They're Having A Baaaaaaaby!


Do you remember where you were when man landed on the moon? When Princess Diana died? When Clode shot himself in the toilet in Degrassi Junior High?

Our lives are in many ways defined by the historic events that occur during them, and there is unlikely to be any more historic event in our, or anyone else's lifetime, than the birth of a new royal person. Just the fact that Princess Kate has fallen pregnant probably numbers in the top five biggest news stories we'll ever see. Every time she vomits it's bigger than any Australian federal election. It's huge, and one day our descendants will think themselves accursed that they were not born in our era, when we got to experience the conception of Will and Kate's mighty progeny.

What is it that fascinates us so about the royals? Is it their incredible physical attractiveness? Their tangible sense of power? Their tireless work at whatever it is they do? It is all of these and none of these. It's impossible to explain the magnetism of the royal family. It's like trying to explain why you get an erection while reading Janet Albrechtsen columns — there is no dissecting of the human heart. We can't say why we love the royals; we just do.

Perhaps it is because they are just like us. Or perhaps it is because they are nothing like us. Perhaps it is because they are just like us in the sense of being ordinary and untalented and dull, but nothing like us in the sense of being phenomenally rich and famous. These are all attractive traits. But what we can say for sure is that when a princess falls pregnant, we are as happy and excited as if we ourselves had fallen pregnant; in fact even more so, given it's not us who have to endure the horrors of childbirth, child-rearing, and child-hitting.

Oh sure, some people call the royals parasites, but this is unfair, as many parasites occupy vital niches in the ecosystem. And as our Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who herself has always followed in the proud Australian tradition of being really British, said, the birth of a new royal will bring joy to people around the world.

When the news that the Duchess of Cambridge was in hospital suffering from an intensely unpleasant medical condition broke, the multitudes everywhere went up as one, cheering to the heavens.

Because when you're a common, working-class person like you or me or TV handyman Scott Cam, sometimes the only light that shines through the drudgery is the light of unearned privilege and hereditary wealth. When your every waking moment is spent worrying about how to pay the rent, and how to feed the kids, and how to rent your food and how to pay your kids, it gives you a little bit of hope to see that there is something good and lovely in the world.

We look at Kate, chucking up her guts on the other side of the world, and we think, that could be me. If I work hard enough and chase my dreams with utmost gusto, I too could marry an extremely rich man. We think, one day, when my ship comes in, I too could be born into a family that seized power centuries ago through violent conquest and murder. It's what is often known as "the Australian dream", and the princess's obstetric escapades have brought that dream into sharp relief.

Not to mention, of course, the radiance and fascination of Kate herself. She was quite an enigma when she was first introduced to us: all we really knew about her was that she closely related to some buttocks. But gradually we got to know her better. First we found out that she has a face of her own, which was quite a shock. Then we found out she has breasts, which stunned us all — few of us had suspected she was hiding a secret of this kind. And now, now we discover that she owns a uterus, it's like the Book of Kate has been opened wider than ever before.

And it raises so many exciting questions. Just which of William's sperm was the lucky one that broke through Kate's renowned aristocratic reserve? What position were the royal couple in when the royal conception was achieved? Was it done on the royal bed, or on the royal kitchen bench, or bent over a royal billiard table?

These are the details we are all eager to absorb, and no doubt we will soon be informed on all these counts thanks to the enthusiasm and work ethic of the professional "royal watchers", a class of people devoted to working selflessly for the education of the public on royal issues. Truly, royal watching is a noble vocation, a calling and a career that any parent would be proud to see their child go into, presuming their child had already been rejected from the international sex-slave industry due to their questionable moral fibre.

But more than anything else, the news of the royal pregnancy shows just how misguided are those who would tear down all of Australia's time-tested governmental checks and balances and introduce some sort of proletariat free-for-all in the corridors of power. Republicanism is all very well in theory, but can republicanism deliver us visits by Prince Charles to Tasmania? Can republicanism bring us the pomp and circumstance of those guys with the big furry hats? And essentially, can republicanism deliver us royal babies?

No it cannot. A republic may have many fine features (though actually it does not), but one thing a republic can never do is get a princess pregnant. To do that, you need a penis blessed by God with the awesome responsibility of royalty. Gough Whitlam could never have impregnated Kate, and neither could Craig Reucassel. Julia Gillard sure as hell couldn't; she wouldn't even know where to start. Fact is, if you want a royal tree, you have to plant a royal seed, and no matter how many minimalist models or direct elections or Eureka flags you waggle about, it won't change the fact that once we have a republic, our days of rejoicing over the condition of English wombs are over.

And that's why, when we're talking to our friends, and we say, "Isn't it great news about William and Kate, I can't wait to see the baby, it's just the best news I've ever had!" and they reply, "Actually I don't particularly care about two people I don't know in a foreign country who have never actually achieved anything of note and have yet to demonstrate any significant ability to do anything useful whatsoever falling pregnant, can we talk about something interesting instead please?"; you will know exactly what you're dealing with, and you can punch that friend right in the stomach and spit on the back of their head as they double over, before walking away, vowing never to associate with such snivelling Green Islamofascists again.

Yes, there is no doubt that this baby will be the most important baby we will see born in our lifetime, and as citizens of the world, we will get more out of this than the simple pleasure of knowing that someone somewhere has reproduced: we will gain the reassurance that no matter what terrible things happen in this world, no matter what destruction may be wreaked by war, hatred and natural disaster across the globe, we probably won't notice it, because we'll be reading about Will and Kate's bub. And won't THAT be a relief?

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.