aired April 30, 2011 on Dave’s Gone By (davesgoneby.com). Youtube: Royal Wedding (5/1/11)
Shalom, Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon, with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of May 1, 2011.
Mazel tov, mazel tov – it’s over. Finally, it’s over. The biggest merger since A&P took over Waldbaums in 1986. I’m talking, of course, of the wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, which, barring someone not forever holding their peace, happened Friday in England.
I have to say, I feel terrible. Not for the bride and groom; he’s rich, she’s hot – they’re set for life. No, I feel bad for the morning TV news shows. What will they talk about now that they have to send their cameras back across the Atlantic? How will they fill twenty minutes out of every half hour if they can’t stop English people on the street and say, “Hey, aren’t you excited?” If they’re not careful, these news programs are gonna have to resort to something drastic – like reporting news.
I know, I’m being a killjoy. But find me a Jew who isn’t!
More to the point, I do have mixed feelings about the overdose of media coverage for what is, at its core, a simple ceremony between a man and a woman. Or, if you’re in Massachusetts, a man and a man. Or if you’re in Rhode Island, a woman and a woman…which is my favorite. But turning this semi-sacred ritual into an international media circus rankles, mainly because so much pomp and circumstance and money is frittered away on a one-time event.
Pundits have said the marriage of Billy and Kate is just another distraction, a shiny bauble that hypnotizes us into briefly forgetting just how screwed we are by every corporation in the world. It’s the media saying – “Don’t look at that gas pump with five dollars a gallon on it; look at Buckingham Palace with the horses, pretty horses. What? You’re worried that your home value just depreciated another ten percent? Come watch a princess shop for a dress that’s 30 times the value of your house! Doesn’t that make you feel better?”
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t positives about the whole marital megilla. Certainly England is getting tons of tourism and free publicity, and part-time jobs for people willing to stand on street corners and hawk souvenirs that say, “He gets to bone her in the Palace, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”
And I will also say that while the wedding is definitely a mindless distraction, it’s also happy news. How much of that do we get? Every day it’s Syria this and Democrats-versus-Republicans that, and a fire in the foothills and a serial rapist in the suburbs, and Tokyo melting down and Charlie Sheen melting down, and cancer victims throwing up and glaciers thawing out until you just wanna pack it in.
So for once, we get a big, bright, beautiful happening: a ritual that upholds tradition while giving everyone a parade and a party. Two nice young kids, the gorgeousness of London, and the old woman can die now, she has an heir – it’s all good.
So while the temptation is to be a sourpuss and go, “millions of people are homeless and starving, and these bluebloods are eating cake; the reality is, people are gonna be homeless and starving no matter what, and a few hours of nuptial noodling isn’t gonna make a farthing’s worth of difference.”
And hey, for those of you who are really jealous of the prince and princess and their billion-dollar wedding just remember: They had one of these 30 years ago – and we all know how that turned out. Let’s just hope this time, when the princess gets slammed in her tunnel, it’s only a metaphor.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, NY. To the happy couple, L’chaim!
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