I care deeply about many things, as you know. But here are a few things, on this special day, that I don’t care about. I don’t care about the Royal Baby. I didn’t care yesterday when the news channels had whole teams of correspondents standing outside a private hospital, and a palace, and the village shop in a village, essentially covering nothing, as it happened. I didn’t care whether it was a going to be a boy or a girl, and I don’t care that it is a boy. It’s not that I don’t care about its health or happiness. It is simply the most privileged of around 2,000 babies born in Britain yesterday, and I wish health and happiness on all of them, because why wouldn’t I? They are blameless little individuals. But I don’t care that the baby born in the private hospital in London yesterday with the mad people camping outside is third in line to the throne. I don’t care who is and who isn’t in line to this throne, as this appears to be the 21st century and I simply cannot understand where there is a “throne” to which babies are entitled even before their umbilical cord is cut. I don’t care about the baby’s parents, or what they will call their baby, as I don’t know them or it, and it’s none of my business. David Cameron said that “the whole country” was “excited” about the birth, but since I know for certain that I wasn’t, then this is a misleading generalisation.
I don’t care that The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will ride past Buckingham Palace to stage a 41-gun royal salute in Green Park at 2pm today. I don’t care that at the Tower of London, there will be a 62-gun salute from the Gun Wharf by the Honourable Artillery Company. I certainly don’t care that a royal gun salute normally comprises 21 rounds, increased to 41 if fired from a royal park or residence. (The Guardian seems to think I do, as that’s where I gleaned that information.) I don’t care that the Tower gets an extra 21 for the citizens of the City of London to show their loyalty to the monarch. I don’t have any loyalty to the monarch, past or future, as I didn’t vote for them. (Sorry, old Monty Python reference.)
I don’t care about the “ornate easel” put up outside Buckingham Palace last night, upon which the foolscap bulletin announcing details of the birth to the world was placed (and which typed sheet of A4 is the single cover image of more than one newspaper today). On a spectrum of giving a shit, the mad people in the Union Jack hats saying things to BBC News like “Princess Diana is shining down on them” and that this was “the people’s pregnancy” are at 10, and I’m at nought. Did I mention that I don’t care?
I don’t care that the baby is destined to be the 43rd monarch since William the Conqueror obtained the English crown in 1066. (Or at least, I’m half-interested in the history that took us to this point, but not in the idea that it still has any bearing on my life.) I don’t care that the baby was delivered at 4.24pm in the exclusive Lindo wing at St Mary’s hospital, Paddington, or that the Duke of Cambridge said, “We could not be happier.” It seems to me that we spent most of yesterday fixated on the dilation of a woman’s cervix, which really doesn’t seem like something complete strangers should do.
I certainly don’t care that the most privileged baby in Britain weighs 8lbs 6oz, which is close to the national average. It’s the only aspect of the baby that is close to any kind of average.
If you care, I do not deny you the pleasure that this birth offers. I am not trying to stop anybody caring, or having a street party, or giving a bow or a curtsey to the television. I’m just expressing a view which made me feel like an alien on my own planet when I walked into the newsagent this morning. (I was going to say foreigner in my own land, but of course, the foreigners are just as mad for it.)
I watched The White Queen on Sunday night. It was all about what life used to be like in the olden days when we had kings and queens and court and ladies in waiting and all sorts of crazy, antiquated stuff. I’m glad I live in modern times.
I’m with you on this one. What especially annoys me is the assumption from the media that everyone MUST care. That the whole “World” cares (what? Even people in Nepal or Russia? Do they really care?)
Hear, hear! Well said, Andrew. Perfectly encapsulates my own feelings towards this apparently momentous event. I didn’t care when the sainted Diana gave birth; I certainly don’t feel moved to give a toss that her progeny are also capable of reproduction. A stranger in a strange land indeed.
Bread and circuses.
just like being woken up early in the morning with the news its not as if we need to know the exact instant
I too couldn’t give a toss about the royal birth. What I do care about is that it’s being used by the TV companies to throw the schedule in the rubbish bin and fill the time with all this royal baby rubbish. For goodness sake, it’s not as though a human birth is a rare event.
My twitter feed last night was full of people who didn’t care (and much worse) and now I read this from one of my favourite writers.
