Showing posts with label monarchy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label monarchy. Show all posts

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My 7 Links Blog Project

Thanks to Miss Footloose (aka Karen van der Zee) I've been invited to participate in the My 7 Links project organized by Tripbase, the wonderful organization that has recognized both our blogs with Expat Blog of the Year awards.

In this post, I am sharing 7 of my old posts you might not have discovered yet, at the end I list five other bloggers I've nominated to do the same.

My Most Beautiful Post - This is from one spectacular afternoon overlooking the Vltava River in Prague with my friend Sher. If you know nothing about Prague, this will help you understand why people fall in love with it. A Springtime Stroll Around Letna Park

My Most Popular Post - I'm deeply committed to doing what I can as an individual consumer and citizen to prevent climate change.  So I decided to sell my car and live without it.  Then one day I realized I had survived just fine without it for quite awhile. Starting My Third Year Without A Car

My Most Controversial Post -Looking back, I can't say I write very controversial posts. This one might not be the kindest one I've ever written, and I did try to put the behavior I was describing into historical  context. Little Corruptions

My Most Helpful Post - The American lifestyle has a cost structure that feels unsustainable to me. In this post, I try to help Americas imagine a lower cost structure. The Czech Republic is the same size as South Carolina.  Imagine if you were able to travel around a state the size of South Carolina for $400 a year.  How the Czech Government Delighted Me As A Consumer

The Post Whose Success Surprised Me The Most - Who knew a visit to a gift shop would generate such discussion? My post The Swedish Tourist Attraction That Did Not Attract Me ended up featured on the Displaced Nation Blog where ABC News Royal Correspondent Jane Green and I debated the idea of monarchy. 

A Post I feel Didn't Get the Attention It Deserved - Is it my idea? Or my blog post? What do I need, pictures? I only received two commented on this post, and I still like my idea.  Why not give the opposite of a Nobel Prize to countries that could use, well, an intervention?
Does the World Need the Opposite of a Nobel Peace Prize?

A Post I am Most Proud Of - In 2009, I was struck how my Czech friends felt their opinions were ignored on a proposed American missile system that was slated for installation in their country.  I wrote a blog post asking President Obama to come to the Czech Republic and either sell them on it or announce it would end.

He came, gave an amazing speech, and won the Nobel Prize. And the anti-missile system moved away from the Czech Republic. What a win/win.  All because of my blog post!

I hope you're smiling here. I don't actually believe President Obama came to Prague because of my blog post. But I was contacted by the BBC to provide commentary about his speech (didn't happen due to logistics) because their producers had been reading my blog.

I do feel I showed my Czech friends, feeling their way through their new democracy, that taking action makes you feel better rather than being paralyzed.  They marveled that I felt I could effect positive change.  They didn't (which is exactly what politicians want you to think cause then you'll leave everything to them).
Dear President Obama, Please Come to the Czech Republic

I live for comments so tell me what you think!

Here are the links to five blogs I've nominated to join the project:

Adventures in the Czech Republic

Black Girl in Prague

Blogging Gelle

Ricky Yates

Senior Dogs Abroad

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Turkish Government issues list of 138 forbidden words on websites

Wow, if I wasn't having problems enough getting around the Turkish censorship of Google's blogging platform (the censorship hasn't stopped in my area but it has been lifted intermittently in other locations around Turkey), news comes today that Turkey is going to ban any website with 138 different words.  One of the first on the list is "passionate." I guess that would rule out the discussion we expats had this weekend over at Displaced Nation about the Royal Wedding and the institution of Monarchy.  The moderating bloggers chose to title the post: "Two writers with passionate views of Royal Passion." They probably didn't know that it would keep a potential 70 million people in Turkey from reading it! If you want to write about being "blonde," "overweight," or making "homemade" cookies, you are also out of luck at reaching a Turkish audience. Click on my title to see what else is censored. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What Did You Think of the Royal Wedding?

