There was probably no more relieved person in Australia last week than Don Burke when the announcement was made that somebody in England with questionable DNA had announced their engagement to somebody from America. Suddenly he was pushed back to page five or six in the daily papers and almost forgotten on the six o’clock news. The heat was temporarily off.
As for the couple in question, yes I refuse to name them as they have already sucked up an inordinate amount of TV news time and press coverage. Channel Seven for example devoted something like the opening eight or nine minutes of their evening news broadcast in reporting on their impending wedding. Even a North Korean missile strike on LA wouldn’t have chewed up such a huge part of the bulletin.
No doubt many listeners, long time royalists, lapped it up with the enthusiasm they normally reserve for the latest copy of New Idea. For me it only brought back a trauma that has been with me since my childhood. I have mentioned this before but let me take you back to the 1950s when British Royalty was almost sacrosanct in a country yet to experience the diversity and multi-culturalism we enjoy today.
I was with my father in the State Newsreel in Market Street and we had taken refuge from a sudden downpour to dry out with some cartoons and a serial. Whilst the newsreel sessions were almost continuous they were interrupted every thirty minutes by the playing of the national anthem, which at the time was God Save The Queen. My father was no lover of royalty and as the opening bars rang out and the audience rose as one he pulled me back to my seat. “You don’t have to stand up, it’s not against the law to sit down.”
This drew an almost hysterical response from the woman seated directly behind who immediately began prodding us both with the sharp end of her umbrella, at the same time screaming and ranting that we should be ashamed of ourselves. Mercifully my dad immediately alerted the usher that a patron had gone bezerk with an umbrella and much to her protestations she was dutifully kicked out. The trauma however had been cemented.
Even since that fateful day I have felt the heavy thrust of an umbrella in my back whenever any member of the largely dysfunctional British Royal family appears on screen. There’s apparently no actual word for fear of royalty but ‘porphyrophobia’ is often suggested, as it describes a phobia with the colour purple, long favoured by the buffoons of the royal lineage.
Over the coming months you can expect a lot of important new stories to be either excluded or pushed back to the arse end of the bulletin to make way for the royal engagement and the endless photo opportunities it throws up. Given that a diminishing number of Australians have a deep rooted Anglo Saxon connection, you have to wonder why the local media is so obsessed with reporting this bunk.
Even the ABC can’t help themselves with their European correspondent James Glenday constantly reporting on the ‘event’ for ABC TV and reminding all of us back home just how ‘exciting’ it was. Well speak for yourself James because all it does for me, and probably many other Australians, is give us the heebie jeebies.
It’s not uncommon for certain items on TV news to be prefaced with the warning “some viewers might find the following story distressing” especially when it refers to conflict or terrible famine. Whilst I would never make light of that caveat, I would like to see a similar caution whenever a story on the Royals was about to be aired.
This would give porphyrophobics like myself, as well as Republicans and those who cherish egalitarianism the chance to look away, mute the sound and not be impacted by the banality of the royal parasites. Having said all that I am not entirely heartless and will be sending the Royal couple an Ancestry DNA kit as a wedding present and wishing them all the best.