There were a lot of people getting very excited about events at a London hospital yesterday. And there were a lot of locals here who didn’t seem to understand why there were a lot of people getting very excited about events at a London hospital yesterday and they actually got quite annoyed about the people who were excited.
I’ve never really understood why if something doesn’t interest people, they feel that they have to aggressively criticise it. To me, it suggests some sort of insecurity. Who knows?
Anyway, I fell into the middle of the two of the groups. I wasn’t hugely excited about the birth of the royal baby, but equally, I didn’t have a problem with the people who were.
So here’s a way I thought of explaining it, in a journalists outside a hospital kind of way.
Compare this line (much used yesterday as a reason to belittle those excited people):
“It’s just a baby. Hundreds of women have babies every day.”
with this line:
“He’s just a patient in a heart hospital. Hundreds of people are patients in heart hospitals every day.”
Which is a pretty ridiculous sentiment for anyone* in South Africa to accept, because Madiba has almost deity-like status here. He’s a special person. His is a public interest story. So yes, there are many other heart hospital patients around, but Madiba is South Africa’s heart hospital patient, and that’s why his hospitalisation is different.
Well, the birth of the royal baby is Britain’s version of Madiba’s hospital stay. You can see that it matters to “us” in the same way that Madiba matters to SA simply by looking at the similar scenes outside the Pretoria Heart Hospital and St Mary’s in London.
It’s not an ideal analogy, but it’s not far off.
Live and let live: whether it’s babies, former presidents or excited punters.
* 99%+ of people, anyway.