Pop Culture Throwdown: Royal Wedding Watching

No need for a long, rambling introduction this week.

You may have heard that those two beautiful people up there are getting hitched on Friday.

Royal Flush

by littlechick

As a single American female born in the early 80s, I’m pretty sure it was the law that as a pre-teen/teenager I had to have a crush on Prince William and daydream about growing up and marrying him. (Remember what we talked about last week? This is a judgment-free zone (at least for you)).

I’m a little biased because I’ve long been interested in European monarchies, but the British monarchy in particular. I once memorized all of the kings and queens, in order, since William the Conqueror (that information only comes in handy while watching Jeopardy!). While I recognize that the monarchy is a mostly-defunct, fairly useless institution, full of people who don’t even really live in the real world, I am still fascinated by it.

There is just so much tradition, so many rules to follow, so much protocol – where to sit, when to stand, what to wear, how to wave. So much of the royals’ lives is essentially scripted for them, and it’s been great to watch the monarchy come to terms with the modern world and the concept of free will over the past 30 years.  Diana – whose name you’ll no doubt be sick of hearing come Friday, if you aren’t already – bucked many royal customs, and that spirit lives on mostly through Prince Harry, who – can we go on a tangent here? – is really shaping up to be much more desirable than his older brother. Give me the Spare any day over the Heir, thankyouverymuch.

Of course the heart of the appeal of the royal wedding is the fairy tale – Kate Middleton is about to live out a lot of little girls’ (and big girls’) dreams this Friday. Plucked from obscurity – famously catching Prince William’s eye at university – she is about to be elevated from a commoner (albeit a very wealthy commoner) to a real life princess (although I believe her actual title is still up in the air).

I haven’t decided if I will be getting up at 4 AM (Eastern) to watch the wedding of the century (glad they’ve got that wrapped up so the next 89 years can take it easy), but I will at the very least be DVRing it and watching it when I get up. As the monarchy marches slowly into the 21st century, you get a feeling that this might be one of the last great bits of pomp and circumstance that we get to watch. Lord knows no one cares about the rest of European royalty.

Weddings are enough of a spectacle. But throw in a gorgeous girlcrush of mine, a balding but formerly-most-eligible bachelor who also happens to be a prince, a romance that only the best romcom writer could have dreamt up, TONS of lavish wedding porn, and one of the most storied monarchies in history? You don’t have to ask me twice.

Royal Pains

by The Commish 

At 5 am ET on Friday morning millions of people will be watching with bated breath the no doubt to be stunning nuptials of William and Kate. I will be fast asleep in my bed, thankfully oblivious to the events a half a world away. Because when it comes down to it…who cares. Obviously the Brits do, and I will not begrudge them that fact. It’s not my money being spent to keep up an antiquated and classist practice over in the United Kingdom. If they want to voluntarily declare that this group of people is more important than the common man just because of their heritage, then that’s fine by me. What I’m interested in is why we, the Americans, care.

Sure the news media has inundated our airwaves with nonstop royals news. In fact my local NBC affiliate actually dispatched one of their own anchors to London to cover the wedding. But the news folks are not to blame because they are just feeding us what we want. According to a New York Times / CBS News poll although on 6% of Americans have been following news about the wedding very closely, and an additional 22 percent are following it somewhat closely. While the percentage is low, that is a heck of a lot of Americans caring about a seemingly inconsequential foreign event. For those of you not doing the math at home that’s nearly 86 million people, more than the entire population of the United Kingdom by 25%. And the data skews more towards women. Even the all-British panel on one of the Sunday morning news shows was a bit flummoxed as to the reasons why us Yanks care.

I’ve searched high and low to find out. The most listed reasons (she’s a commoner, they encapsulate the American dream, etc.) have to be some of the stupidest things I’ve read over the last several weeks. In fact most of the listed reasons ignore the fact that Charles and Diana’s wedding back in the day was just as big of a deal. I think the reason that a certain percentage of Americans care about the royal wedding is because we love fairy tales, because this wedding is just one big fairy tale with all of the trappings you would expect out of a capital “W” Wedding. All of the pomp and circumstance that many a girl has thought about will be on display at the wedding. It’s giving folks a chance to see the wedding that you will never get.

But that’s still only one side of the story because it doesn’t address the fact that a good percentage of Americans are infatuated with all things British. But more specifically the old Britain.  Simon Reynolds, a British music critic and author writing for the LA Times, nails this. Take a moment and read it here. Ultimately many will tune in on Friday morning. Just remember to not be too loud…some of us are going to be catching up on our sleep.

*****
So will you be watching?  Cast your vote!

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