The royal wedding: an un-American obsession?

by Alan Meyer - University student

With May already underway, it might make you feel a bit stressed out knowing your finals are around the corner, but at least it also means that one thing is now out of the way. Yes, the royal wedding. Americans got so excited about the royal wedding. From magazine covers to souvenir shirts, talk-show discussions to TV specials, we seemed pretty fired up to celebrate the event. And as if all of that werenâÄôt enough, we followed it even more after the wedding, with people discussing the brideâÄôs dress and the media commenting on what the guests wore. With the kind of attention that weâÄôve all given to this event, I think we might have forgotten something about ourselves and about how we became who we are today as a nation.  
It was surprising how the news from across the ocean crept into our lives and blended in with our everyday matters. Just days after the engagement was announced, every magazine cover had a photo of the couple with a headline like, âÄúDo you know the real Kate Middleton?âÄù or âÄúWhat you didnâÄôt know about your future queen.âÄù Right, like Americans had even heard of her before the engagement, or know anything about what goes on in Britain. And yet we all got so excited for this wedding and considered it one of the biggest events of the century.
Except it wasnâÄôt. The wedding will gradually fade away from our memories and be forgotten, just like we forget whoever won the last  season of American Idol. Then why were we all really excited about this wedding? One reason: celebrity craze. This is the 21st century. This is the age of Facebook and the Internet, the age of Twitter and YouTube, the age of talent shows and reality TV.
WeâÄôve all become so obsessed with finding celebrities, raising them on a pedestal above everyone else and following their every move, and now we think weâÄôve found a new one in Kate Middleton. If Prince William had chosen to marry a royal relative, or someone who wasnâÄôt as popular as Kate, or simply did not look as attractive as Kate (like someone from the royal family perhaps), there would have been riots in Britain.
Unlike the previous generations of royalty, these two are quite modern and Americanized in a way. William rides a sports bike and is a huge fan of football. Kate used to go clubbing and jogging down regular streets. There are even pictures of them in swimsuits partying on a boat. They do things that normal people do, or as British people call them, âÄúcommoners.âÄù TheyâÄôll probably reach a point where they start feeling creepy when others call them âÄúYour HighnessâÄù or bow to their waists or not look them in the eye, and reconsider whether the country really needs that political system.
By now you probably think IâÄôm bitter about the royal wedding. IâÄôm not. IâÄôm happy for the couple and IâÄôm glad they took their relationship a step further and got married. I actually woke up at 3 a.m. and tuned in to watch it before sleeping again halfway through.
ItâÄôs not the wedding part that IâÄôm against, itâÄôs the royal part. Behind the formal dresses and the fancy hats, behind the parade and the screaming crowd, behind the balcony pose and the two kisses, is a constitutional monarchy we fought a war to get rid of. We are who we are today because we fought a war to get rid of the British royalty. We decided we didnâÄôt want to live under some unelected king who taxed us without our consent and threw our people in dungeons without a trial. Our republic was built on intolerance of royalty and on the strong moral belief that we were all born equal. We wanted to live in a country where people are judged by the content of their character and not by how royal their bloodline is.
And so perhaps next time we should think twice before getting all excited, about whether we have to pretend we care about an event just to blend in with everyone else and whether what we are supporting contradicts our own values and beliefs or not.