The news of Queen Elizabeth’s death sent off a wave of tributes, shitposts, and denunciations for the departed monarch from people around the world. We all waved goodbye; Ireland even did it with just its middle finger.
As I watched the outpouring of grief and antipathy, one thing was notable: our inability to shut up.
Historically, when major news happens, the broadcast is stopped for a special announcement. A reverent halt begins. Now, the opposite appears to have swallowed that tradition. Major news sparks a worldwide bang in the content machine. The queen’s death did not stop us. It got us started—and now we’re in frenetic overdrive.
Our entire new way of intaking information can basically be summed up in this video:
Spare a thought for those who found out about the Queen's death while listening to Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1 Dance pic.twitter.com/pR48VMmWGj
— Hugh Carr (@hughcarrhere) September 8, 2022
House beats go bang, queen dead, house beats go bang bang.
Often, this social media overload is bemoaned as the decline of culture. I’m not sure about that. But it should at least be noted that if the queen had died in 1992 I don’t think you’d have outlets, celebrities, your mom’s friend all locked in an arms race to best each other in reverence or hatred. And so major news events, and especially this one, have secretly been extremely revealing. How we have consumed the queen’s death is how we consume everything: All at once, at high volume, jammed next to all the other things going on.
Gawk, below, at how the major news event had to be commented on, in some way, by everyone, despite many having nothing to actually say. Behold our new world. Graceless? Maybe. But it is good to know nothing will stop us—no death, no tragedy—from being dumb idiots. That’s what life is all about.
Astonishing moment a cloud resembling Queen Elizabeth floats over English town just hours after she died https://t.co/LLtvpYSKRb
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) September 9, 2022
I was sad at the fact this would shortly disappear… Then I remembered screen record is a thing. pic.twitter.com/kbWp6XeblB
— Hugh Raine (@hugh_raine) September 8, 2022
— Domino's Pizza UK (@Dominos_UK) September 8, 2022
The heavens have opened outside Buckingham Palace this afternoon as we await news of the Queen’s health. pic.twitter.com/OhLuWV4vzd
— Victoria Murphy (@byQueenVic) September 8, 2022
The span of history through humanity is incredible. No person under 70 has lived without Elizabeth II as Queen of the United Kingdom. Her first Prime Minister was born shortly after the American Civil War. Her current Prime Minister was born in 1975.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) September 8, 2022
Rest in peace, Queen Elizabeth. 🇬🇧❤️ pic.twitter.com/o1VXMRjJfG
— The Ohio State University Marching Band (@TBDBITL) September 8, 2022
I'm trying to write a column and I find myself in tears. I fear that everything she exemplified – restraint, duty, grace, reticence, persistence – are disappearing from the world.
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) September 8, 2022