The biggest media event in the history of history

The time has come. And before you say anything: Yes, in fact, I do have to blog it. There’s no avoiding it, my friends. It’s a media black hole from which no light, mass, or dignity can escape. As I write this, Fox News has preempted “Hannity” for a royal wedding special co-hosted by Shep Smith, who’s somehow managed to hold down the vomit despite his famous queasiness over inane pseudo-news like car chases and Birtherism and Paris Hilton gossip. Even Shep’s been assimilated. What hope do the rest of us have?

I’m not kidding about it being the biggest media event in the history of ever:

Some 8,000 reporters and support staff have descended on the capital to capture the occasion in words and images, and, while some question a British government estimate of a global audience of two billion, hundreds of millions are certain to tune in.

Die-hard fans camped out across the street from the abbey to ensure a front-row view of the royal couple and their guests, who start arriving at the abbey from 8:15 a.m. (0715 GMT) in time for the 11 a.m. start of the service. Others will be there early on Friday…

In a surprise walkabout on Thursday evening, the groom reached into the crowds waiting on the Mall, the avenue leading to Buckingham Palace, shaking hands and chatting happily with delighted members of the public…

The monarchy officially costs the British taxpayer around 40 million pounds ($67 million) a year, while anti-royalists put the figure at closer to 180 million pounds.

If you think this sort of frivolity is beneath the standards of more august newspapers, think again. The NYT will be liveblogging it all day tomorrow and the Journal — yes, that Journal — has created a special section devoted entirely to celebratin’ the love. Tomorrow’s expected economic effect: 50 million pounds for the UK in additional tourist revenue and … $10 billion lost in lower productivity. No one knows what the effect will be globally but some tech experts think interest online might be so intense that the whole damned Web could implode. Which, if true, would be poetic: A medium infamous for smut would have finally been brought down by marriage. Aw.

The pageant begins at 6 a.m. ET; some of you, despite your denials, will be up early to tune in, if only to watch Shep in a death struggle with his snark instinct. A prediction: Reaction online tomorrow morning will be dominated by an “I can’t believe society is this stupid” backlash, followed inexorably in the afternoon by an “oh, calm down, they seem nice and weddings are fun” backlash to the backlash, and ending tomorrow night with a “yeah, there’s no need to insult the couple but this was awfully stupid” backlash to the backlash to the backlash. God save the ‘Net.

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