OPRAH AND TOWN: Explosive bombshells widely observed!

TUESDAY, MARCH 16, 2021

Which royal made which royal cry?: To our surprise, we're going to start with this morning's Washington Post.

More precisely, we're going to start with the current "most read" news report or opinion column in the entire newspaper. As we type, it's been listed as the paper's "most read" item for at least the past several hours.

According to the Post's web site, which report, column or profile is currently "most read?" It's the hard-hitting, two-reporter news report which appears beneath this headline:

In an emotional finale, Bachelor Matt James breaks up with the winner over racially insensitive social media posts

That's the "most read" news report! The news report starts like this:

BONOS AND YAHR (3/16/21): Nearly every season of “The Bachelor,” there’s a stark disconnect between what was filmed and where the final couple is now, months after the cameras stopped rolling. That’s especially true this season featuring Matt James—a 29-year-old real estate broker from New York who’s the first Black man to star on the show.

As Monday night’s finale opens on a snowy Nemacolin Resort in Farmington, Pa., viewers are reminded that before we can get answers to what happened with Rachael Kirkconnell, the 24-year-old graphic designer from Georgia who’s sparked controversy over her racially insensitive social media posts, we will need to sit through two hours of James deciding who to pick and whether to propose.

The wait is a little excruciating.

We'll admit it! We've missed the current season of The Bachelor, and every season before it. Based on what we read today, the current season has been roiled by the  racially insensitive social media posts of the 24-year-old graphic designer who stood a chance of getting picked and proposed to.

We read perhaps two paragraphs more before giving up in despair. It seems to us there are two different was a person could parse the Post community's interest in this drama:

Possible interpretations:
1) We the people are deeply invested in our new antiracism.
2) We the people are deeply silly. We love our silly celebrity soap opera/gossip and our currently mandated frameworks.

Which analysis would be correct? Borrowing from a former president, it seems to us that a critic could teach it flat or round.

Once again, we'll admit it! We'll admit that we've been struck by the silliness which has occasionally seemed to surround Oprah Winfrey's recent interview with the pair of royals.  

We're referring here to the reporting and punditry, not to the interview itself. For ourselves, we flung our keyboard down in despair when we encountered this (reasonably accurate) overview by Elena DeBré at Slate:

DEBRÉ (3/11/21): In a globe-rocking interview Sunday evening, the Duchess of Sussex and her husband, Prince Harry, revealed to Oprah—and 17 million viewers—how ceaseless cruel press, oppressive palace life, and royal racism drove Meghan to contemplate suicide. Buckingham Palace responded with a statement expressing familial sadness. 

Several questions popped into our heads. Was that really a "globe-rocking interview"—and if so, should it have rocked the globe? 

Judging from the wall-to-wall coverage at Slate (more tomorrow), it certainly seemed that that interview may have been globe-rocking. But based upon the reporting and punditry we had encountered, it didn't seem entirely clear that it should have been.

In fairness, pundit assessment had been fairly standard. Given the brilliance of Oprah's performance, the two-hour session had produced one "bombshell" after another—"explosive" bombshells at that.

As we noted yesterday, the Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan said that Oprah's unparalleled brilliance had yielded "bombshell after bombshell." At Variety, Kate Aurthur and her editor went double-dutch on the two key words:

AURTHUR  (3/8/21): Why Isn’t Oprah’s Bombshell Interview With Meghan and Harry on Paramount Plus?

Oprah Winfrey’s explosive two-hour interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, drew massive ratings for CBS Sunday night, with an audience of more than 17 million viewers tuning in live.

In Variety's headline, it had been a bombshell interview. Then, in Aurthur's opening paragraph, the interview had been explosive.

Pundits widely agreed—the explosive interview had littered the landscape with bombshell after bombshell. At New York magazine, Devon Ivie listed "all of the interview’s biggest bombshells about how terrible the monarchy can be."

The headline on Ivie's piece said this: "7 Meghan Markle Interview Bombshells That’ll Make You Anti-Royalist." Finally, we the people would be getting a chance to become anti-royalist! 

