Someone Please Pass the Barf Bag, I’m About to Take a Royal Puke
It is very likely that you’ll never see me write these words ever again as long as these fingers can flutter across a keyboard: I’m with Bill O’Reilly all the way. Yup, that Bill O’Reilly, the acerbic firebrand adored by legions of right-wing reactionaries of questionable intellect for his brash, liberal-bashing, number-one rated faux-news Fox News program, the O’Reilly Factor.
O’Reilly, obviously of Irish extraction, has taken exception and taken to the airwaves to take on tomorrow’s royal wedding, and he’s taking no prisoners.
“I couldn’t care less about those dopey people in a carriage,” he quipped, defending earlier criticism of the royal family. Here’s more:
“I submit to you this is sport for England. It’s fun for England. They got the old Windsor Castle. They got the old Queen running around. They’ve got all the scandals. It’s fun for the peasants – and I’m a peasant, all right – it’s fun for them. But for America, we don’t recognize this, we don’t have royalty in this country and people like you try to foist it upon us.”
If Bill O’Reilly is a peasant, then I’m voting for Sarah Palin for President. But I digress– I’m with O’Reilly 100%, remember? Here’s some more of his royal wisdom:
“So, how did they get all of their carriages and all the maintenance on their castles and everything? Because they stole it from the peasants! From you and me and all the others, I’m Irish, but how do you think the kings got all their castles? They stole them! This would be like us in America celebrating the wedding of Al Capone’s great-great-great-great-granddaughter because he stole the money. Come on!”
OK, so maybe O’Reilly is a little off, but he’s definitely on to something. While we certainly can’t hold today’s royals accountable for the crimes committed by their ancestors centuries ago, this whole pompous and supremely expensive undertaking seems more than just a little insensitive at a time when most Britons are enduring their worst economic crisis since World War II, suffering under the strain of recently introduced austerity measures, and millions are either unemployed or facing the prospect of unemployment. One out of five British workers fears losing their job; that number rises to one in three for public sector employees, and for good reason: as part of the Conservative-run British government’s £95 billion ($158 billion) deficit-reduction plan, public services (and, by implication, public sector employees) are in the process of being eviscerated. And as always, it is the most vulnerable segments of the population who will suffer the most: poor children, children with learning disabilities, at-risk youth, domestic violence victims, the blind, the elderly and many, many others. This, as the royal family spends tens of millions of pounds on their lavish nuptials.
O’Reilly slammed the idea of the British royals living it up “on the taxpayer’s back” while the country’s poor are forced to cope with the crushing new austerity measures (even while energetically supporting the same sorts of cuts right here in America), and for this I salute him. But O’Reilly completely missed the environmental impact that tomorrow’s wedding will have. According to the Telegraph, a British newspaper, despite a host of gimmicky greenery, the event will generate 6,765 tons of carbon emissions— 1,230 times the entire annual emissions of the typical British household!
Most of that amount will be the result of royal wedding guests traveling from the four corners of the globe to attend tomorrow’s “wedding of the century.” And here’s another big reason to be sickened: the specter of at least 8 dictators, most of them fellow monarchs who are currently engaged in slaughtering their own people so that these royal douchebags can cling to power just a few more years. Among the confirmed invited guests are:
The Crown Prince of Bahrain: In case you’ve been living in a cave (or watching Fox News) for the last few months, the ruling family of this tiny Gulf emirate has used deadly force to quell an uprising that is challenging its autocratic rule. Hundreds of peacefully protesting Bahrainis have been gunned down by state security forces loyal to the Crown Prince; just this week dozens of doctors who treated injured protesters were rounded up for doing nothing more than their jobs.
King Mswati III of Swaziland: While 80% of his subjects languish in abject poverty and suffer from the world’s highest HIV infection rate, Africa’s last feudal monarch and his 13 wives live in unimaginable opulence, with a fleet of $500,000 luxury cars and more than a dozen royal palaces– in a country the size of New Jersey. Worse, Mswati tolerates no challenges to his absolute rule. All political opposition is banned, opponents are arrested, beaten or worse.
Gabriel Machinga, Zimbabwean ambassador to the UK: While not a monarch, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is a prince of persecution. By now you’re probably familiar with basket case Zimbabwe and its brutish dictator’s oppressive ways. Suffice to say, the people of this once-thriving but now impoverished nation live under one of the most repressive regimes on earth, with torture, disappearances, beatings and extrajudicial murders a daily fact of life.
Also invited are monarchs from Saudi Arabia, perhaps the most crushingly repressive Muslim nation on the planet, Kuwait, Oman, Morocco, Qatar and Abu Dhabi. All rank in the lower tier of nations on the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index.
It’s not just murderous dictators who will take part in tomorrow’s festivities. The royal wedding will also have its share of criminals in attendance, from Kazakh oil and construction mogul Timur Kuanyshev, caught smuggling a million bucks in undeclared cash in his underwear, and disgraced American financier Joe Allbritton, formerly boss at Riggs Bank, which was fined $3.8 million for a money laundering plot involving brutal ex-Chilean dictator (installed in a CIA coup) Augusto Pinochet.
The guest list for tomorrow’s wedding stinks almost as awfully as the concept of the monarchy in general. Bucking the Buckingham zeitgeist, Marco Evers of Germany’s Der Speigel writes:
It’s wrong if the head of state of a country can only come from one family. It’s wrong to furnish this clan with palaces, land and all manner of grants to spare its members the indignity of having to earn their keep and enable them to live in luxury. It is wrong to address the Windsors and, from next Friday the delightful Kate Middleton as well, as Your Royal Highness or even Your Majesty. It is wrong to see them as anything other than people made of flesh and blood, like you and I.
Evers points out the irony of British soldiers fighting and dying for democracy in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq while defending the “absurdly undemocratic idea that nobody but a Windsor can be head of state” at home.
Tomorrow’s royal wedding is nothing but a sad spectacle, an anachronistic curiosity that deserves neither our time nor attention. Many Moral Low Ground readers have asked me when I was going to write about it. Frankly, I didn’t consider it worthy of a post. But now that I’ve used this post as my metaphorical “royal sick bag” to puke all over the British monarchy and their insipid, inbred traditions, I do indeed feel much better. Tomorrow, I’ll be back to bashing Bill O’Reilly and his reactionary ilk. Today, I stand with him. One hundred percent.
P.S.: Many thanks to graphic designer Lydia Leith for creating the “royal wedding sick bag,” a worthy receptacle for what I’ve just “throne up.”
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