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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prince William and Kate Middleton!! Wedding at Westminster Abbey!! I just shake my head when I view all the hoopla and the American interest in the royal wedding. Why? I guess I just don't "get it." Evidently, we are to believe that millions of Americans are planning to get up at four in the morning to watch this happen live. And, everyone with DVRs and TiVos and recording devices of every kind is getting ready to preserve this wonderful event.Why the frenzy? Are people in the U.S. really that interested or is this just a false media-driven mania?

Oh, I know we're all supposed to be drawn to stories like this: the royal wedding has the substance of the classic fairy tale: beauty, romance, nobility and prestige, not to mention the hope and expectation of a happy marriage and life.

Gordon Coonfield, a media expert at Villanova University, says, “People are really craving the shared experience of a communal ritual event,” he says. “There aren’t that many universal or relatively universal cultural rituals anymore … and here is one where everyone will stop whatever they are doing, and make sure they are watching as it happens. They’ll get out of bed, pull out their cell phone, turn on the TV, find it on their computer … anything.” (Daniel B. Wood, "Royal Wedding Mystery..." The Christian Science Monitor, April 27 2011)

Granted, the wedding is "a really big show" as Ed Sullivan would state. The Brits do pomp and circumstance so well.  Somehow, the British royal family is still quite revered everywhere, even in the Hollywood scandal-loving United States. Is this a throwback to earlier days and respect for an important motherland? Maybe William and Kate are also just actors on the world's stage.

Maya Jasanoff, John L. Loeb associate professor of social sciences at Harvard University, says, "I suppose the monarchy is safe for us to admire: We don't have to live with the inequality that it manifestly represents; but we can still feel connected to the tradition and enjoy the pomp."

Jasanoff continues, "I can only imagine that as Americans and so many others around the world right now live in uncertain times, there is something appealing about remembering a moment when it seemed so clear what was right and what was wrong, and when people could come together around common causes." (Joseph Neese, "The Royal Wedding: Why It Matters," WorldNow WSFA, April 27 2011)

Debra Caruso, founder and head of DJC Communications, reports, “More of us are waiting to see how Jon Stewart, David Letterman and Stephen Colbert will frame the event,” Caruso tells the Christian Science Monitor, “We’re attracted to the negative. Will there be a slip-up? Will someone mouth words on camera that will make headlines? Guaranteed, the fashion ‘don’ts’ will make more news than the fashion ‘dos.’” (Laura Donovan, "Royal Wedding Is Unimportant Noise To Many..." The Daily Caller, April 26 2011)

British historian and Harvard University professor Niall Ferguson told The Daily Caller that he did not wish to comment on the royal wedding at all because it was of no interest to him.

David J. Phillips of the United Kingdom tells CBS News of the wedding, “It’s just noise — more noise — and a lot of noise. That’s it.”

"The NoNonsense Man” Marc H. Rudov, a radio and television personality, says that the “royal wedding obsession is mystifying” since so many Americans are staying single rather than tying the knot. “So, many folks are clueless about the historical significance of the British monarchy — let alone any monarchy,” Rudov said, citing a Marist poll that found 26 percent of Americans do not know that America won independence from England. “In my opinion, the key reason people will watch the Royal Wedding is that, like ‘American Idol,’ it’s a big show on TV, driven by buzz, glitz, peer pressure and vicarious envy.” (Laura Donovan, "Royal Wedding Is Unimportant Noise To Many..." The Daily Caller, April 26 2011)

According to a recent CBS poll, only three in 10 Americans say they’re very or somewhat engaged with the pre-wedding news. Thirty percent report they’re following it, but not intensely, and 42 percent say they’re not paying any attention to the spectacle. So, you judge. Is the royal wedding such a big deal in America?

Let's gauge reality here. OK, the royal wedding is the Super Bowl of nuptials. If you're into the Big Show, you will likely take the bait and enjoy the swim. But, really, isn't the wedding a prelim to what potentially happens after the "I do's"?

Just wait, U.K., a million American reporters crave to cover the couple's first missteps and struggles. Good luck, royal couple. Your union is is set to "mega-size" and your everyday movements will be under the largest microscopes operated by yellow journalists. I don't think I will watch live - there will be tons of reruns for weeks to come.

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