It was less than 24 hours ago that yours truly sat at his desk, desperately diving through the dark recesses of the internet in search of something to preach to you about. And lo and behold, dear readers, the internet provided- for yours truly was not seven clicks in before he stumbled across some truly inane Buzzfeed post on Kate Windsor and her offspring.
While the article itself was mostly just pictures of the royal consort and the spawn-of-Windsor (can we please make it a thing to call ’em that?), it was the title that got me. Typical Buzzfeed clickbait, to be sure, but with all that wonder and joy you’d usually associate with a kid on Christmas.
Royal pictures! Princesses and princes! Jewels and castles and- and-!
And all that ****ing drivel.
But don’t you fret, boys and girls, this isn’t going to be another leftist rant against the British crown (the truly sleazy, inbred, useless, parasites that they are).
No, no- it’s a tirade against our obsession with this absurd tradition, and a case for why it’s high time we abandon it.
Now there are doubtlessly those among you who wonder if such a thing is even necessary. The royals are, after all, tucked away in their lavish palaces on the other side of the world. What harm could a handful of random pasty dudes possibly have on our culture?
That, beloved and faithful readers, is a good question. How about we start with…
Yes, that most dearly held of American values.
Or at least, formerly most dearly held of American values. With income inequality at historic highs, it’s probably safe to say we’ve let that one slide a bit.
It didn’t used to be like that, though.
Once upon a time, one of the greatest defining characteristics of the nation was a borderline Socialist obsession with equality and the common man. Only slightly more than a century ago the American republic stood unique amid a morass of empires, duchies, and despots, and we, for one, were damn proud of it- even to the point where the practice of tipping was considered to be “un-American”.
Don’t get me wrong- the love affair Americans developed with the Windsor family is not- I repeat, not– to blame for the decay of this value. But it’s not exactly helping, either.
Make no mistake here, we’re essentially fawning over these folks simply for the reason that they’re supposedly “different” than us.
The harsh reality of the situation is that the Windsors are just a bunch of random schmucks who, in any other circumstances, would be working stiffs like the rest of us. But because of some antiquated feudal traditions and the genetic lottery, we idolize this family simply for the purpose of having something to idolize.
Well, not entirely.
The harsh truth that I suspect here is that our frenzied devotion to the Windsors has less to do with the Windsors being unique and special than our own desperate hope that we are. The only reason we even tolerate these bougie nerds is because their existence validates our own hope that we too might be just inherently superior to our fellow man. That breeding or nature or divine intervention has set us apart from the great unwashed, and it’s just a matter of time before we’re discovered Princess-Diaries-style and take our rightful place on the throne.
And it’s demented, it’s psychotic, and it’s the source of every self-entitled ***hole in this country. The folks who chew out waiters and cuss at baggage handlers. It creates and perpetuates the idea that some folks are simply born to fortune, and others to toil and ruin, and nothing can (much less should) be done to change this.
And since we’re on the subject, I’d assert our love of the British royalty-
Creates False Idols Of Things That Should Disgust Us
Let’s face it, the reason we like the British royals is not for anything they’ve done (which is nothing), but for what they represent to us: that “fairy tale” lifestyle, in which everything comes easily. To be royal is to hit the kind of lottery that’d put the PowerBall to shame. Get born with “noble” blood and there is literally nothing you can do to **** it up.
And it’s not so much the fantasy of inherent value that gets us here- it’s the general salivation over indescribable wealth.
The royals- by “virtue” of them being royals- get likened to the princes and princesses of Disney fairy tales. Rather than us associating ’em with inbreeding and territorial disputes, we think of castles and carriages, crowns and cathedrals, and a host of other things which should be naturally repulsive to any sane man or woman.
As enchanting as we fool ourselves into thinking luxurious riches would be, the truth of the matter is that these are the very things that rob us of our humanity. Give a man a fish, and you rob him of the joy of fishing. Hand a man a palace, and the result is that he’ll be more isolated and unable to relate to what few friends and family he’ll have- if any.
Suffice it to say that I don’t believe that these are things which we as a culture should value, much less aspire to. Heck, the very idea of having a housekeeper swing by once a month is enough to make me cringe with discomfort. Now just imagine having an entire staff whose purpose in life is to make yours slightly easier.
That’s downright repulsive, and should be recognized as such. The folks living a the “royal lifestyle” are to be pitied, not envied. I certainly haven’t grown up in some castle, so I can’t speak from experience, but from where I stand, that whole degree of untouchable affluence just seems so…
And if that wasn’t bad enough…
It’s An Excuse for Weakness
Which probably sounds unnecessarily harsh, but bear with me here.
I already talked about how our obsession with the royals is a fantasy on par with the lottery, but I think it extends a little further than that. It’s not just some shallow, mindless consumerism or some dream of empty self-affirmation- it’s an excuse to ignore the fight against our worst qualities.
We didn’t have to work on being eloquent (in spite of movies like The King’s Speech) or study to be a leader or struggle to combat our faults, vices, and weaknesses. The idea that there are some people in this world who are just inherently special gives us the hope that maybe, just maybe, we are too, and that special position outweighs our laziness, cowardice, gluttony, insert-your-problem-here.
It’s a worse form of celebrity worship, if such a thing can exist.
Heck, until this point, you may have been tempted to do just that- write all of this off as just another preachy tirade against our celebrity-obsessed culture.
And perhaps there’s some truth to that.
After all, taking pot-shots at the British crown isn’t especially dangerous or difficult. Neither I nor any Republican are risking much in raging against the throne- the days of gruesome executions (in England, anyways) are long gone. And it’s true that our starry-eyed affection for the Windsors bears a lot of resemblance to our preening devotion to any number of actors and artists- but with one crucial difference.
New World celebrities worked for it.
Now how hard they actually worked and how lucky they happened to be is a matter of debate, but I’d still assert that- by and large- the folks who appear on the covers of People and UsWeekly had to do something to get there. Certainly Leonardo DiCaprio gets paid more money for a role than is right or sane, but he does something. Even the folks who I think are actively hurting society with their work had to contribute something, and have to keep contributing to stay in the spotlight (that, or nearly OD on heroine).
Would I want my kid looking up to some figure like Taylor Swift? No way. But given a choice between Swift and any member of the British monarchy, it’d be Swift ten times out of nine.
So in sum total we have a demented following of a bunch of ceremonial sponges that feeds off of and contributes to the most embarrassing and shameful elements of ourselves- our vanity, laziness, greed, entitlement, and egotism. And all dressed up in the guise of some child-like nostalgia for fairy tales and magic.
Well ****, folks, there’s better fairy tales to be had.