#1. Because like so much other news, it gets old quick.
I’m often worn out, annoyed even, by the steady flow of negativity pouring out of the mainstream media. Wars, recessions, newly discovered cancer-causing things, and partisan politics are a given in any daily newspaper. I have come to accept this.
What I do NOT understand, however, is why a wedding that embraces the inequalities which the western world has prided itself on “removing” is worth covering with the diligence of a presidential election or congressional hostage situation.
Even here in La Linea, Spain–the border town set against the British overseas territory of Gibraltar–an old man selling oranges at the market asked if I was excited for the wedding, mistaking me for a Brit or Gibraltarian. “Hombre, no!” I told him. We then exchanged smiles that were more like high-fives.
But I can understand why he’d ask. Gibraltar has declared the royal wedding (RW) a national holiday, and there isn’t a shortage of RW media attention in the Spanish press. Restaurants and bars are holding formal dress parties, and the amount of RW paraphenalia, from viagra to refrigerators to jellybeans, is probably the only mildly interesting part of the RW background noise.
#2. “Because I can’t imagine being excited about my own wedding, never mind the Royal one.” –Candice Walsh, Matador Life Associate Editor
I give the weddings of celebrities and other name-droppable strangers about as much attention as they would to mine: none. My assumption that the vast majority of RW fanatics are female is probably accurate. But the simple fact that I’m not inclined to care much about media-hyped marriages is not the primary reason I couldn’t care less about this one in particular.
#3. “Because people are suffering and dying all over the world and this is about as frivolous and irrelevant as can possibly be.” –Carlo Alcos, Brave New Traveler Editor
The last RW in 1981 was watched by a televised audience of more than 750 million people. That’s more than four times as many people as this year’s Super Bowl, and even more than the 2010 World Cup Final. Now thirty years later, viewer estimates for RW2K11 are in the billions. Might this be a chance to, you know, do a bit of philanthropic good? Yes, a RW charity fund has been established, but what about the more than $100 million price tag for the wedding itself? Or the more than $8 billion cost to the nation’s economy?
Unfortunately, this opportunity will be remembered as being seized for publicity and the preservation of whatever vestiges of pride in monarchies are left in the world. And for commemorative chinaware. Not for doing good.
#4. “Because I’m going to barf rainbows and unicorns soon. I am locking myself inside my house, unplugging the TV and reading some good old books while the rest of the world dreams about the “fairytale wedding”. –Daniel Nahabedian, Matador Life Associate Editor
The term “fairytale wedding,” albeit overused, seems like a pretty accurate comparison to RW2K11. A prince will be involved. Kings will attend, and plush carpets will be walked upon. And like all fairytales, the RW will be entirely fictional.
That any human possesses some innate quality of “nobility” or “royalty” is as fictional as Tom Cruise’s scientologist superpowers. America was founded on the principle of giving the monarchy the middle finger–how have our news sources decided we’re now all for reviving aristocratic pomp, and how have so many bought into this rhetoric?
The answer is because it’s an easily constructible, hypeable story. Princess Diana’s death, while tragic as any, was transformed into one of the biggest media events in history because phrases like “fairytale gone wrong” were easily inserted into captions, and notions of conspiracy demanded the attention of the world to culminate in perhaps the most exploited death in history–over 2 billion people watched her funeral. Nowhere is the herd mentality that the mainstream media promotes more evident than in all things royal.
#5. “Because although people need symbols, it’s the wrong one. The Royal Wedding is a symbol from another time and place. I like instead the symbol of the Pacific northwest Chiefs and Potlatch. The biggest symbol of respect is to give everything away.” –David Miller, Matador Editor-in-Chief
There is no ground level perspective about the RW because it refuses to come down to Earth. It picks you up, raises you on its majestic purple cloud of clichés and asks that you feel good about an event with the purpose of paying homage to wealth and power and conquest, to class differentiation, and to the concept of the ‘anointed’. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Not nearly as good as changing the channel.
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