A very special letter to my daughter, age 7, on the occasion of the marriage of William and Kate (perhaps you've heard about it):
I know I told you we could DVR the royal wedding on Friday and watch it after school, after daddy has caught up on all his Real Housewives. I love that you're starting to follow world events, and want to be a part of it. A real girl becoming a real princess! How exciting. But I've changed my mind, and I don't want you to watch. I think you'll understand if you'll let me explain.
No, it's not because I'm poor and I don't want you getting ridiculous ideas in your head about a wedding with 600 guests and a dress that costs more than your college education, though there's that, too.
The real reason is this: Royalty is one of the most backward, messed up ideas humanity has ever had, and it needs to be heaped with hatred and scorn. And nothing else.
See it kept our poor ancestors hungry and in chains for centuries, and a lot of them lost their heads trying to get rid of it.
You've heard me make the joke a million times, when I talk to other parents about you and Disney princesses: "I don't want her to wear princess stuff, not because it's too girly, but because I f**king hate monarchy." Well when I told that joke for the millionth time last week, I realized it was true. (Yes, I'm stealing that line from the Royal Tenenbaums, the only kind of royal family I find acceptable.)
Hell, we Americans fought a war not just against royalty in general, but against the very crown that that smiley groom William is the heir to. Yet every American TV network is there, suckling at the pasty teat of British royalty. Yeah, I know, I know, England is a parliamentary democracy now, their royal family has zero political power, the crown is totally toothless -- which is ironic since William and all of them have such comically huge teeth.
But the other evil aspect of royalty is still totally real, the part that says what matters most -- no, the only thing that matters -- is who your parents are. If there's one thing all decent humans have fought against in the modern age, it's this idea. But still we stand and cheer.
If we are going to worship people based on the accident of their birth, at least let it be because they're super fast, or have an amazing voice, or are super-ultra hot. Yes, William and Kate are both on the attractive side, but if we saw either of them on the street, we wouldn't bother to turn our heads. OK, daddy would probably hit on Kate, but you get my point.
Most people know in their hearts that royalty is wrong, but they just can't help themselves. There must be some part of humanity that wants to be ruled by kings and queens. We still love movies that celebrate it. Just this year we gave the Oscar for Best Picture to a movie that begs us to cheer for a king. We gave another Best Picture Oscar, along with like a billion dollars, to the Lord of the Rings movies, which I'm sure you'll geek out on soon. The message of those is that while humble little creatures like us can be heroes, in the end we'll be ruled by a warrior king, because of who his father was.
So I'm sorry, but no royal wedding. Yeah, I know this is another broken promise, like the time I said we were going to Disneyland but instead we went to that sports bar because I forgot the Lakers were on.
I'll tell you what. Instead of watching those blue bloods, you and I will go down to the county office in East LA where me and your mama got our marriage license eight years ago. They have this crappy little chapel down there. We can watch some down-on-her-luck-and-probably-pregnant 20-year-old get married to her boyfriend, who's really sure he's kicked meth this time, and is turning his life around. She'll have a cheap tiara, he'll have a tie that came in the same plastic package as the shirt he's wearing, and his neck tattoos will be peeking over his collar.
And they'll be full of hope and the beautiful belief that they can make the impossible work forever. And it will be a thousand times more real and more wonderful than any prince or princess on TV.
Will you be watching the royal wedding with your kids?
Image via UK_repsome/Flickr