I attended a social function recently and the topic of discussion among many attendees was the birth of Prince George and the euphoria that it created. The British people were excited and there was jubilation in the country while monarchists in Canada and other Commonwealth countries rejoiced for getting a future king.
The British love the royals and the pomp and pageantry associated with them. British newspapers went berserk at the Prince’s birth by running the prince’s birth on its front pages for days while in Canada, the papers ignored major local stories such as the Calgary floods and the train accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, to give front page treatment to royalty.
Various people have different theories about such behaviour. A friend suggested that newspapers are big business and therefore it is natural that they arouse people’s emotions and hype up the royal birth, to boost their circulations and hence revenues.
There is a huge appetite for such fairy tale incidents among the public, which is ready, and love to devour such stories. A baby’s birth among us commoners is a private affair and unnoticed by the media, unless of course your baby is born on New Year’s Day.
According to Yahoo! searches for the little bundle of joy have spiked 20,512% this month. With 72% of Yahoo! searches coming from women and the top US cities searching are Johnstown, Richmond, Reno, Santa Barbara and Topeka.
While our baby prince was just two days old, he was already setting trends throughout the world. The shawl he was wrapped in, the blanket laid over him and even the car seat that his dad installed in the vehicle – all became sought after items.
The Ottawa Citizen said that the Duchess of Cambridge is used to getting attention from the public. “Most items she wears fly off shop shelves hours after her photo appears in the press.
“It’s just proof of the impact that she and this baby have on people and the incredible desire that people have to own things that (the Duchess) and now the Prince of Cambridge own,” said Susan Kelley, the Michigan-based founder of WhatKateWore.com, a blog for fashion-conscious royal-watchers.
Coming out of hospital with the baby and accompanied by Prince William, Britain’s newest mother wore now famous cornflower-blue crêpe de chine dress by one of her favourite British designers, Jenny Packham.
The London Evening Standard reported that within an hour, Packham’s website crashed under the demand for the polka-dot dress. Shoppers were disappointed to learn that the princess’s dress could not be reproduced for mass consumption.
So the copy-kates went on the internet and it is believed that in two days, polka-dot styles by designer Marc Jacobs were completely sold out.
“What she wears has this incredible impact on multiple industries, and the fashion industry is a multi-billion-dollar entity that employs hundreds of thousands of people and has a very long-term and far-reaching impact from a business perspective, as well as from a cultural perspective,” said Kelley. “It may be frivolous in light of other things going on in the world, but I also think it merits coverage.”
U.S. President Barack Obama has criticized society’s infatuation with celebrity culture and has suggested that it may be killing the American dream. In an interview with David Blum, editor of Kindle Singles, a section that deals with short e-books, published in the National Post, Obama talked about how his family and his wife’s family had struggled. He said they took responsibility for what they did, did not rely on government handouts and worked hard for their success.
“I think every kid has some fantasies about what they’d like to have. But I can’t tell you how many people I meet in my generation who will say, ‘Looking back on it, we didn’t have a lot, but we didn’t feel poor.’ The reason was because the American dream involved some pretty basic stuff. A good job where you felt some security. A good education, and the ability to get a higher education if you wanted to pursue it. Health care you could count on,” said Mr. Obama.
“Those cornerstones of what it meant to be middle class were pretty universally held. People felt if they worked hard they could get there. It was achievable. But I don’t think people went around saying to themselves, ‘I need to have a 10,000-square-foot house.”
“If you look back on your childhood, or if I talk to my friends, all of us have that same impression when we go back home and we realize that the place where we were living was pretty small. These days people would say, ‘How did you live in a place that small?’ Well it didn’t feel that small at the time. It was secure. It was stable. We had a car. It wasn’t a fancy car, but it got you around.”
Mr. Obama suggested the middle-class lifestyle was in danger as people’s idea of success changed.
“Were there things that we might have liked to have? Sure. But partly, I think, there has also been a shift in culture. We weren’t exposed to the things we didn’t have in the same way that kids these days are. There was not that window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Kids weren’t monitoring every day what Kim Kardashian was wearing, or where Kanye West was going on vacation, and thinking that somehow that was the mark of success.”
People could have a good life even if they were not wealthy, he said, adding, “If they want to be a teacher, they can say, ‘You know what, I can live a good, decent middle-class life as a teacher. I don’t have to be a Wall Street lawyer or banker in order for me to succeed and support my family.'”
“I do think what’s shifted is a notion that the wealthier you are, the more conspicuous consumption you engage in. The more successful you are, the more society should stay out of your way as you pursue the bigger house or the fancier jet or the bigger yacht. That particular idea runs contrary to what most Americans think of as the most important goals in life.”
Obama’s words of wisdom are worth listening to except when you take into account that he is fond of inviting celebrities for his own inauguration and find-raising functions. Boyonce, the American singer, songwriter and actress, performed during the president’s inaugural ceremonies at the US Capitol while George Clooney hosted a fundraiser for Obama, yielding $15 million. The presiden also hired singer Jennifer Hudson and actors Amy Poehler, Michael Cera and Kal Penn to get support for Obamacare.
Thanks Mr. Presdient, but how about practicing what you’re preaching.