I did not expect this to happen. But I was deeply moved on Monday by the television image of Queen Elizabeth’s coffin being lowered into her vault at St George’s Chapel in Windsor with the Queen’s piper playing her to rest.

The choreography of him performing as he walked alone down a dark castle hallway and then disappeared seemed ancient, eternal, and profound. He tapped directly into what psychologist Carl Jung described as the collective unconscious. It was as if I was part of something as old as humanity itself as I watched.

That’s a lot in front of a screen, especially for someone who has spent over 40 years in front of screens deconstructing and writing about the images on them. But looking back on the 11 days I spent following media coverage of the Queen’s death, I realized that television was educating me and making me more empathetic towards the Queen.

I still dislike monarchies and despise colonialism of which England was one of the most brutal practitioners. But I’ve come to admire Queen Elizabeth and maybe even understand a little why all those hundreds of thousands of people were standing on ropes and roadsides hoping to catch a glimpse of her or tell her a last goodbye.

The Queen and TV grew up together. In England, the televised coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953 is a landmark for when the medium began to overtake radio as the dominant medium in the UK. For American viewers, the funeral of President John F. Kennedy after his assassination in 1963 marks a similar media moment: when television became the primary storyteller of American life and a vehicle of collective experiences for millions.

Now I wonder if his funeral will be one of the media events the historian uses to mark the end of the television era. Watching Monday’s events, it’s hard to believe we’ll ever see such a grand and powerful global TV event again.

Will any of these roadside people ever have a leader who served for 70 years as a beacon of steadfastness at a time when the nation has undergone tremendous change? Will the new media landscape of digital channels for individual, siled consumption ever unite audiences as television did during the shared moments of national celebration and post-World War II tragedy?

As technology and politics further fragment audiences, such shared national rituals and rites of passage seem less and less likely. Countries could stage them and new media platforms could cover them, but will we leave our silos long enough to experience them and participate in them with the members of the tribes we fought on, for example Twitter? In England, changing attitudes towards the monarchy will make it all the more unlikely that King Charles III or any of his successors will ever connect as deeply with their citizens as Queen Elizabeth.

I was glad most of Monday’s presenters and commentators were wise enough not to comment on moments like the one featuring the Queen’s piper. But I was also grateful that several of them later explained to me that the piper had played under her window at Balmoral for 15 minutes each day when she was in residence. It made the final moments of his game for her on Monday all the more poignant.

Cable channels MSNBC and CNN began at 5 a.m. ET. At 6 a.m., CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS and Fox News were all providing coverage. The live broadcast offered by the BBC was one of the best places to view the funeral. The commentary was sober and informed. And the producers offered me shots from several viewpoints of the procession routes that I haven’t seen anywhere else. But watching them on iPhone didn’t do justice to the majestic, panoramic images offered on TV screens.

In the end, despite all the grand heraldry and the pageantry of fanfare and artillery fire throughout the first six hours of the funeral events, the quietest moments were those that felt most evocative and resonant. The sounds of horse hooves and military boots hitting the sidewalk to the perfect beat of marching drumbeats surely reminded some American boomers of Kennedy’s funeral. If those sounds didn’t trigger a collective memory from 1963, the sight of an attendant holding the Queen’s favorite horse as the hearse carrying Elizabeth’s remains passed en route to Windsor Castle did. probably done. It reminded me of the riderless horse in Kennedy’s funeral procession.

Of all the presenters and analysts, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper seemed the most in tune with the rhythms of the day’s events. More than once, he silenced any conversation between his colleagues by saying, “Let’s just listen to the sights and sounds.

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