Royal Wedding Worldview

Westminster Abbey, I think, where the Royals are getting married,
I think, and which I’ll be watching next Friday, I think.

A lover of big events that mean essentially nothing, I wanted to have a royal wedding viewing party, complete with high tea and jokes about the Brits.

You know, like the time we watched the 2008 election debates with a black-and-white food theme. I don’t always love the big events – I love the themes, the food and the excuse to party.

It’s all irony this time. I don’t really care. I mean, I haven’t bought a Royal Wedding smartphone app or Royal Wedding mints or Royal Wedding condoms. Okay, you got me, we stocked up on the condoms.

But there are some problems with the party idea:

  1. It’s on a Friday.
  2. Coverage starts at 4am.
  3. The wedding starts at 6am (Yet another reason I’m happy to be on the East Coast).
  4. The only legit showing is likely to be BBC America, which we don’t get, so we’d have to watch it online.
  5. The complete coverage on US stations like NBC actually starts on Wednesday and goes through the following week, which is just unreasonable.
  6. I’m afraid anything besides BBC might be more like the Macy’s Parade where Al Roker runs into crowds and asks questions.
    *Note: I worked in tv development with Al, and that really is him; he does that at the office all the time.

This is stupid, I realized. I can’t have people over for something so unpredictable, super-early, right before work.

SO! In honor of the couple’s desire to keep the wedding small, we will keep our party small too. Just me, the dog, tea and shortbread, and a husband who always goes along with my dumb parties. Maybe a gown and tux. Okay, maybe a cake. We might re-exchange rings who knows sometimes you get caught up in things.

On a related note, my friend Laura is a freelance journalist in Yemen who has ended up writing for The New York Times because she’s awesome. She is coming back to the US (for some time at least), and she announced it yesterday on Twitter:

its time to officially announce this on twitter: im leaving yemen tonight. family medical issues, gotta go back to the states

I tweeted back:

Reporter & friend @kasinof is leaving Yemen. Our gain is their loss. And considering the needs there, that loss is very, very big.

@kasinof , I hope you’re looking forward to the #royalwedding. Because, well, that’s all we think has happened for the last month.

She tweets back:

@jocastlemiller i actually dont know what that means. because im a dork. but we’ll talk over dinner in dc

Turns out, she’s not really a dork. Well, maybe she is – but not for not knowing about Prince William getting married. I am going to give her a pass because people are being shot every day outside her window, run down in the streets by a corrupt government while they try to protest, and she’s busy getting video on her phone to send in to the New York Times.

In response, most of us can only reply, “Where’s Yemen? Is that part of Libya? No? Is it near Libya? It is sorta? Closer to Egypt? Okay. (Pause) Remind me, where’s Egypt again?”

That’s why I hate hearing that courageous dorks like her are leaving. It’s why I cried when I heard that journalist Tim Hetherington had been killed in Libya.

It’s also why I want my Royal Wedding party to be super-ironic and even a little judgmental. If it’s anything but detached, then I run the risk of getting caught up in the rich, pretty people frenzy.

I’ll end up forgetting, even if for a moment, about the people Laura and others have worked so tirelessly to remind us about. And as an American voter, with no Queen but with 3 wars on my hands, that’s not okay.

6 Responses to “Royal Wedding Worldview”
  1. jpothen says:

    I’d like to push back a little on the view that a party celebrating the royal wedding should be ironic and judgmental in light of the fact that America is in the middle of three wars.

    I do think you’re right that three days of wedding coverage is silly. But I also think that a royal wedding reminds us that humanity is a royal race, ruined royalty, flawed royalty, broken royalty for sure. But royal nonetheless. Royal occasions and especially royal weddings are a good preview of a truly divine wedding that everyone is invited to.

    So we need both. We need the stories of war and suffering to remind us that we’re royal. But we also need the wedding to remind us that we’re royal. Just tuning into one leads to paralysis and despair. Just tuning into the other turns us into saps.

    • Joanna says:

      I don’t think we NEED the wedding one bit. Britain’s royals don’t remind me in the slightest about divinity or paradise. In fact, if anything they are a distraction from where divinity and paradise do meet – usually around a table, usually with poor people involved.

      We have plenty else to tune into if we need a break from our wars. But I’m afraid that’s not really our problem.

      • jpothen says:

        Now that the wedding is over it seems appropriate to ask a follow-up: why don’t the royals remind you of divinity or paradise? Is it perceived snootiness? Should they have invited some of the poor to their wedding?

        And it seems to me that the way to counter imbalance (our shallowness and inattention to serious matters) is to fight it with balance instead of irony and judgment.

        • Joanna says:

          The royal family is pretty and everything (and the music was lovely), but taxpayers pay for their parties while 1/5 of their public sector will wake up jobless soon and a huge number of refugees and minors go homeless. I am happy we do not have a monarchy, so why would I be reminded of divinity by something I thank God I don’t have? As you’ll see from Friday’s follow-up post, I am willing to look at something without judgment and glean hope and greater truth from it, but don’t forget our country was founded on rejection and even judgment of monarchy – not the people necessarily, but the institution – and for very good reason.

          As I said in a previous comment, I’m all about doing things that remind me of something bigger and more beautiful than this world, but as lovely as the ceremony was yesterday, divinity seems much closer when eating over a table with good friends or seeing someone’s heart melted by forgiveness. Paradise is what those folks in Tunisia are doing, as mentioned in Friday’s blog. We don’t have to look so far away for examples, and it doesn’t have to cost “commoners” 25 million pounds. We are distracted from what is right in front of us – not just the bad news but the good.

          Hope that helps.

  2. Mary says:

    Ahhh….Joanna, I will be watching the Royal Wedding with my daughter and her four year old son, “Wills”, with cups of tea and scones! He’s very excited to watch a “Real” prince Wills get married!
    When I was a little girl, I remember playing “Coronation” with my dolls for months after hearing about Queen Elizabeth becoming Queen of England. Living with my Scottish great uncle, I knew more about England than I did about the USA.
    We’ll TIVO the event, I imagine…and probably fast forward quite a lot…I expect some tears too as I remember the last time we watched a large crowd in England mourning Wills’ mother Diana’s death.

  3. Barbara Anible says:

    It is much too easy to be caught up in our own little dramas; we too often want to escape into something grand. Reality is the better place to be. Thank you for reminding me.

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