Which leads me to the question, if you claim to not care, why has everybody spent so much time writing about the fact that they don’t care?
Because the majority of the media assumes that everyone cares, and when you don’t care, you feel as if your voice doesn’t count?
I do not “claim” not to care. I do not care. I am also a writer and a blogger and choose to articulate my feelings through this medium. I think you’ll find that there’s an awful lot more comment and writing out there to support the “everybody cares” assumption (or, in Cameron’s words, “everybody is excited”).
Isn’t freedom of speech all about being able to speak with freedom?
Andrew cares passionately about not caring ;->
I agree. It’s tedious. And it’s going to run and run..
To paraphrase Marx – “Royalty is the opium of the masses”. Also shame you included the front page pictures otherwise I would have not seen them at all!
It’s so useful to have you around to articulate what I think on pretty well everything. I don’t *think* I’d jump off a cliff if you told me to, as mums everywhere would say when told “But everyone else does”, but it is useful!
When I recently visited the UK, my traveling companion wanted to see the royal jewels at the Tower of London. I had no interest in that–what I kept wondering was why you still had royalty, and I was told that they are important, and I still didn’t understand. I found myself wrapped up in the grief over Diana’s death at the time it happened, even though I figured that if she’d been driving her own car, like a real person, or if she’d had the sense to wear a seat belt–well, it was a death caused by having too much money, like John Denver’s death or John Kennedy Jr.’s death or many other deaths of wealthy people. I realized that it was TV that made me care, and now I can’t even remember why I cared. Since I no longer watch broadcast TV, I avoided the hype, and appreciated The Daily Show’s brief series on the Royal Cervix.
Thank you Andrew summed up my views perfectly – even 6 music news seems to think we should care
“In an age of 24-hour journalism and dumbing down, it’s really quite something to see the country’s finest hacks making news out of what is essentially, looking at a hospital.”
Not only was this a welcome read but, with reference to one of the comments above, I do value the fact that you have gone to the trouble of telling us you don’t care in such a calm and diplomatic manner, expressing no malice towards the actual couple involved. Those forcing the coverage down our throats (I couldn’t face buying a paper this morning) do need to know there are differing voices and opinions out there. They could also do with adopting the same matter of fact approach when reporting an item of news, worthy purely for constitutional purposes, but nothing else.
Richard, I suggest you buy the I. Minimal coverage in there and Grace Dent wrote something along the same lines as Andrew.
I recorded a news report when Princess Beatrice was born and turned it into one of the terrible “records” I used to make in my youth. I made much use of two lines: “The people in the crowd say the baby will be lucky” [born 8/8/88]; “She’s fifth in line to the throne.”
In spite of being dumbfounded by the levels of enthusiasm towards the Golden Jubilee and The Queen herself last year, I still failed to anticipate the insanity yesterday. Although I wasn’t stupid enough to expect a rational, brief report, I really didn’t think there would be a special programme before the news, then almost the entirety of the news, then another special programme after the news, when there was NO NEWS! Woman has baby, baby weighs this much, they are well – that’s it, that’s literally all the facts there are to report. The only aspect of the whole farrago that saved me from feeling as much of a misfit outsider as you clearly felt, and as I felt in 1997 when the whole country seemed to indulge in mass hysteria, was the occasional comment from BBC reporters along the lines of “For people who take an interest in the monarchy, this is a time of great joy” – a subtle acknowledgment, albeit swamped in a deluge of monarchic propaganda, that we are out here.
You’re certainly not the only one; apart from my mother who I spoke to on the phone last night and mentioned it briefly, no-one I know is really bothered about it. I guess there probably is a lot of media coverage going on, but I’ve not really taken much notice of it. In fact this blog entry is the most I’ve read on the subject! My cousin’s due to give birth any day now, and that’s far more exciting. To me.
Love your writing Andrew – so often articulates what I’m thinking.
I think the only thing I cared about when I saw any Royal Baby-related news was the comparison between the cost of her private suite and the cost in the US of a normal birth; that was at least half interesting, even if they missed a few pieces of information.
There were also a number of hilariously horrible bits of timing on the various news stations, including CNN: http://i.imgur.com/uKB17jE.jpg
This baby boy news mess is the Conservatives’ doing or at least big influence, no doubt.