Why do you care so much about the royal baby?

Royal Baby Image(Article first appeared in WA Today, The Age, SMH, etc on July 25, 2013)

A woman named Kate Middleton recently gave birth to a baby. That’s not news.

What if Kate had given birth to a giraffe, a hippo or an echidna? Now that’s news. Especially since a baby echidna is called a puggle, which is way cuter than any human name anyone has ever come up with.

Also if she gave birth to a puggle, it would raise questions about exactly what she’d been up to.

In the days leading up to the birth of the royal baby, the world’s media waited, hovered, crowded and repeatedly spoke at length, with authority about absolutely nothing.

Apparently we’re so hungry for baby news that we don’t care that none of it was remotely newsworthy. Possible baby names, the star sign, who was going to be the first, second and third to know about its imminent arrival.

The only joy I’ve had through this whole event are the many jokes that have filled up my Facebook and Twitter feeds. If that level of humour could be sustained for every royal birth, I’d want Kate popping out kids like some sort of baby machine gun.

Personally, I’m hoping for an ugly baby. Right now the tabloids and glossy rags are hankering for more pics than just the one outside the hospital, having prepared their eight-page spreads gushing about how beautiful and radiant he is.

If he were ugly, he would be the most delightfully awkward moment of all time. Everyone on the planet collectively crowded around the crib, looking and down and saying, ‘awwww umm yep. Doesn’t he look… ummm… like his dad?’

Don’t be offended. If a baby is ugly, that in no way means that it’ll turn into an ugly adult. I’m sure that this kid’s surreal and privileged existence will turn him into a little shit regardless of his looks.

My reaction to the royal birth was exactly the same as when I heard that an ex-girlfriend had spawned. I hope that it’s healthy, that everything went well, and everyone involved has a fulfilling and wonderful life. But I do not want to actually know anything about it.

It’s not just this birth – basically if I don’t know you, then I don’t really care. When and if this baby does something meaningful or spectacular with their life, then I’ll be all ears.

I have nothing against the Royal Family but it seems like every time they’re covered in a story, I see it as a lost opportunity for more deserving subjects, you know, their real subjects.

Now I’m about to try and spin the royal birth into something that could benefit all of humanity, and you need to stick with me, because you’re going to feel weird.

So considering all that can go wrong with a birth, even in First World countries, it is still a relief and a joy every time a new healthy child is born, but it isn’t news.

Around one in 33 children is born with a birth defect. Imagine if the royal baby was even slightly bung.

Very bad for the baby, but extremely good for every other baby in the world now and in the future with that defect. Imagine the amount of charities, funding and research that would appear and be pushing for a cure, or at least vastly improved treatment.

How dare I speculate on the benefits of one baby being unhealthy? How dare I say that thousands around the world is more important than one baby?

Here’s another question: Why do you care so much?

I know many people who don’t care, but many more must. There has to be an audience for this, otherwise it wouldn’t be reported on at all.

If you didn’t care, you’d actually be doing everyone a massive favour. I’m sure Wills and Kate, as well as their extended families, would actually prefer a bit of privacy around now.

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