Friday, April 3, 2009
The Queen, Michelle Obama and me
What with the Obamas visiting England, all we get is, "The British love the informality." "The new informal feeling."
I am thinking, the poor beleaguered ol' House of Saxe-Coberg-Gotha had better watch it.
Lastnight Howard, who shares my disapproval of yesterday's doings, pointed out that the British royal family's whole brand is about formal behavior. The family's role is mostly ceremonial. Drop the ceremony, and what have you got?
The Windsors should worry about protecting their brand. They have already lost a lot of it. Fergie and Diana, people talked about how they brought in a whiff of fresh air and informality. And look what happened there.
Ron Moss is informal. What does that tell you?
You know what?
Just once I would like to read that someone is making things more formal. "They have brought a new air of formality to the White House." That is what I would like to hear.
Here at the House of Kunz-Goldman we stand by formality. I get on the phone, I always "Mr." or "Miss" or "Doctor" everyone until I am cued not to do it. It is the German in me! With the authority vested in me by virtue of being The Buffalo News' classical music critic I have even been known to drop the occasional "Maestro."
I "Mr. Pennario"-ed Leonard Pennario for two weeks before I met him while we went back and forth on the phone. He practically had to hit me over the head to make me stop doing it. But at the same time he liked it. I absolutely knew that. Here he was this great virtuoso and all the strangers he talked to, you always knew it was "Leonard" this, "Leonard" that.
And along I come with my "Mr. Pennario." That set me apart from the pack, I will say that. Then you are rewarded with that beautiful moment when the person tells you to drop the formality. That is a moment I love. You miss it if you take liberties right off the bat.
Informality has cost us so much romance in our lives.
Now, admittedly I am no big fan of Michelle Obama. Remember my dream about Barack Obama? She was not there!
But I say, the world is full of Michelle Obamas, putting their arms around people and first-naming them. It is a mistake, frown I.
Oh, the Queen might smile now, and go along with it, and be nice.
But will she name Michelle Obama her authorized biographer?
I think not.