Ph.D. Octopus

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Archive for the ‘Royal Wedding’ Category

Two Weddings* and a Funeral

with 3 comments

by apini

This has been a pretty dramatic week, between the Royal Wedding, the storms in the South, Obama’s hilarious White House Correspondents’ Dinner speech, and finally, the death of Osama bin Laden.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding?  I missed it, unfortunately, but the CNN coverage I caught afterwards was still great to watch.   The commentary has mostly been fairly bland – journalists seem so thrilled to write about something positive!  Simon Schama wrote a piece about the meaning of the British monarchy in this season of Arab uprisings against monarchs and dictators.  He noted that this dynasty seems pretty harmless and that’s why people are happy to celebrate them, whereas the Arab dictators being overthrown have poor records and dynastic legacies who would be even worse.

What I think is notable is the role of empathy.   A lot of people have had a wedding (or hope to) or have seen friends get married, or family.  It’s a moment that brings joy and that people (want to) relate to.  The wedding being a marriage of monarchs has very little to do with people’s fascination.  You could televise just about anyone’s wedding and if they were good looking and the pomp was enough, that many people might watch.  Particularly if they were well known  (David Beckham, for instance?).

Very few people have been, or want to be, or know someone who is a monarch, however.  Or a dictator.  Or an international terrorist.  So I suppose it’s not surprising that people in other countries are generally less moved by their overthrow or death.  Except that people seem to be very moved by the death of Osama bin Laden.  In a curious way. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by apini

May 4, 2011 at 05:01