This past Saturday morning as I enjoyed my morning coffee, I was drawn to the televised funeral of England’s Prince Philip, who died earlier this month at the age of 99.
The man lived a good, long life and served the Allied cause with distinction during World War II.
From what I know of the man, he deserved the accolades he earned in life, but then I got to thinking: “Why am I watching a funeral for a duke in another country?”
Admittedly, I have often made fun of people who enjoy gossip about the British royal family, but here I was, watching a royal funeral and was observing the body language of Princes William and Harry as they walked out of the church together to see if they would mend their broken relationship.
For a brief second, I hated myself.
But then I chuckled and started to think more broadly about Americans’ fascination with the Royal Family and the allure of celebrities in general.
It is ironic that millions of Americans are fascinated by the monarchy of the nation that America went to war with to become an independent nation.
Of course, that was 244 years ago and our two nations have long been friends since. And yet, that fascination with the British monarchy remains.
America and Britain have done great things together and England is still our closest ally, so that is one reason that Americans might be intrigued by the monarchy in Great Britain.
However, the British throne is largely a symbol for the British commonwealth to unify behind. The Queen lacks any real governing power, so it is not like Americans have to be concerned with what the Queen’s thoughts are on foreign policy, because she has no way of enforcing her beliefs even if she wanted to.
So, that leaves me with only one conclusion: The British family is more of a cultural obsession than a legitimate geopolitical concern.
Call it escapism, call it gossip, call it envy, but it most certainly isn’t because the Royals affect government policy.
Americans are obsessed with celebrities and other cultural figures.
This is actually an important observation that conservatives in this country overlooked for far too long, and are suffering as a result of it. The Left got it, and the Right didn’t.
How many times have you heard a conservative say over the years “who cares what celebrity so-and-so says?”
It is a reaction that I sympathize with, but that doesn’t change the fact that we underestimated the power of celebrity and cultural institutions in our society.
Look around you and you see that this mentality permeates every level of our society including Big Tech, Big Business, Hollywood, and sports.
People know who Lebron James is, but they don’t know who their own congressperson is.
Millions of people listen to LeBron James bloviate about politics, and we might not like it, but it’s the truth.
Celebrity culture is important even though it shouldn’t be.
Ironically, Donald Trump benefitted from his celebrity to become president. If Trump wasn’t a pop culture star, it is highly unlikely that he would have become president without his name recognition.
Ronald Reagan was another pop culture icon who became president, so even though Republicans traditionally lag behind the Left in pop culture stars, even they have benefitted from the celebrity world.
Yes, watching the funeral of Prince Philip made me tie all these points together. Welcome to my mind…it is a scary place!
And God save the Queen!