"Let nothing human be alien to me"- Terence

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Non Yemen-y Thought For Today

I'm allowed these every once in a while, right?

So, because it is unavoidable, and because I am a rageaholic, I've seen/read a lot about the royal engagement. I'm not English, so I don't have any emotional or historic ties to royalty, and so certainly won't begrudge anyone who is engaged by something that is silly and anachronistic, if ultimately harmless (although obscenely expensive- but again, no real dog in this fight).  Indeed, I don't even mind the main royals, who don't seem bad.  Especially Charles, who strikes me as a decent, well-meaning sort of guy smart enough to be aware of the crushing uselessness of his life.  Lots of sympathy for the guy, honestly.


In nearly every report, there is a kind of breathless tone that William is marrying a commoner, and large dollops of self-congratulatory bullshit about how this isn't a scandal.  That last part is great, I suppose, but it also begs the question: why, in the 21st century, in a modern, dynamic nation, is anyone able to use the word "commoner" without a frisson of disgust?  Is there a more tawdry, dated, weighted word out there?  Of course, there are more heavily-weighted words, but none that can be thrown out so casually and without fear of approbation.  I would say that the daughter of self-made millionaires is someone less common, if common is meant to be the opposite of important, than the son of someone whose chief duties since WWII has been waving.

Again, the happy couple doesn't seem to be particularly freighted with the royal/commoner distinction, and both of the sons have been fully engaged in the military, which I admire.  And the Queen has done a lot to devolve hereditary titles and the cost of the monarchy.  It is the use of that word by reporters that I hate, and the fact that it can be used demonstrates just how worthless and insulting is the very idea of kings and queens.


  1. Um, you should only post on Yemen things. That is why we read Always Judged Guilty.

  2. As a British reader, I'd say that nobody uses the word "commoner" except certain elements of the press. We don't blame Americans in general for the Washington Times; don't get worked up about our stupid magazines.

    An entirely unscientific survey, carried out by overhearing conversations among the customer service receptionists who use the same tea point as myself at work, and who would normally be regarded as the target audience for this circus, suggests that the organisers are going to be seriously disappointed by the widespread indifference to it.

    Also, in re. "Self-made millionaires", la Middleton's father's family have been as rich as sin for generations. If they've only recently qualified as millionaires (long-term inflation?), that probably means they've increased their net worth by 10% or so.

  3. Chris- thanks for the informed perspective. I think I was talking mostly about how the American media has been bandying the term about, and extrapolating. Bad writing, and bad thinking. Thank you for your corrections. But I will still cling to outdated- even never-correct- stereotypes gleaned from half-remembered episodes of "The Young Ones." It is much easier that way.

    As to the first comment, I am going to assume that is Greg being a jackass. I'm going to write a nasty letter to the Times complaining about lack of professionalism.