A royally useless spectacle

The man who is sixth in line to be king of Great Britain is getting married today, and America has lost its mind.

What does it mean to be sixth in the line of royal succession to an office that depends solely and exclusively on who your father is?  It means that five family members have to die before you get the real goodies.  Granted, those goodies are amazing.  Who wouldn't want to live in a thousand-year-old castle (too bad it's in Scotland) or have dozens of "servants" cater to your every whim and need? 

But that lifestyle depends on people believing that you are deserving of such wealth and privilege because you happened to be lucky enough to be sired by a big-eared dolt whose mother is currently known as a "queen." 

I find it unbecoming that citizens of our republic should be so enamored of the goings-on of a family who takes the issue of "bloodlines" seriously.  Even some Hollywood types appear to be unimpressed:

But amid the ongoing media blitz, do people really care?

In Hollywood at least, the response has been mixed.

"I couldn't have less interest," quips English Iron Man star Paul Bettany, while Canadian singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes claims he is "definitely going to watch" the pomp on Saturday.

Emma Thompson, however, must have been caught at a bad time.

"Stop it, just stop it, okay?" She tells a sheepish reporter. "Stop doing the, 'oh let's talk about the royal wedding'."

My DIRECTV program guide lists dozens of channels carrying the wedding and goings-on live.  This isn't media saturation; it's cultural immersion.  We're drowning in an ocean of royal trivia (oooh – nice dress), royal intrigue (why isn't the bride's father attending?), and royal minutia (take a gander at the royal carriage!). 

I wonder how many feminists will be giving in to the guilty pleasure of tuning in and recalling with fondness when they were little girls and dreamed of growing up to be a princess.  Publicly, they must berate the wedding because of its ritualized confirmation of patriarchy.  But more than one feminist will shed a tear, I'm sure, remembering her childhood.

I get it.  It's a celebrity thing.  Americans don't really care about the hereditary ruler stuff and will tune in to gawk as they would any Hollywood or society wedding.  Except Prince Harry has even less claim on celebrity than any empty-headed rich party girl.  At least the party girls lead somewhat interesting – if wild – lives.  Prince Harry is colorless, odorless, and so ordinary that it's painful. 

It bears repeating that what is most annoying about Americans' fascination with this wedding is that we fought a bloody revolution, all so we wouldn't have to care.  Imagine what one of those tortured souls at Valley Forge would think if he could glimpse this future.  I daresay he would have curled up and died rather than continue fighting.

The Weekly Standard has an answer to that:

First, the public fascination with foreign – especially British – royalty tells us more about ourselves, and about human nature, than about Prince Harry or his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II and her growing flock of descendants.  Since the mid-19th century, the British royal family has consciously cultivated its image as a family, and not just a random assortment of wicked uncles, dowager consorts, and foreign-born claimants to a thousand-year-old throne.  This has not only kept the Windsors safely in place as symbols of the state while quarreling politicians run the government; it has also generated near-perpetual public interest in the joys and sorrows, lives and personalities, of the royal clan.

It should be noted that their name is not "Windsor."  Their "family" name is actually Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which the royal family found extremely inconvenient during World War I and changed it.  After all, Kaiser Wilhelm was the grandson of Queen Victoria.

Yes, we did fight a revolution to gain our independence from Britain; but our quarrel was with Parliament, not with the reigning monarch of the day.  (Indeed, many Founders had hoped that King George III might be sympathetic to their grievances, and petitioned him to intervene with Parliament on their behalf.)

So when every statue of King George was torn down and melted down into musket balls, this means the colonists weren't really enraged at the king, just a little peeved?  That might have been true before the Declaration.  But then the king made the mistake of contracting with thousands of Hessians to fight on the British side during the Revolution.  They had a well earned reputation for brutality and savagery.  Any lingering affection Americans had for the king was lost.

I realize I am in the minority and that my views may seem a bit peevish to most.  But our fascination with this wedding and royals in general is a symptom of the rot eating away at our republic.  To imbue this event with an importance far beyond what it deserves takes us farther away from our founding principles that include the idea that it doesn't matter who your father was or your family.  You are judged on your own merits and live life by your own leave.

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