Separately, the Daughter Unit and I watched a series on Netflix (don’t hate on us, there’s still some good stuff there, and I don’t want to bail out until we’ve milked it dry) about the last Czars of Russia – specifically the series which mixed fairly serious commentary about the Russian Revolution with interestingly high-end reenactments of events in the life of the last czar and his family. (Seriously, though – I doubt very much that Nicky and Alix made mad hot whoopee on a fur coat underneath his official czarsorial desk, while the household staff made a heroic effort to ignore the amatory noises coming from behind closed doors. Just my .02. She was a Victorian, for Ghod’s sake. Really; Queen V.’s granddaughter. Who privately thought that Dear Alix wasn’t in the least up to the challenge of being Czarina of all the Russians; Alix may have waxed poetically amatory about her affection and trust in Father Grigory Rasputin, but to do the nasty on the floor, in daylight? Even with your wedded husband? Just nope. Nope.)
I will accept that the orgiastic interludes involving Rasputin were likely and wholly believable. And that Nicky and Alix loved each other, that their four daughters and son with medical issues all loved each other with a passionate devotion that lasts through this world and the next. The last shattering sequences in the Ipatiav House rings true. That was the way it was, and that was how it ended. (I reviewed a book on this, here.)
I was meditating on all of this – with a consideration towards royalty; the old-fashioned kind, and the new-mint variety.
For thousands of years in human society across the globe, it was generally accepted that there was this royal/noble class, assumed by virtue of their ancestry that they were bred to rule. The chosen rulers (and admittedly, many of them were self-chosen, to start with) considered themselves to be perfectly fit for that role, having been generated by the right and accepted sperm and squeezed out from the correct womb. (Inbreeding did begin to take a toll, after a couple of centuries – see the case of Charles II of Spain.) But in certain rare and eccentric cases – the ordinary people themselves worked out a system of participatory government – the city-states of classical Greece, Rome in the time of the republic. What with one thing and another throughout the last couple of centuries, the old-fashioned autocratic royalty and nobility had to yield up large chunks of their former authority to a more-or-less democratically elected body, although in cases like Russia (see above) the old-line royalty were merely replaced with another and equally authoritarian and brutal set of new royalty robed in shining robes of finely-woven Marxism. In any case, though – the old autocrats did not appear to despise their countrymen and women with quite the vicious enthusiasm displayed by our new aspiring ruling classes.
Oh, the old nobility may have rather looked down on the rabble, been a bit contemptuous of those in ‘trade’, at best patronized them as simple, salt-of-the-earth peasants, but at least they didn’t speak of them as utterly loathsome and unworthy of civilized consideration. The old-style royals and aristocrats didn’t sneer at simple patriotism and write off better than half the country as a bunch of irredeemable deplorables, or denigrate fiscally-conservative activists as racial terrorists, as has been the wont of our professional media with regard to the Tea Party.
Seriously, I almost prefer the old-style royalty, even if they turned up as twice as many incompetent duds, certifiable morons, and otherwise featureless, talent-free nonentities as they did the competent, charismatic and able. At least, they did not despise their own countrymen and women.
Discuss as you wish, and can bear it.