In our fantastic media-driven, celebrity-obsessed culture, certain individuals are not even allowed to pass away or to come to life when they want. A case in point are Nelson Mandela and baby Cambridge. Think about it: the former is, disappointedly, despite all those camera crews expensively sent over to South Africa – still alive. The whole world wants to join in the communal ritual of farewell to the great man, but cannot do so. He stubbornly stays with his people.
The latter, despite the universally hyped arrival on the planet, is overdue. The Queen has to take her holidays, so she – perhaps unguardedly – said to a child. And those legions of embedded journalists camping in front of the hospital for days under the ruthless heatwave? Gosh, they are melting away under our very eyes. I almost feel for them. Surely they must hate baby Cambridge’s guts.
So here we are, all stuck, we cannot mourn and we cannot celebrate as we please. A huge world media potential, waiting to be unleashed but sitting for weeks, losing millions by the hour in the process. However, it is a revealing no man’s land, a powerful depiction of how the industry of cynicism turns deeply private and touching events into fodder for millions of strangers spectators, so that they can get on with themselves and their lives.
But it is all good. And, as long as it lasts, we can reflect about this commercialisation of life and death. So it’s a sobering wait.