Down for the Count: America's Fascination With Royalty



By Walter Brasch


           In case you're in a funk because you think the reason you didn't receive an invitation to the royal wedding is because the Brits are still ticked off about that silly little skirmish back in 1776, the American media have a solution for you.

           The media had been pumping out news, features, and gossip about the wedding for more than three months. Almost every radio, TV, and cable network, except for maybe the Cartoon Channel, will be covering the wedding on Friday. All. Day. Long.

           Coverage begins at 3 a.m. EDT (8 a.m., British Standard Time) and finally ends before the bars close. In addition to extensive live coverage of the procession and wedding itself, ABC, CBS, and NBC are devoting five hours in evening prime time to reviews of the wedding.

           WE TV has four one-hour documentaries: "Prince William," "Kate: The New Diana?", "Will + Kate Forever," and "William & Kate: Wedding of the Century." Apparently, the cable network that brands itself as "the women’s network devoted to the wild ride of relationships during life’s defining moments," believes there won't be a royal divorce, and that the marriages of Charles and Diana (which did end in divorce), Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier, Elizabeth II and Philip, and Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson in the 20th century were only preliminaries. Lifetime, which bills itself as the cable network that "celebrates, entertains and supports women," has several one-hour documentaries, including "A Tale of Two Princesses," "William and Kate: A Love Story," and "Kate's Gown of Renown." The network is also cablecasting two two-hour docudramas, "Prince William" and "William & Kate."

           If you don't have access to a TV set, You Tube is transmitting the events live to computers and every handheld device known to technology. Add in all the newspaper and magazine coverage—look for multi-page photo spreads in all major entertainment magazines in the next week—plus a million or so blogs, and there's no reason why anyone shouldn't know important details, including how many canapés were ordered for the after-wedding reception.

           Americans have always had a fascination with royalty. Although we organized a revolution to overthrow a monarchy, and created a president not a king as head of State, we have spent more than two centuries trying to regain a royal image.

          Our fast food restaurants are called Burger King and Dairy Queen.

           Somewhere at any moment during the year, American girls (infants through senior citizens) are practicing their wave so they can become a beauty queen. Schools have prom queens and homecoming queens, each with their court of princesses. Every college football bowl game parade has a Miss Something and her Court. And, every winner wears a tiara.

           The media and the public dub almost every new celebrity singer a "pop princess." Just about any young ice skating star is known as an "ice princess," but the media in 1989 derogatorily dubbed Deborah Norville an "ice princess" when she took over for popular Jane Pauley on NBC-TV's "Today Show."

           Princess Cruises has the "Love Boat," but there was no love lost when Donald Trump sold his 282-foot Trump Princess for about $40 million in 1991 after he, mistress Marla, and wife Ivana had formed a Ménage a Tabloid.

           Among googobs of literary and movie princesses have been Cinderella, Snow White, and Leia who helped Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and that giant furry thing make the world safe for high-tech special effects. And, of course, there's the Lion King that made the Disney company rich enough to devour all other media companies, and take on the corporate shape of Jabba the Hut.

           The greatest baron, pursued by ace aviator Snoopy, was the Red Baron. However, for some reason the media prefer to use the title "baron" to refer to evil "kingpins"--as in "drug baron," "robber baron" and, understandably, "media baron."

           The music industry abounds with royalty. Bessie Smith was the Empress of the Blues; Roger Miller was King of the Road. Among other kings are those of Ragtime (Scott Joplin), Blues (W.C. Handy), Swing (Benny Goodman), Waltz (composer Richard Strauss or bandleader Wayne King), Pop (Michael Jackson), and, of course, Elvis, the king of rock and roll. One of the best singers was Nat "King" Cole. 

           Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul. Rap singer Queen Latifah may think she's royalty, but British rock group Queen truly has a better shot at sitting in Buckingham Palace than she does.

           Among singing princes are the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, who doesn't do much singing or rapping any more, and Prince Rogers Nelson, who became known simply as Prince, and then the singer-with-the-unpronounceable symbol, who later regained a pronounceable moniker, and has the ability to predict purple rain.

           The most famous duke is the "Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl, Earl, Earl, Duke of Earl" who proved in the late 1950s that anyone can grow up and write song lyrics.

           Other less royal dukes have been baseball great Duke Snider and musical genius Duke Ellington who, had he gone to baseball games, would have had to sit in segregated seating in most ball parks. Sitting with him would be the Dukes of Dixieland. Upset there are no more segregated "colored" seats, drinking fountains, and rest rooms is David Duke who once cornered the market on pointy white hats and dull-witted Whites.

           Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat. But no royal monikers were attached to Roger Maris who broke Ruth's single season record or to Hank Aaron, who broke Ruth's lifetime record, and had to put up with numerous racist comments. So far, no one has given royal titles to Barry Bonds, the current leader in single season homeruns, lifetime homeruns, and steroid usage accusations.

           Nevertheless, the only royalty that matters are the Counts--Tolstoy, Dracula, and Basie.


[Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist. His next book is Before the First Snow, a look at America’s counter-culture and the nation’s conflicts between oil-based and "clean" nuclear energy. The book is available at]






Let The Co-Opting Begin

Rove pointed to unresolved questions about O'Donnell's financial practices, potentially dubious campaign tactics, and generally "nutty things" she'd been saying.

Former Bush Senior Adviser Staff Karl Rove today defended his earlier criticisms of Delaware's Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell and insisted he supports her campaign, since she is now the Republican nominee.

Asked today on Fox News whether he would endorse O'Donnell, Rove said, "I endorsed her the other night -- I said I'm for the Republican in each and every case." - CBS News

As more and more teabaggers are nominated during the Republican primaries the new task for the Republican establishment and pundits is to try and make them appear “main stream”. Under normal conditions this would be difficult because the candidates would have to face the media, their opponents, and the voters. What we are seeing now is a new strategy being instituted by Sarah Palin and her ilk. The new strategy is to avoid the media except for Fox, the voters except for your supporters, and no debates. This election will be telling not just in the policies and visions of the teabaggers, but also a demonstration of the political strategy of evasion. Are the voters so angry that politicians are no longer required to answer tough questions or that their personal lives are no longer relevant?

I believe that former Senator Trent Lott said it best on one of the Sunday talk shows when he said that the Republicans have to figure out a way to co-opt the teabaggers into the larger Republican movement. I have a question why are the teabaggers a natural outgrowth of the Republican Party? If you follow the logic of the teabaggers which is difficult they are for smaller government and fiscal responsibility (among a host of other non-descript principles) then you would think that they would support the only Party in the last 35 years to reduce the national debt and recorded a surplus which would make them Democratic supporters wouldn’t it? So obviously the size of government or the deficits is not what is fueling the outrage.

I think what is troubling to Karl Rove and what should be troubling to the other so-called Republican leaders is that what the teabaggers are putting on display is what is at the heart of the conservative movement which is fear, racism, and tribalism. The teabaggers are like the crazy uncle that you keep in the attic. He is in the family but you don’t want anyone to know about it. The teabaggers are the raw nerve of the Republican Party. They are the ones who are the attack dogs for the Party. Let’s not be naive the reason the so-called Establishment Republicans are not challenging the teabaggers is because the teabaggers are the heart of the Republican Party. And now the trick that they want to play on the American public is to disguise this dark heart as being normal or main stream. These folks are not extremists. They are just angry main stream Americans who may go a little overboard but who could blame them during these revolutionary times.

The Beckster is even trying to talk the teabaggers into toning down the costumes, signs, and rhetoric. According to Mr. Beck now that the teabaggers have made a name for themselves it is time to clean-up their image. He is now offering fashion tips for the teabaggers. When I heard this I was instantly reminded of the Klan’s attempts to become main stream by placing David Duke on the public stage. The problem with managing a mob filled with hate, fear, and paranoia is that there is no managing it. Since a recent poll shows that 50% of the public does not have an opinion of the teabaggers their handlers have decided now is the time for a facelift. Their hope of course is that the public will not remember the signs, the rhetoric, or the racism. Or there is another opinion and that is they truly believe that the majority of Americans secretly share these intolerant views.

I can’t speak for the voters of Delaware, but what gives me cause for concern about Ms. O’Donnell and her shortcomings is simply this, if someone is dishonest in small things they will be dishonest in big things. Although the amounts of her misappropriations are small by Washington standards she has demonstrated a lack of basic honesty. If you will misuse a few thousand dollars how can you be trusted with millions of dollars? Ms. O’Donnell has learned that all Senators are millionaires and she wants to join the club. The fact that the teabaggers will support her or any candidate regardless of their personal integrity demonstrates to me that they are a red herring.

These folks are no more concerned about the deficits than they are concerned about death rays from Mars. You can’t say that you are concerned about the federal deficit and not have enough sense to do a simple history lesson and learn what Party has done more to increase the deficit. This isn’t rocket science a simple internet search will give you the details. But again this isn’t about knowledge or facts it is about a clash of cultures and a clash with the future.

I'm not worried about the deficit. It is big enough to take care of itself. – Ronald Reagan

The Disputed Truth

Obama's Inauguration - A New Day For Hate

I don't want to scare anyone, but I am concerned. Think that Progressives and Center Lefties are the only ones celebrating the election of Barack Obama? Think again. The Lunatic Right is overjoyed! And that makes me nervous! I'm not talking about loudmouths like Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, or Limbaugh. They are crying in their beer. I'm talking about the true nut cases who espouse violence in the name of "racial purity."

There's more...

Racial Politics This Week -- A Roundup

Ain't I a Woman?

-- Sojourner Truth

Welcome to Sista Scola in what is becoming Woman Weekend at MyDD. I am Woman, hear me blog. Feel the Femininity. Of course, I too am Jerome Armstrong in reality. It's sort of like Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor. I find inspiration for the character of "Jill" in my big butt and bad attitude.

Please Note: This will be my last MyDD post until 2007. In the meantime, I lift a frosty glass of soy egg nog (or as I like to call it -- "snog") to you and wish you the happiest of possible holidays.

