Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Our Queen in the US

Sometimes I forget that I now live in a kingdom - a United Kingdom. But in the past few days, watching the news brings this fact very intensly into conscience: the Queen visits the US. The former colony. Now that I live in the UK, she is actually also my queen. Strange, all my life before I had lived in democracies (yes, Germany is one too, nowadays), and now I am ruled by someone who inherited her power instead of getting elected. Well, ok, yes, there is a parliament too. But still, one cannot avoid realising the fact that we here in the UK live in a monarchy.

President Bush gave a state dinner, a "white tie affair", which is the highest degree of formal dinner possible. Newspapers and TV news discuss questions of etiqette... with a seriousness which borders on ridiculousness. I do not mind all that gossip about the royal family, but these efforts of the "high society" to suck up to the Royals appears quite annoying. The press today comments about Bush's fauxpass of joking and winking to the Queen. So what? Who says what one should say or not say to the Queen? Why does it matter how she is to be addressed? Why is this of any importance? She is just a human, like anyone else. I would pay my respect, but I would not give a damn on how the official etiquette would require this. Here in the UK, the reporting class of the media show their true hypocritical nature... they are obviously fascinated of that relict from past centuries, of that institution which other countries have gotten away with long time ago (see French revolution where a few heads were chopped off).

Nothing topped the exchange of two reporters - obviously both British - on CNN International yesterday evening, when one reported from Washington, from the "white tie dinner", himself being dressed in this ridiculous white tie outfit. His colleague in the studio jokingly asked him if he was just "dressed up and having no where to go". The guy obviously took it seriously, and hit back with a "you would not know how to dress for these occasions - you just know your T-shirt outfit". Then he went on to report about other things regarding that dinner. A few minutes later, when it was again the studio reporter's turn to talk, he said "I do not like you getting this personal to me - I also know how to wear a suit" (or similar, I am just paraphrasing here). Now this seems to me just indicative how "spoilt" and snobbish these upper-class reporters are. To me I would say it with pride that I know how to wear a T-shirt, and I would be actually embarrased to fall into the trap of conformism, of complying with those style rules. But hey, this is how they do things over here on the island.