Monday, April 11, 2011

Curmudgeon conducts an Unscientific Survey about the Royal Wedding

On the Friday after Easter, a balding relic of an age gone by will marry a very pretty English girl at Westminster Abbey.

It is a sign of how little royalty counts any more -- even in England -- that the young couple couldn't even book the church on a Saturday.

Now, mind you, I'm happy for the kids and I wish them a long and happy marriage. But my republican (small-r) instincts are entirely on edge with all this "news" coverage of the forthcoming nuptials.

Yes, I understand that the news-gathering services are pleased to focus on a happy story for a change. It must be a relief for the chattering class to put aside the endless wars and famines and plagues and earthquakes and tsunamis and insane dictators for this event. But wall to wall coverage by every cable and broadcast outlet? I don't see how Balding Billy's marriage to Bonnie Kate rates more than a passing mention on the evening news in America.

See, I could have sworn we had a Revolution in this country to rid ourselves of kings and queens and "aristocrats" who think that they've got something over on the rest of us because one of their ancestors stole off to the no-tell motel with the reigning monarch. (Oh sure, many of England's hereditary titles were conferred for valor in battle, especially in more recent times, but an awful lot of titles seem to have been initially bestowed on the offspring of royal mistresses....)

I learned in school that the British Crown provides an apolitical symbol of national unity -- something that pretty much all Brits can rally round, whatever their political persuasion. The advantage of having a head of state separate from the head of government is frequently illustrated by comparison of the Crown to the President of the United States: Because the President is both head of state and head and government, no matter who occupies the Oval Office, the blood pressure of somewhere close to half the population rises every time he speaks -- even when he is trying to apply a healing balm to the body politic. And, besides, the English Crown is a big boost to tourism: People like to see the funny costumes and the carriages.

I can therefore understand that some folks in England might want to take time off to watch the pageantry. But in America?

And yet I've heard and read about people -- American people -- planning to take the day off of work to watch the wedding and attendant festivities on TV.


So I throw open the floor to you, Dear Readers. How much, if any, of the Royal Wedding festivities are you planning to watch... and why?


Shel said...

Okay, well you asked for it. But then again, I'm female, so my perspective is different. I forgot to ask for the day off, but I had intended to, even though I don't have TV - I was planning on keeping up with the nuptials and attendant celebrations via internet.
It's as you said: something positive. And funny I never noticed William was balding, isn't he a bit young for that?
I LIKE watching royals. English royals in particular. Can I articulate why? Probably not, but I suspect it has something to do with females being indoctrinated from an early age with the whole "fairytale" thing, and there isn't much in this world today that approaches "fairytaleness" other than a Royal wedding.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well there was SOMETHING magical about diana. i would watch her any time she was on if i was able. this one, she seems okay but not magical so i'll glance at best i think. interesting post though!

smiles, bee

Dave said...

For the same reason people click on Charlie Sheen or his progenitors, American Idol, or more American, baseball, football and yesterday's Masters: Fantasy, voyeurism, and so on. We feel our lives are inadequate, and want to live what others "live." Same reason we read novels and watch the Simpsons.

In my own defense, I've never watched American Idol or Sheen.