Monday, November 07, 2005

royals, flushed

Australian Princess is surely the best ad for a republic since It’s a Royal Knockout. You wonder how on earth Joe Public could ever be charged with sedition for rubbishing the monarchy when the royals and their hangers-on do such a fine job of rubbishing themselves. I’m finding it fascinating to watch these celebrity royals and affiliated society types in action on this reality show. It’s not often we get them up on stage.
I can't decide whether they take themselves seriously or not. They must be hamming it up, but then at times you appreciate their snobbery is genuine, such as when Jane Ferguson contemptuously inquires of the contestants who they think they are. Early on, when even a photo of the Queen Mother drew a series of blanks from the Aussie contestants, the royals appeared to react with genuine shock and horror.
It's a little embarrassing how the girls have to suck-up so they don't get booted from the show. On the other hand, maybe they're artfully playing the game. Keeping their eye on the prize, which includes diamonds, free overseas travel and a date with a prince of uncertain nationality (maybe Molvania?).
What strikes you is the excruciating triviality and banality of the royal world. Talk about sweating the small, anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive stuff. Last week the former royal butler Paul Burrell, who seems to style himself on Basil Fawlty, was hopping about in yet another fury over yet another sin of etiquette. The issue? "The spoons are above the forks!". These people are loony.
The thing is, royalty and their hangers-on don’t just expect deference and reverence from the contestants on some half-baked reality TV show; they expect it from all of us. And I still don't get how a class-based system of a monarchy can be compatible with John Howard's desire for a classless nation (more on the Rat soon).
Anyway, can’t wait for Wednesday’s episode of Princess. You might have seen the promos, which feature a contestant bitching about some royal: ‘Mate, you are the biggest dickhead I’ve met in my life." Ah, you go, republican princesses.

( the bit about Burrell.)