Friday, January 10, 2020

A Confederacy of Royal Dunces

You would think that the matter was of surpassing interest. You would think that in the great scheme of frivolity it would really matter what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided to do with their lives.

For most of us, the tale, prefigured by Shakespeare in a play called The Merry Wives of Windsor, involves two boring sods who have chosen to scrap most of the duties of royalty to become A-list Hollywood celebrities. You would think that this represents a gross degradation, though, the Sussex families will continue to receive an income from the royal estates, will still be able to live in a place called Frogmore and will still have a security detail, paid for by British taxpayers.

Ever since the virtue signalling heir to the throne, Prince Charles, a man whose mother has had the good sense to stay alive, thus sparing the nation the rule of a patent fool, married a certifiable imbecile named Lady Diana Spencer the British royal family has been on a downward slide.

Lady Di was well qualified to join a confederacy of dunces… for having failed all of what used to be called O level exams. These are given in early high school to measure academic achievement. It takes a special talent to fail them all.

Apparently, Lady Di was not a very studious sort. Knowing less than nothing about history, she could only understand the monarchy as a form of modern celebrity. As you know, water finds its own level, and Diana made her mark on the monarchy by hanging out with people whose level of academic achievement was roughly equivalent to hers. That is, she hung with those high school dropouts commonly known as celebrities.

Diana made herself the poster child for bad therapy, eventually going public with her bulimia, her binge-purge syndrome. Unfortunately, once Diana and Hollywood television shows made a spectacle of bulimia, girls around the world decided to copy her appalling example. Her husband commented sagely that he could not feel very intimate with a woman whose breath always smelled of vomit. 

So, Prince Charles left her for a woman named Camilla. His love was so intense that he once confessed that he wanted to be her tampon. How better to uphold the dignity of the monarchy.

The honor and the glory of the British monarchy has seen better days. Of course, it has also seen worse days, but we shall leave that aside for now.

Sadly, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle now count as taste makers and role models. This despite the fact that more than a few people have opined that Prince Charles is not really Harry’s biological father.

At the least, rumor has it that Harry inherited his mother’s imbecility, so he would naturally be drawn to the life of a celebrity. As I said, water finds its own level. And, like his father, he seems drawn to crackpot leftist causes. Now, he is being led around by his domineering American wife, a common actress who is definitely more woke than thou. Whether or not Harry is woke, he is certainly whipped. One suspects that the simpleton prince does not know any better. Naturally, we wish him the best.

Among the few redeeming virtues of this “tale told by an idiot” is that it inspires some British writers to show off their world class snark, their capacity for snide sarcasm. It’s a special talent, rarely on display by America’s more plebeian writers. So, we revel in it while we may.

One Dominic Green guides us through the underbrush in The Spectator. He suggests first that detaching yourself from monarchy is not as simple as sending your resignation letter.

Harry and Meghan think they’re going to escape press intrusion and live a more meaningful life by ‘stepping back’ from the British royal family, but they’re in for a nasty surprise. Their lives are meaningful now because they are integral to the royal family’s rebranding for the 21st century. Any reduction in their royal-ness reduces them to second-tier celebrities, and any missteps in that crowded second-tier lead downwards to tabloid hell, which is as meaningless as life gets.

Green was happy to remark that the the Sussex letter was more like baby talk:

The language of Wednesday’s announcement is that nauseating blend of self-affirmation and Hollywood PR that is Harry and Meghan’s equivalent of baby-talk: ‘After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution.’ They want to ‘work to become financially independent’, while also ‘continuing to fully support’ the brand formerly known as Queen Elizabeth II.

He continues, remarking the arrogance of it all, highlighting the pathetic failure to understand what it means to be a member of the royal family, by birth and not by contract:

It’s possible for a people to ditch a royal family — revolutionary Americans did just that — but it’s not possible for a royal family to ditch the people. You cannot resign from a contract that you never signed, and which was never written down. The only quick way out is the one that the Bourbons took, via the guillotine. The slower ways out, ‘stepping back’ among them, are illusory. Harry will be a prince forever, just as Edward VIII remained a king forever. Meghan will be a duchess forever, even if she ends up like Sarah Ferguson, still monetizing herself as the Duchess of York years after her divorce.

