“I told you, we’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to be a sort of executive officer for the week … but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting…by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs … but by a two-thirds majority in the case of…” Michael Palin, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Great Britain, The Commonwealth and alas America are all a buzz this week about Kate and Will’s impending wedding. London bookies are taking bets on everything royal wedding related, from what color hat will the Queen wear (at 2:1, yellow), to who will cry at the wedding (at 1:1, Kate’s mother). Both of these are fairly sure bets. But for every devotee there is likely a detractor too.
File this under unexpected consequences, but when the British government made Kate and Will’s wedding a national holiday, it created a mass exodus from the British Isles. Last weekend, Easter, was also a British holiday weekend. In the US, holiday weekends are normally 3 days, but in the United Kingdom, they are 4 day affairs, Friday to Monday. Back-to-back holiday weekends mean that for a mere 3 days of vacation, your average Londoner can string together 11 days off. A full 2 million subjects are fleeing the realm during this period, or about 3% of the population. Extra flights were put-on to handle the load. I’m not saying that those people who are leaving the country are disloyal to the crown. Maybe, they just prefer to watch the wedding on the telly, from the south of France?
That entire hubbub is over there, but over here, in the colonies, are things really all that much different? In the United States, we don’t have hereditary nobility, except for possibly, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, or the Bushes, etc. We do have American royalty, or more particularly Hollywood royalty, and there is a hereditary component there. One need only look at Drew Barrymore’s family history for an example. But our Hollywood nobility earned their titles, primarily through their abilities and not simply by the accident of their birth. Our, Hollywood nobility is not confined to US citizenship. The King’s Speech, a British production about British royalty, was coronated at this year’s Oscars.
This royal Anglophillia of Americans is not confined to the big screen either. Over the past six-months, two BBC imports, Downton Abby and Upstairs Downstairs have been battling each other, each reaping their ratings rewards and both ingratiatingly indoctrinating the American public into life under an upper class. In both these series, the aristocracy appear so good to their servants. Sometimes they even treat them like they would their own children.
It seems to me that this country once had a revolution to shed these aristocratic tendencies. Our country is only just emerging (hopefully) from one of its great trials, The Great Recession. Preceding this event, economic stratification in the United States had reached levels not seen in generations. The recession only accelerated this division. We don’t need to codify this disparity, with royal trappings, otherwise, the joke of an anarcho-syndicalist commune would lose its humor on both sides of the divide, both upstairs and downstairs.
given the choice I would also choose to watch the festivities from the South of France!
and by ‘….accident of their birth’ don’t you mean “Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.”
I almost went with that quote instead.
“Oh, but you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you. ”
“Oh but if I went ’round sayin’ I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away.”