I don’t get the Australian fascination with the royal family. The national spectacle of crowds fawning over Harry and Meghan seems to be in direct opposition with what I thought it meant to be Australian. To be an independent country capable of its own rule.
Didn’t the British arrive here and declare the Indigenous population non-existent? Didn’t they see them as savages and refuse to acknowledge them human? That’s what Terra nullius meant. Why are we nostalgic for an empire that displaced so many people in its obsession with conquest for crown, country, and colonial rule? Weren’t we a penal settlement? The dumping ground for the Empire’s most unwanted? England’s Nauru.
The push for a republic in Australia has been put off until the Queen dies. The woman may live to 200 at this rate. In the meantime I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the love affair between the public and the royal family has been re-invigorated. By the time Liz carks it we’ll be so in love with the new funky royals that we’ll willingly go missionary for the monarchy.
I am intrigued by the ongoing media frenzy and what appears to be the mass hypnosis of hoi polloi. Even the most cynical can’t help but fall under the spell of Harry and Meghan. They’re a striking couple. And marrying a girl of Afro-American heritage? Daughter of a social working yoga teacher? It’s public relations genius. It really is a fairytale capable of silencing the most militant of anti-royalist agitators. See how they are changing things?
NO I don’t. I don’t see anything except a very shiny distraction from all the extremely serious shit going on. Populism, like these young royals, reigns supreme. They’re taking all the right qualities to market. She’s even making banana bread.
This generation of royals knows how to engage. Harry has a sense of humour. He is kind. Meghan does yoga and wears ethically sourced jeans made by girls rescued from the sex trade. They’re nice people. Why are we seduced by that? Are we so used to people in power being awful that their being ‘nice’ brings us undone?
Why do we moon for the monarchy? It’s how Stockholm Syndrome works isn’t it? Your captor shows you kindness and instead of resentment or desire for liberation, in its place are compliance and loyalty. And love. That’s when you choose to stay in prison without the prison.
Harry’s here for the Invictus Games – the celebration of triumph over adversity by those injured in war and in service of their country. But did you know that the Invictus Games are brought to you by arms dealers – the very ones who created the weapons responsible for the pain and disfigurement in the first place? Aren’t the refugees we have locked up offshore the victims of the unlawful invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq by the Coalition of the Willing, the most notable members being Australia, Britain, and the USA.
The royal family have shares in the arms trade and profited from the war in Iraq. Doesn’t that strike you as a little off? Doesn’t the whole magical shine tarnish just a little? Like with most extreme privilege, there’s blood on their hands. Wouldn’t those injured in service prefer money spent on actual mental health treatment and facilities, housing, and support across the entire community of those injured in service?
And then there’s the ‘romance’ thing. Those infatuated with the Harry and Meghan story. The prince marrying the commoner? Didn’t we little girls grow up damaged enough wishing for shit like that? Isn’t that the Cinderella story all over again?
Don’t you think it’s time we buried that sexist, classist shit for good? Even now, with all we know, it’s still our opiate. We love the pretty pictures of beautiful couples that make us forget that for many many people, the world is an unfair and difficult place. Journalists with years of training drop their news stories to painstakingly detail ‘an ivory sheath dress’, ‘a mid-calf black skirt’, ‘a navy blue suit’… It is so extraordinarily meaningless.
Who cares? We turn our backs on children languishing in detention centres but take to the streets in thousands to stand behind barricades to catch a glimpse of people afforded ultimate privilege? It makes me feel ill. Are we that shallow? Are we that easily sated? Are we really that stupid? It’s PR for the empire.
Get rid of the cavalcades, bring on the republic, and stop being sucked into the bullshit.