Saturday, July 27, 2013

What the Heck, Let's Just Go For Full Monarchy

Latest  Column- The Pilot Newspaper:

So the world has another royal baby, and he has a name: George Alexander Louis. His official title will be “His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.”

What is it with this family and the name George? His granddaddy, the Prince of Wales, is Charles Philip Arthur George, his great-granddaddy was King George VI, and his great-great-granddaddy was King George V.

I mean, I know they’re all about the tradition, but come on, it’s the 21st century. Why couldn’t they have mixed it up a little?

Prince Bubba has a nice ring to it. Or maybe they could defray some of the costs of the monarchy by selling naming rights. Prince Nokia Samsung Hyundai, for example, could bring the family the kind of international branding that’s so important in this global economy.

There was some talk, by the way, that the Prince of Wales intended to rule under the name King George VII. Other sources I’ve read, however, claim he has denied saying that, possibly because it seems a bit rude to pick your monarch name while the current sovereign is still breathing.

Some of England’s pricklier rulers might have even removed one’s head for that sort of thing. Fortunately, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t seem the head-chopping type. I’ve seen the look in her eye, though. I wouldn’t want to risk my neck by crossing her.

In any event, the new royal whelp has, like all things royal, captured the imagination of millions of us commoners on both sides of the pond. In fact, some of the gushing I’ve heard over here about the event made me think that if the Brits wanted to reconquer the U.S., all William and Kate would have to do is carry the little fellow between them in a sedan chair, like that picture of the Ark of the Covenant in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and people would just fall all over themselves to surrender.

As always, with a great craze comes a great backlash, with various and sundry commentators raising the old cry that the monarchy should be abolished as an archaic and horrendously expensive relic of a bygone age.

Oddly enough, many of those seem to be coming from Americans. Perhaps the most vociferous one came from Hamilton Nolan of the website Gawker, who wrote a blistering polemic titled “Imprison the Royal Family and Abolish the Monarchy.” Nolan writes, “In a just world, this innocent child would be going up for adoption, since its family would have been imprisoned for crimes against humanity.” It gets worse from there. The rather overheated Mr. Nolan, as noted above, is an American, which raises the question of what standing he has to be so indignant.

In the U.K., on the other hand, a British friend (the talented thriller writer and journalist David Thomas, aka Tom Cain) tells me that only about 18 percent of Britons polled actually want to see the monarchy abolished and that even the most fervent Scottish nationalists promise to keep the queen as head of state.

On the pro-royalty side, Dylan Matthews of The Washington Post recently wrote a column in which he suggested, with tongue only partially in cheek, that the U.S. might be well served by becoming a monarchy — a constitutional one, of course.

“Constitutional monarchies,” he points out, “have an average GDP per capita of $29,106.71 and an average life expectancy of 75.6. All other countries have an average GDP per capita of $12,518.76 and an average life expectancy of 68.3. Point: constitutional monarchies.” In addition, he asserts, the royal family, instead of being a drain on the British economy, actually generates “tiny stimulus boomlets” around events such as the royal birth.

So, hey, why not give it a try? It’s got to work better than the current state of gridlock. The only problem is actually picking a monarch. But does it really have to be? As various royals have shown, a member of the royal family doesn’t have to be particularly smart, talented, or even good-looking (at least if you’re a male). So the choice should be obvious.

Call me Prince Dusty, and feel free to grovel.