Hungrily, we scanned Ivie's list. But when she listed the seven bombshells, the second bombshell was this:

2. Middleton made Markle cry before her wedding.

As a direct contradiction to a flurry of tabloid reports that emerged months after her royal wedding, Markle said that she didn’t make Middleton cry over a tiff about bridesmaid dresses. In fact, she said the “reverse” happened. “It made me cry. It really hurt my feelings. I don’t say that to be disparaging to anyone, because it was a really hard week of the wedding. She was upset about something, but she owned it, and she apologized,” Markle explained. “And she brought me flowers and a note, apologizing. And she did what I would do if I knew that I hurt someone, right, to just take accountability for it.” Markle, who called Middleton a “good person,” added that the media “really seemed to want a narrative of a hero and a villain” between them.

It's true. During the session, Oprah went on and on, then on and on, with Meghan on this topic. They discussed which royal had made which royal cry about the bridesmaids' dresses—back in 2018.

At New York magazine, this was one of the seven bombshells. All in all, the TV show which produced that bombshell had been an explosive "globe-rocking" event.

In our view, it's an embarrassment to the human race that a major celebrity would waste the globe's time in this way—speaking to a royal at length about so pointless a topic. But according to the partial "full transcript" produced by The Sun, Oprah went on and on—then on and on—about this explosive topic.

Major journalists seemed to think that such discussions actually matter. But then, as we told you several years back, "it's all anthropology now."

Let's be fair! DeBré, who said the session was "globe-rocking," is identified this way by Slate:

"Elena DeBré is a Slate intern."

In February of 2020, she was identified, correctly or otherwise, as a sophomore at Yale. In July 2018, she was identified as "a recent graduate of" a Los Angeles prep school.

Stating the obvious, there's nothing "wrong" with any of that. It does point to the way our mainstream "news orgs" keep skewing younger and younger, with all the sins—and all the insights—to which youth may be heir.

Elena DeBré is very young, even by evolving press standards. But what she said is little different from What Almost Everyone Said. 

Oprah's brilliant interview session had produced a series of bombshells—explosive bombshells at that. In one of the seven top bombshells, we finally got a chance to hear Meghan's account of which royal had made which royal cry concerning the bridesmaids' dresses.

Other revelations may have been more significant, except for one small problem. The revelations in this TV show weren't actually revelations. The revelations were actually claims—and sometimes, the claims were rather unclear, the better to embellish them by.

The revelations were actually claims? At this point, very few of our upper-end journalists seem to know the difference. We'll proceed to that point tomorrow—but only after reviewing the clownish coverage granted this session by Slate, a form of comic relief.

Was this two-hour interview an important news event? Or was it just the latest example of silly celebrity gossip? 

Also, has our press corps moved past the point where that distinction is known to exist? There's little sign that inquiring minds have any desire to ask.

Tomorrow: The royals' claims weren't "revelations"—but what did they even claim?


78 comments:

  1. You should leave zombie pop-culture to the kind of liberals that cares, dear Bob. Clearly, you're not the type.

    Stick with 'race', sweet tear-jerking speeches of your zombie demigods, and calling Others crazy. That's your calling, dear Bob.

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  2. Why would it be news that anyone involved in a wedding was reduced to tears? That process generally involves more drama than ten reality tv shows. Let alone a wedding globally televised.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How is it news that America is celebrity-obsessed? Did Somerby recently discover it? The bigger news may be that he wastes space in his blog with lengthy quotes about The Bachelor, a show he hasn’t watched. At least Liz Smith watched the things she gossiped about.

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    2. mh, the show seemed to have had a bit drama that wasn’t the usual media hub-hub in that a real live person was rejected on national tv as a being a racist.

      Delete
    3. Why would a black Bachelor want to be involved with someone who might say "racially insensitive" things about his black family or black friends? With other candidates to choose from, why wouldn't he move on?

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    4. I’m was not championing the cause of Rachael Kirkconnelll.

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    5. Cecelia, there is always “drama” on that show. It gets written about constantly because it’s a huge hit show, not just suddenly now because there’s a “racism” angle.

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    6. You and Somerby seem to be saying that racism was injected into the Bachelor show for no good reason, out of liberal pique or as part of a manufactured narrative. I am saying that it was germane and important to this particular bachelor because he is one of the black people that such racially insensitive remarks get addressed to. If you want to make racially insensitive remarks on social media, you are going to miss out on positive relationships with black people. That is one of the consequences of racist behavior.

