Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hype? Yeah, but...

So amidst the horrors visited on the world thus far this year, with death and destruction on all continents, the world slid not towards apocalypse, but banality.

A clownish, jumped up real-estate agent emerges as the leading presidential candidate for an ostensibly serious political party. The leader of the free world feels compelled to release documents to squash nutty conspiracy theories. And both sides of US politics can't seem to do anything about their horrific economy, their military entanglements or anything more substantive than agreeing that taxes are bad, m'kay.

But never fear, the Royal Family is here. Look at the shiny things, people; forget about your troubles for a while and bask in the soft light of nuptials of the privileged and purposeless! All shall be well for a day, then we can go back to worrying about the Syrian government slaughtering its own people and the Libyan situation getting worse by the day. The hype surrounding the Royal Wedding (it must be capitalized, you plebs) borders on manic and obscene. A grand irrelevance, sparkling like glitter on the surface of the contents of a septic tank.

That being said, I have to admit that I did watch bits of the telecast on and off. Well, how could you not, apart from cutting yourself off from all forms of electronic and print communication? Irrespective of the politics of the republic debate, you have to admit that for all their faults, the Royal Family knows how to put on a show. For funerals, they go out like Vikings, and as cynical as one becomes, there is still a pull of the fairy tale about their weddings. For one day, there is something genuinely shiny and happy, or at least the illusion of such. The tabloids (and the serious organs for that matter) go nuts in the lead up, and they start digging for dirt from the day after, but the event itself is distracting.

There is also something about weddings in general. Sitcoms, dramas and soaps all use the "wedding episode" to boost flagging ratings. Attending other peoples' weddings elicit nostalgic feelings even in people who haven't had one of their own. And there is just something nice about seeing people who (you hope) are unambiguously happy in that moment.

As someone unlikely to have the experience myself due to my numerous physical, psychological, sartorial and olfactory flaws which seem hugely repulsive to the opposite gender, I have to admit that the event was a vicariously pleasant distraction. Worth the hype? No. Worth the money? Probably not. The world is still going to hell in a hand basket, but at least for one day a couple of people I've never met seem happy. And by proximity, some other people seem to feel better for a while. I'm not going to go out and buy commemorative tea towels, but I'm not going to gripe about it either.

Good luck to them.

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