Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happily ever after - the bethrothal of royalty and popular culture

Republicans can gnash their teeth but the reality is that royalty has managed to do the swift manoeuvering required to move it from antique and declining relic to funky pop culture icon. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee confirms this.

At the tail end of royalty we can finally pretend they were harmless and charming all along, not founded on the basis of beheadings and torture chambers, murders and arranged marriages, at the end almost a benign presence – like a pandemic that has run its course.

It’s true that fear of the guillotine certainly played an important role in inducing self reform – that’s not something to forget, survival is a strong instinct. But royalty has gone further than just tidying up a not so pleasant side of itself and reluctantly accepting the people as rulers. It has embraced them, even if a bit uncomfortably at times, and in doing so it has become part of the everyday.

Happily ever after
Last year I saw the Grace Kelly exhibition in Bendigo, which was a good example of how royalty adopted the movies to lift itself out of modern irrelevance and to make itself part of mass culture by becoming popular entertainment.