America and the royal baby

Williamstown, Mass ,July 23 2013

Spending a day off from the riding in this wonderful town of Williamstown leaves time to visit the incredibly rich local museums but also to catch up with the news on TV, and I stumble across one of these contradictions of the American society that I love tracking down: the hipe around the british royal baby. If every american tv channel, every newspaper makes its headline on the birth of the son of Price William and Kate, it is probably because that is what the viewers and readers are interested in. Question: why are so many Americans freaking out about a ” royal” birth? Is America a Republic? Did’nt the insurgents of 1776 and the Founding Fathers fight for cutting the ties with an abhored monarchy? Did’nt they crave for a “meritocraty” where one is recognized for his/her achievments and not his/her birth? So what’s the fuss around the “royal birth” and the comments about the mother (Kate) being a “commoner” married to a “blue blood” aristocrat? How can TV commentators talk without restraint of superior blood and superior class, in a country where political correctness prevents the use of the N word for African Americans, where the quest for ” a more perfect union” without racial, social, wealth prejudices is a constant fight?
Why bother about this baby more than about the x thousands ones who were born on the same day, but whose parents are ” normal” people? How can modern people in a modern democraty get so excited about this totally out of date british monarchy? This is stunning.
But every country has its contradictions. America, land of contrasts, maybe even more than others. Religiosity is one of them. Death penalty is another one. Puritanism a third one. But seeing the headlines about the so called “royal birth” leaves me jaw dropped. I thought for a while that I was in England, a country so attached to its tradition and so class conscious.

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3 Responses to America and the royal baby

  1. Dick Nuttall says:

    Wonderful blog, Philippe, full of insights and perspicacity…normally. But you have overcooked it here, so get on your bike again! America is more liberal and than you give it credit for, and has ceased to fight non-existent battles of 250 years ago against the tyrant that then ruled this colony The world has accepted that any monarchy (and perhaps especially the British one) is only a backdrop for a series of traditional values, a tourist attraction, and a newspaper page-filler (in the dead season after the Tour has ended,,,cheers for Chris Froome!) It is an anachronism, but seems to do no harm and there are other people of privilege which comes from great wealth, who do far less for the good of the world. That is where real class-division is, wealth, not supposed aristocratic birth.
    Race you back from Honfleur to Paris again some day!
    Dick (from London)

    • cyclophily says:

      Thanks Dick for your comment! You are perfectly right, british monarchy does no harm, and Kate and William are such a charming couple!
      Hope to bike with you soon again
      Kind regards
      Philippe

  2. Mike H says:

    Philippe;

    Many Americans are obsessed with celebrity: “The Cult of Personality.” It is a human trait and does no harm, but it is sad that so many people have so little else to occupy their minds.

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