Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Is Prince William a Beatles fan?
Journalism's an interesting profession. Even if you specialize in a particular space - in my case, tech - you tend to cast a wide net as you scan the planet in search of ideas. You never know where the next spark will come from, so it makes little sense to limit yourself just to the tech pages.
Which largely explains why I found myself watching two stories today that, at least on the surface, shouldn't hold much interest for a tech writer. If you're just joining us, Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton, and Apple announced the immediate availability of the entire Beatles catalog via iTunes.
The cynic in me scoffs at both of these announcements. I'm very happy for Prince William and his now-fiancee. I wish them a life of happiness and health. Like anyone else (remember these words, please), they deserve their shot at happiness. I just fail to understand why the world needs to stop every time a royal decides to get married, get divorced, or simply stop by the side of the road to take in a particularly spectacular view.
I appreciate the great weight of history inherent in all things related to the monarchy, but I bristle at the way modern society deifies the royal family and turns even the most trivial life event into a cause celebre. Is there such thing as a point where it becomes beyond-trivial? Because if it exists, I think we may have passed it long ago.
By the same token, Apple was its typical hyperbolic self during the leadup to today's Beatles/iTunes announcement. The corporate website promised today would be a day we "would never forget." I must apologize for failing to fully internalize the deep, history-making significance of making a defunct-but-once-globally-popular band's music available online. If you're a Beatles fan, you no longer have to truck your middle-aged self to the soon-to-be-shuttered record store to buy, again, what you've probably bought four times previously.
So the royals now have renewed hope for future relevancy and Beatles fans enter the dawn of the iTunes era. For the rest of us, though, the kids still have to get to school, bills still have to be paid, and ordinary and extraordinary realities alike remain unchanged. Call me a curmudgeon, if you will (those meddling kids...) but I think I'd rather focus on the mundane, less headline-generating stuff closer to home.
Like anyone else.