Hard to Relate

Harry and Meghan to the rescue, to interject a bit of faux angst into the midst of a whole host of more pressing concerns.

Forgive me for not feeling their pain. It predictably made for some must-see TV, and Oprah got kudos for being the interviewer par excellence. Her questions didn’t sound that tough to me, what I heard of them on the news. It all feels more like relentless prying, a pursuit of dirt and a juicy story. Like contrived emotion, and manipulation, an attempt at creating some existential battle against oppression. For all to see. And of course it has many Brits in a dither.

I will never understand the gravity here. Harry was born into it, but Meghan had to have a pretty good sense of what she was getting into. These are people who crave the notoriety despite what they say to the contrary, who want their cake and want to eat it, too, who are used to being fawned over and may even have come to expect the attention as some sort of entitlement. It’s really hard to imagine them wanting to walk away from their fish bowl life.

It’s difficult to see them as persecuted heroes and trailblazers of some sort. And yet they can come on national television and offer up a sob story that somehow and inevitably involves “poor” Diana. Millions tune in, and walk away feeling sorry for the young, anchorless couple cast as wronged, put-upon figures and pariahs at the same time. They and the rest of the “royal” family have served as nothing more than distractions for as long as I can remember.

John Oliver’s name may be mud in England, but he summed things up perfectly in 2018 when he said the royal family is a collection of “fundamentally flawed people doing a pseudo job.” It’s a 1200-year old Anglo-Saxon institution that has no real-world relevance, except to serve as spectacle and soap opera.

And a way for people to vicariously live their dreams of a privileged life.

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