I’ll Say It: Fuck the British Royal Family

As I’m sure you’re aware from the non-stop coverage, Prince William and Kate Middleton are visiting our fair country. I don’t know why anyone would give a shit, but a lot of people apparently do. They went to a basketball game and met LeBron James, who apparently made an “embarrassing faux pas.”

On Monday night, Lebron James met the visiting Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after a Nets game in Brooklyn, N.Y. “King James” smiled while he was photographed with Prince William and Kate Middleton, but the Duchess’ face showed that something was amiss.

What’s wrong with Kate’s face? Is it because she has no idea who Lebron is? Is it because she’s upset that he is using a title to which he is not entitled? Neither of the above. In fact, James was breaking one of the many important rules of etiquette for dealing with royals: He was touching her.

For a short while, I worked for the British royal family, or as it is officially called, Her Majesty’s Household. Because we were based in Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, one of the first things we were taught was how to interact with royals if we came into contact with them. The first lesson was to Google them so we did not mistake them as lost tourists and usher them out. The second lesson was to never start a conversation. The third—and most important—lesson was to never, ever touch them…

One would hope that future American encounters with royalty proceed more smoothly. We wouldn’t want a repeat of 1812 all over again. For all of our sakes, here are some of the most important rules of interacting with royalty.

No, fuck your rules and fuck the royal family too. If I were LeBron James I would have said, “Why the hell should I even know that you exist? Because you were born into the right family? Fuck that. You’ve done nothing in your life to justify anyone outside of your immediate friends and family even being aware of your existence, much less feeling so fucking high and mighty that you demand that no human being ever touch you.” Fuck these arrogant, pretentious and presumptuous assholes.

Let me be clear about one thing: I totally support the right of an individual person to set their own boundaries. If someone isn’t comfortable being touched, especially by strangers, I’m perfectly fine with that. But this isn’t the same thing. This is saying no one can touch any member of the royal family because they’re so much above the station of those plebes who might come too close to them. Fuck that noise.

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  • brucegee1962

    Isn’t it just that no Brit likes the American tradition of getting all handsy, but the Royals are the only ones who get to enforce their displeasure?

  • http://onhandcomments.blogspot.com/ left0ver1under

    The words waste of space, time and money have often come from my lips when describing them. The more reverence someone demands, the less they deserve it. How arrogant does someone have to be to refer to oneself as “we”?

    http://iconicphotos.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/trudeaus-pirouette/

    Their disdain for anyone not bred into and from the family extends to using the poor as forced slave labour (re: the “diamond jubillee” in 2012) and their demand that money earmarked for heating the homes of the poor be taken away to heat some useless tourist attraction castle in London.

    At least Lebron James worked to get where he is, even if it is just a game. Have the royals ever really done much of anything?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    This is saying no one can touch any member of the royal family because they’re so much above the station of those plebes who might come too close to them.

    Wrong. You can’t touch them* for the same reason we keep them in castles. It’s a Public Health issue. The world can’t take another outbreak of Habsburg Jaw or whatever-the-hell Prince Charles is carrying.

     

    * You Can’t Touch Them PSA, MC Hammer, copyright 1990.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    The British royal family are too harmless to even complain about. Yes, they’re unelected aristocrats, but they’re a hell of a lot nicer (and more honest) than OUR unelected aristocrats. I’ll take the House of Windsor over the House of Koch any fucking day — the latter are actually trying to destroy our democracy. And the latter can’t even stand being criticized, let alone touched.

  • dugglebogey

    Lebron James is not a British subject. The Royals are a baseball team to us. We are not British subjects, and therefore not subject to their rules and etiquette.

  • Fergus Gallagher

    As a Brit, I totally agree – fuck the Monarchy. But please remember that everyone else laughs at your sacred cows too.

  • gridlore

    A bit of an overreaction here.

    First of all, neither of the Royals involved had an issue with James’ actions. They are hardly the elitist blue-bloods you are setting them out to be. The Duchess of Cambridge does he own shopping, HRH the Duke served as a rescue pilot in the Royal Air Force, and they both have done away with much of the formality of their posts. Especially as William is second in line, and is probably years away from being King.

    Secondly, the monarchy is the legal basis for the existence of the United Kingdom. Yes, the role of the monarch has been pared down to nearly nothing, but it is still a Kingdom. If the British people want to get rid of the monarchy, they could do it. But it is a link to a thousand years of history, culture, and tradition.

    Finally, as I mentioned above, Prince William served in the RAF. Prince Harry served in the British Army – in combat – as both a forward air observer and helicopter pilot. Their father has been instrumental in preserving heritage sites. Their late mother, the Princess Diana, spearheaded efforts to ban and remove landmines around the world.

    Lebron James is an entitled twit who plays in a league where superstars don’t get called for fouls. Guess who I’d rather meet?

  • cjcolucci

    If I were to put my arm around Michele Obama, or Laura Bush, or LeBron James’s wife, uninvited, I think I’d be considered rude.

  • lldayo

    Wow, the main thing I took from all of this was how tall the Bill & Kate were! Not caring about them in the first place has always been a given for me.

  • magistramarla

    Raging Bee,

    I consider the British royal family to be much more worthy of my respect than the Kochs or many of the politicians here in the US. While the Kochs actively attempt to destroy the environment in pursuit of their own greed, Prince Charles has been loudly proclaiming that climate change is real and that his country as well as all of the others need to do something about it.

    I recently read an excellent article written by Prince William advocating for saving elephants, rhinos and hippos from extinction.

    They may be royal blue bloods, but they do seem to care for others.

    And yeah, I’m one of those people who delights in looking at pictures of the adorable little Prince George and I will delight in seeing the pictures of the new baby, too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabreean breaplum

    If I may make a suggestion, perhaps she was unhappy (if in fact she was, instead of just not being ready when the camera snapped), it may be because she is very publicly pregnant. I have known many women who became highly averse to even casual uninvited physical contact during pregnancy. Your physical space is frequently violated by those who want to touch your bump, or hug you, or in many ways invade that space that they would never do to a woman who is not pregnant.

  • congenital cynic

    I would actually engage in this discussion only if America gave up its fucking absurd pandering to profoundly EMPTY celebrity. Which is manifestly worse than awful because you don’t even need to have a talent to be a celeb in the US. Just let a sex tape go viral, and you have moronic, talentless twits like Paris Hilton and the Kardashians (spelling?) actually mattering to people, and somehow newsworthy. WTF? And the worship of actors, actresses, and athletes isn’t that much better. Role models and heroes should have a much tougher standard to meet than these people. It’s not to say that they are not good people, but they just aren’t worthy of the idolatry. I really don’t give a shit about royalty either, but for people to bicker about which is the most worthy of these two forms of idolatry is absurd. Both are unworthy.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    They may be royal blue bloods, but they do seem to care for others.

    One thing I respect about them is that they ADMIT they’re an unelected aristocracy (unlike our plutocrats with their “man of the people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps through sheer (only partially inherited) merit” schtick), and they know their high and privileged status can be abolished by the House of Commons any damn time they want; so they actually feel a need to at least go through the motions of acting like they care about the rest of their people, in a modern version of the way the nobles used to earn their nobility as in the distant (and probably not quite real) Age of Chivalry. Which, all in all, is a good thing for the UK. (And no, I’m not trying to imply the royals are only pretending to care. They may be, but it’s not really proven, they way it’s proven that the House of Koch really don’t care.)

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Oh, and the British royals don’t need to make sex-tapes to get our attention, so good on them for that too.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Speaking of unelected aristocrats, is anyone else seeing the “Romney 2016?” ads here? According to some adware-placement algorithm, we’re talking about unelected aristocrats, so we must be ready for Romney again.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    No, fuck your rules and fuck the royal family too.

    I’m sorry, I must have dozed off and missed something…why is respecting rules of personal physical contact a bad thing?

    It looks to me like the entitled royal who needs taking down a notch isn’t a Windsor, it’s a James.

  • whheydt

    Let’s see… Some random ball player vs. a couple of random aristocrats who have been educated to have social graces. Which would I rather meet? I’ll take the royals over James any time.

    The royal family is paying a lot more attention to the world and technology than you might think. One of the younger generation visited the offices of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Some months later at a tech fair held in Buckingham Palace, he brought his grandmother around to the Raspberry Pi display and was explaining the Pi to her and stated that he was making use of the one he was given when he visited the offices.

  • Kevin Kehres

    I avoid the TV news for just this reason. I do read a dead tree every day; my local rag actually does a pretty good job with local politics, arts, and events. But with paper, if there’s a story you’re not interested in, you just don’t read it. With TV, everyone’s forced to watch what the producers want you to watch. I would suspect that the pile-ons between networks is pretty rigorously enforced as well — if NBC covers the royals, Fox has to as well, right? And one-up them in the coverage.

    No thanks. Many other more important things to do with my day.

  • Kevin Kehres

    @17 whheydt

    Your condescension is showing.

    Lebron James isn’t a “random” ball player. He’s the best of the best of the best. (And I say this as someone who isn’t much of a fan of the NBA style of basketball.) It’s akin to saying that Obama is just some “random” politician.

    And he’s heavily involved in his community with a foundation that encourages kids to stay in school. So, let’s not automatically knee-jerk to trash the athlete, OK?

  • http://www.facebook.com/marilove marilove

    I feel like the article linked is reading a *lot* into her expression. Is it because she’s not grinning like a mad woman? “Smile, dear, smile!” Why? Because she has a strange man’s arms around her and she’s forced to take pictures with people she doesn’t know because she happened to marry a prince and also she happens to be super pregnant? Mehhhh. Her face is fine. She IS smiling. Does she need to look like she’s having the time of her life? Because of some silly basketball player? I don’t get it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marilove marilove

    Kevin, not everyone cares about basketball. It’s a sport. It’s not that big of a deal. Just because he happens to be good at this particular sport doesn’t make him any more interesting than a lot of other people. In fact, I’d say he’s just about as interesting as the royal family. He’s probably a decent guy. But basketball isn’t as important as some people make it out to be.

  • laurentweppe

    Funny story, the same thing happened with my mother of all people during the early 60s. Then still in highschool: she was spending one month in Scotland, and the family which hosted her where neighbors with the Mayor of Stirling. The Queen came to visit the town while my mother was here, and so the Mayor decided to do what he thought was a great favor for a foreigner visiting his town and invited the french teenager living next door to the official ceremony welcoming the Queen.

    So here comes my mother, 15 or 16 years old, surrounded by pretty much all the elected officials, high ranking bureaucrats and wealthy businessmen of Stirlingshire waiting for the Queen. Elizabeth II arrives, the usual pointless display of anachronistic monarchical deference begins, with every important man and his wife doing a little genuflexion spiced with variations of “How honored we are that Your Majesty deign visit our fair city“… till it was my mother’s turn, who reacted like every polite young French girl in front of someone important: she energetically shook the Queens hand and saluted her with a big “Hello Ma’am“.

    Every official and rich dude froze instantly, glared at my mother with the type of scornful regards you’re supposed to reserve to war criminals, torture apologists and Michael Bay, while the Queen’s security was apparently hesitating between shoving my then teenaged mother to the ground or directly shooting her in the head, till the Queen laughed and answered “Et bonjour à vous Mademoiselle“, which diffused the tension and saved my mother from a painful encounter with the nasty side of the Yeoman Wardens: apparently, among the hundreds of powerful, connected, and supposedly educated and intelligent adults assembled, the only one who realized that this whole protocol bullshit was an exercise in inane futility and that the hand-shaking girl was simply being polite was the actual recipient of the whole ceremony.

  • Michael Heath

    I think Prince Charles and his sons realize that royalty is an anachronism and therefore “rule” at the pleasure of U.K. subjects citizens. So I see no reason to tell them to fuck off if they’re using their celebrity for good causes. I do appreciate people not giving a fuck about them, as I do, just like many people don’t give a fuck at the privilege idiotic Americans extend to celebrities like Kim Kardashian.

    As for LeBron’s supposed breach of etiquette. I saw no discomfort by Ms. Middleton. If there was any chagrin on her part, perhaps it was because Mr. James had her realizing she might have done better in the husband dept.

  • colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #15

    The scary thing is that Rmoney leads Clinton in a recent poll.

    Re Marilove @ #21

    Lebron James is a lot better then good at basketball. He is, IMHO, one of the very best at the sport in its entire history.

    Re Prince Charles

    Unfortunately, ole Charles is all too enamored with quack medicine, a very bad influence on people.

    Re weppe @ #22

    It would appear that the queen doesn’t take herself too seriously.

  • colnago80

    Re Michael Heath @ #23

    What’s the matter with Prince William? He seems like a pretty good guy.

  • bryanfeir

    Regarding Elizabeth II and public protocols and the like…

    Many years ago, back when Margaret Sinclair/Trudeau/Kemper was still married to Pierre Trudeau (and he was still Prime Minister of Canada), she was present at a royal visit. Margaret decided to do a full curtsey, one hand out to Elizabeth, something she didn’t have much experience doing… and only realized once she was bent down that she couldn’t quite stand up again. Without missing a beat or changing expression Elizabeth gripped her hand a little more firmly and gave her a bit of a lift, allowing Margaret to stand back up without it being too obvious to the others around that anything was wrong.

  • chilidog99

    At least we can see where he is touching her.

  • Electric Shaman

    Let me also chime in and say fuck the English royal family and fuck their arrogant rules for engagement with the rest of us plebs.

    gridlore @5:

    Lebron James is an entitled twit who plays in a league where superstars don’t get called for fouls. Guess who I’d rather meet?

    No, you have that so backwards it is not even remotely funny. Lebron James is a person who was born with very little and grew up with very little. Through ridiculous luck in the way of physical gifts that are outside of his or anyone else’s control and a lot of extremely hard work to refine his craft he has made himself into a global celebrity and successful business person. Not only that, but he also reportedly spends a lot of time, effort and resources running his own charities aimed at improving the lives of underprivileged youth. As for the twit remark, well that may very well be the case.

    As for the royals, they are the definition of entitlement. They are born rich, live rich, and will die rich–all with the love and adoration of many without achieving or accomplishing anything. So the rest of us are supposed to be impressed that the princes held some day jobs for awhile in the military? And they do some charity work? Doing some charitable work during their endless leisure time is the least they could do and should be expected, not celebrated, since their riches have come at the expense of their “subjects” for centuries. As for who you’d rather meet? Well I don’t particularly care for Lebron James all that much but I sure as hell can imagine having a conversation with him would be a lot more interesting than listening to a spoiled aristocrat drivel on.

    @Marilove 21

    It’s a sport. It’s not that big of a deal. Just because he happens to be good at this particular sport doesn’t make him any more interesting than a lot of other people. In fact, I’d say he’s just about as interesting as the royal family. He’s probably a decent guy. But basketball isn’t as important as some people make it out to be.

    This argument is so tiresome. Yes, basketball or any other sport, is not that important in the grand scheme of things. So while correct, one could make the argument about any human activity/hobby/endeavour that human’s enjoy participating in or observing. You don’t like it or see the point, fine. Don’t participate in the discussion.

  • jameshanley

    @colnago80,

    From what I’ve read, the Queen takes her role very seriously. She apparently truly believes God made her Queen for a reason. A bit wacky, but her view of that role/mission is a bit less wacky–as the embodiment of England (or is it of the UK?), the Head of State, she seems to fully internalize the idea that she represents all subjects of the empire, that she has a duty to them to treat them graciously, and to “be” Britain at its best.

    Royalty is anathema to me, but that at least seems to be doing it right. And there seems to be value in having a Head of State that is separate from the Head of Government: the former is the unifying symbol of the country, while the latter is necessarily a divisive partisan figure. In the U.S. we combine both roles in the presidency and it doesn’t work well. I don’t know that royalty is necessary, but there are a few royal families that do it well today, the Dutch for example, and probably the Swedes, although I know little of them.

  • Kimpatsu

    Please, America, keep them. We don’t want them back.

    I fact, this issue of how Americans should defer to British royals is nothing new. When Reagan visited the UK as president in the 1980s, it was announced beforehand that Nancy Reagan would not curtsy before the queen but shake hands as an equal. This led one royal pundit to proclaim on British TV that he was so disgusted that if it were up to him, he would not allow Nancy Reagan into the UK. The general idea seems to be that the royals are “pure” as opposed to grubby politicians, and so occupy some mythical moral high ground. The sooner Britain becomes a republic, the better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marilove marilove

    #24

    That’s fantastic. That’s great for him. Awesome. Good job to Lebron James. It’s still just basketball.

  • http://behind-blue-eyes.us gworroll

    jameshanley-

    One solution the US could adopt would be what a lot of Europe does- an elected President to take on the Head of State role, with a Prime Minister taking on the Head of Government role. Gets the separation, which I agree would be better than what we have now, without introducing a monarchy.

    As for whether the British Monarchy should survive- I’ll let the British figure that out.

  • Electric Shaman

    That’s fantastic. That’s great for him. Awesome. Good job to Lebron James. It’s still just basketball.

    I’m so glad you are here to add condescending comments. I do hope that some day we can all aspire to have interests that you find worthy so as not to bore you with our inanity.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    I agree with Bee @4 and subsequent posts. I would much rather have a formalized aristocracy that’s been defanged and prances around with a sense of noblesse oblige than the informal aristocracy that we have here with its infinite arrogance and sense of entitlement. We certainly don’t need to borrow Europe’s class model, but we apparently do need to borrow the guillotine to keep our elites in line.

  • laurentweppe

    I would much rather have a formalized aristocracy that’s been defanged and prances around with a sense of noblesse oblige

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but the british royal family is actually the exception: most of what remains of the “defanged” european aristocracies are decadent jet-setters who cheat on their taxes, sometimes sustain their lifestyle by doing favors to the mob and often keep close ties with far-right organizations because they still hope that fascism will successfully bring back the parasitic regimes which served their forefathers so well.

  • http://drx.typepad.com Dr X

    Reading too much into her expression at the moment of the capture and he’s just doing what people typically like a celebrity to do when they pose for a photograph with them. I’ve been on TV sets and had photos taken with celebrities and they always put their arm around you. Got a nice one of me and a young Maria Bello on n ER shoot in the mid-90s. She’s got her arm around me like we’re old buds.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com WMDKitty — Survivor

    BOUNDARIES.

    RESPECT THEM.

  • aluchko

    Who cares?

    Lots of people have unearned fame, as the royals go at least they’re contributing some culture in return (Game of Thrones, Le Morte De Arthur, face it, royalty is kinda cool so they are actually contributing).

    As for the expression, assuming it’s a legit expression of discomfort, I can understand why. LeBron’s arm around the shoulder is the standard “I’m a big celebrity and I’m making you look cool by gregariously putting my arm around you” pose. If you don’t care about that you’ll find the expression offensive.

    Hell, if had to have my picture taken with him and he did the same thing to me I’d have the exact same expression because I’d be uncomfortable and offended by the idea I was some fan thrilled to be making contact with him.

    And I’m a complete nobody.

  • dingojack

    Could of been worse, it could have been Paul Keating….

    Dingo

    ———

    MH – “Lebron James is a lot better then good at basketball. He is, IMHO, one of the very best at the sport in its entire history”: That’s rather like saying he’s the best tiddlywinks player since the official sport was instituted in 1921. My first reaction was Lebron who?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Have the royals ever really done much of anything?

    I believe the house of windsor still has a lock on the legal market for opium used in painkillers. So, yeah, they’re important; they’re not your typical pushers.

  • kenn

    “He’s the best of the best of the best.”

    To you he is. He means nothing to me, and millions of Americans who are not basketball fans.

    “Lebron James is a lot better then good at basketball. He is, IMHO, one of the very best at the sport in its entire history.”

    Again, this means nothing to me, or to anyone I know. See, it’s like me saying the Beatles were the greatest band in the history of rock. If you don’t think so, than my opinion means nothing to me. See how it works?

  • kenn

    “…than my opinion means nothing to me you.”

    Fixed.

  • comfychair

    As if the two concepts of pro sportsball and royalty weren’t ridiculous enough on their own, I think the arguments about whether pro sportsball is better than royalty or if royalty is better than pro sportsball is ridiculousness taken to a level at risk of opening a black hole of stupid and destroying the known universe. Who gives a shit about either one?

  • matty1

    I’m in a rather odd position, I despise the hereditary principle and would prefer an elected head of state but I can’t bring myself to hate the actual people who it seems to me do what is asked of them relatively well.

    I also can’t resist pointing out that Kate was not born and raised to this, she married in from the kind of business owning ‘average’ wealthy family Americans generally admire.

    As for the rest I’m inclined to agree this is some numpty bagging his fifteen minutes by over analysing a celebrity photo. There are any number of reasons she might not be smiling as broadly as some would like and very few involve some kind of political statement about her superiority

  • billyeager

    I’ll take the House of Windsor over the House of Koch

    House of Windsor? Try ‘Saxe-Coburg and Gotha’, their real lineage. Windsor is the name of the castle and was adopted by George V in 1917 to counter rising anti-German sentiment.

    Either way you look at it, fuck the lot of them. William and Kate strike me so far as fairly decent human beings but to truly qualify as such, they’ll need to dismantle The Monarchy when they get their shot at the top job.

  • matty1

    I don’t think they could dismantle the monarchy on their own. Constitutional change is clearly a matter for parliament. They could quit of course but that would change nothing, George would simply be declared king. The only way is if the entire family refused en masse to play along, which would probably force a rethink. Although in the past it seems we have been willing to search quite distant branches of the family tree to find an acceptable candidate, I don’t think public opinion now would accept a non English speaker like the first King George

  • dingojack

    You’ll be happy to know there’s a descendant of Richard III’s sister working a carpenter in England, another near descendant has a cattle station in Australia.

    Dingo

  • matty1

    Delighted

    More seriously I would love to see Britain become a republic but by a democratically passed law not on the whim of one person. They should not have power, including the power to redefine their own role. If we give King Bill broad enough authority he could abolish the monarchy on his own he would also effectively have the power to make himself a dictator. If we limit it to the one issue we pretty much have the declaration of a republic ready to go and I see no reason to wait for his agreement

  • jimmyfromchicago

    I’m pretty sure that LeBron put her arm around her because that’s how he takes a picture with people. End of. It’s a fairly common gesture.

    I lived in Thailand, where the monarchy is showed a great deal of deference. In fact, people still get sentenced to prison for lese-majeste. But that’s the rule in Thailand, not Brooklyn. If the Brits want to have this rule in their own country, that’s fine. But there’s no reason to assume that it travels to any of the countries that don’t recognize Elizabeth as their head of state.

  • Nick Gotts

    I also can’t resist pointing out that Kate was not born and raised to this, she married in from the kind of business owning ‘average’ wealthy family Americans generally admire. – matty1@44

    Indeed. She and William met at St. Andrews University – which has the reputation of being where the not-particularly-academic children of the upper-middle class (Kate) and upwards (William) go – the brighter ones go to Oxford or Cambridge of course. Additionally, it has the reputation of being a “marriage market” – that gels [sic] in particular go there to find an eligible match. In these terms, Kate’s achievement is considerable – AFAIK, no-one without a father with a hereditary title has ever married into the British royal family before. The “Firm” seems to have learned a lesson from the disaster of Charles’s marriage to Diana, while being in love with Camilla Parker-Bowles, now his second wife; all the evidence is that William and Kate actually love each other, and chose to marry for that reason.

    As a republican, I regret this: another scandal like those associated with William’s parents might have enabled us to ditch the monarchy. Comments about them being powerless and apolitical are wrong: they are the keystone to a system of anti-democratic inherited privilege, and abolition of the monarchy is essential to dismantling this system.

  • http://www.jafafahots.com Jafafa Hots

    That’s fantastic. That’s great for him. Awesome. Good job to Lebron James. It’s still just basketball.

    yep. And I don;t give a shit about basketball, and I know nothing about LeBron James.

    But you know what?

    No matter what, being a successful basketball player is certainly better than being a born parasite living off blood money and privilege stolen from literally BILLIONS of victims.

  • dingojack

    Ed – are you seriously telling me that your reaction is based on what some guy said that Kate Middleton was thinking? And that based on this guy’s mind-reading act you’re basically calling her ‘an uppity women’ who should lighten-up and consent to unwanted physical contact? (Sure, Mr James meant to harm, but that’s no excuse for intruding on somebody’s personal space and making them feel uncomfortable).

    Maybe you need to take a breath, get some perspective and take another look at this.

    Dingo

  • eric

    The whole thing seems to me to just be the media creating a story where there is none. Its absurd that the media would read heavy emotion into her look. Its absurd to think Kate – who just recently married in – would have a royal’s sense of untouchability (when we don’t even know if her husband or the others even have it). Ed’s vehemence toward what amounts to basically a born-rich couple is absurd. And its absurd to denigrate LeBron’s choice of profession. They are simply inventing a scandal for the sake of selling newspapers/getting hits.

  • Electric Shaman

    kenn@41

    To you he is. He means nothing to me, and millions of Americans who are not basketball fans.

    Yep. Good for you. People don’t care for sports. Everyone knows this. I struggle to see how this is relevant to the discussion.

    Again, this means nothing to me, or to anyone I know. See, it’s like me saying the Beatles were the greatest band in the history of rock. If you don’t think so, than my opinion means nothing to me. See how it works?

    Yep. Not a hard concept to grasp. You and your friends don’t like sports. I do not see why you think you are being profound here. For the life of me I don’t understand why you go out of your way to make a comment on a thread for the sole purpose of telling people they are foolish for discussing a subject you find unworthy. Most people call that trolling. Do you think you are trolling?

  • Electric Shaman

    As if the two concepts of pro sportsball and royalty weren’t ridiculous enough on their own, I think the arguments about whether pro sportsball is better than royalty or if royalty is better than pro sportsball is ridiculousness taken to a level at risk of opening a black hole of stupid and destroying the known universe. Who gives a shit about either one?

    Shorter comfychair: “hurr durr sports is dum. anyone see how I called it sportsball? pretty funny huh? hurr durr”

  • Nick Gotts

    If I were LeBron James I would have said, “Why the hell should I even know that you exist? – Ed Brayton

    Yes, he could reasonably have said that. But he didn’t; I don’t suppose anyone forced him to meet the couple. As for touching, a good rule is not to touch anyone, anywhere, unless you’re reasonably certain it won’t make them uncomfortable (or of course, unless it’s an emergency).

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    She apparently truly believes God made her Queen for a reason.

    “Apparently?” Citation required. That’s a pretty strong claim to make for someone who is both totally powerless and a generally decent and inoffensive person.

    I’m pretty sure that LeBron put her arm around her because that’s how he takes a picture with people. End of. It’s a fairly common gesture.

    It’s a rather presumptuous gesture, which certain famous people can get away with, despite it being against the normal rules about unwanted touching; but it’s not so common for less-famous people. Would anyone here get away with doing that to, say, the wife of a famous pro athlete? If I put my arm around Kim Kardashian in a photo-shoot, and Kanye West was present, would either he or she be okay with it?

    If the Brits want to have this rule in their own country, that’s fine. But there’s no reason to assume that it travels to any of the countries that don’t recognize Elizabeth as their head of state.

    So there’s no rule in America about unwanted touching? Would we be saying “fuck the royal family!” if they objected to being touched by Michael Shermer, Jian Ghomeshi, Ray Rice or Bill Cosby?

    Comments about them being powerless and apolitical are wrong: they are the keystone to a system of anti-democratic inherited privilege, and abolition of the monarchy is essential to dismantling this system.

    Seriously? People in the UK have a much healthier public discourse than we do in the USA. And did I miss the memo about the Queen pushing “voter ID” laws based on bogus accusations of “voter fraud?”

    If the people of the UK want to abolish their monarchy, that’s their decision to make, and a perfectly valid one. But make no mistake: there is NOTHING your current monarchy is doing that’s half as destructive to liberty or democracy as what our informal aristocracy are doing here. And I strongly suspect that abolishing your monarchy won’t really get rid of the anti-democratic forces in your own country either. Y’all need to pay more attention to the likes of BNP and UKIP than to your Queen.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Oh, and…

    As for LeBron’s supposed breach of etiquette. I saw no discomfort by Ms. Middleton. If there was any chagrin on her part, perhaps it was because Mr. James had her realizing she might have done better in the husband dept.

    Ah yes, the kinda-scary black man taking the uptight-white woman away from the uptight-white man. Because we needed dumbass stereotyping and sexual innuendo to make this conversation complete. Stay classy, Heath…

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    William and Kate strike me so far as fairly decent human beings but to truly qualify as such, they’ll need to dismantle The Monarchy when they get their shot at the top job.

    You know they’re decent people but you won’t admit it unless they quit their “jobs?” They’re still far better than the Kochs, who are clearly not at all decent, and will never give up any of their power to be evil.

  • Electric Shaman

    dingojack:

    Ed – are you seriously telling me that your reaction is based on what some guy said that Kate Middleton was thinking? And that based on this guy’s mind-reading act you’re basically calling her ‘an uppity women’ who should lighten-up and consent to unwanted physical contact? (Sure, Mr James meant to harm, but that’s no excuse for intruding on somebody’s personal space and making them feel uncomfortable).

    Maybe you need to take a breath, get some perspective and take another look at this.

    Dingo

    No, dingojack, that is not at all what Mr Brayton is saying. Your interpretation of this thread and Brayton’s last one about Dawkins is displaying your severe lack of reading comprehension skills. Mr Brayton is taking exception to the idea that the royals are not to be touched by anyone as a rule. Not whether Ms Middleton was uncomfortable with Lebron putting his arm around her and whether Lebron doing so was appropriate or not. That is a seperate issue.

  • Electric Shaman

    Raging Bee:

    Ah yes, the kinda-scary black man taking the uptight-white woman away from the uptight-white man. Because we needed dumbass stereotyping and sexual innuendo to make this conversation complete. Stay classy, Heath…

    The only one bringing up the stereotypes is you buddy. I have no idea where you got “kinda scary black man” and “uptight white people” from that post. Kind of sounds like you brought your own prejudices to that one. But you go right ahead and keep nailing your bleeding heart to that martyrdom cross champ.

  • dingojack

    Electric Sharman – Perhaps you need to read the penultimate paragraph more carefully, and consider the implications.

    Dingo

  • Ysidro

    This! It’s tabloid journalism at best but everyone is biting on it and letting their prejudices show. Amazing how this whole conversation has basically been “sports suck!” vs “royalty sucks!” with a few “everything sucks!” thrown in for good measure.

  • Ysidro

    OK sorry. I keep screwing up blockquotes. What am I doing wrong?

  • lpetrich

    Given all the US news coverage of the British royal family, it sometimes seems as if the American Revolutionary War was fought in vain.

    But it’s interesting to see how monarchy has fallen so far over the last few centuries. Before that, just about every nation larger than a city-state was a monarchy. The Roman Republic was the biggest exception, but it ended up suffering a lot of civil war and turning into a monarchy, the Roman Empire. Switzerland has been a republic since the Middle Ages, but it was a loose confederation of city-states. The Dutch Republic turned into a de facto monarchy as the office of stadholder became hereditary. After the defeat of Napoleon, the son of the last stadholder became king.

    Monarchies sometimes endured for centuries, even though they have not necessarily been very continuous. The champion is likely the Pharaonic Egyptian monarchy at 3000 years, from the beginning of Egypt’s written history to the famous Cleopatra. The Chinese monarchy had lasted for at least 2500 years, though its early history I have had difficulty figuring out. The Roman one had lasted about 1500 years, until the fall of Constantinople, and some European monarchies reach at least 1000 years.

    But that changed, and I think that the US was the first to do so. It was a successful republic, and a big one at that. When Latin America became independent in the 1820’s, most of the new countries became republics except for Brazil. But in Europe, France became a republic in its revolution, but it then switched between monarchy and republic until settling down as a republic in the late 19th cy. It was a poor advocate for republicanism, and most European nation-builders preferred monarchies until World War I.

    But that war toppled four big monarchies, and most of the nations that emerged or re-emerged in its aftermath were republics. The main exceptions were Middle Eastern nations under British rule, which became monarchies. Ever since, more monarchies have fallen, with their successors having no desire to establish new ones. The only restorations over the last century have been in Spain and Cambodia.

    But new monarchies or quasi-monarchies have emerged in various places, like in Haiti (“Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvalier), Syria (Hafez and Bashar Assad), and most notably in North Korea, now at its third generation of Communist god-king. Saddam Hussein and Muammar Khadafy wanted to be succeeded by their sons, but they did not get that wish of theirs. Saddam Hussein and his sons Qusay and Uday are all dead. Muammar Khadafy and some of his children are dead, with the others being exiled or jailed.

  • dingojack

    lpetrich – “But that changed, and I think that the US was the first to do so.”

    See Tuchmann, Barbara The First Salute. [Her last, and not her best].

    Dingo.

    ———-

    I notice you think the US invented democracy – interesting.

  • jimmyfromchicago

    @RB #57

    You may think it’s presumptuous, but remember that most people LeBron takes a photo with are people he’s never met before but who feel some sort of connection to him from years of watching him play ball (in the weird modern way people feel connected to celebrities). Even if the gesture suggests an intimacy that isn’t there, many of them probably welcome it. You wouldn’t, but people are allowed to be different.

    You asked if there was a rule against unwanted touching in America. I had been thinking about the rule specifically about touching royal family but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to put a hand on someone’s shoulder as part of taking a photo, any more than trying to shake someone’s hand. Now if he gesture is unwelcome, he should withdraw his hand, but there is nothing wrong with the attempt. I wouldn’t compare this to Shermer, Cosby, Rice, or Ghomeshi. He’s not battering her or feeling her up–it’s a friendly gesture.

  • dingojack

    Basic courtesy – ask first.

    Dingo

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Mr Brayton is taking exception to the idea that the royals are not to be touched by anyone as a rule.

    And why is that rule even controversial? Technically, they’re “family of the head of state,” even though this “head of state” has no real power; and how many people in that category are normal people really allowed to touch uninvited? According to most common rules of behavior in the US, I can’t even put my arm around my own head of state; so why should I expect it to be okay to do that to a foreign prince or princess? Can I do that to Kim Jong Un’s son if he ever came to the US?

    Seriously, if anyone else objected to being touched by LeBron James, would anyone here look down on them for it?

  • lofgren

    “Visiting representative of allied nation” outranks “dude who can throw a ball real good” anyday as far as I’m concerned. You may not like the British way of doing things but that’s not sufficient reason to be an asshole about it.

