This Quote Royally Stinks
Amy and I would like to congratulate Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, on the arrival of Prince George Alexander Louis, third in the line to the British throne. We wish the happy family nothing but the best as they enjoy their newborn and each of his royal poops.
Seriously–and I know I’ve blogged about this before–I don’t get the American obsession with the British monarchy. After all, long ago we dumped the English on their royal arses, didn’t we?!?
And so I’ve scratched my head this week at the overwhelming coverage of the royal birth. Unless you’ve been in a cave for the week, you’ve seen the coverage on the morning shows, the evening news, on the web and everywhere in between. It’s royal baby mania.
And then I about scratched my head off completely when I read the following quote from CNN royal commentator Victoria Arbiter:
“I can’t believe we finally, after all this waiting, know that we have a boy,” she said shortly after the birth was announced. “My first thought, I have to say, was this is how brilliant a royal Kate is. There are women throughout British royal family history that have panicked over not being able to deliver a boy. And here we are — Kate did it first time.”
Now, there are asinine quotes, and then there’s this one.
For one thing, I have no idea how having a boy was in any way Kate’s decision. I mean, the quote reads as if she willed it and it was so. And, by contrast, other royals have not had that same super-power and hence they’ve panicked. Last time I checked, outside of some serious science, there’s not a whole lot a mom-to-be can do to pick a baby’s gender, old wive’s tales by damned.
Secondly, and most vexing, is the quote’s juxtaposition of “brilliant” with “able to deliver a boy.”
As I reported when Kate announced her pregnancy, the British law of primogeniture (male heirs accede to the throne, even in the presence of older sisters) was happily expunged by Parliament in the run-up to this royal birth. Still, the perception persists, at least on the part of Ms. Arbiter, that because the baby was born with a y chromosome, it’s better for the baby, for Kate and for the nation.
If she’s “brilliant” for bearing a boy, what would she be if she had born a girl?
In the end, it’s a ridiculous quote, one that’s easy to dismiss out of hand. In this article on slate, one writer gives this comment “the award for worst royal baby commentary ever.”
Indeed that’s so. But it’s also more than that.
It also wins the Tertullian Award for most egregious male privilege quote of the year.