Long live the King? Welcome to the gerontocracy – a critique of the royal visit

By   /   April 13, 2014  /   11 Comments

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On the face of it, hard times for republicans. Prince William ,the Duchess of Cambridge and young George have received monster coverage. Journalists and politicians drool as the esteemed couple attend functions and dinners, shake hands, go sailing and parade their boy. Sycophantic `Royal watchers` pump out tittle tattle and tit bits for an adoring public. But, despite the surface positivity there is an underlying problem.

governor_general_s_pic_of_royal_arrival_E1                                                                                                                                                                                                                         On the face of it, hard times for republicans. Prince William ,the Duchess of Cambridge and young George have received monster coverage. Journalists and politicians drool as the esteemed couple attend functions and dinners, shake hands, go sailing and parade their boy. Sycophantic  `Royal watchers` pump out tittle tattle and tit bits for an adoring public.  But, despite the surface positivity  there  is  an underlying problem.

William and Kate are, simultaneously, `A` list celebrities and exemplars of Royalty. Yet, these are different worlds.

Our mass mediated celebrity culture celebrates vitality, beauty, glamour and fame. These qualities are attributed to luminaries from the worlds of film, music, fashion and sport. Certain political leaders and aristocrats also attract publicity. Celebrities are commodities which generate revenue for television, radio, newspapers and magazines.

Social media ensures a 24/7 diet of celebrity shots, clips and tweets for besotted fans. Monarchy, on the other hand, is premised on hereditary. Kings and Queens rule until they die or abdicate, irrespective of whether they are regarded as  celebrities.  And, heirs to the throne are pre-ordained, irrespective  of their  brains, looks or likeability. In a celebrity drenched world monarchies will sometimes put up individuals who are ugly, boring, nutty or ideologically extreme (in the latter case just think of Edward the Eighth,Wallis Simpson and German Nazism in the late 1930s). The problem now is that  William an Kate are beloved and Charles pales in comparison. According to poll results published in the Daily Telegraph last November, 35 per cent of Britons thought Charles should cede succession to Prince William. Fifty two per cent favoured Prince to take the throne (14 November). The headline for the Telegraph piece `Britons want Prince Charles to be next King` should perhaps have read `A bare majority of Britons want Prince Charles to be the next King`.

For monarchists this is a bit disturbing; 35 per cent of Britons wish to abandon the heredity principle. Twenty years ago the numbers were much higher. Polls then suggested that over 60 per cent of Britons did not want Charles as the next King. We know why of course; Diana sparkled radiantly at the expense of Charles and the Windsors.  Diana`s sons have carried on the glamour, the arrival of Kate and a new heir has magnified the spectacle.

Unfortunately, heirs to the throne must wait their turn, sometimes interminably. The latest NZ Womans Weekly cover, inadvertently illustrates my point;- `Kia Ora to our future King George`. Upon scanning this headline my first thought was, `when will that be?`.

Let’s work this out.

Queen Elizabeth is 87, her mother made it to 101. If we give the Queen another decade, Charles will become king at 75. A reign of 20 years would end in 2044. By then, William will be hitting 60 and George 30. With advancements in medical care William could become a centenarian like his great grandmother. George would then become King  in 2084 at age 70.

The situation here is obvious.

The heredity principle coupled with increased life expectancy equals gerontocracy, a form of rule at odds with celebrity culture. Elderly monarchs and their consorts will always be upstaged by the glamorous among their progeny, until they too pass their sell by date. Monarchists should not be smug.  Behind the glitz and glamour of the young Royals there resides a decrepit institution which rewards longevity over talent.

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11 Comments

  1. Richard Christie says:

    Michael Jackson is vilified for holding his child aloft on a balcony yet this chick can waltz down steep steps in pumps holding her bubs under one arm.

    OMG!!! perhaps we live in a class system!

  2. Vaughan says:

    Royalty is antithesis to Democracy. Any healthy living & breathing democratic society should shun & condemn royalty; not celebrate it – confining all forms of monarchy to the dustbin of history. . .

    Shame on us!

  3. Danyl Strype says:

    The way the corporate media are fawning over these aristocrats makes me sick to the stomach. I saw an article on the front page of a supposed “newspaper” which described what they were wearing, like something out of a gossip rag like Women’s Day. I can’t fully express how frustrating it is to find myself in the ridiculous position of living on South Pacific islands, in a country which calls itself a “democracy”, yet has the head of a UK family as hereditary dictator, and its government controlled by proxies for multinational corporate power.

    Some advocate becoming a republic, but that doesn’t seem to have made the US any more democratic, and according to David Graeber the US republic was constituted specifically to *avoid* the outbreak of democracy or anarchy (terms used interchangeably at the time). What about a federal democracy, with Parliament replaced by a spokescouncil of recallable delegates from autonomous regions?

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      and according to David Graeber the US republic was constituted specifically to *avoid* the outbreak of democracy or anarchy (terms used interchangeably at the time).

      It was. It fact, that’s what representative democracy is for – to prevent democracy.

    • Richard Christie says:

      I share your sentiment Danyl but would point out that the royals are not hereditary dictators, (not since the early 17th Century and some would argue not since 1215) They are, for all intents, politically powerless.
      This is what makes the whole thing doubly pathetic. The system is propping up a parasitic show pony at our expense. And we shouldn’t believe the crap that the royals (in our case the Gov. Gen.) are constitutional safeguard to the running of the democracy. They’ll invariably sign into law whatever is put in front of them, the only exception as Whitlam discovered is when it threatens traditional privilege.

