I have tried to avoid all the media hoopla about the British royal wedding, simply because it is media hoopla.

That said, I harbor a secret fondness for Prince William and Kate, for two reasons. One is that Will was born on the same day as me, June 21. When I visited England in 1982, the year he was born, I bought a darling plate commemorating his birth.

Unfortunately, I kept it on my nightstand to hold jewelry and knocked it onto the floor and broke it one night while having a bad dream.

The other reason is that when I became engaged a few years later, I was inspired by his mother, Princess Diana, to choose a non-traditional engagement ring. Mine was less ostentatious and a lot cheaper, but unique in its own way.

So I wish the royal couple well, but still I turn off the TV every time a new development in their betrothal (make that their lives) is announced breathlessly.

My favorite example of this micro-reporting was on the “Today” show a few weeks ago. The queen was visiting Prince William at work — story to follow.

As I spooned cereal into my mouth and pointed the remote at the screen, I wondered idly where the heck Will worked. Was he a security exchange trader in the City? My finger hesitated over the off button just in time to see the queen enter an airplane hangar. Silly me. Princes serve in the Royal Air Force. Click.

That’s what I call news I need to know.

Perhaps I would have more patience with this hysterical minutiae if we were living in a halcyon era, free of war, poverty and tsunamis. I’m not sure this time ever existed, but people were frivolous in the 1920s, relatively content in the 1950s (when they weren’t digging fallout shelters in their backyards) and hoping to become millionaires in the 1980s.

During any of those periods, we might have found occasion to spend some time vicariously living a “fairy tale,” as the upcoming nuptials have been described.

Right now, we have bigger fish and chips to fry. Hmm, let’s see. Our government almost shut down the other day. We are now fighting wars on three fronts, although I’m not sure we’re calling any of them wars. I don’t believe one official word about why we’re there, but I do believe it’s all about oil. Meanwhile, I look around and continue to see people driving huge trucks around like they run on maple syrup.

The Middle East is in political disarray. Japan has suffered a huge disaster. And our country is being pecked to death by that flock of quacking ducks known as the tea party.

I suppose it could be argued that when times are bad, people need distraction. Hence the popularity of those extravagantly boisterous Hollywood musicals during the Great Depression.

Nowadays, however, we have too many ways to take our minds off reality. We can spend endless hours texting, posting inane updates about our own lives on Facebook, or searching for Internet porn. We have Xboxes, Wiis, iPods and smart phones.

The Kardashians, the wannabes of “American Idol,” and the tribes of “Survivor” occupy our thoughts as much as our own families do.

As a result, our capacity for denial has grown exponentially. Americans need to shaken upside down until they wake up, not be fed more distractions.

If I sound cynical, it’s because I am. I was a young woman when Prince Charles and Lady Di wed — amidst massive media hoopla. I loved every minute of it.

But that marriage turned sour. The prince was really in love with a very un-princessy woman, about whom he made some rather sordid comments that became public. Diana herself turned out to be a mere mortal, and when she died, the hoopla that followed outdid all previous hoopla. It set the standard for hoopla. I was disgusted.

Even if we think we “deserve” to have a little fun with this royal wedding, how can rational people let themselves be swept away by a “fairy tale” when they know how the previous chapter turned out?

Maybe too many of us don’t remember. Perhaps we’ve entered a kind of cyber-chamber kind of life, where all that exists is what is playing before us on one of our many screens.

Look, I like weddings as much as the next romantic. It’s just that if I pay too much attention to the royals, I start feeling like a serf. That makes me want to start a rebellion. It’s dangerous stuff, this real life. But I’m sticking to it.

Liz Soares welcomes e-mail at [email protected]

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