Royal Wedding frenzy turns off many Americans
WASHINGTON (AFP) – For every American setting an alarm clock to go off before dawn Friday to catch the Royal Wedding, there is at least one curmudgeon glowering in a corner, eagerly waiting for the whole thing to be over.
In America, as in Britain, the wedding of Kate and William is almost inescapable.
Food sections of US newspapers have reprinted scone recipes. Entrepreneurial vendors are hawking commemorative tea cosies and replicas of Kate Middleton’s now-famous sapphire engagement ring.
And a popular cable station last week aired the made-for-television romance “William and Kate,” viewed by millions of Americans.
Still, even in this country besotted this week especially by everything having to do with the royals, there are Americans like writer Yvonne Abraham, who said she has heard all she cares to about the event.
“God save me from the Queen. And from her progeny. And especially from their Wedding of the Century,” she wrote in The Boston Globe this week.
“I didn’t embrace citizenship of a country defined by its violent rejection of monarchy to turn around and be surrounded by all things royal,” Abraham groused.
She’s in better company than she knows: Opinion polls have found that those indifferent or even averse to the celebration across “The Pond” greatly outnumber those who are enthralled.
The New York Times, which polled more than 1,200 people last week, found that just 28 percent of respondents said they planned to follow the nuptials “very closely” or “somewhat closely.”
By contrast, the paper said 68 percent said they were following the event “not very closely” or “not at all.”
One would not know that, however, from the US news coverage.
A battalion of America’s top correspondents have decamped from New York and Washington to London this week, providing wall-to-wall coverage of the nuptials.
The Nielsen media tracking company this week reported, that US coverage of William and Kate’s wedding has eclipsed that in Britain, with American newspapers, magazines and television networks offering a non-stop diet of wedding fare.
The coverage has rankled some Americans like popular US television comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who antagonized this country’s large contingent of Anglophiles with his recent remarks calling the whole event “fake.”
“It’s a circus act, it’s an absurd act,” the comedian told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.
“It’s a dress-up,” he said. “It’s a classic English thing of let’s play dress-up. Let’s pretend that these are special people.
Seinfeld continued: “That’s what the royal family is — it’s a huge game of pretend. These aren’t special people — its fake outfits, fake phony hats and gowns,” he said, in remarks not likely to help ticket sales for his comedy tour in Britain later this spring.
Even without the Royal Wedding as a vehicle to put their Anglophilia on full display, Americans are known to harbor a warm regard for all things British.
Advertisers long have known that luxury items in particular sell best when the advertisement is voiced by a British announcer. A Briton, Christiane Amanpour, moderates one of the three sacred US Sunday talk shows on US domestic political affairs.
Another Brit, Piers Morgan who recently replaced venerable American icon Larry King on his popular talkshow said he was not surprised by outpouring ardor for all things English in this country.
“The British monarchy is a unique institution,” said Morgan, particularly “here in America where you don’t have a royal family.”
“It’s one of those things that brings Britain and America together. I love the fact that Americans feel so warm towards the royal family. It means a lot to us back home,” Morgan said.
Interestingly, some of the most trenchant critics of the frenzy here surrounding Will and Kate’s nuptials are from outside the United States, like The Boston Globe’s Abraham, who originally hails from Australia.
“Will and Kate are everywhere,” she complained, calling the fuss here over the Royal Wedding here “positively un-American.”
Another Briton in America, writer Gary Younge, also has been left scratching his head.
“The one thing I thought I’d never have to explain is why the monarchy is a bad idea,” he wrote in America’s “The Nation” magazine, saying the royalist fervor goes against everything America is supposed to stand for.
“The New World. The American Revolution. The end of inherited entitlement. The home of reinvention, class fluidity and social mobility,” he continued.
“When Americans fawn over the forthcoming royal wedding,” said Younge, “I’m compelled to do a double take.”