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article imageOp-Ed: The archaic stupidity of monarchial reverence

By David Delmar     Jul 27, 2013 in Politics
So, a new monarch has been born. Reluctantly, I know this; and only because the tv screens at my gym won’t shut up about it.
They have been fixed on CNN for days, forcing my fellow patrons and I to bear witness to the sad prospect of Wolf Blitzer’s titillated speculation (he hides his shame well) about the newborn’s name. The tension broke earlier than expected when it was announced during the child’s first week that he would be called George Alexander Louis, after a slew of thugs and criminals (including the one from whom the United States won its independence) whose collective, barbaric legacy far outpaces Hitler’s. How cute!
To say I have run out of expletives to give about the whole sideshow would be misleading, because I never had any in the first place. But the fascination with which the American public has regarded this mundane facet of quotidian life (there are hundreds of thousands of children born every day) is more than a little ironic given the little bundle was named after the very same King George whose tyranny prompted the Revolutionary War.
Truly baffling is that no one seems surprised there are still Monarchs in 21st century Europe. This isn’t Saudi Arabia, after all.
No, these are modern monarchs, mostly devenomed, but still unbearably pompous. This collection of nobles is a glorified Brady Bunch—the British version of the Kardashian-style famous-for-nothing family. And though she presently lacks her historical power to brutalize subjects and colonize the world, the delicate Queen’s icy glare can still terrify (even if it is indistinguishable from her icy smile). Not long ago, the current US president learned this the hard way after making a clumsy move in some gaudy and vapid—but suitably British—ritual. After committing the unforgivable sin of talking through “God Save the Queen,” the clearly over-coached president offered his glass to her in toast. She responded by looking at him and refusing to move. "You idiot,” she seemed to say. As the Queen looked on with ire, one could hear a faint echo through history: “off with his head.” The toast comes after the music, Mr. President. Duh.
What’s more confusing is the Brits seem content to bankroll the pedantic, mirthful reality show that might as well be called “The Royals.” Citizens of the United Kingdom pay taxes to support the lavish lives of their spoiled Monarchs, and they don’t seem to mind much, either. The Royals can thus accurately be described as the world’s richest direct welfare recipients. The return on their investment is the occasional gossip-worthy photograph, featuring the risible prince holding his testicles, affixed to the headline: “Harry Clutches the Crown” (get it?).
Maybe what we can learn from all this is that Monarchs throughout the ages were doing it all wrong? Apparently, it is unnecessary to kill and oppress subjects to steal their money. They’ll give it away freely and mindlessly in return for some patriotic entertainment.
At only a week old, the newest British monarch is more famous than the man who invented the polio vaccine and gave it away for free. His slide down the birth canal must really have been one for the ages.
Born into a torrent of worship and patriotic fervor, the media and the American and British publics can’t get enough of baby GAL. As you might guess from the relentless coverage of his birth, there is no more important news in the world. After at least a few days on nonstop jibber-jabber, CNN invited reality television “Supernanny” Jo Frost to give advice to the “Royal Couple” to break up the addle-brained monotony of gossiping about them. The world watched with frisson as she offered the new parents some earth-shattering wisdom: “enjoy the moment.” One can only hope that as this pallid spectacle drones on, those of us forced to endure it will at least receive more sage wisdom like that.
While we know public infatuation with the private business of the denizens of Buckingham Palace will not be mercifully ephemeral, we can take comfort in the knowledge that at least some of the poor louses forced to pretend it is newsworthy are clued-in to the ruse. As BBC journalist Simon McCoy blithely, but admirably put it:
Well, plenty more to come from here of course. None of it news, because that will come from Buckingham Palace. But that won't stop us.
Touche, McCoy.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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