An article about how the queen hates selfies popped up on my Twitter feed last week. Granted, this is my fault for following the Daily Mail on Twitter.
The queen admitted “how strange” she found the selfie phenomenon, which can really only be expected for someone who ascended to the throne in 1953. The issue is that this article spawned several others, to the point that I was reading about her comments on CTV.
Monarchies should be irrelevant by now and Queen Elizabeth’s opinion on selfies is typical and benign. But it was a story on several prominent news sites — above stories about the conflict in Gaza, the plight of the Yazidis and U.S. immigration reform. Like the monarchy itself, the Queen’s comments were pointless and took up too much of our time.
This is just another way the monarchy diverts public attention from actual issues, like what a useless institution the monarchy actually is. Abolishing the monarchy usually comes across as a radical stance, but there aren’t a lot of practical reasons to keep it around.
Proponents of monarchies usually insist that the tourist revenue is well worth the expense. These people don’t realize that most tourist revenue is historical. People aren’t going to stop visiting the Tower of London or Hampton Court because we’re not paying to house the Queen’s pack of Welsh corgis. People haven’t stopped going to Versailles and the French finished off their monarchy in 1789. The sale of Windsor crest paper weights or chintzy tea towels with Prince William’s face on them is hardly keeping the British economy afloat.
There’s also the argument that the monarchy acts as a check on the power of the government, but the crown is both neutral and politically ineffectual. If you remember anything from high school social studies, you’ll remember that democratic institutions include a system of checks and balances. It’s not like every country without a monarchy is a dictatorship — the French and the Americans come to mind.
And if those aren’t enough reasons to hate the monarchy, there’s always that time Prince Harry dressed up as a Nazi.
It’s ludicrous that the Queen finds selfies ridiculous when I can go to the UK and purchase mugs with the faces of her inbred overly toothy relatives plastered across them. When I’m finished purchasing these mugs with money that has her face on it, I can ship them to Canada using postage stamps that also have the Queen’s face on them. Even in a different country, she can find money that has her face on it. The only woman on Canadian money is an old lady whose greatest accomplishment is having an uncle that abdicated the throne so he could get a divorce.
Sure, the royal baby looks pretty cute. But the constant photos of him are a lot less adorable when you remember that this baby will grow up in unbelievable wealth based on nothing more than genealogy and an archaic tradition.
Honestly, if prominent political figures are going to start giving their opinions on harmless Internet trends, I’d rather hear from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His opinion would probably be as dull, but at least he has a real job.
Say what you like about my Instagram account, but at least you can’t purchase a teapot with my face on it. I’m also not making millions of people pay for my extravagant lifestyle on account of tradition and my inbred bloodline. Queen Elizabeth II might hate selfies, but I think millenials are still coming out ahead.