We can go deeper than this. What meaningful things do these parties Say About Us All?
Here are some theories.
1. The celebrations are performances, conjured by media command
Oh god, there’s a Thatcher is Dead street party in Brixton. Mostly attended by journalists so far, I think. I’ll avoid that then.— Daniel Knowles (@dlknowles) April 8, 2013
There’s been something celebratory in coverage of the death parties. A sense that, whether defending or attacking them, the death parties angle was necessary to complete coverage of the death. Thatcher was divisive. No coverage which failed to recognise this could claim to be comprehensive.
If street parties celebrating Margaret Thatcher’s death did not exist, the papers would have had to invent them. In a way they did, since by publicising early gatherings they ensured they grew into newsworthy events.
2. Choreographed offensiveness is a healthy proxy for violence
Giving deliberate offence, choreographed offence, is an art and 21st century Britons are its masters. To act in a way you know will hurt people you don’t like is childish. When those people hold the keys of power, becomes childish but aubversive. Having a mildly offensive party is a sublimated riot. That’s better than a riot.
3. Death is the final vengeance
Death had done what the electorate never did: defeat Margaret Thatcher. Last night’s celebrations were originally intended for the night of the 1992 election. But the Conservative party stole the chance for the voters who despised her to depose of Thatcher themselves. These hopes have now been realised. Death was the agent required.
This leads to…
4. They celebrate death, because they fear it
Here were arrive at the deepest source of all. The celebrants yearned to defeat Thatcher, but in the end only death could do that. And so in the end it will defeat us all. Behind the flickering eyes and manic grins lies the darkest truth of all: this isn’t about politics. It isn’t about Margaret Thatcher’s death. It’s about our own deaths, which we so much fear. The parties were an offering to death itself. An unknowing, inarticulate recognition of our inexorable doom.
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Mike Pollitt is the editor of The Metropolis.