Thursday, April 28, 2011
God Save the Wedding
So, did you know there's a wedding tomorrow? How could you miss it? The most unavoidable story both in and out of the UK is the wedding of "Wills and Kate." Makes them both sound just like you, doesn't it? Except for the fact that Prince William, like everyone else in his royal family, has never worked a day in his life, and yet enjoys all the benefits of a $577 million fortune.
Tory Prime Minister David Cameron continually waffles on about the need for British subjects to retrench. The Kingdom, he says, in a time of economic crisis can't "sustain the lifestyle" of those dependent on the government for their housing, their food, their education or basic income. Seems if he wanted to actually save the country some scratch, he'd start by campaigning for the abolition of this bloody, wretched monarchy. Instead, business continues as usual, and the British people foot the bill for a lavish ritual that will have war criminals from across the globe in attendance.
Across the UK and especially in London, Scotland Yard has been rounding up everyone from anarchist squatters to Muslims suspected of having radical connections. It's all a pre-emptive strike against potential protests at the wedding, a fear not entirely misplaced. One of the most highly-publicized moments of last year's massive student rebellion was when Prince Charles's car was mobbed by protesters. Apparently we're all supposed to feel sympathy for the royals here, despite some truly unsavory characters in their ranks. There's Prince Phillip, a well-known bigot who has called Asians "slitty-eyed." Then there's Harry (brother of the groom), who has shown up to parties dressed as a Nazi. Charles himself, of course, is a known womanizer and misogynist. And somehow tears should be shed because a few commoners scuffed up their ride.
The video below is in "tribute" to all of this fanfare. Why should I, a music journalist, and a "Yank" to boot, care about the royal family or their frivolous ceremonies? Because it's unavoidable, even in the music world. Observe: Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir Mick Jagger. We are now treated to Sharon Osbourne, wife of one of the greatest metal artists of all time and a serious musical force in her own right, speculating to American audiences about the food that will be served inside Buckingham Palace.
There is even a rather painful irony to displaying this particular video. Johnny Rotten and the rest of the Sex Pistols gained infamy by floating this irreverent song up to the Queen's Silver Jubilee back in '77. "God Save the Queen" was banned from radio, the number one single on the British charts was left blank rather than put it in, and Johnny himself was attacked several times after it was released. But 25 years later, the pressure of fame and fortune got to him, and he was celebrating the Golden Jubilee along with everyone else.
It's a reminder not only of the fact that the music industry is itself an industry, placing immense pressure on artists and musicians, but of the fact that class does indeed exist. The Windsors are trotted out as a symbol of national unity in Britain, a trend which spills over on this side of the pond with the culture of celebrity (as Sherry Wolf said, "In Britain, they get William and Kate. Here, we get Snookie"). But in a time when the proles are having their very livelihoods attacked, there's absolutely no reason for any ordinary person in any country to be celebrating the nuptials of parasites.