 The Royal Kiss

We're having a big discussion over at The Displaced Nation. Come in and contribute to the conversation. Jane Green, chick lit author and ABC News Royals Correspondent is celebrating the traditional fairy tale. I'm asking the question that formed in my mind while visiting the Swedish Royal Palace gift shop: how could women get all the story, fashion, glamour, and romance of the royal wedding without the existence of monarchy?  There has to be a way. Contribute your thoughts!

Photo and links were added at a later date due to Turkey's ongoing censorship of bloggers.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Swedish Tourist Attraction That Didn't Attract Me

During my week in Sweden, I could tell one aspect of Swedish culture that had wide appreciation among Swedes and foreigners alike was the Swedish monarchy.  Recently, there was a royal wedding between the beautiful Princess Victoria and her physical fitness trainer Daniel Westling.  Reportedly, their relationship was quite a love story warming the hearts of all lovers of fairy tales.

The Swedish Royal Palace gift shop was barely maneuverable due to tourists snapping up the merchandise related to this event. I noticed my complete lack of interest in this recent royal wedding - a reversal from my twenties.

Princess Diana and Prince Charles

When I was twenty-two years old, I fell head over heels for the fairy tale of my time: Prince Charles and Lady Diana.  I delighted in every minute detail of the wedding planning. I could not consume enough pictures of every fabulous thing Lady Diana said, wore, or did.  I got up at 3 a.m. to watch the entire ceremony. When I was married the following year, I asked my florist to reproduce EXACTLY the bouquet Diana had carried down the aisle. 

Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s relationship all turned out to BE a fairy tale.  In other words, a fictional story designed for public consumption that wasn’t true.  It was merely good for business and marketing a nation.  I feel naive and silly, in retrospect, for having expected that it should be otherwise.  Royal marriages don’t even have a tradition of being about love.

This female fantasy women have of being a princess doesn’t even need to be projected onto a specific woman. There's a famous business legend about a guy hired to help the Walt Disney Company grow their business.

As the new consumer products division chief, Andrew Mooney attended his first "Disney on Ice" show. While waiting in line, he found himself surrounded by young girls dressed as princesses. “They weren’t even Disney products. They were generic princess products,” he mused. Soon after realizing the demand for all things princess-related, the Disney Princess line was formed.  In 2009, that "Princess" division grossed an estimated $4 billion.

As a pure business proposition, the Swedes chip in under $2 a piece to support the royal family.  For their $16 million, they get a photograph-able family that can generate publicity and interest in Sweden more than any prime minister could.  

What I DO find myself attracted to in Swedish culture, is this group of people who have banded together to proclaim the idea of kings and queens a ridiculously outdated notion.  You can read about their ideas here.

Think about it, if we as human beings have gotten rid of stupid ideas like serfs and slaves, why haven’t we yet rid ourselves of the obsolete notion (on the other end of the spectrum) that chosen human beings should serve as "Truman Show" figureheads above the rest of us?

Maybe women have a deep-seated need for princesses.
What is a princess? I would define her as a pampered girl, indulged in consumption unavailable to others due to her birth rather than her innovative ideas or labor.  Her power isn’t exercised directly because she doesn’t, after all, have the responsibility to produce anything.  Her job is merely to “be,” not to “do.” Why? Because by being fashionable, beautiful, and of high birth she's...worthy. Ick.

That's why we women fall for it...being deemed worthy. But why do we need hereditary monarchy to be any of those things. Why do we need to be a princess to be fashionable, beautiful, of acclaimed parentage, or worthy? 

 Can't get enough pictures
of Michelle Obama's dresses!

I'm not saying I don't turn into a girly-girl the minute Michelle Obama's State Dinner Dress photos come out.  Hey, I am woman. I love pretty dresses. What got Michelle Obama there? The power and audacity of the ideas represented, not dated institutions that have outlived their Medieval existence.

I was bemused at yet another way I find Scandinavians to be global thought leaders. This group of Swedish people (called the Swedish Republican Association) made me think and I'd like you to think with me. If princesses didn't exist, what would young women dream of being? Could it likely be a healthier idea for humanity and relationships? A more realistic idea?  Can you imagine people of the future laughing at us for even allowing the idea of undemocratic monarchies to exist? For needing the “idea” of princesses?

What would you dream of being if princesses didn't exist?
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