Thursday, April 28, 2011

Who cares?

Mood level: Pinkish red with gray pallor …
Tomorrow is the wedding of Kate Middleton (a commoner! A waif! Plucked from her desultory station to a place of Honor and Endless Attention!) to His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter Master of Arts, but I don't have to tell you that. "News" coverage has super-saturated the planet so that even if you ran screaming for cover (you can probably hear my wails under this washpail) you still could not avoid this occasion. It's fused to your DNA.

It's why I know there's a months-long fuss over the wedding gown, though I don't know who the designer is. It's why I know there are Will-and-Kate action figures and cake toppers (because who doesn't want to commemorate their own weddings by getting hitched the same day as those two?) It's why I know some of the most miscellaneous tidbits about these two, even though I have become ninja-swift at changing TV channels at the uttered opening consonant of their names.

What I don't know is: Why do we care? What possible interest could this be to anybody but the allegedly happy couple and immediate family? Why do we pay attention, and why do they want us to pay them attention?

I sorta understand why Brits would be interested, but many adamantly are not (good for them!), because they have good reason to feel the British royal family has no purpose except symbolic anymore, and British subjects pay for the upkeep of these symbols, which have the nasty habit of eating and living in impossibly lavish palaces and castles, simply by right of birth. One could not aspire to be them, unless one modeled a see-through dress for one of those to-the-manor-born, and inspired His Princedom to propose. (See! It's in my genes to know this, even though I didn't read it anywhere!)

If a loose contingent of Members of Parliament went over and said, "Right, out you go! We need your lodgings for a museum or housing. It doesn't really matter, what, but we're losing money off it as it is, so pack your things. I'm sure you'll find some friends who can board you." The citizens of the United Kingdom would miss the family for about a week, after which they'd realize the money saved would come in handy in these hard times. The last time the royal family seemed important was as comfort during World War II, but even then it was symbol (a more potent symbol, to be sure) not substance.

Why all the strange behavior required of commoners in the presence of the Queen and her Consort? Even the prime minister, the democratic leader of Great Britain, the one guiding real decisions on behalf of British citizens, must defer to royalty, which has no real influence on anything, and is at the top of the heap solely on suspect godly connections centuries ago. Enough!

I love that Friday is an official holiday, and many Brits figured out that with the Easter holiday, they could swing a 10-day holiday for the cost of three days off, and millions have hightailed it out of the country to be away from the wedding.

But why do Americans persist in their interest? Shouldn't wholesale shunning be a perk of our patriot forerunners having won independence from Great Britain? Yet we are chained to the crown again by our own slavish devotion, hanging on every tittle and jot. The guest list! The shoe size! 

The Today Show is parked in London for the week; probably the other morning talk shows too, but I daren't look. Without the wedding and assorted viral YouTube videos of babies laughing at snot bubbles, Fido, and unemployed dads, what would the Today Show have to talk about? What happens when the wedding is over?

But you know what, the wedding will never be over! After the wedding comes the day-by-day scrutiny of the couple's every move, with special devotion to any sign that it will procreate or collapse. We will never be able to stop hearing about them, succeed for fail, and by extension Prince Charles and Diana and whats-her-name, Camilla, forever and ever.

God help all who will rise at 1 a.m. Friday to watch door-to-door coverage. Why do I know that? Aaaahhh! DNA be damned!

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