      When you, or Somerby, attacks liberals for caring about racially insensitive behavior, you are implying that such behavior is OK, that it should not be called out, or used by black people as a criterion for a prospective life partner. That's pretty ridiculous. I know you are not rooting for Rachael, but you are supporting Somerby, and he is wrong in this case.

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    7. mh, I was responding to your post where you chided Somerby for bringring up The Bachelor.

      It was in the context of current drama surrounding racial insensitivity.

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    8. mh, thanks for the lecture, but there was a time when this contestant would have been ushered off the scene with a brief explanation that she was disqualified end of story without a two hour “will he or won’t he”.

      I know you think that’s good for all concerned and would think that it wasn’t good for all concerned in a context where Somerby thought that it was.

      I don’t think it’s anything but a cringe-inducing thing and wouldn’t think otherwise if endorsed by Jesus, or better yet, Trump.

      That’s why I don’t watch this crap.

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    9. I didn’t lecture you, Cecelia. I don’t watch the show either. Millions of people do. It’s been running since 2002. It’s apparently worth Somerby’s time as a window into our culture. Isn’t that what the Post is doing as well? The show has touched on any number of hot button issues during that time. It doesn’t mean that the people who watch the show are representative of the majority of people who are concerned with “anti racism.” or any other serious issue. Not everyone watches the show or cares. Once they had a young Christian female contestant who had a lot of agonized heartfelt discussions about not sleeping with the Bachelor. Lots of conservatives watch the show.

      Delete
    10. I know you didn't, mh. I meant Anonymouse 2:58pm. Apologies.

      I'm not saying it's a liberal show, just that it's one indicative of our voyeuristic times.

      I'm not sure why anyone would go on these things. People are going to be looking for dirt on your third grade report card.

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    11. Our times are not any more or less voyeuristic than any other time in human history. If you live in a small town you will know how intrusive all those friends, relatives and neighbors can be, with the best of intentions. Everyone is in everyone else's business. Since most of us do not live in such towns any more, perhaps these reality shows are filling a void left by having left those close knit communities.

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    12. Corby, I get what you're saying, but I think we've all known people who were watched by neighbors and gossiped about to the enjoyment of all. Who were peered pressured by neighbors till they confirmed or settled into to their role of town contrarian or reprobate.

      There's nothing close knit about what happens when strangers go through your life seeking anything they can find to hurt you.

      There's no way you can be accountable to those people in the way you are to your neighbors and there is no way that they have anything resembling your heart and your interests in mind.



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  3. The Bachelor is a reality show intended as entertainment, but Somerby gets bent out of shape because people are entertained!

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    1. I’m filled with angst for majorettes who drop their batons during halftime shows and parades.

      Having someone exposed for racially insensitive posts on national television is too much entertainment in my book.

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    2. The Bachelor in question is black, so of course he is going to care about "racially insensitive" posts in a prospective fiancee's voluntary social media posts.

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  4. "In a globe-rocking interview Sunday evening,"

    Somerby has bolded this part of the quote. He has apparently forgotten that the British Empire actually was an empire and that the royals belong to other countries besides Great Britain, including Canada, Australia and many other places that still retain rights to emigrate to G.B. and who participate in economic relationships and political liaisons. It is still a global network of shared interests, so why be surprised by global concern?

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  5. Somerby thinks weddings and the associated emotions are "pointless". Small surprise.

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    1. Or finds them less than “globe-rocking”.

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    2. Yes, spoken like the confirmed bachelor Somerby is.

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  6. "Stating the obvious, there's nothing "wrong" with any of that. It does point to the way our mainstream "news orgs" keep skewing younger and younger, with all the sins—and all the insights—to which youth may be heir."

    Somerby goes to great lengths to point out that the author of a Slate piece is young, an intern. He also decries the attention paid to the royals. Why then, wouldn't Slate assign its least experienced, new intern to such a pointless trivial subject? It is someone no one could mess up, no matter how young and inexperienced. But Somerby seems to think Slate is wrong to give newcomers a start in a journalism career? Or what?

    If Slate didn't cover such crowd-pleasing subjects, what would they have to let beginners cut their teeth on?

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    1. The claims of racism aren’t trivial.

