Monday, August 2, 2010

Chelsea’s Wedding

A lot of you noticed that my little town of Rhinebeck, New York was the host of Chelsea Clinton’s wedding on Saturday. For the last week it has been a carnival atmosphere here, with TV cameras, blocked roads, crazy protestors, police cars, and black-windowed SUVs.


Big white satellite trucks parked on all the side streets. The sidewalks were sectioned off for dozens of news teams from all over the world. Heavily-made up presenters talked breathlessly and interviewed residents and shopkeepers. People came from out of town and sat for hours in folding chairs hoping to see Oprah or Spielberg or Streisand or Barack (none of whom showed up, apparently).

Someone dressed their two dogs up as bride and groom. Another guy with a raccoon-head wore a sandwich board that read “CHELSEA, WILL YOU MARRY ME?”

I walked by a restaurant where Bill Clinton was having lunch. The road was blocked by police cars and a crowd had formed outside. Bill walked slowly through town saying hello to everyone. Someone came away with tears in her eyes. “He shook my hand,” she said.

The wedding came and went. My question: Was it really that newsworthy? To me it seems like the biggest non-story of the year. Chelsea has been out of the media spotlight for a long time. Neither she nor her husband is particularly distinguished from a media point of view, apart from being the daughter of American royalty. There was no scandal, no story, not even good video footage. The main story was the media itself.

Television raises its white sails, and it also creates its own wind. Media begets media, and a lot of important stories out there don’t get coverage.

14 comments:

K. W. Broad said...

Despite not being very "newsworthy", at least it's not "bad" news this time :)
Still, I find it sad how much of a spectacle individual's lives become once they reach a certain level of fame or infamy. The world has so many other important and interesting topics that are being overlooked.

Drew said...

If you ask me, it would have been the perfect time for the unicycle painter to make national news.

Johan Derycke said...

According to the news here in Belgium, they spent 3.5 million USD on the wedding.

I wish they had spent half a million -which would still have been decadent enough to please "the society"- and used the 3 other million for something more useful...

James Gurney said...

KW and Johann--good points.

Drew, it was tempting, being the nut and media hound that I am. The cameras were bored, looking for anything to film. I was going to do an on-the-spot sketch of all the media folks, but all I needed would be to have CNN bring a camera over and start peering down my neck!

etc, etc said...

I think practically anybody could have painted on a unicycle and upstaged this artwork...
http://tinyurl.com/28nv4gm

Smurfswacker said...

I heard that another, unnewsworthy, couple had planned their wedding close by on the same day (before the Clinton announcement). They were miffed because due to Chelsea's proximity all their guests had to pass through security checkpoints to get to their wedding. Kinda spoiled the day.

अर्जुन said...

Hardtimes, hahahahahhahahhahahha!!!! Only in America!

dzart said...

Should've donned your gorilla police uniform, Sir!

R.C. said...

Hey James,
Totally agree with you -Chelsea getting married is in no way "newsworthy."

Erik Bongers said...

With all respect, but I think you are all missing the important question here.

Once Bill Clinton has shaken your hand, WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR HAND???

ivo.de.wispelaere said...

Well, at least quality magazines as Time focus on the stuff that really matters this week: what happens if the US leaves Afghanistan, in particular for women over there that want to take their fate in their own hands... (warning: it's not a very pleasant sight)

Time aug. 8 2010

jeff said...

No, it was not. I wish both investment bankers a life of happiness.

Colin said...

My mom called me last Saturday and prattled on for 15 minutes about Chelsea Clinton's wedding till I finally cut her off. I should have regaled her with my thoughts on Lisa Simpson's wedding (also last weekend according to that episode from 1995).

T Arthur Smith said...

You forgot the main event, The Daily Show covered it! Did you get to meet John Oliver and Wyatt Cynac?