Here’s the front page of the Times right now at 8pm on the 2nd of May, 2015. The Times is one of the most-respected newspapers in the United Kingdom:
And here’s the current front page of the New York Times at this exact same moment. The New York Time is considered one of the USA’s flagship newspapers:
Notice any difference?
Now of course it’s understandable for the British press to celebrate a royal birth, this country is after all a constitutional monarchy with long traditions to be upheld. And I congratulate and salute Will and Kate for dutifully fulfilling their royal procreation duties.
But as an American living here, I’ve grown a little tired of all the fawning and breathless news coverage about the royal family in the British media. It’s as if these were super-human deities, that we need to constantly be reminded to worship. But this annoyance that I’m confessing to is quite mild. If the British people want to put the royals up on a pedestal, that’s their right.
I think perhaps that all this royal veneration strongly contributes to a class-driven society where merit becomes secondary to privilege and family connections. But even if I think this might be true, as an immigrant to the UK, I feel I must respect its chosen form of government and its traditions, even those that I suspect do more harm than good. It’s a great country, and this is a really minor complaint.
But what I do find infinitely more frustrating is the fact that the British people refuse to accept and admit that most of its citizens actually do fawn over their royal family.
In fact, I hear two common deflections from British people about the royals each time they wind up dominating the news:
- The royals are good for the tourists aren’t they? We mostly keep them around for that.
- The Americans care far more about the royals than we do.
I suspect the first point may be true. There are huge crowds around Buckingham Palace virtually every day of the week. Tourists flock to Windsor Castle and other royal-connected locations by the millions.
But the idea that Americans care more than Britons about the comings and goings of the House of Windsor is utterly ludicrous, as one glimpse at any UK news channel right now would reveal.
Why do they feel the need to lie about this? Is following the royal family some kind of guilty pleasure to be enjoyed, but never admitted to? Like watching Olivia Newton John roller skate into our hearts in the 1980 film
flop classic, Xanadu?
Now we are here
Er, for the record, I have no idea how that example popped into my head. I totally do not love Xanadu. In fact, I think it’s the British people who really love Xanadu. It’s on TV here, like, all the time. And if somehow the disc finds its way into my DVD player, that’s only because British people sometimes visit my flat, and maybe they’d want to see it if they happened to come by completely unexpectedly on some Saturday night. Better to be ready. I only only keep Xanadu around for the British. It’s the British that fawn over all things Xanadu. Yes, they do. And it’s embarrassing. I only keep the dvd, and the blu-ray and some memorabilia around for the British. And the soundtrack, which contains the overlooked ELO classic “Don’t Walk Away.” That song just melts the heart of British people. Every. Single. Time.
God, I’m embarrassed for the British and their endless obsession with Xanadu.
Now, what was the point I was trying to make again?