There’s no getting around it: Chicks dig the royal wedding.
The marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton seems to have the effect on women that a large-breasted woman has on men. Everyone gets the vapors and forgets to think.
Of course, this isn’t surprising. Women, far more than men, love weddings. They love the splendor of it, the dresses, the fact that a free man is being brought to heel (although Prince William is not really free; more on that later). They also are better at commitment than men. Their joy over weddings reveals the fact that women tend to me more moral, stable and sensible than men.
But even I have been shocked at the global distaff surrender to the wedding of William and Kate. Where is, to quote a classic Marshall Crenshaw song, a “cynical girl” who “hates TV” and who — to add my own spin on Crenshaw — thinks the British nuptials are dumb and offensive? Not on TV, where Ann, Katie, Meredith, Diane, et al sound like high school sophomores on a party line. And don’t expect a male journalist to man up and call them on it — what, Chris Wallace is going to criticize bloodlines and nepotism? Matt Lauer is going to sound off like he has a pair?
It’s been impossible to find a single female dissenter. I started with my own mom, a tough 80-year-old from earthy Irish stock. My dad was an absolute Irish nationalist. Before he died in 1996, he and mom went to Ireland once every couple years. My dad was a journalist and poet, and for the trip to Ireland he would bring a raft of anti-British harangues. There’s one I’ll never forget, “Ballinsmalla Abbey.” It tells of my father visiting Ireland and coming across the 19th-century grave of a man, Thomas Brehon, who had been hung for resistance to the British landlords who controlled Ireland until the 1920s. Brehon was our family name before the British changed it to Judge (The Brehons were lawyers, i.e. judges)
“Ballinsmalla Abbey” can only be described as a hybrid classical/slam poem, a cross between Robert Frost and Ice-T. The narrator goes into a nuclear rage when he discovers the grave, “for Brehon is my erased name.” He then fantasizes about plunging a weapon into Dennis Browne, the landlord who hung Thomas Brehon. The poem then indicts the entire British race, from its “evil overlords” to its “clapped-up queens.” (This was a reference to Queen Mary, who had syphilis.) Once we all went to Ireland as a family, and dad read the poem in the Dublin Arts Club. To use a line a jazz dancer once said, by the end of that poem you could hear a rat pissing on cotton. They were impressed.
In short, we were taught from a young age to despise the British. Yet when I announced my own boycott of the wedding, my mom told me I was crazy. “You’re going to miss all the fun!” I could faintly hear, several miles away, dad rotating.
Then there’s my friend Tejal. Tejal is from India, and there is one surefire way to get her angry — bring up the British. It’s usually a good idea to get out of the way as she recounts the history of India, “those British bastards,” Gandhi, and how those limeys destroyed everything they touched for centuries.
She’s taking work off to watch the wedding.
But perhaps the most disappointing is Anne Applebaum, the columnist for the Washington Post. Applebaum is a good writer — and one who writes often about the iniquity of communism — but she went all Marilyn Monroe at the thought of the wedding of the century. In a recent piece, Applebaum claimed to know nothing about William and Kate — except, you know, for the fact that he got a degree in geography, Kate’s sister’s name is Pippa, and that Kate once wore a see-through dress. Applebaum then argued that we find the royal wedding “fascinating” because we find inescapable fate fascinating. “Unlike luck, which comes and goes, fate is permanent,” she writes. “Unlike fortune, which can be good and bad, fate is neither: It just is. You can feel sorry for Prince William, because he has to live his life in public. Or you can envy him, because he will be king of England. Take your pick — either way, the details are gripping.”
How about a third option — you decide not to give a toss about a silly, atavistic tradition that rewards people with fame and riches — and pretty women — for no other reason than an accident of birth. Applebaum argues that were William to abdicate like his great-great uncle, “that action would define him and haunt him until the end of his days.” I ask you, fellow Americans: which is a more fascinating story, the boy whose life has been mapped out, who will spend his days in an endless series of rope lines and liberal fundraisers, watching his hair disappear and his nose grow like his father’s, or the man who decides to stand or fall on his own? Indeed, were William to defect, his life would instantly become what it is not now nor ever will be: interesting. Who’s a more compelling figure — Matt Drudge or Luke Russert?
So count me out. On that special day, I am going to visit dad’s grave, go to an Irish bar, then go to the Washington Monument and thank God for America.
I may even change my name back to Brehon.
Mark Judge is the author of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.