Op-ed: Royal couple/odd couple

  • By Bob Franken
  • Wednesday, May 23, 2018 9:25am
  • Opinion

Usually, the only place to hear cultured British accents is anytime on PBS, but on the eve of the royal wedding, British experts were flooding the other domestic networks, making the U.S. news personalities sound like American riffraff (pardon the redundancy).

We probably needed them to gush about all the intricacies of the Meghan Markle-Prince Harry coupling. They certainly had their stiff upper lips full explaining all the pageantry, accumulated over centuries of tradition. Even the Meghan Markle father drama was restrained, with Prince Charles taking up the slack. So we were treated to a jolly good show set in the splendor of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was even more elegant than Mar-a-Lago.

Perhaps Donald Trump was watching from somewhere and thinking tacky thoughts (another redundancy) about whether he could build a golf course on the property or turn it into a hotel. Or it could be that he was pondering the event’s mammoth ratings — TVs all over the planet were tuned in with entire households watching, often at ungodly hours. He would be clearly puzzled by how anything so tasteful and civilized could be so appealing, since he has absolutely no experience with that.

Trump’s best chance at ratings will the Singapore Fling with Kim Jong Un, the summit with North Korea next month, which is infinitely more important than any royal wedding, even this one. At least it has the potential to be, if the two leaders don’t blow it. But ratingswise, it won’t get nearly so many eyes. First of all, consider the players: The royal wedding had the dashing Prince Harry starring with beautiful and elegant Meghan Markle. The summit has Kim the Rocket Man and Donnie the Dotard. Compare the supporting cast: in Windsor, Prince William, for instance; Singapore will have John Bolton.

Perhaps the ratings could get a jolt if they invited some of the celebrity groupies that are always eager to show up for these televised megaevents. Oprah was mingling at the festivities; so were George and Amal Clooney. Elton John and his husband were in the preferred seating, too — “preferred” being defined as easily spotted by the cameras. Rest assured that his booking agent has reminded Washington and Pyongyang that Elton John wrote “Rocket Man.”

It won’t be hard to persuade Sir Elton (he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998) to perform in Singapore, just as he did at Windsor for the wedding reception. Of course, we don’t know that there will be a reception or dinner. We don’t even know if there will be a face-to-face meeting. All the nasty bickering by both sides gives off the odor of two grooms who might just get cold feet and walk away from the altar.

Meghan and Harry decidedly did not. Instead, after vowing their unshakable love for one another, they left the building as husband and wife, riding in a splendid horse-drawn carriage. Expecting any success by Rocket and Dotard would clearly be putting the cart before the horse. So much hostile distrust has piled up over the decades. The sides still are officially in a state of war. Simply ending that might be an accomplishment, but there will need to be an agreement for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal, and that will require some difficult concessions from the United States, along with credible enforcement mechanisms.

Maybe they bring in Michael Curry to provide good vibes. That’s the Most Rev. Michael Curry, the leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church, whose stemwinder with it African American touches was a highlight of the royal wedding that was really all highlight: Love can “help and heal when nothing else can,” he passionately exclaimed. “There is power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.”

Next month, the odd coupling of Kim and Don will require more than love to push the world away from the brink of disaster.

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