Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sh*t I Don't Understand: The Royal Wedding

I've spewed about this general subject before, but since all the buildup and enthusiasm over the Royal Wedding has brought the whole ordeal to an uncharted level of annoyingness, it now warrants its own post. I'll be honest - at first, the news of Prince William's engagement did turn my head. After all, it's not an insignificant event by any stretch of the imagination, so let's make it clear that I'm not trying to downgrade the overall weight that the wedding carries. The British Monarchy is an interesting lesson in history, tradition, the whole bit. Weddings like this happen about as often as a solar eclipse. Throw in the fact that Prince William is the son of the late Princess Diana and was a teen tabloid heartthrob himself in the '90s, and you can see why the hype machine is ratcheted up enough to blow the entire town's electricity.

But, that being said, come on. The level of coverage is just insane. Not only does a Google search for "Royal Wedding" produce 56.5 million results, but (possibly more importantly), it's also the first thing that pops up on the automatic search aid after typing just the first two letters. Not only that, but when you type in the "y," three of the first five suggestions are Royal Wedding-related. I think apologies are owed to Roy Halladay, Roy Rogers, Roy Orbison, and Roy Oswalt for the sudden decrease in Google popularity.

You know what's worse than the level of coverage itself? The fact that enough people are actually eating this garbage up! I've even heard of people that are taking the day off from work to immerse themselves in all things Royal Wedding. Unless you're from the UK, why is this so important? Just give me one good reason for an American to donate such an inordinate proportion of their time to following this wedding. Allow me to remind those Royal Wedding fans out there, that this is the union of two people who (brace yourselves for this) you do not know, you will never meet, do not care about you, have zero impact on your life, have basically zero political power, and, most importantly, are not even meaningful figures in your own country!

Maybe this is just one of those things that separates women and men as species (yes, I said species). Women don't get why men obsess over sports, and men don't get why women obsess over things like this. And despite the title of this post, I can see, to a certain extent, why a lot of women may be all about the Royal Wedding. Like I said earlier, Prince William was on the cover of every teen magazine back in the days that the current 18-34 demographic was growing up. He's grown up handsome (no homo), educated, and with a legitimate term of military service under his belt. And now that he's getting married with the utmost pomp and circumstance, nearly a generation of American women suddenly feels like they're in 7th grade again. And, in turn, since this is the wedding of a person they once held up so high in their thoughts and on their walls, they want everything to be perfect. They don't want their former dream guy getting married to just anyone, hence the gross obsession, if not unfair scrutiny, over Kate Middleton's dress, hair, shoes, etc. etc. etc.

In that respect, I guess I can relate. Part of the reason I love playing sports and going to games is to unleash the 12-year-old inside of me. Getting off the subway at 161st St and River Ave. in the Bronx gives me chills and goosebumps even in 90-degree heat. When I'm there watching Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano, the only thing adult about my world is the beverage in my hand. I think that can be equated somewhat to the Royal Wedding obsession. Apologies in advance for making a big generalization, but you can't tell me that a good deal of women don't have some sort of dream about being the centerpiece of a huge wedding like that and having all those eyes on them as they walk down the aisle. It's probably the same feeling I get when I think about stepping into the left-handed batter's box at Yankee Stadium.

But (and I'd be doing this blog a disservice if there weren't a "but"), the line must be drawn somewhere. I can't completely give Royal Wedding nuts a pass by comparing it to sports fandom. Because sports actually grip us. Sports are something we follow day-in and day-out. Sports are unscripted. Sports are there for us, season after season, generation after generation. The Royal Wedding? There's no question of winning or losing, no outcome hanging in the balance. She walks down the aisle (and hopefully doesn't trip), they stand at the altar, exchange vows and rings, say "I do," kiss, and then it's time for a reception that is sure to sway the value of the GBP one way or the other. And then it's over. Sure, you'll have the honeymoon pictures on every tabloid and God (or Bog) save us from the media arms race when the first baby is born. But any way you slice it, you're back to your mundane life after Friday evening.

The idea for outside distractions from the grind of life is to create memories to draw back on when the days never seem like they're going to end. That's why people shoot the shit about the 50-foot eagle putt they sank, the three-run triple they hit to win a game in their softball league, or the college football road trip they took. But I'd really like to meet the person who says "you know, those three weeks I spent glued the TV poring over the Royal Wedding were such a rewarding experience, I'm so glad I did that." On second thought, no I wouldn't.

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