By Barry Koltnow
It is with great trepidation and regret that I begin this column by breaking the most important rule of column-writing.
I’m asking for your advice.
Columnists never need anyone’s advice. By his or her very nature, a columnist is a smarty-pants know-it-all who gives unsolicited advice to strangers.
No one ever asks for our advice, but we offer it anyway because we think we know everything. No, we know that we know everything.
Well, I’m stumped on something, and I’m asking for your help. I really am perplexed about this, and I certainly am capable of wasting 800 snarky words on the subject. But my curiosity has gotten the best of me, and I truly would like for you to help me.
Please explain why I should care about the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton on April 29 in Westminster Abbey?
Seriously, I want to understand the fuss that is being made over this royal wedding, not just by the media but by the American public.
From the moment the engagement was announced at a well-manicured press conference on Nov. 16, the national media have inundated us with “news” on the pending nuptials. OK, I understand why celebrity-obsessed magazines and TV networks are going crazy. It’s all about money. Kate Middleton on a cover sells magazines.
But that doesn’t explain why regular people care. There is no good reason why people would follow the media’s lead on this matter, unless they genuinely care about this wedding. And that’s what boggles my little brain.
One can grasp the concept of a popular royal wedding in England. It’s part of their history.
It’s in their nature to idolize the royal family. And, in this case, we’re talking about their future king.
However, he’s not my future king. Bruce Springsteen may be my boss, but Prince William of Wales is not my king. And he is not YOUR king. I also don’t care that he is marrying a commoner. I’m a commoner. I assume that you are a commoner. Why is she getting special treatment by the media?
Believe me, I understand that a royal wedding is seen as a diversion from the difficulties we face in the real world, but don’t we have diversions of our own?
Why was “Dancing with the Stars” created, if not as a diversion from a bad economy, lost jobs, three wars and nuclear meltdowns?
Imagine that I am lying prone metaphorically in a position of humility when I ask for your help.
It fills me with pain – not quite kidney-stone pain, but perhaps a good headache pain – to ask for your help because it signals weakness in the columnist world.
I realize that the son of the beloved Princess Diana is automatically a favorite among the people, but to be honest, the public loved Lady Di long before she had children. Her wedding 30 years ago was huge. A reported 750 million people watched the wedding on television.
Why would 750 million people no longer under the thumb of the British Empire care that this beautiful young woman was marrying Prince Charles, who is not exactly the most charismatic or popular human being on the planet?
The only number I believe is the burgers served by McDonald’s. I’m sure they use reputable accounting practices to determine that.
This obsession and fascination with royal weddings didn’t start with Charles and Diana. The marriage of Charles’ parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, was just as big an event.
I’ll bet 750 million people listened to it on radio.
All the British crown weddings are a big deal, and that’s the part I don’t get.
And I must tell you that I am not a royal-hater. I have nothing against the royal family. I like movies about the royal family.
I just want to know why when the engagement was announced, the entire world stopped long enough to care? Believe me, if I had a funny answer, I would be writing it right now.
One more thing – I don’t want anyone to think that this column is in any way an underhanded way to get invited to the wedding. I have no hidden agenda. I wouldn’t go if I were invited. But maybe you could include in your responses why I would want to go to this wedding.