Royal Nonesuch

We have created a celebrity culture of "Royal Nonesuch" that has seaped into the mainstream and threatens to turn our brains to mush.

One night recently my husband and I were talking about celebrity news and how it had suddenly become mainstream not only on television, but in the newspaper and magazines not dedicated to entertainment.

"When did this happen?" I said incredulously. I have two girls, and the last thing I want is them thinking that they can grow up to be one of these people who gets paid to do nothing but preen for the paparazzi.

Now in an effort to maintain full disclosure I must confess I enjoy my People Magazine and the E Television network, but when you partake in this type of media you expect to read about Paris Hilton and The Girls Next Door. Yet, entertainment news has slowly crept into the regular news so seamlessly that we talk about the Kardashians and cast-offs from inane reality shows as if they actually had earned their famed positions in pop culture history simply by doing stupid things and letting a camera follow them around.

"Royal Nonesuch," my husband muttered into his pillow as he lie in bed face down with a bad back. "Mark Twain."

"What?" I asked, never knowing him to make a literary reference in the fifteen years I had known him.

"Famous for nothing," he explained with muffled laughter.

I admit it. I had to look it up. And I'm glad I did. It was a reference from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. In the critically acclaimed novel, the King and the Duke were traveling around performing Shakespeare for crowds that were less than enlightened. In order to increase attendance, they decided to perform "low comedy" to draw the crowd in. The King pranced around on stage naked in The Royal Nonesuch for absolutely no reason and received raucous applause. This proved their theory that silly human tricks trumped highbrow theatre with the masses any day.

So now, everytime I read or hear an entertainment story I am always thinking about Twain's Royal Nonesuch, and thinking, maybe, I should be reading or watching Shakespeare instead.


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