Oct 24, 2006

On American Monarchophilia

The Prince and Princess of Wales return from their wedding at St Paul's CathedralLeft: The Prince and Princess of Wales returning from their 1981 wedding

For a nation that was created by men espousing the virtues of representative government - and who railed against the abuses of English monarchs - citizens of the United States display a curious affinity for all matters royal. The latest example of American monarchophilia can be found in the crowds flocking to see Sofia Coppola's sympathetic portrayal of the Capetians in Marie Antoinette, which has been drawing about $6,000 per screening since it opened last weekend with a total US take of over $5 million in three days.

Coppola's film should easily pass the box office gross of another recent cinematographic effort to rehabilitate the historical reputation a of despotic monarch, The Madness of King George , which raked in $15 million in domestic theaters in 1994. Thank goodness for Hollywood, or we might continue to harbor resentment against monarchy.

The traffic drawn by these films, of course, pales in comparison with American attention paid to living monarchs. The 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana found 58 million Americans glued to their television sets, while the funeral of Princess Diana drew an estimated 33 million US viewers. American news and cable networks devoted over 25 hours of programming to the funeral of Diana.

For those among you who might argue that we already have a tyrannical despot in our current President, you should know that Diana is a thirteenth cousin once removed from George W. Bush, so he at least has a minute - though very distant - claim to the throne.

Maybe what Americans really want is a firm royal hand to whack them when they need it. Perhaps, deep down, we would collectively prefer to let parasitic social "betters" run the country.

After all, we allow corporations and special interest groups to buy our politicians for us. Americans could take the tens of billions spent on national, state, and local elections and buy ourselves some expensive monarchs to worship.

Then we could begin the process of revolution all over again. This time we might just get it right.


microdot said...

If you have read Kitty Kelleys book on the Bushes, The Family, you know that they pride themselves on their various connections regarding their relationship to British Royalty.
More recently, Jebs daughter was being pushed on the heir to the Capetians, the man would be Louis the 18th if Royalty were restored in France. They were seen together and photographed at various soirees in Spain and France.
No matter what image they try to project...jes' regular folks....They are at heart, a bunch of elitist creeps who believe that they are destined by blood to rule.
The Kennedys may have been viewed as Americas Royalty for a period, they had their high points and if you look deep, a lot of darkness but att least part of the Kennedy ethos was to give something back to the American people.
If you trace the Bush family, you see a dynasty that has pushed it's way to the top and tried to become "royal" in the eyes of America.
After his inaugaration, George Jr. was annointed with cooking oil in lieu of anything else handy by Pat Robertson to christen him in the manner of the ancient kings.
The Bushes have amassed untold wealth and power and have tried to establish a dynasty, but unlike the Kennedys, they work for the Family and no one else!

Kathleen Marie said...

After JFK died, we lost our monarchy :0 Teddy just couldn't take his place.

I don't know why but you are so right. I LOVE reading about the royals. I was thrilled when I found out my O'Donnell ancestors actually lived in Donegal Castle. I was about 15 then and very proud.

I think it helps us all to keep dreaming for some silly reason.

Mark said...

Perhaps we do have monarcophilia. While I think the Kennedys are as close as America's come to appreciating a monarchy (due to the distaste for the Bushes that many possess), my fiancee brought up a good point last night regarding such worship of the monarchy in America.

Don't we already christened monarch-like individuals in this country? Aren't they called, "Hollywood Celebrities?"

Think about it: whereas the royals are the center of tabloid attention in Britain, here it's Britney and K-Fed, Angelina and Brad, Demi and Ashton.

It's a veritable royal family, in my opinion. The worship of the British royals is merely an extension of this, albeit a minor one by comparison.

And I wish they would revolt against this monarchy. Knowing everything that Britney and K-fed does is revolting.

Hooda Thunkit said...

"Then we could begin the process of revolution all over again. This time we might just get it right."

If only that were true. . .

fancdan said...

The main purpose monarchies serve, including Ayatollahs,is selling tabloids. From the bottom barrel class, and all along the rankings going up, there's no accounting for the pleasure derived in belittling your betters. And that's pretty much been true since long before the American Revolution. More than this, it's the thickening of the royal skin that always precedes their distant cruelty. It takes a mighty wise, secure and humble leader to laugh with the fools at what a joke he is. Otherwise it's only jealous entertainment, pure and simple.