Academic Writing

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Royal Wedding 2011

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Do We Care? Why or Why Not?

The Daily Beast published an article today by John Avalon entitled, “William and Kate's Royal Wedding: Enough Already!” in which the author goes details his, and many Americans’, frustration with the media hype and coverage over Price William and Kate Middleton’s upcoming nuptials.  Namely, he poses the question, “Who Cares?”  He asks, why should we as Americans, who fought a war to break from the aristocracy of England care about or pay any attention to such pomp and circumstance?  And if people do care about such frivolity, he posits, that they should perhaps move to England, as he says “And for those who fetishize the remaining whiff of aristocracy—well, there’s a continent for that. It’s called Europe.”

While I do agree with Avalon to a certain extent that the media coverage has been at time excessive, I find his reasoning to be simplistic and based on his own biases.  I should also fully disclose that I too have my own biases, being totally and utterly fascinated and charmed by the Royal family.  There was even a moment (ok, definitely longer than a moment, ask any of my high school friends) that I was beyond convinced that Prince William was the love of my life and one day I’d become his princess.   Those days have surely passed, but the vestiges of that allure remain deeply ingrained in me. 

I will say, however, that Avalon’s assertion that we as Americans made a decision to be non-UKers and therefore should not be intrigued or interested in the Royal Wedding is rather simplistic.  If that were indeed the case, Hollywood would not exist as it does today.  We would not have turned the Kennedys into our own version of royalty. I think it’s in fact just the opposite.  Americans crave pomp and circumstance from our own version of royalty.  Take Hollywood for example, as they are the closest we have to royalty.  We gape at the jewels and gowns the starlets adorn themselves with.  We are fascinated by their trysts and romantic drama.  If we as Americans really rejected the notion of royalty then Hollywood wouldn’t be the staple in our society that it is.

He quotes a CBS/Vanity Fair poll which found that 65% of Americans have “no interest” in the wedding.  That might be true, but his assumed reasoning is just that: assumed.  Maybe it’s the almost constant onslaught of information being fed to us that can be quite fatiguing.  There could be a whole host of reasons why that poll number is so high.  I’d also argue that if that was indeed the case and people were not interested in the coverage then there would not be as much.  Ratings rule the airwaves decisions and if people weren’t drawn to it news directors and network executives would pull the coverage pretty quickly.   Avalon further argues that the coverage is taking up valuable time and space that could otherwise be used to cover real news stories like murders on the Ivory Coast or in The Sudan.  He’d be right, if the American media covered that at all.  Those atrocities were occurring well before there was ever an engagement and the coverage was lacking and sparse. 

Ultimately whether people care for the wedding and its accompanying coverage is up for debate, but I do think to say that we don’t care because in 1776 we fought a war to be free of the King’s rule is probably a bit over simplistic and perhaps an overstatement of our nature as a society.

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