  4. Marc says:

    “Our mass mediated celebrity culture celebrates vitality, beauty, glamour and fame. These qualities are attributed to luminaries from the worlds of film, music, fashion and sport. Certain political leaders and aristocrats also attract publicity. Celebrities are commodities which generate revenue for television, radio, newspapers and magazines.”

    It does not give much credit to the mainstream media and too many in the wider public of this country, to report all this drivel as they do. Who the hell gets anything from seeing the “royal couple” sit amongst others on a speed boat on the Shotover River, or tasting wines in Otago. Who benefits from a “royal baby” called George to be allowed a very limited time to play with hand picked babies of a similar age at a kiddie centre in Wellington?

    But there are enough idiots out there, screaming, he or she “looked at me”, “waved to me”, “shook my hand”, wow, what an “event”?

    This teaches us about the dim-wittedness of human beings, or rather a too large section of them. That explains perfectly how we have the present government and Prime Minister, it is too many idiots with shallow thought processes and superficial judgment to cast votes on who should run the country, really a somewhat serious job and affair after all.

    People cling to some figures that mean nothing to them really, but they love celeb stuff and events. That makes certain magazines sell, and the MSM are buying right into the same “phenomenon”.

    I dread waking up at the moment, knowing on the news will first of all be the latest on Willy and Kate and all else will be “secondary” in importance.

    For heaven’s sake, where is sanity amongst people, I ask, are they really so thick and superficial, that they rather have an entertaining clown run the country and an over indulgent beneficiary couple from the other side of the globe live it up on their tax payer spent money? It seems humanity is beyond repair and hope, and we can also thank the MSM to reinforce this hopeless situation.

    Most journalists in this country do NOT deserve to have their jobs!

    • Derek Kelsey says:

      But there are enough idiots out there, screaming, he or she “looked at me”, “waved to me”, “shook my hand”, wow, what an “event”

      But it’s OK to do this when ShonKey is around???

  5. Philgwellington says:

    Our MSM has turned to crap.And Radio New Zealand National is following this disturbing trend.
    What to do?

  6. fambo says:

    I only watch TV on Friday nights and it is interesting to note how static the news cycle is on TV1 and TV3. From 5.30pm to 11pm one of the major news items was that the couple had competed in the Americas Cup yachts that afternoon. Pretty much all the other news was identical as well. Their news producers obviously prepare their “days news” early in the afternoon and stick with that for the next eight to ten hours.

  7. countryboy says:

    I met the Queen once and she had the energy of a likeable old woman with a complex disposition . She smiled as she looked me in the eye and seemed to be enjoying herself as she did the rounds of the hoi polloi .
    While I’m not exactly someone who might be considered a ‘ Monarchist ‘ or a ‘ Royalist ‘ , I do actually admire and have respect for the humans who comprise the Royal Family and have enormous pride in their ancient , culturally rich , and at times murderous lineage . I personally think they’re an exceptional entity within our species and as such , we should show them respect and not chuck cheap , hateful adjectives around like Chinese made hand grenades . Lets save those for our politicians . You know ? The ones we voted for and pay . Stupid society .
    What do you think of Telecom , Vodafone , the power companies , the Banks , the money lenders generally and even of your own families then ?
    Some of you mention Democracy . Would we have a democracy if it were not for the Crown ? If you want to see a Democracy without the mantle piece to lean against that is the Crown look no further than the USA . The poor old Americans would cut off an ear for the style , class and elegance of the British Monarchy . Anything to counterbalance the psychopathic nature of it’s unbridled , un girth-strapped , galloping nag of a greed culture that’s redefined the word tacky .
    When the earthquakes broke Ch Ch’s funkiest buildings , they were missed terribly of course but they were reminiscent of the Victorian , Edwardian and Georgian styles and that’s why they are missed . They had soul . And class . Not of Hollywood or of any of the absurdist architectural styles of neo L.A. Corporate / Towers of Greed that we all go Ooo and Ahhh at when we go to those cities .
    Class and style darlings . Remember them ? No ?
    Really , I don’t think any of you have any idea what your talking about .
    Dr Wayne Hope ? I’m a shade disappointed in you . I understand the point you make but you have no warmth in your words and you don’t seem to have an understanding of just how vitally important it is for us to have a noble and edifying Crown to watch over us to make sure we don’t fuck things up completely .

    As we are doing . ( I think that’s really why they’re here . )

    Could it be because we have a hook nosed jonky playing golf with The Worlds Most Powerful Man and President of The Greatest Nation On Earth ! Ta Da ! See him fly past in his cape and tights ? Off to smite the towel heads ? To give aid to the Isrealis ? To use Liberian gangster war lords to help destabilise the middle east ? What a Class act . No wonder we want to be Americans .

  8. countryboy says:

    By the way !

    ” HARVEY NORMAN ! 60 MONTHS INTEREST FREE STORE WIDE ! SHOP NOW ! MUST END 14 APRIL ! ”

    ( Ad , floating like a dead fly in the kitchen sink to the right of this page . I rest my case . )