Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Historical Musing

The Queen visited Regina today. Unfortunately, this Queen (of West Procrastination) didn't get to see her. But it was for the best, because it rained like crazy. My roommate did see her (she stood very close to her for a long time -- Meg was a volunteer, and shepherded about a bunch of the special guests) and she said that the Queen is very small in person, and very Grandma-like.

The CBC News said that three thousand people waited in the rain to see her today. The news showed people in tears because they met her (okay, one emotional person) and played all that up. And yet I couldn't help but think that none of this rivals the 1939 Royal Visit, with George VI and who we remember as the Queen Mum. I'd have to check my notes on it (I wrote a paper analysing the reception to the Royal Visit in the prairies), but three thousand is the kind of numbers you'd get out to a possible stop on the train line, in tiny towns like Unity. No, actually I think there were 6000 in Unity (including my Grandma -- she echoed the newspapers, saying that the Queen was "radiant").

Can we imagine everyone getting that unanimously excited about anyone now? Or, is it invalid to make such a comparison, because the excitement over the 1939 visit was less a matter of support of the royals (and had nothing to do with an impending war) than a response against the gloom and difficulties of the Depression?

Or, am I wrong in claiming that no one could get unanimously excited over anyone now? Is there a famous person who, if they visited Saskatchewan, would have hundreds of thousands crowding to meet them, with that kind of emotionalism?


Life of Turner said...

Three I can think of: the Pope, Bono, and the Dalai Lama. Maybe Tom Cruise.

Derek out.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

But the Pope and the Dalai Lama would mostly have a more limited appeal -- sure, they would have some others, but mostly it would be their followers. In 1939, I believe half the entire population of Saskatchewan managed to see the royal couple at one of their stops.

Chris Reed said...

I had also thought of the Pope or perhaps someone higher up like God. Other than that I doubt that you could get half of this province to agree on anything.

Chris Reed said...

Actually if real aliens chose Saskatchewan to land in, I can bet that at least half of the province would show up to see them. (Probably half the world would too. Of course we would have to be careful that the red necks didn't shoot the aliens starting an interstellar war.

LynnieC said...

Paulie Shore.
Need I say more?

(I didn't mean to rhyme there. But honestly, what do I care?)

Meg Persson said...

No, I really think that if the Pope showed up, there would be huge amounts of people there. Especially if it had been the last Pope, JPII. Do you remember what World Youth Day 2000 in Toronto was like?

I think the Dalai Lama would be more along the lines of the Jane Goodall turnout, only slightly larger. I think they'd have him speak at the Centre of the Arts.