We decided to opt-out of the Kate and Bill Wales story as we can only tolerate a certain percentage of madness in any given fiscal year. Royal weddings can easily exceed our mandated maximum, especially if they occur in the UK. The madness doesn’t necessarily happen because of the media, as it is expected the ink-stained wretches go all sloppy, but more because of the rampant venal merchandising that gloms its’ mitts onto any occasion.
For instance, the ‘replica’ Royal engagement ring only available in this limited time offer, strict limit of one per household, normally priced at $119.00, now just $39.90, with a hinged velveteen box and Certificate of Authenticity. If one combined folded cigarette foil for the ‘silver’, broken windshield glass for the ‘diamonds’ and a shard of an old Noxzema jar for the ‘sapphire’, then assembled the pieces could be construed as a ‘replica’ of the Kate and Bill engagement ring. It’s so ugly that the ring itself will scuttle under the fridge if you turn on the kitchen lights.
By the same rules of ‘replica’ commemoratives, I’m Ray Charles, because I have at least two feet and so did Ray. We’ll overlook the logic of the comparison as I am younger, Caucasian, untalented, won’t sing, can’t play the piano, am partially sighted and not currently dead. I can however provide a Certificate of Authenticity. I’ll even throw in a hinged velveteen box, so you can call me Ray Charles too.
The madness comes from the reaction of supposedly sane consumers who upon seeing the commercials for any kind of commemorative, immediately whip out the credit card and start pounding the phone to order this material. The Cook Islands, the Franklin Mint and hundreds of other commemorative manufacturers seem to tap into some poorly formed area of the consumer brain that insists on parting with money for commemoratives and collectibles. Why? Are we actually that malformed and lacking in self-esteem that we think the possession of recycled-glass-not-even-close replica of some dead Royal’s ring, somehow will convey the status of near-Royalty to our mantle, if we had a mantle?
Yes. We are that dumb. If we weren’t, these commemorative folks would have gone out of business generations ago, but, like mercury in the bloodstream, they’re still with us.
As for Kate and Bill? We wish them well.