Now, the Sussexes are going to tell us how to live and especially to tell us what to think. They are going to become beacons of politically correct thinking, models of wokeness, exactly the kind the Ricky Gervais mocked at the Golden Globes this weekend. As Gervais correctly told the assembled A-listers, you know nothing. Accept your award graciously and shut up:

What they mean is ‘We want to use our status to lecture you ignorant plebs on institutional racism, environmental paranoia and other pet causes of the righteous rich — and because we think we can use our status as a soapbox, we’re going to retain as much of it as we can, titles and freebies and security details and exotic foreign holidays on Elton John’s private jet.’

Of course, Harry and Meghan are merely fulfilling the dream his mother started before she met her tragic end in a drag race in Paris:

And what that means is this: Harry and Meghan are going to intensify their exposure to the world’s media, but this time without the deference and protection accorded to full-time royals. And how did that turn out for Harry’s mother?

Green is none too optimistic about what the future holds.

The world will seem Harry and Meghan for who they are, not what they symbolize. We will rapidly tire of their patronizing petulance, and only then they will finally attain the meaningful life they think they seek — as human sacrifices on the altar of celebrity.

Not to be outdone, Brendan O’Neill  proffers his own theories in Spiked:

No, H&M, the most right-on royals in history, are breaking off so that they can foist even more woke bollocks on the plebs without having to worry about receiving a tutting phone-call from Her Maj’s press secretary reminding them that they’re royalty and not virtue-signalling Hollywood celebs.

According to O’Neill, it merely shows that the culture of narcissism and celebrity does not mix with the culture of monarchy. The former values occupying space in the tabloids. The latter involves duty, reliability and loyalty:

What it fundamentally reveals is the incompatibility of the modern culture of narcissism with the values of duty, loyalty and self-negation traditionally associated with royal life. To someone like Meghan, who sprang from celebville, who sees herself as the embodiment of right-on goodness, and who loves nothing more than advertising her eco-virtue and performing her PC credentials, life in the British monarchy was never going to be a good fit.

He adds:

Their unprecedented ‘stepping back’, and the fury this has allegedly caused in the Palace, suggests the cult of the self that Meghan and other showily virtuous celebs embody and promote, does not work within an institution whose ideal is the Queen: opinion-free, emotions hidden, dutiful, unquestioning and in it for the long haul.

Better yet, the culture of celebrity embodies therapy culture values. What could possibly be more therapeutically correct than the Sussexes declaration of independence.

Duty is anathema to a new generation whose chief goal is often self-realisation. Any notion of collapsing the self into something bigger than oneself, something more historic or something collective, is alien to many in the selfie-taking, values-performing generation. Indeed, the most striking thing about Harry and Meghan’s bombshell is the way they talk about the royal family as if it is little more than a stepping stone to their self-realisation.

O’Neill concludes:

Rather, they’re ducking out of their own accord so that they can go even more global, more woke, more famously, internationally, irritatingly PC. They’re going to become even more insufferable. And here’s the thing: they will trade on their still existing royal titles to do so. So Meghan spent a couple of years in the royal family and now is pretty much leaving it while holding on to the duchess / princess thing in order to give her naff feminism and eco-posturing and celeb shoulder-rubbing more oomph? I’ll say it again: abolish the monarchy.

Wouldn’t it be easier to teach people to stop drooling over empty headed celebrities? Come to think of it... it might not....


Sam L. said...

DANG! Two (TWO) more idiots to ignore! How will I survive that? Especially since i gave up drinking (10 years ago)! The HORROR!! The horror... Well, into each life the deluge will come...and I'm about snarked out.

Webutante said...

I've always given their marriage less than 5 years. But now that Oprah is involved, I give it less. Harry is a rudderless victim of his own making to this sad, dysfunctional drama.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I despise monarchies. Having the royals as tax-funded heads of state is blatant corporate welfare for tabloids. Bread and circus for the truly vacuous who care about these knuckleheaded Huns. A true disgrace.

UbuMaccabee said...

I will perform my duty, step up, and take William’s place. I’m fit, look great in a tux, and will add top tier virtues to their hopelessly inbred line of weak genes. I’ve give the British press plenty to talk about, and Boris and I will get along famously. It’s about time someone from the ruling family acted the part.