even, but it cannot take away from the devastating impacts of the monarchy’s colonization and grip over the world at large. Elizabeth’s death not only had an effect in the U.K., it was felt all around the world for days on end. 

With her son, George, rising to take the throne, many fear what the future holds. Some hope, and even manifest, he croaks once the crown is placed atop his head. 


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