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    2. Somerby says they are.

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    3. No, he said that was a claim rather than being a globe-rocking bombshell.

      That is not the same as saying that all the info shared by the couple was “trivial”.

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    4. He has said both things. You want to restrict his condemnation to the racism charge, but he is trashing the entire interview and American interest in the relationships among the royals.

      Markle is complaining that the press was racist and that the royal family didn't defend her, and she says one statement was racist (about her baby's skin color) but she has been more focused on how the press made her life hell and how the royal family wouldn't allow her treatment for depression or support her against public reaction.

      Then Somerby threw in some bigoted comments from the newspaper, trying to deflect from racism to legitimate complaints against Markle (that don't hold water under closer examination), which is what racists do -- they try to make their bigoted remarks appear justified by other circumstances besides race.

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    5. On the contrary, you want it all in a barrel, whether wedding drama, or racism charges, to criticism of the interview.

      And you’re mad because public criticism was relayed that was less than flattering toward Meghan so therefore that’s racism because you can’t be critical of what a blacks person says or does unless you’re using those non-race-based objections as camouflage for your distaste for their race.

      Cause that’s what people do... or some such nonsense.

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    6. "And you’re mad because public criticism was relayed"

      See how silly you sound when you try to tell me what I am feeling (in this case, mad)?

      I am the one who posted the comparison between Meghan's renovation costs (2.4 million) and Kate's costs (4.5 million), which I believe discredits the specifics of the letter Somerby thought was so "spot on". Yes, when a black person is maligned for doing something that a white person does without comment, that is racism. Those housing costs are facts, and they demonstrate the double standard applied to Meghan. It was racism because of that, not because it was "unflattering".

      It is annoying when you ignore the actual comments that people make and instead substitute your own version of what was said. It is dishonest and that is why you get accused of trolling.

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    7. Anonymouse 2:19pm, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward were never treated as Charles (Prince of Wales) and Diana were treated and all three are the offspring off the queen, not the grandchildren.

      Prince William is the next in line to be king, if his father doesn't go ahead and hand off the title to him, which is said to be a possibility.

      Royalty obvious exists within a structure of rank and importance. There are some things to keep in mind when you're making comparisons between William and Harry.

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    8. The children of Queen Elizabeth are: Charles, Andrew, Anne and Edward. Charles is the father of William and Harry. Charles is next in line and William would follow him, unless Charles abdicates in his favor. Is that what you meant to say? William is not "next in line" because his father, Charles, is still alive. Prince George, William's 6 year old son, is 3rd in line.

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    9. "Charles is next in line and William would follow him, unless Charles abdicates in his favor."

      That is what I meant to say in making the overall point that there is an obvious hierarchy with the royal family from birth.

      It might be difficult for Americans to keep that in mind, especially as it involves brothers of close age, but it's a realty nonetheless.

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    10. She did more than just be a princess. She was deeply involved in volunteer activities and charities, especially AIDS. The people loved her for her work to benefit causes, among other things (such as her accessibility).

      Delete
  7. "The revelations in this TV show weren't actually revelations. The revelations were actually claims—and sometimes, the claims were rather unclear, the better to embellish them by."

    I think that when someone explains what their own emotions were in a situation, that this constitutes a revelation and not a claim. Who knows their own emotions better than the person experiencing them? If Markle said that Middleton felt a certain way, that would be a "claim" but when she talks about her own feelings, that is a "revelation" because she knows how she felt and for her, that is a fact, not speculation.

    But Somerby is stretching to blast what he considers to be hyped up language applied to the interview (and by extension, the royals).

    Consistent with Somerby's refusal to believe what any woman says about her own experience, he wants to call Markle's statements "claims" because no woman can know her own mind without external validation. Women should never be believed about anything, according to Somerby. If no one saw her cry, then she is probably lying, because that's what women do, in Somerby's world.

    At least he's consistent. Not even a royal can be believed.

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    1. “ At least he's consistent. Not even a royal can be believed.”

      True. When it comes to accusations and accounts that are subjective to say the least (and where future book deals and such could be involved) best to keep an objective mind, even with royals.

