Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You are an Asshole, Your Highness

Naturally everyone everywhere is talking about Prince William's engagement to some tart named Kate Middleton (apologies if she is not actually a tart). And by everyone everywhere, naturally, I mean the goddamn tabloids - not to exclude the beloved NYT, of course ... since they actually sound like a tabloid themselves:

Interested parties can now focus on a new set of pressing issues: Who will design Miss Middleton’s wedding dress? Who will be Prince Harry’s date at the wedding? And, should Miss Middleton become queen — which would not take place until the death of both the current queen and the future king, Prince Charles — will everyone call her Queen Kate? (Her formal name is Catherine.)

It's always surprised me that Americans give a shit about British royalty. They aren't all that glamorous anymore. Politically, it's awful (don't you care that our country was founded on an opposition to monarchy?). I suppose it seems quaint by U.S. standards ... but when you find out that the British monarch still has technical powers, it seems a little creepy, especially considerign that the UK has no written constitution. There's a certain insistence that the kings and queens and princelets are all part of the government's "dignity" and not day-to-day work. Still, that doesn't quite sit right.

What's most worrisome is the timing, though. With a typically royal disregard for the "little people," the announcement seems intentionally designed to distract the British people from the seriousness of the upcoming budget cuts. In its own quaint British way, this is putting patriotism before politics. It's taking what's considered quaint and characteristic and beloved about Britain and broadcasting it everywhere and marginalizing the actual problems with the government. Even the media admits it:

"After an autumn of dismaying news about budget cuts and Austerity Britain, the engagement provided an all-purpose happy diversion. The BBC started providing saturation coverage of the announcement. Queen Elizabeth proclaimed herself to be "absolutely delighted.” Prime Minister David Cameron said that when he announced the news, members of his cabinet responded with a “great cheer” and “banging of the table."

Thanks, NYT. Circus triumphs over bread in the UK. It doesn't matter who gets thrown out on the dole; the tabloids will save the working class.


Nullstellensatz said...

I find that the perfect antidote to the British monarchy lovefest is Leon Rosselson's 1979 song "On Her Silver Jubilee" written to commemorate Queen Elizabeth lasting 25 years on the throne without falling off. You can read the lyrics here:

Boyle said...

I find nothing wrong with a monarchy. I guess that is because I know I serve a King who is to return. ^_^

BTW, this question by the Times (or whoever) is ridiculous- "And, should Miss Middleton become queen...?" As far as my limited knowledge of British royalty goes, when there is a reigning king, his wife is always the Queen Consort. Only the husband of the reigning queen receives the limited title of Prince Consort, and not king, from what I have heard in the past.