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Michael Drew Headshot

Royal Baby Ho-Hum

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One of the more spot-on visuals I saw on Facebook followed the birth of the royal baby and the media frenzy surrounding it. If I recall correctly, the visual -- of George Washington crossing the Delaware -- asked: "Didn't we fight the War of Independence so we wouldn't have to care about the royal baby?"

I couldn't agree more.

The media obsession with celebrity births, and motherhood, is creepy enough -- it reeks of an unhealthy obsession with someone else's fertility and life choice and turns the act of parenthood into a sort of accessorizing moment, as if having a child were as much a fashion statement as buying a Kate Spade bag.

But the American media obsession with the British monarchy, and the line of succession, is appalling. I mean, really: Who cares who'll be king? This isn't Game of Thrones (unfortunately). This is America, which is supposed to be a federal presidential constitutional republic (even one at the mercy of the super-wealthy), and the American and global media buying into the well-orchestrated pregnancy-and-delivery scenario is a real publicity coup for The Firm, as the British royal operation is sometimes called. We've all been had. When did everyone become such a dupe of the fantasy of aristocratic life?

I know: It's summer, and people like to be amused by fluff. But, as always, this kind of endlessly repeating speculation and royal-baby stuff is a bit much. I realize too that television media prefer to be distracted by births and weddings than to concentrate on actual news, or actual fact-based analysis. (Here's a bonus question: How much online traffic do you think the New York Times will lose now that its star poll and numbers analyst Nate Silver is leaving, taking with him his fantastic 538 franchise? I bet it's significant.)

Every country creates its own aristocracy, its own class of people whom the hoi polloi look up to, from movie stars to sport figures and even to those of supposedly noble birth (whatever that bigoted term is supposed to mean nowadays). But now that there really aren't any more movie stars, and now that sports figures are often considered mere vessels for chemical enhancement rather than earthly gods of remarkable physical prowess, perhaps those who'd rather not concentrate on their own everyday lives would rather take solace in gushing over a baby they'll never meet who represents an ancient and outmoded institution.

Well, congratulations and all that. If this were, indeed, Game of Thrones, I'd also add: "The Lannisters send their regards." With the kindest intentions.