If you are too tired to read this article, I hope it’s because you were one of the millions of Americans who stayed up until late hours in the morning watching the royal wedding.
I stayed up to watch the wedding of two people I have never and will never meet. So did many of my friends and wing-mates. But for some reason, the fact that we were watching the wedding of the future king and queen of Great Britain made the whole situation perfectly rational.
Americans have few logical reasons to be so interested in the wedding. Besides taking over our magazines and TV programs, the wedding will have little impact on our American lives. So why are so many Americans obsessed with it?
Dan Young, a Northwestern College political science professor currently on sabbatical, finds our interest in the royal wedding to be rather understandable. Young sees the wedding as the media’s latest “big story,” or as a “celebrity of the month.”
He continued, “There’s something fascinating in this hold-over tradition from ancient times still playing a role in British life.”
Without the history or a governing system to provide us with our own royalty, Americans have to go elsewhere to find the pageantry and ceremony associated with a wedding of a future monarch. After all, “nobody does ceremony like the British,” said Young.
Young doesn’t believe the media’s coverage of the wedding is gossip or simple fluff stories. “Because it is the royal family, that gives it a bit more weight,” Young said. “The media interest is more justified.”
Despite his interest in the royal wedding, Young said he would not be staying up to watch the ceremony as it occurred. “I’ll be fast asleep,” Young said.
On the other side of the spectrum, NW freshman Gillian Anderson has planned to watch the wedding for some time. “It’s a big deal,” said Anderson. “Royal weddings don’t happen that often.” Anderson has been watching network news coverage of details of the wedding ceremony as well as reading headlines on Yahoo that tempt with insider information about the event.
Anderson agrees with Young that the media’s coverage is justified in this case. “They’re the royal family – their lives are already put out in public,” Anderson said. “It’s not really gossip.”
Araya Assfaw, a sophomore originally from Ethiopia, had different opinions about the American media’s obsession with the wedding. “It’s just crazy,” he said. “Why are they concerned about other countries’ weddings?”
Assfaw admitted that he had read a little information about the wedding, mainly from BBC.com. He even admitted that he had found stories about why the Prince of Bahrain would not be attending the ceremony and the revealing of the seating chart to be interesting. However, Assfaw does not think he is obsessed with the wedding news. “I just stay updated on current issues,” said Assfaw.
Assfaw said he would not be watching the wedding that took place Friday morning – 4 a.m. Central Time. “I’m not interested in watching. I prefer watching other important things.”
Then there are other students, such as sophomore Rebecca Reints, who were more ambivalent about the wedding. Reints said this past Tuesday that “if I’m studying that early, I’ll probably just stay up and watch the wedding,” but did not plan on setting any alarms.
The American media’s coverage of the wedding confused Reints. “It’s weird – it’s not even a part of America,” she said. “The only things outside the country we usually talk about are soccer and war.”
So, for those not so interested in soccer or war news, wedding news may be a perfect outlet to European news. It’s easy to find stories about the fashion involved in Kate’s wedding dresses (yes, I meant dresses), or the kind of cake they couple will be cutting (a fruitcake is traditional), or even about who is or isn’t coming to the ceremony (for example, one guard was uninvited after it was found that he had posted negative comments about Kate on Facebook).
Maybe it’s too easy to find stories about the wedding. But for those of you who decided to sleep through the ceremony – don’t fear! The media will give you all the news about the wedding that you can take.