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    2. What else can a description of your own emotions be but subjective? You can keep an open mind about whether the emotions were appropriate or justified (in your opinion), but whether someone actually felt hurt about something and/or cried about it, isn't yours to decide. Or Somerby's. But he remains single and this may be a reason why -- no one likes to be told they aren't feeling whatever they've told you they have. If Somerby thinks he can dictate other people's feelings, he will remain a Bachelor, and not in a good way.

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    3. Somerby is not remotely objective, Cecelia. Declaring the interview an embarrassment to the human race is kind of a clue. That’s not really an “anthropological” approach.

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    4. No. Anonymouse 12:51pm, no people can certainly hotdog their emotions for all sorts of reasons whether it’s to capture the attention and sympathy of millions or go make the kids feel guilty enough to clean the garage.

      The bigger the stakes the more reserve there should be in arriving at conclusions.

      mh, Somerby’ thought the interview was conducted poorly. That sort of function has objective criteria as to practice. He thought that the couple was not pushed about their past statements that put the palace in a bad light.

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    5. He didn’t watch the interview.

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    6. I'll bet he read random snippets... that's how he rolls.

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  8. Some liberals just love pageantry so much they'll get really into the royal family of another country.

    Socialists to their credit mostly oppose monarchy.

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    1. Most people in the US oppose monarchy. Being interested in the royals doesn't make you a monarchist. It makes you human. It isn't the pageantry that is interesting about them, but their humanity. That's why Oprah is talking about who made who cry.

      Creating artificial divisions between socialists and liberals isn't in the interest of advancing shared change that our society needs. That's why I tend to suspect comments like these as trolling, perhaps even by bots from Russia-funded troll farms.

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    2. Meghan’s view was that media people are interested in who made who cry because it’s in their interest to pit people against each other as sensationalized stories of cat fights and such.

      Too cynical a take on human sensibilities?

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    3. I think she ought to know, when it comes to media.

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    4. Everyone is in it for the pageantry. It doesn't matter what your politics. Little girls grow up wanting to be princesses and little boys grow up wanting to be knights. All that is in our blood.

      But the Megan Oprah thing is 20th century American tabloid culture with the royalty being simply a backdrop. Nothing they did was royal. They just announced their transition into the B-list of 21st century American tabloid culture. Which will work better for them than being royalty. Much better. (Malibu!)

      But all of us will aways be drawn to kings and queens and princes and princesses.

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    5. I never cared for Princess Diana. Loved looking at her hair and wardrobe, but she was a neon sign flashing "More Baggage Than Delta!!"

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    6. People project themselves on princesses and vice versa so deeply. At a point, she wielded more political power than almost anyone in Europe without doing a thing except just being Princess Diana. That's the power of the archetype. But it's not everybody's bag for sure.

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    7. She did more than just be a princess. She was deeply involved in volunteer activities and charities, especially AIDS. The people loved her for her work to benefit causes, among other things (such as her accessibility).

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    8. She was all that and a bag of chips.

      I wouldn't have wanted to live with her or be employed by her.

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    9. AnonymousMarch 16, 2021 at 2:12 PM
      I think she ought to know, when it comes to media.

      Me too. Same goes for people who have an interest in manipulating the media, whether that's Queen Elizabeth or Meghan Markel.

      Keep some objectivity.

      Delete
    10. Good for you...isn't it special that you can diss a good person for no reason. I'm sure she would have felt the same way about you.

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    11. How did I diss Markel?

      There's not a public person on the planet who need not take an interest in managing the media. Don't make assumptions about their motives one way or the other.

      Delete
    12. You dissed Diana, repeatedly.

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    13. Oh, if you were speaking of my feelings about Princess Diana, I don't think she was a bad person, rather a difficult one.

      God bless her. May she rest in peace. Still wouldn't have wanted to live with her or to be dependent upon her.

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    14. Infantilization of people is one way to pacify the population

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    15. Glad to know you are picky about which royal you would hang with, Cecelia, as if you would ever get the chance. You just sound silly when you say this stuff.

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  9. Somerby seems to be making fun of the Washington Post story, in the “relationships” section, about The Bachelor, calling the article a “news report.” Somerby only noticed the story because of the “racism” angle, but in truth, there is ongoing coverage.

    He apparently thinks he is the one doing anthropology.

