Monday, July 22, 2013

An Extraordinary Event?


BREAKING NEWS!   The Duchess of Cambridge is in labor.

The world is holding its collective breath in anticipation.  Months of speculation - is it a boy or a girl?  What will they name the child?  When will we get to see the first photos of the royal baby?  The hospital is encircled by the frenzied media.  "Breaking News" updates are flashing on the television screen every 5 minutes about this extraordinary event.

But is it?

I hate to be a party pooper, but reproducing and giving birth is not extraordinary by any stretch of the imagination.  It is the complete opposite.  It is what millions have done before and will do again.  It is what humans do, it is what animals do, it is what insects do.  Yes folks, that cockroach under your feet reproduces just like you do.

Not only is this event not extraordinary, it is entirely predictable and expected.  Would we expect anything else from Will and Kate than to reproduce so soon after marrying?  Excuse me while I stifle a yawn.

A truly extraordinary "Breaking News!" event would be for a royal couple to declare they are childfree and will be focusing their energies on other activities.  I doubt I will ever see that happen in my lifetime, but I get tingly just thinking about it.

10 comments:

Alex said...

This reminds of your post (at least, I think it was yours) from yea thousand years ago on how most people's ultimate goal in life seems to be just being ordinary and doing the same stuff as everyone else. How else to explain the ridiculous fervor over this non-event, and the non-events that are every other celebrity birth?

I think people are drawn to it precisely because it's so ordinary, because it's something they can relate to personally, since most people have or want to have kids. Already, the clucking hens in my office today were comparing the length of their (or their sisters', friends', etc) labors with that of Kate. The size of their babies with Kate's. How late their first babies were compared to Kate's. As if any of it matters.

I really don't understand this primal need most people seem to have to relate to the people they see on TV. As far as I'm concerned, celebrities don't really exist--they're just images on some screen that have absolutely no substantive effect on my life or on the world. Why the hell should I care about their lives at all? It's like getting obsessed with a fictional character. (Though that's probably a bad example, since there are plenty of people willing to do that too. Something else I don't understand.)

I understand the need for escapism or fantasy or even fluff. What I don't get is why celebrities fill that void for so many people. I mean, they're not interesting or unique in any way. When I'm craving an escape, I indulge in things that actually required some kind of intellect or creativity to create, like books or music. Or even my own daydreams, which are way more interesting than the royal baby (or any baby, really).

Dave said...

Thank you so much for this post. Iam dumbfounded that this is such a big story. I like watching Chris Matthews' "Hardball" on MSNBC but the whole damn show was only about this non-event instead of his usual political stuff I like watching. At least the PBS Newshour devoted nearly nothing to this story. It was a struggle to find stuff on TV not drooling over some woman 5,000 miles away going into labor.

I agree that it would have been great if the royal couple had announced they were childfree (or Kate were infertile and they could not have children) so that child rearing would not be part of their lives.

Bratzy said...

I've been thinking exactly the same. I get why Will, Kate and their families are excited but why on earth is anyone else excited?

Childfreeeee said...

I think Alex hit the nail on the head. People like to compare their own lives to celebrities because it makes their lives more exciting.

I wonder if people feel (subconsciously) that they too could be famous. After all - look - the famous people are doing the same things as me!

I do not understand the endless fascination with celebrities, celebrity reproduction and childrearing or the royal family for that matter. They are just people like everyone else who have to eat, breathe, sleep, and sit on the toilet. I don't buy into the idea that certain people are more "special" because they were born into a particular family.

Olimpia said...

Perhaps you have to be from a country with a monarchy to care. I certainly don't care about celebrities (or babies) but coming from Spain, I do care about my monarchy. Because they're the face of my country. They may not have serious political influence, but they have to present themselves with dignity and respect because they aren't just elected for 4 years, they're the face of the country for their entire lives.

(The Spanish monarchy has certainly been disappointing in recent years, but that's for a different blog lol.)

But I don't blame people for caring about the British monarchy, this is a family that ruled one of the most important empires in history. And Charles (maybe), William, and then his son will all be kings one day. It's history for England.

But why Americans are so obsessed? I don't know either.

Temujin said...

When you consider all the inbreeding that's happened over the centuries of European royalty, then their fertility is actually something of a biological miracle. (The college of William and Mary? Named after royal first cousins who married each other.)

It's like a Jeff Foxworthy joke -- if your family tree is a wreath... you might be a redneck.

You're totally right about the breaking news idea -- what if they declared they decided not to have children? THAT would be the news story of the year.

Limitless said...

Celebreties have money and nannys. The average woman can not See that this makes the Big difference. Her Life ends while celebreties go in with their stuff.

Temujin said...

I thought about it some more, and I've changed my mind about what I wrote before.

If Kate and William announced that they decided not to have children, it would not be nearly as big a news story, because SO FEW PEOPLE WOULD ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT. Virtually no one would treat it as a real decision anyway.

The media would not really take them seriously. All the pundits would debate about when exactly she would change her mind. There would be no shock, only a massive attempt to undermine their decision.

The press would just hound them into having a baby just like they've done with Jennifer Aniston. She would be told on the mags on every checkout line that if she wants to be left alone, all she has to do is gestate a son.

Elizabeth said...

As a happily childfree person, I am still amazed that I get sucked in to all the royal drama. I was sooooo excited for the birth of the royal baby.

While watching the coverage, it struck me - Kate's life will never really be her own. William's life will never really be his own. Their JOB is to reproduce - to keep the bloodline going - whether they have any doubts about parenthood or not.

What if Kate decided she wanted to be a writer? Or a cook? She's not *really* allowed to pursue her own dreams, is she? Frankly, that's just sad.

I hate to burst my own royal fairy tale bubble, but as much as I love the thought of being a princess, the reality of it is a HUGE turn-off.

John Allison said...

I agree whole heartedly to your post, Childreeeee.

It would have been news if she gave birth to an orangutan or a dolphin, but it was just another human... yawn.