Sunday, May 01, 2011

Bad Language

In the world of advertising there is a whole vocabulary that is rarely, if ever, used outside advertising: "fragrance" means chemical perfume, "indulgent" means fattening, "sensual" means sweet, "enter a new world" means buy, and so on.

So in the rather saccharin coverage of the Royal Wedding, it was easy to spot the journalistic bullshit too. "curves" means body, "crafted" means expensive, "fairy tale" means has carriages, "magical" means expensive, "informal" means very formal indeed, and "our future King/Queen" means we are prepared to tempt fate.

I did watch it, although it did not impress me in quite the same way as I remember the ill-fated first wedding of the Prince of Wales. Is it uncharitable to say that it all seemed a little formulaic? Even the music- "I was glad" and "Guide me O thou Great Redeemer" was such that we have quite literally heard it all before.

The journalistic cliche was that this marked "a new beginning", even a "relaunch" of the Monarchy, as though it needed such a thing. In fact it seemed the same script with a slightly younger cast of characters. I wish no ill to the Happy Couple, yet it was hard to watch without a slightly cynical "Oh Yeah?" intruding at certain points.

It was also all too noticeable that the highlights of the fly past were planes that date from the Second World War. Some might see this as the Monarchy tying itself ever closer to the national myth of the Second World War. Yet it would not do to mention that our overstretched and underfunded Armed Forces simply do not have planes to spare.

So after wading through the wall-to-wall coverage what have we learned? The Monarchy retains its popularity, but it as with much of the rest of the fabric of the UK is fraying slightly. While I can feel a certain schadenfreude that the Royal Family can deliver a fairly obvious snub to Blair, whom they clearly loathed, and Brown, who -perhaps- they only pitied; it injected an unwonted spite into the occasion- and was unworthy. A previous Royal generation might have gritted their teeth, but by inviting Douglas Hurd, but not Tony Blair, the Royal Family strayed away from their supposed political neutrality. If it becomes a trend, it may quickly be the case that the position of the Royal House becomes controversial, which could make their position quite tricky, quite quickly.

So after the rather emetic coverage of the "magical day" [sic], I guess we can return to the usual cliches of advertising bullshit, not too mention the cliches of politics where "brave" means foolish, where blaming "Europe" means failing to explain or take responsibility, where "investment" means spending and where "cuts" are evil and must never ever happen.

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