fifth column

Keep Calm and Carrion: Two Funerals and a Reflection

By Benedict Seymour, 18 April 2013
Image: Thinking outside the box

Some quick thoughts prompted by looking at images of St Paul's and Goldthorpe, the sites of two rather different funerals for Margaret Thatcher this week: 

Still trying to work out the precise political ontology of wishing someone dead or celebrating their death. I think it's like an act of war. As long as there is still a war, and they are winning, we HAVE to wish them dead. It's not personal. Thatcher brought the fight to us, so when we dance on her grave it's only fair. The spirit of an equality BEYOND a false equivalence infuses our rapturous contempt for ceremony, for the 'human' equality in death that the 'proper' humane or religious reactions formally assume. There is no equality here because she has made herself less than human by de-humanising so many. The horses shit on her corpse, we refuse to keep calm for her carrion. Also we are MORE religious than the supposed religious. The mourners are apostates. They act like she is dead and it's game over, but we know 'she' is part of a matrix, a social nexus, which lives on. She was and remains a 'character mask of capital' and so we have to mash her in papier mache, we continue to need to burn her alive. In a sense she was never alive; she was always all too ready to embody an inhuman subject, to dance, like one of The Mekons' papier mache puppets, to the tune of petrifying relations. Only the atheist would think she was dead - only those who think life is reducible to the metaphysical notion of some sheer biology wouldn't think 'she' lives on and in need of ceaseless torching in effigy. In fact, it is those who despise her thoroughly and by a prolonged and systematic deregulation of all funerary conventions that can begin to give her material death something like a human response.

The black suited black tied inhumanity of so-called humanity was arrayed into geometric blocks on the marble floors of St Paul's, even her spawn looked brutal and unfeeling. Only those that burn her image and continue to lash back at her in the continuous war begin to approximate to some respect for human life. The sanctity of this much spoken of 'life' is in the balance. Those who would honour it HAVE to spit on her grave, let the dead bury the dead, fight on until the whole class - indeed class itself - is in the pit.