    But I submit that the Post , by documenting a cultural phenomenon, The Bachelor, which has been running for 20 years and gets huge audiences, is also engaged in “anthropology.” The entertainment or relationship section documents any number of “dramas” on the show, including who dumped who for whom and who is being racist to whom. It reflects the kinds of pop culture things that people are interested in, just as Ken Burns’ country music documentary, highly praised by Somerby, documented that aspect of pop culture.

    I don’t watch the Bachelor, but it is nonetheless a cultural phenomenon that even Somerby thinks is worthy of attention in that it says something about our culture.

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  10. Stories of the royals and the media from the before time:

    Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII, (1936):

    “The British media remained deferential to the monarchy, and no stories of the affair were reported in the domestic press, but foreign media widely reported their relationship. After the death of George V, before her divorce from her second husband, Simpson reportedly said, "Soon I shall be Queen of England".

    Wallis's relationship with the King had become public knowledge in the United Kingdom by early December. She decided to flee the country as the scandal broke, and was driven to the south of France in a dramatic race to outrun the press. For the next three months, she was under siege by the media at the Villa Lou Viei, near Cannes,”

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    1. MH, is there any way that we could remove the current blogger and replace him with you? We get more of your viewpoints here than his anyway. And then we wouldn't have to be constantly disturbed by TDH's heretical challenges to the current (liberal?) orthodoxies. I'm not sure how this could be brought about though. Any ideas?

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    2. AC/MA, you are proposing that one blogger be replaced with another. This way, we get BOTH mh's and Somerby's opinions. Why would we want half the information?

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    3. Well, AC, I appreciate that you read my comments, I guess. I assumed it was a free and open comment system, and no one here is required to read anyone’s comments.

      My comment here wasn’t to contradict Somerby so much as to point out how this media frenzy about royalty is nothing new.

      I mean, we had that kind of thing in 1936, and we still managed to beat Hitler.

      Delete
    4. Well, there wasn't any globe-rocking interviews with Wallis and Eddie complaining about insensitivity and linking the other royals with Hitler. (Even when there might have been some merit to it)

      Delete
    5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I02fZDd-BBc

      Interview with Wallis Simpson & Edward VIII by Kenneth Harris (2017)

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    6. There was a huge controversy because of Simpson’s marital status. It precipitated a constitutional crisis in England and Edward abdicated because of the frenzy, which was precipitated by the media. Kind of globe-rocking.

      And somehow I don’t think the world is quite facing a Hitler-like world war threat today.

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    8. Thanks, Anonymouse 7:38pm. I enjoyed that.

      Maybe I’m romanticizing the Duke of Windsor, but there seems to have been a sadness about him.

      Delete
    9. Yes, you are romanticizing him.

      Delete
    10. It isn't cute to refer to a former King of England as "Eddie." Just obnoxious. Every PERSON deserves the courtesy of being treated in a respectful way until that PERSON has said, "Please, call me Eddie". To do less is rude.

      This lack of civility toward other people is at the heart of Trump's appeal and it is one of the ugly aspects of modern conservatism. It doesn't show "equality" but only disrespect, especially when it is directed against political targets and not meted out equally.

      Delete
    11. Daily screeds that go from personal upbraiding about someone’s character or psychological pathologies to rapidly casting aspersions upon entire groups of people.

      Inspired today by my using the equivalent of “Di”, “Wills”, “Andy”, “Bonnie Charlie”.

      If there is anyone at this site who is rude, baleful, uncivil, fatuous, ridiculous, dense, and likely suffering from frontal lobe disability.... Sweeeethearrrt, it’s you.

      Delete
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  13. It is a very hard situation when playing the lottery and never won, or keep winning low fund not up to 100 bucks, i have been a victim of such a tough life, the biggest fund i have ever won was 100 bucks, and i have been playing lottery for almost 12 years now, things suddenly change the moment i came across a secret online, a testimony of a spell caster called DR EMU, who help people in any type of lottery numbers, i was not easily convinced, but i decided to give try, now i am a proud lottery winner with the help of DR EMU, i won $1,000.0000.00 and i am making this known to every one out there who have been trying all day to win the lottery, believe me this is the only way to win the lottery. contact him via email: Emutemple@gmail.com call or whats app +2347012841542 Website: http://emutemple.website2.me/

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