I understand there’s going to be an English wedding today. I am not a royal watcher by any stretch, but the upcoming nuptials have stirred the Western world’s imagination and ire and it is hard not to notice. On the one hand, there are those individuals and media outlets entranced by the making of a princess; on the other hand, you have those individuals and media outlets exhausted and frustrated by what they see as the superficial ubiquity of it all – who, ironically enough, merely expand the ubiquity as they vent their frustration.
I can sympathize with the anti-royalists’ lack of interest, but not so much their ire. I am not troubled, for instance, that Americans as a whole are more interested in a wedding being held 3,500 miles away than the fact that Leon Panetta will be our new Secretary of Defense. In many ways, the royal wedding is more relevant to people’s lives than a Presidential appointment.
I understand that, practically speaking, the Secretary of Defense might impact Americans’ lives in some tangible way and that there is very little chance the royal wedding will have a tangible effect on anyone’s life save the immediate participants. But people’s interest in the wedding has nothing to do with practical reality and everything to do with imagination, and the imagination has never required practical justification for the target of its attention.
There is something in the marriage of a prince and a princess that to some people – apparently many people – has all the fairytale trappings of romantic perfection. The reality is absolutely irrelevant. As with all fantasies, all imaginings, we are seeking to stir within ourselves those feelings we would like to see expressed in our lives everyday but for which we have not yet found the emotional channels to do so. None of these feelings are new to us, but any and all can become lost within the fog of thought, and so it often falls to the imagination to guide us back.
This is the imagination’s highest calling, to return us our pleasure, and it will use any means at its disposal to do so – any song, any dream, any marriage – all are equal, all are merely reminders that happiness can never be found, only forgotten.
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