Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Win-win

Useless against almost all the world's problems, I can at least solve one problem right away, and save my betters from its needless distraction.

The solution is elegant in its simplicity: Turn the British royal family into the second coming of the Kardashians.

Everyone wins!

You probably know the royal family's recent foibles. Even those who involuntarily avoid paying any attention (me! me!) can't escape them.

But just in case you've better resolve than I, old chap: Prince Harry, son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, was caught in photographs last month cavorting in the nude, with friends in similar dishabille. Then last week Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William, the other son) was photographed topless from inside a French villa as she and Prince William vacationed.

While photos of Harry blazed the Internet, Kate Middleton's pics made a relatively slow parade from one European publication to another, each announcing in turn it would publish the pictures, each lavishing its day's worth of media hyperventilation.

Buckingham Palace was upset with Harry, the ├╝ber bad boy of entitlement, engaging in just the latest of his embarrassing run for the royals. But the family was outraged — outraged, I tell you! — at the Kate Middleton pics, and this week won an injunction from a French publication to keep the photos from spreading.

As if that could really happen.

The monarchy is looking at this all wrong, and missing a monumental opportunity. It should be monetizing this folderol, guided by one unassailable business principle: What would the Kardashians do?

The Kardashians would get its own television show and multimedia production company, licensing its every image and utterance, is what!

The parallels are plenty and uncanny: Two families of no particular value, born of money and variations of power, thriving on faded glory (some talent among the two, but not as much as you'd think, given the opportunities each enjoys). Two families who master the ineffable, ephemeral, damnably puzzling quality of getting other people to give a damn about them.

Other than allowing cameras in every corner of every castle and carriage, and pricking centuries of pretense and puffery, the monarchy need not do anything different.

Indeed, the royals would be free to be themselves. Harry could cavort unbridled and unclothed like the frat boy god he'd like to be. William and Kate could frolic. Prince Charles could continue to plot murder most foul, Prince Philip could insult anew some former far reach of the British Empire. Publicists would market each and every step and misstep. And the Queen could address hate mail to Helen Mirren on camera, and continue to not be amused by it all, using the royal we.

The beauty of it: Whether in triumph or tragedy or comedy, the lords and ladies of the realm would make money. Consumers would declare their disgust and ask for more, in high definition. Products would spin off the shelves. Royal offspring and connected relatives would spin off their own shows. The royals would earn their own keep and get off the public dole. They could live in their many and varied hovels debt- and guilt-free!

Best yet, I would know what channel, day and time their fab show will be on — and avoid it once and for all.

We are amused.

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