Tag Archives: Royal Wedding

God Save the Queen, or at least the monarchy

19 Apr

Today my blog got picked up on Freshly Pressed (“The best of 398,060 bloggers, 444,336 new posts, 429,604 comments, & 109,230,100 words posted today on WordPress.com.”) and featured on the front page of WordPress.  I had no idea that this had happened until I logged in to check my stats for the day (I usually get about 40 hits/day) and saw that I had over 1700 hits as well as a bunch of comments awaiting moderation.  Now I feel internet famous.  Obviously, this puts a lot of pressure on this next post…

Before my newfound fame and fortune (I made $75 for participating in a market research study today.  That counts, right?), I was going to write about the Royal Wedding and how we as Americans are “above it”, but obsessed anyway.  And how we as feminists are “beyond it”, but obsessed anyway.  (Although I’m going to duck away and obsessively hit refresh on my stats every few minutes, I’ve decided to stick with the topic.)  I’ve seen so much coverage from people who “don’t care” about the wedding, but keeping writing about it.  Really, I think I’ve seen more articles from “disinterested” writers than from those that actually own up to caring.  I’ll come clean from the start and say that I, personally, am stoked about the wedding.  I’ll be on vacation with my Mom on the 29th and plan on forcing her to wake up ridiculously early to watch it with me.  (By the way, Harry Potter’s riddikulus spell has completely ruined my ability to spell ridiculous or any version thereof.  Thank God for Spell Check.)

In “Beware the In-Laws”, Slate’s Christopher Hitchens spends most of the piece talking about how the royal family is an irrelevant (“A hereditary monarch, observed Thomas Paine, is as absurd a proposition as a hereditary doctor or mathematician. But try pointing this out when everybody is seemingly moist with excitement about the cake plans and gown schemes of the constitutional absurdity’s designated mother-to-be.”) and outmoded (“Together, Margaret and Charles set the tone for the dowdy, feckless, can’t-stay-married shower of titled descendants with whose names, let alone doings, it is near-impossible to keep up.”) institution.  But, Mr. Hitchens, if they’re so irrelevant, why are you writing about them?  To write a 1,000 word piece on a subject (Thank God for Word Count), I assume you have to care at least a little.  (No, things written for eHow don’t count.)  I love Slate, but I realize that its pretty guilty of creating search engine bait articles.  So, clearly someone at Slate thinks that their readers (or at least the Internet hoi polloi) care, too.

Bitch Magazine’s blog has a whole series (The Wedding March – unfortunately the series isn’t linkable, but their all linked off here) on the topic throughout which they make all kinds of snipes about the royals (Ex. “Prince William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, was an illustration of what happens when the fairytale ending fails to satisfy” and “Now that tuition fees have rocketed, fewer people from underprivileged backgrounds can afford university, and the much-vaunted social inclusion that allowed a girl from a reasonably well-off family to meet and marry a boy from an incredibly well-off (if deeply dysfunctional) family is at an end”).  Although I’m not too pleased with the series overall, I really liked one part of the last post:

“So is this wedding just the last hurrah, a decaying institution relishing its final moments of cultural relevance, or does the Windsor-Middleton union herald a renewed love of all things regal?”

As an American (and a feminist), I think I’m supposed to hope for the former.  But, I love the majesty of the whole thing.  Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I’m fascinated by the pageantry, the history, and the drama of it all.  I loved my British history classes and have even been known to read a Phillipa Gregory novel or two.  (Don’t judge.)  The history of the British monarchy is a great story and I don’t want it to come to an end.  I know that it’s a story that’s jumped the shark a few times and that none of the original cast of characters (or even any direct decedents thereof) remains, but I still love it.  At this point, it’s kind of like a really bad soap opera.

Yes, I recognize that comparing the House of Windsor to a bad soap opera is a terrible defense of the institution.  (Hey, it’s the same reason that I enjoy Sara Palin’s personal brand of crazy and I stand behind that strange fascination, too.)  But, actually, I think the pageantry of the royals has social value in and of itself.  Because we lack royalty in America, we focus on the first family and the perpetual first family, The Kennedys.  (They are called America’s Royalty for a reason.)  We follow the President on his vacations and comment on all of the First Lady’s dresses.  Think how much time and effort the White House must spend dealing with our entertainment.  It’s not really how I want the President and his staff spending their time.  I want them fixing the economy and getting us a budget, not worrying about the politics of the First Lady’s dress choice.

Having a monarchy takes this pressure off British politicians and let’s them focus on work.  One of my friends from college (of course I forget who), suggested that we instate an American monarchy.  It would have no power and would serves purely as paparazzi fodder.  It would provide people to attend ceremonial functions and ribbon cuttings so that the President could work on work.  Watching (okay, reading) the Royal Wedding coverage, I’m thinking that this is a pretty great idea.


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a while new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

You’re One in 400 Million (Viewers of Wills and Kate’s Wedding)

24 Mar

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Wills and Kate’s wedding is expected to be the most viewed event in television history.  (And presumably in human history, since there was no mass viewership before TV.)

They’re predicting the numbers like this:

An estimated two billion TV viewers will see all or part of the coverage of Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton exchanging vows at Westminster Abbey. Add an expected 400 million for online streaming and radio and the number swells to nearly 35% of the world’s population. An additional 800,000 observers likely will crowd outside Buckingham Palace the day of the event, many of them tweeting and Facebook posting and shooting video with their phones.

And to think that most people are nervous at their weddings in front of a few hundred people.  Let’s hope no one trips!

Jezebel picked up on the story and tried to put the numbers in context.

But just to give you an idea of how epic this will be, “only” 715 million folks watched the 2006 World Cup final game (Italy vs. France) and “only” one billion people watched the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing.

This inspired me to look up some other top TV events to see how high other things rank.  Thankfully, Wikipedia obliged with the article “List of most-watched television broadcasts.”  (God, I love Wikipedia.)  Unfortunately, they broke theirs down by country rather than the world as a whole, so it wasn’t comparative.  But, I was happy to learn that the #6 most watched Special Event in America was “XVII Winter Olympics: Women’s figure skating – short program featuring Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding“.  I remember watching this as a kid.  It was so exciting.  My brother and I would pretend that we were Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding, not in a “let’s pretend to be ice skaters way”, but in an “arch enemies battle to the death” sort of way.  (Maybe we didn’t quite get the main point of the program — but we loved it!)

I also learned that the “Law and Order” series finale had almost the same level of viewership as the “Drake and Josh” series finale.  Now that’s just disappointing!

%d bloggers like this: