Guest post on kinds of understanding »« Up against the wall

She gives a king

Unnnnnnnnnnnhhhhhhhhhhhhh

That’s a long exasperated sigh of disgust and irritation. At what? At a prominent journalist, a woman, squeeing and jumping up and down because Kate Futurequeen had a boy.

I’m not making it up.

I’m having a moment of feminist horror over Tina Brown’s smug approval of Kate Middleton for having “once again” done “the perfect thing” by giving birth to a boy. “She does the traditional thing, and she gives us a prince. She gives a king,” Brown, Daily Beast and Newsweek editor, said on Morning Joe on Tuesday, echoing what CNN commentator Victoria Arbiter said Monday.

The necessary corollary: Having a girl would have been the wrong thing. If the royal baby were female, her family would be more than a tad disappointed. “I mean, let’s face it, the queen will be thrilled,” Brown went on. “She and the Duke of Edinburgh, much as they would have said they would have been fine with a girl first-born, they really did want a boy, and they got one.”

Tina Brown, for christ’s sake, not Barbara Walters. But hey, she and Martin Amis were once an item, so she can’t be that brilliant.

But really. “She gives us a prince”? Us? She was longing for a prince, was she?

And what’s this a prince, a king shit? What would be so sucky if it were not a prince, a king? Why is it a big relief or a cause to congratulate Kate Middleton for craftily figuring out how to make her gestating infant be a male? Why wouldn’t it have been even better to have the first eldest daughter heir apparent? Male primogeniture is over, remember, so why wouldn’t it have been at least as good to have a girl baby?

But noooooooo, sophisticated Tina Brown has to pretend it’s still the 15th century and it’s either a boy or two centuries of civil war. Or that it’s either a boy or laughter and disgrace because bwahahahahahahahaha those sissy English could only cough out a piddly weakling of a girl. A girl – nobody wants a stinkin girl – not even people who are themselves not male.

And is she really that chummy with Brenda and Phil? She knows what they really did want? I doubt it. I think she’s just projecting her own deeply stupid brainfart onto them. I guess thinking before you blurt is more of a guy thing.

Comments

  1. A. Noyd says

    I’ve always found celebrating newborns as heirs a bit silly, anyway, since things have so much time to go horribly wrong, even in this day and age. I mean, what if granddaddy insists Prince Thank-God-It-Has-a-Penis only be treated with homeopathy and the little bugger croaks from something preventable?

  2. Brian E says

    Why wouldn’t it have been even better to have the first eldest daughter heir apparent? Male primogeniture is over, remember, so why wouldn’t it have been at least as good to have a girl baby?

    The succession thingy has changed. A firstborn girl would’ve been queen, no matter how many boys followed.
    All a load of dogs bollocks, but they’ve fixed that little thing.

  3. dmcclean says

    These comments are incredible. I saw on another blog (I forget where) that at least one other US news person said almost exactly the same thing.

    Comments like these are so destructive, but the people saying them seem so oblivious and excited to be saying them.

  4. says

    This is exactly why I was hoping it’d be a girl. How awesome would it have been if everyone had been celebrating that it *was* a girl? ooing and ahhing over having a new baby heir to the throne who’s a girl? With the navy on the ship standing in a GIRL outline? (And as much as I hate gender policing and pinkification) if all the landmarks were pink to mark that YAY! It doesn’t totally suck that we’re going to have another queen after William. It’s kind of disappointing, but oh well.

  5. Subtract Hominem says

    Oh yes. It would have been sooooo disappointing had the newborn been a girl. Could you imagine the British being ruled over by a Queen!? Such a notion is simply inconceivable!

  6. Anthony K says

    “As soon as William really kind of emerged into the public eye, you had this wholesome prince and his choice of Kate Middleton turns out to be absolutely impeccable. I mean, once again, she does the perfect thing,” Brown said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I mean, although there’s the constitutional change that we can now have a girl as the first born to be the monarch, nonetheless, she does the traditional thing, and she gives us a prince. She gives a king. I mean, let’s face it, the Queen will be thrilled. She and the Duke of Edinburgh, much as they would have said they would have been fine with a girl first born, they really did want a boy and they got one.”

    Gosh, she really did a fantastic job, didn’t she? I mean, previous women in her position lost their lives trying to birth a royal penis, but Kate made it seem almost effortless! Almost as if she did it for funzies! I half expect the next one will be born with two penes and a darling little bowler hat on each one just to show us she can!

    I sure hope Kate doesn’t leave us sitting on pins and needles, but tells us her secret! I bet Tina Brown and Victoria Arbiter aren’t the only ones who would all just love to know!

  7. yubal says

    What is even more supprising, when looking at the track record of the English monrchy, those few women who actually made it to the throne outperformed the majority of their male colleagues by distance. Also, the probably overall most succesful monarch in English history was aguably a woman. I leave it up to you how to score the sucess of a monarch but Queen Victoria probably rocks your criteria as well……so..what’s the deal with the male sucessor again?

  8. Trebuchet says

    The infant’s gender is, of course, determined by the presence or absence of a Y chromosome, which can only come from the father. So it’s Willy gave them a prince anyhow.

  9. hoary puccoon says

    Considering the British have had a queen for 125 of the last 200 years, they seem to adjust all right to girls on the throne.

  10. rq says

    Considering the British have had a queen for 125 of the last 200 years, they seem to adjust all right to girls on the throne.

    So I wonder how the Queen feels about all this crowing ‘It’s a boy! It’s a boy!‘ – that a new future-king is just the Most Perfect Thing? Is she also just as pleased to finally have another man in line to make sure that things keep running ever so smoothly (because she’s been having such a tough time keeping it together and where’s a man when you need one?)? Did the Queen also sigh with relief that it wasn’t *gasp* a girl?
    Something tells me I think not… What with Charles not being king yet and all. ;)
    (But I find it a bit insulting to her, as Queen, all this happy-dancing about it being a boy-baby. Really, because girl would have been second-best… Right. The Queen is only second-best.)

  11. embertine says

    By all accounts it was Her Maj who initiated the whole thing about primogeniture being abolished in the UK, so I don’t think she will give a crap what sex the baby is. In fact she may have been secretly hoping for a girl just to be all, “In your FACE, primogeniture!”

  12. cactuswren says

    I loved John Oliver’s comment: “You are aware that she is married to Prince William and not Khal Drogo, aren’t you?”

  13. sailor1031 says

    As a canadian I don’t understand the american fascination with the fecundity or otherwise of the Windsor family. It must be all those little american princesses getting to read about a real prince or princess. Daft I calls it. Like who cares. If you guys want a royal family there’s still plenty of unemployed royals running around Europe – go get you some and forget that revolution nonsense; shit it hasn’t worked out anyway!

    As for queens or kings? well strangely enough QEII seems to have worked out better than any of the US presidents or canadian prime ministers over the last forty years or so……of course when Charles finally succeeds, if he ever does, all bets are off.

  14. Amy Clare says

    Hmm. This lets people off the hook who were disappointed about changes in the primogeniture rules.

    Check this out though, about the Commonwealth countries –

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/10193444/Some-Commonwealth-countries-still-without-royal-assent-on-primogeniture-law-change.html

    “A serious constitutional debate that could go on for years.” Yikes. So this lets them off the hook as well, for now.

    Good one Kate, for making sexist douchebags feel less uncomfortable (except it really wasn’t you, it was the Royal Sperm what done it).

  15. Dunc says

    This is what monarchy looks like. One of the many reasons why I’m a staunch (small “r”, UK context) republican…

  16. CaitieCat says

    Yeah, it sure would have been awful if the child had been a girl.

    I mean, since there’s never been a Queen of England who reigned over any Golden Ages, or built a world-spanning empire*. Whew, dodged a bullet there. Especially given the uniformly awesome Kings of England.

    *eyeroll*

    * Please note i’m not saying they were good for the world; neither Elizabeth I nor Victoria could be said to have been good for the world, but as English Queens in the times they were in, they did pretty damn well for the country, weak and feeble women though they may have been. I do not dispute that they did so by building on a foundation of the bodies of PoC all over the world.

  17. Scr... Archivist says

    My concern about this hoopla is that it reduces the chances for a republic. From what I can tell on the outside, Charles remains unpopular and would be an unpopular king. Maybe a few Commonwealth countries would be able to get away with leaving during that brief window. But if the spawn of Diana are so popular, maybe people will just wait it out.

    What is the feeling in the U.K. and elsewhere?

  18. Pierce R. Butler says

    Does anybody get to be a major media figure in the US any more without a bone-deep reflex to kiss ass?

  19. Pieter B, FCD says

    Ophelia: I guess thinking before you blurt is more of a guy thing.

    Trebuchet: So it’s Willy gave them a prince anyhow.

    I see what y’all did there.

    rq @#13, well played.

  20. Anthony K says

    As a canadian I don’t understand the american fascination with the fecundity or otherwise of the Windsor family.

    I feel the same way, thought I don’t think you can thank our Canadianity for it. Lots of Canucks are wacko for Windsors.

    And the converse is true as well. I treeplanted with a member of the Canadian Navy who was about the angriest anti-royal I’ve ever encountered. He said he replaced the word ‘save’ with ‘fuck’ whenever they had to sing God Save the Queen.

  21. Matt Penfold says

    Please note i’m not saying they were good for the world; neither Elizabeth I nor Victoria could be said to have been good for the world, but as English Queens in the times they were in, they did pretty damn well for the country, weak and feeble women though they may have been. I do not dispute that they did so by building on a foundation of the bodies of PoC all over the world.

    Elizabeth was a Queen of England. Victoria never was.

  22. CaitieCat says

    Well, thanks for the pedantry, that moved the discussion a long way forward, didn’t it?

  23. Matt Penfold says

    Well, thanks for the pedantry, that moved the discussion a long way forward, didn’t it?

    And thanks to you for you trying to write Scotland, Wales and Ireland out of history. Care to explain why you the Scots, Welsh and Irish do not count ?

  24. Matt Penfold says

    Oh, and I note you offer no apology. So clearly your insult was intentional.

  25. CaitieCat says

    Did I say she was the Queen of ONLY England? Or is it possible you made an error, reading something that wasn’t actually there? See, if she’s the Queen of Canada, and the Queen of Australia, and the Queen of Northern Ireland, are you seriously contending she’s not also Queen of England?

    So no, you are owed no apology, nor will you get one, for your difficulties in reading comprehension. I will offer my sympathy, but I don’t see how it’s my fault that you can’t read well. Fuck your pumpous demands, and your ignorance.

  26. Matt Penfold says

    Did I say she was the Queen of ONLY England? Or is it possible you made an error, reading something that wasn’t actually there? See, if she’s the Queen of Canada, and the Queen of Australia, and the Queen of Northern Ireland, are you seriously contending she’s not also Queen of England?

    She was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. So, no she was not Queen of Northern Ireland, nor of Wales, nor of Scotland.

    Look, you are clearly ignorant. I can handle people being ignorant, if they are willing to recognise the fact. You are not. You are ignorant and proud of it.

    So no, you are owed no apology, nor will you get one, for your difficulties in reading comprehension. I will offer my sympathy, but I don’t see how it’s my fault that you can’t read well. Fuck your pompous demands, and your ignorance.

    I initially thought you had called Victoria the Queen of England in error. Clearly though the insult to the other parts of the UK was intentional of your part. And that makes you are nasty piece of work, who no doubt would support the fascist scum of the EDL. They also think only England counts.

  27. Pieter B, FCD says

    Did I say she was the Queen of ONLY England?

    You said she was an English Queen, which makes Matt’s pedantry even more unnecessary, IMO.

  28. sailor1031 says

    Victoria’s title was “Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India”. I know we canucks are bad at geography – hell I can’t even find Tuktoyuktuk without a map – but I was always under the impression that england was a part of great Britain. You know, england, Scotland, Wales. Wales wasn’t a separate kingdom in Elizabeth’s time so she was just Queen of england and Ireland…so wouldn’t all that mean that Victoria was too a queen of england? as well as those other places?

  29. Matt Penfold says

    Did I say she was the Queen of ONLY England? Or is it possible you made an error, reading something that wasn’t actually there? See, if she’s the Queen of Canada, and the Queen of Australia, and the Queen of Northern Ireland, are you seriously contending she’s not also Queen of England?

    She was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. So, no she was not Queen of Northern Ireland, nor of Wales, nor of Scotland. Northern Ireland did not exist until after Victoria was dead. Something else you see to be ignorant of.

    [Pointlessly inflammatory name-calling deleted. OB]

  30. says

    Matt! Dial it down. Go write a letter to NPR, instead, to tell them to tell Terry Gross to stop saying English when she means British.

    Lots of people make that mistake, and that doesn’t make them part of the EDL, not even if they refuse to apologize for making a trivial mistake in nomenclature.

  31. Matt Penfold says

    Victoria’s title was “Queen of Great Britain and Ireland and Empress of India”. I know we canucks are bad at geography – hell I can’t even find Tuktoyuktuk without a map – but I was always under the impression that england was a part of great Britain. You know, england, Scotland, Wales. Wales wasn’t a separate kingdom in Elizabeth’s time so she was just Queen of england and Ireland…so wouldn’t all that mean that Victoria was too a queen of england? as well as those other places?

    No, because England was no longer a separate political entity following the Act of Union with regards the monarch. It is like someone saying Obama is the President of California. Victoria was not Queen of England separately from being Queen of another part of the UK. The Scots, if they vote for independence next year, will have to enact legislation that makes Elizabeth II the monarch, since it will not be the case the Queen automatically becomes Queen of Scotland.

  32. Matt Penfold says

    Matt! Dial it down. Go write a letter to NPR, instead, to tell them to tell Terry Gross to stop saying English when she means British.

    Lots of people make that mistake, and that doesn’t make them part of the EDL, not even if they refuse to apologize for making a trivial mistake in nomenclature.

    Sorry, but I do not consider it to be trivial, and nor is it a mistake. Had it been a mistake CatieCat would have acknowledge the fact.

    But I will shut up at your request. I am just sorry are not taking the xenophobia exhibited more seriously. I’m don’t think I want to be around xenophobic arseholes anyway.

  33. Lyanna says

    Getting back on topic–the royalty-worship is annoying enough without (re-)introducing sexism to it as well.

    The fact is that it’s a matter of total irrelevance whether Ms. Middleton spawns or not. It only matters for the same reason Baby TomKat and Baby Brangelina mattered, back in the day. Except those couples were rich and famous for actual talents and work, not because they were Windsors.

    Don’t remember where I saw this, but anyone remember the comment about Ms. Middleton being an unemployed woman marrying into a family that has been on welfare for generations? Well, now they’ve created a new generation of welfare recipients–quick, someone notify the ghost of Thatcher!

  34. says

    Matt, you can’t conclude it wasn’t a mistake from such flimsy evidence. People outside the UK don’t automatically understand the meaning of the distinctions. I could just as well say you’re being “xenophobic” by not getting that. You didn’t explain why you bothered to make the correction, and it looks to me as if that’s why Caitie snapped at you. You don’t have a prosecutable case for xenophobic assholery here.

  35. says

    On welfare for generations…hehehehheheh

    So, this has been bugging me for a bit.

    I have no particular fascination for the Royal Family, and I generally agree that it’s a backwards institution. But when I see it debated in comment sections news reports and on in other places, I get two lines of thought.

    First, that the Monarchy is largely a drain on resources of the nation. The “welfare” thought that was given here.

    Second, and contrarily, that the Monarchy’s estates provide substantial income to the nation, in addition to to the tourism it attracts.

    Is the actual situation more complicated? I’m honestly not sure where to start looking for a clear answer.

  36. says

    The net gain question is contested, I think. It’s not clear that the royals attract any more tourists than would go to the UK anyway.

    But even if they attract more money than they are paid, it’s still a fairly ridiculous wheeze. Why them, in particular? Because primogeniture. That’s a stupid reason.

    And people going into this ludicrous frenzy of excitement and adulation because of one new baby just emphasizes how ridiculous the wheeze is. I mean what’s it about? Who cares? Brenda has lots of grandchildren; lots of them will have children; who cares which one ends up being a monarch? Why go into a frenzy about it? Get a grip, etc.

  37. says

    But even if they attract more money than they are paid, it’s still a fairly ridiculous wheeze. Why them, in particular? Because primogeniture. That’s a stupid reason.

    The argument as I was understanding it was that the tourist money was chump change compared to the money brought in by the holdings of the royal family.

    So my question is, do they actually own land?

  38. hoary puccoon says

    Matt Penfold @ 25 and points South-

    You know, when I’m in France I get called English about once a week. I’ve had people call me English after I’ve corrected them several times. I’ve had people who’ve known me for years, who kiss my cheeks when we meet, call me English. I’ve been told I’m a liar for saying I’m not English.

    So, you’re thinking I must be Scottish or Welsh or from the Channel Islands? Not a chance. I’m a passport-carrying American, born and raised in Chicago, and with the accent to prove it.

    Things which seem very important close up kind of fade in significance on foreign shores….

  39. sailor1031 says

    @hoary puccoon: try speaking to the french in french then they’ll know you’re not english.

  40. sailor1031 says

    “Did I say she was the Queen of ONLY England? ”

    No you wrote ‘English Queens” – which both Elizabeth and Victoria were; english born and bred.

  41. hoary puccoon says

    sailor1031 @ 45–

    I always speak to the French in French. Ils pensent que je suis anglais, quand meme.

  42. sailor1031 says

    @hoary: Vous connaissez des francais qui croyent qu’un anglais parle francais? Tant pis!

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