Lead Story --

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rounds up Hispanic workers using racial profiling in TX leaving at least 400 child citizens without parents. Just in time for Feliz Navidad. Latina Lista, MigraMatters, Pachacutec @ FireDogLake, and Atrios have the story. I'll let the Unapologetic Mexican guest-blogging at PatriotBoy have the last bitter, satirical word: I Pack the Meat That Todo El Mundo Eats

Congressional Black Caucus Members This Week --

* The Washington Post writes a love letter this week to the most powerful black legislator ever: Prometheus 6 and others comment on Charlie Rangel's (co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus) "awesome" profile.  

* Dollar Bill Jefferson does not re-join Rangel on the Ways and Means committee despite inexplicable appeals from the CBC. (Jack and Jill Politics)

* According to the Washington Times, Nancy Pelosi met with incoming CBC chair Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-MI) who urged Pelosi to address the astonishing lack of diversity in Hill staffers. Among thousands of staffers, the Times reports that only about 50 minority staffers of any race can be found in Capitol Hill offices.

According to a running joke one House staffer shared with The Times, "the only people who hire blacks and Hispanics around here are blacks, Hispanics and Republicans."

There's more...

Mission Impossible?

Ken Mhelman stepped down as RNC chairman recently, and the buzz around Washington is that the Republicans will offer the job to Michael Steel. That is, of course, if he doesn't take a job in the Bush cabinet as housing Secretary. Anyway, this is a move, I am sure, on the part of republicans to once again court the black vote. I mean they must look at election results time and time again, see that once again, they only got about 9% of the black vote, and pull whatever hair they have left, out. I can hear them in the back rooms now: "I know that guy Steele ran a pretty good race, and he is funny, upbeat, and telegenic. He is just the type of guy we need to reach out to the blacks" Now, they might or might not be right, and if he does takes the job, Mr. Steele just might be terrific at it.

But I have a few words of advise for Michael before he becomes the new black face of the republican party. -Sorry Condi- Your party has been despised by black folks all these years for a reason. Us black folks have this sixth sense about us, we can sense and see things that other people can't. And it has always proven to be an invaluable tool when it comes to telling us who our friends really are. Our sixth sense always tells us that your Republicans friends aren't our friend, and we aren't really welcome in your tent. Oh, you will tell us we are welcome, but somehow our sixth sense always says otherwise.

This is why no matter how much republicans try to reach out to us, it never works. Oh, we will politely tell them that we will consider voting for the republican candidate , but we never do. We will let you them our homes, and our space to tell us their position, but we ain't voting for them no matter what- At least 90% of us aren't. So Michael, this is what you will have to overcome, that sixth sense of ours that never seems to let us down.

Now, please don't get it twisted, it's not just the sixth sense. There are legitimate noticeable reasons for black folks turning against the republican party: Remember Ronald Reagan in Philadelphia, Mississippi, back in 1980, giving that infamous speech supporting states rights? Remember Nixon's 1968 "Southern Strategy? Remember Barry Goldwater opposing The Civil Rights Act of 1964? Remember Herbert Hoover? Remember republican strategist Lee Atwater's statement? "you start out in 1954 by saying Nigger,nigger, nigger, By 1968 you can't say nigger without it backfiring, so you say stuff like forced busing,states rights, and all that stuff" Mmmmmm, all that stuff huh Lee? Stuff like Willie Horton, "Harold call me", a black hand taking away a job from a white hand for Jessie Helms? But this is what you will be trying to overcome Michael, and the field is just trying to help you out. Hey, when your predecessor, Ken Mhelman, tried to apologize for the republican southern strategy, two of your biggest mouth pieces, Rush Limpboy, and Sean Hannety, denounced him.

So it's all uphill for you if you take this job Michael, and I don't know if you will be able to pull it off. You see how many black folks voted against you for the white democratic candidate in your own race don't you? This, even though you ran as far away from the frat boy as possible. That ought to tell you something: Party affiliation to the democratic party trumps even race with most black folks. So you just might want to think about that before you take the job.

Now don't get me wrong, I would love to see more black folks embracing the republican party. I, for one, do not believe that we should be monolithic in our voting. I would never want one party to take us for granted, as the democrats have done from time to time. Hey, Rosa Parks herself begged J.C. Watts to stay in Congress and represent the republican party. But hey, if it's not there it's not there. There is too much of a history here between us black folks and the party of Lincoln. Too much mistrust, too much ass given to kiss, too much David Dukes, Trent Lotts, and macaca men. And yes the Democratic Senator Robert Byrd was a former Klansman, and he did try to stymie the passing of crucial civil rights legislation in the sixties with a filibuster. But somehow black folks forgive him-it's that sixth sense again- and not Trent Lott. We never seem to forget the sh*& republicans do, but we give the dems a pass. Remember Clinton and Sistah Souljah? Of course you do; democrats can use us and get away with it, but republicans can't. Hey these old wounds were deep, and it will take a long time to heal. "Well there goes the South" I know LBJ, and it ain't been back ever since.

So good luck Mike, I really do hope you can make an impact among black folks. At least that sixth sense doesn't go off when we are around you. We really do feel like you are one of us, and that's a huge start.

There's more...


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