  • hunter

    If you touch anyone without permission, it’s a faux pas, at least.

    I can’t really blame the royals — it’s more the fault of Americans who lose it over the thought of real royalty, which is a state we don’t recognize in this country.

  • Nick Gotts
    Comments about them being powerless and apolitical are wrong: they are the keystone to a system of anti-democratic inherited privilege, and abolition of the monarchy is essential to dismantling this system. – Me

    Seriously? People in the UK have a much healthier public discourse than we do in the USA. And did I miss the memo about the Queen pushing “voter ID” laws based on bogus accusations of “voter fraud?”

    If the people of the UK want to abolish their monarchy, that’s their decision to make, and a perfectly valid one. But make no mistake: there is NOTHING your current monarchy is doing that’s half as destructive to liberty or democracy as what our informal aristocracy are doing here. And I strongly suspect that abolishing your monarchy won’t really get rid of the anti-democratic forces in your own country either. Y’all need to pay more attention to the likes of BNP and UKIP than to your Queen. – Raging Bee

    Yes, seriously – and your profound ignorance of British politics is showing.

    People in the UK have a much healthier public discourse than we do in the USA.

    Well that’s a pretty low bar to set. But you yourself note the prominence of UKIP (one of the signs of your ignorance is that you cite the busted flush of the BNP in the same sentence). The rancorous anti-immigrant tone extends far beyond UKIP as well – the Conservatives are chasing UKIP to the right, and Labour chasing the Conservatives. Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance were as much about GCHQ as about the NSA. Our electoral system is as unfair as yours; we still have hereditary peers, and bishops, in the legislature; and contrary to stereotype, the royals most certainly interfere in politics – Charles has, in effect, on-demand access to push his views on ministers. But their main role, as I said, is as the keystone of a system of anti-democratic hereditary privilege which extends through the educational system – particularly the so-called “public” schools (which are private) and Oxford and Cambridge universities, into the civil service, the armed services, the security services, the banks and financial system (to the interests of which economic policy is largely subordinated), the law and mass media – in all these, who your parents were and which school you went to make a huge difference to your chances. This is probably more so now than 30 years ago, as economic inequality has increased, social mobility has decreased, and increasingly, the way into key professions is to go to the “right” school, have contacts in place, and work unpaid, as an “intern” first – which of course, only those with well-off parents can afford. As Anthony Little says in the New Statesman says:

    It is frequently noted but worth repeating that the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and the Archbishop of Canterbury are all Etonians. The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, went to Westminster School and the Chancellor, George Osborne, went to St Paul’s in London; but Osborne’s chief economics adviser, Rupert Harrison, is a former head boy at Eton. Cameron’s chief of staff, Ed Llewellyn, is an Etonian. The Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin is an Etonian. The Chief Whip, George Young, is an Etonian. Several of the political editors who interview these politicians and report on their work are Old Etonians: James Landale (the BBC), Tom Newton Dunn (the Sun), Patrick Hennessy (the Telegraph), Roland Watson (the Times). And so it goes on. A small world indeed.

    (Westminster and St. Paul’s, like Eton, are both private schools, with high fees, although some parents can get reduced fees.)

    Having a monarchy legitimises the idea of hereditary privilege, and sovereignty in the UK inheres in the “Crown”, not in the people. The armed services owe allegiance to the monarch, not the people – and have no doubt, if there were a government elected that was serious about democratising the economy andor abolishing the monarchy, their leaders would side with the permanent elite, not the government chosen by the people. Of course abolishing the monarchy would not by itself “get rid of the anti-democratic forces” – but it is a necessary step in doing so, since the monarchy is itself one of the most important of those forces.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I wouldn’t compare this to Shermer, Cosby, Rice, or Ghomeshi. He’s not battering her or feeling her up–it’s a friendly gesture.

    I’m not “comparing,” but YOU ARE, when you unilaterally insist that an uninvited touch from a perfect stranger is “friendly.”

    You may think it’s presumptuous, but remember that most people LeBron takes a photo with are people he’s never met before but who feel some sort of connection to him from years of watching him play ball…

    That’s what makes it presumptuous: he naturally assumes no one has any reason to object and everyone loves him and thinks it’s okay. Where else do we see that kind of entitlement? Oh yeah, sexual harassment and assault.

    I had been thinking about the rule specifically about touching royal family but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to put a hand on someone’s shoulder as part of taking a photo, any more than trying to shake someone’s hand.

    Bad analogy: one does not “try” to shake someone’s hand; one OFFERS, and the offer is refusable. And putting a hand on someone uninvited, for a photo-op, can be both a form of bullying (“you can’t stop me without looking bad”), and a dishonest attempt to pretend you’re on friendlier terms with another person than you really are. How do you think it would look if, say, I suddenly, unexpectedly put an arm around President Obama, or one of his daughters, or even just a coworker at any one of my jobs, just before the camera clicked? You guessed it: presumptuous.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    But you yourself note the prominence of UKIP (one of the signs of your ignorance is that you cite the busted flush of the BNP in the same sentence). The rancorous anti-immigrant tone extends far beyond UKIP as well – the Conservatives are chasing UKIP to the right, and Labour chasing the Conservatives. Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance were as much about GCHQ as about the NSA.

    Yes, and like I said, abolishing the monarchy won’t do much good there.

  • lpetrich

    As to the origin of monarchy, some political scientists have proposed that it’s a result of the “crown prince problem”, how to keep some appointed successor from getting too eager. More generally, it’s a result of succession mechanisms. Is there one in place that’s independent of the leader’s family?

    In democracies, there is indeed such a mechanism, but some non-democratic regimes also have such mechanisms. In particular, one-party states like Communist countries often have ruling committees that select leaders from among their members.

    But if there isn’t such a mechanism, then the safest choice is often one of the leader’s children, thus leading to hereditary succession.

  • lpetrich

    dingojack #66:

    I notice you think the US invented democracy – interesting.

    I did not claim that at all. I claimed that the US was the first of the modern era of republics. Switzerland is older, but it is much smaller, and up in the mountains.

    Looking at the world’s remaining monarchies, many of them are quasi-republics with ceremonial, figurehead monarchs. Activist monarchs are mainly in the Middle East, with a few elsewhere, like in Morocco and Swaziland.

    It seems to me that the British royal family is a bunch of professional celebrities, people without any notable talents who seem like they are famous for being famous. That may be something that irks many people about them.

    The Mad Monarchist is interesting: a blog by an American monarchist. He concedes that monarchism is not very popular in his homeland.

  • dingojack

    lpetrich – Hmmm, re-read #65 & #76. Still no Greek democracies. Need to re-phrase, perhaps?

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    You’re also forgetting the oldest continuous parliament in the world, the Icelandic Thing, and of course the Republic of Novgorod (predates the US by over 700 years).

    Dingo

  • jimmyfromchicago

    Asking is necessary, but this typically involves more social signals rather than explicit verbal requests.

    I’ve actually been at a public event with Derrick Rose. People were flocking to get photos with him. Lots of hand on back/shoulder, and I don’t believe he asked out loud. Not how that works. You may think it should, but it typically doesn’t.

    I wouldn’t want to pose with complete strangers for photos, but I’m not in an industry that relies on their good will and support to pay me millions of dollars to throw a ball through a hoop. In fact, random strangers are unlikely to know anything about what I do at my job (nothing interesting).

    Now, the situation may be different here. We don’t know the situation surrounding the photo–just that one frame looks awkward. But I think it’s a mistake to read to much into James doing something he has done a thousand times, probably in basically the same way, automatically by now.

    RB, you may not like or understand that people want to get their photos taken with celebrities but that’s the reality of it.

    Now what you say about the sense of entitlement it creates is true, and there is a problem with athletes committing rape, but there’s no evidence of James doing this.

    Your question about the First Daughters is a little weird (and social rules about interacting with children are different than those for interacting with adults) but no, I doubt that would be appropriate unless you’re Justin Beiber (or whoever their favorite pop star is) –You’re not, are you?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    RB, you may not like or understand that people want to get their photos taken with celebrities but that’s the reality of it.

    It’s not the photos I’m objecting to, it’s the presumptuous touching. Maybe I’m being too simplistic about it, but it seems a good idea not to presume it’s okay.

    You are right to mention that the rules are different from one line of work to another — but James should have guessed that British royals might have different rules from American celebrities, just as I can easily guess that I can’t hug the President the way I hug my friends. This isn’t about royalty, it’s about different groups having different rules.

    Your question about the First Daughters is a little weird … but no, I doubt that would be appropriate unless you’re Justin Beiber (or whoever their favorite pop star is) –You’re not, are you?

    What’s so weird about it? And to answer it, I’d say their favorite pop star, when invited to their house, should show a little discretion, and at least wait for some signal that the First Daughters want him to hug them. Not necessarily a written statement of intent, but some clear verbal or body-language cue from how the interaction has been going (something even Justin Bieber can figure out).

    All in all, bashing “royalists” because they seem not to want to be touched, is too much like calling a woman stuck-up if she doesn’t like being “complimented” by a stranger.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    I’m pretty sure that if it were the PM and his wife, no one would say a word about LeBron putting his hand on her shoulder. There is nothing remotely unusual about that. They’re posing for a photo. Consent to minor and inconsequential physical contact is implied when you pose for a photo.

    The whole row, such as it is, is over the fact that Kate is royalty and Divine Searing of the Hand will occur to anyone who dares touch her. Which is silly at best. Americans are under no obligation to respect that rule, though I would do so for purely diplomatic reasons if it were me, but if someone is merely ignorant or overzealous, who cares?

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Wow, the main thing I took from all of this was how tall the Bill & Kate were!

    I guessing this is meant tongue-in-cheek, but LeBron is 6’8″, so Bill and Kate are obviously standing on a pedestal while LeBron is standing on the ground. He must have posed for thousands of photos this way, usually putting his hand on the person next to him to make it look like they’re level. The monster!

  • mildlymagnificent

    I had been thinking about the rule specifically about touching royal family but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with trying to put a hand on someone’s shoulder as part of taking a photo, any more than trying to shake someone’s hand.

    I reckon the tradition of not touching royalty has sort of evolved – for want of a better word.

    When you’re meeting and greeting dozens to hundreds of people in a day, you want to keep the touching to an absolute minimum just for fatigue/injury control reasons. Just think about the worst handshakes you’ve ever experienced and then think about shaking hands with forty+ people in a couple of hours – how likely is it that one or more of them would be too brisk, too hard a grip, too vigorous.

    And I suspect it ‘s also useful to continue, relying on the “don’t touch because they’re royalty” idea, for the security detail. If no one’s allowed to touch, ever, then they don’t have to make any security type assessments or judgments about whether any touch is, or is potentially, inappropriate or dangerous. All touch being off limits makes everyone’s job easier.

  • Michael Heath

    Me eariler:

    As for LeBron’s supposed breach of etiquette. I saw no discomfort by Ms. Middleton. If there was any chagrin on her part, perhaps it was because Mr. James had her realizing she might have done better in the husband dept.

    Raging Bee from deep up his own ass:

    the kinda-scary black man taking the uptight-white woman away from the uptight-white man. Because we needed dumbass stereotyping and sexual innuendo to make this conversation complete. Stay classy, Heath…

    I suggest taking your head of your ass and realize not everyone sees people by their skin color.

    In my case I happen to be an enormous fan of LeBron James because of his character; of what’s he’s accomplished since high school.

    So yeah, I see LeBron as an incredible catch; especially compared to someone born into privilege. William is no George W. Bush, but he’s also no LeBron James.