‘I don’t want to abolish the monarchy, just the stupefying coverage of it’ | I. Jack- The Guardian

‘I don’t want to abolish the monarchy, just the stupefying coverage of it’ | I. Jack- The Guardian

That the techniques and temper of modern journalism are the enemies of republicanism is an idea that the late Christopher Hitchens understood and lamented. In a piece published in the same Guardian issue that raised the republican flag, Hitchens wrote of how royal coverage operated in the press “with the intensity of Gresham’s law“, the bad driving out the good and “encouraging laziness and sentimentality and salacity by making it too easy to fill page upon page with brainless twaddle, and encouraging contempt for the readership that makes itself such an easy target”. His argument was interesting. What Hitchens proposed was not that we abolish monarchy but that we “transcend it or, to put it in more old-fashioned terms, that we grow out of it”. We needed to begin the process of emancipating ourselves from “the mental habits of royalism”, including “the infantilism and cretinism of the press”. That way, it would melt away in the face of our disregard.

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