Kate, Wills and Baby George visited my neck of the woods recently and unless you had your head buried securely in the sand nobody was going to let you avoid the hype of the ‘Royal Tour’. The media has had a field day the last three weeks documenting every baby smile, commenting on every billowing skirt, and analysing every exchange of words as the couple and their new offspring appeared at one publicity stunt after another, spreading their brand of sophisticated restraint to monarchists throughout the Antipodes. And while more than 500 journalists from across the world were covering the story for 30 000 separate news reports and 25 front page stories the rest of the world news got brushed aside. According to one source only 1 Australian journalist was in the Ukraine reporting on the crisis in Crimea, and another is the solo reporter on the descending chaos in South Sudan from neighbouring Kenya.
As we watched every moment of Kate and Baby George at a local play school where were the reports raising awareness and promoting action regarding the 200 school girls abducted and still missing in Nigeria for wanting to receive an education? While we were repeatedly told which designer Kate was wearing and her outfits analysed in depth each and every day who was informing us of the urgency of the UN to deliver basic aid to the millions fleeing their homes in Syria as civil war escalates? And as we watched as the Royal couple were escorted around the base of Uluru, one of the country’s most well known Aboriginal sites, where was the air time to address the negative social attitudes towards Indigenous Australians that exist?
I am not against the Royal family – I am a bit indifferent really. I feel that being allocated a life of such excess will never satisfy the human soul and probably it is more of a burden than those of us outside would fully understand. I acknowledge they often use their status to promote worthy causes and highlight issues of importance with the uncontroversial moderation they are allowed and in the celebrity obsessed world we live in perhaps their actions can have huge ripple effects. But when the persecution, deaths and dislocation of the masses are left on the cutting room floor to make way for the documentation of their every movement it is a sad reflection of the shallow society we are living in.
It is getting harder and harder to source news – real-life, thought-provoking news. While these people may have descended from the top of an antiquated social hierarchy their lives are not of more value than those at the so-called bottom and bombarding me with images and ‘news’ of their lives does not educate me, inspire me or empower me. But maybe that is not what those in charge of the media want.