Sunday, May 16

Will Harry and Meghan learn the A-list art of saying nothing at all? | Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex


CConsidering where Meghan and Prince Harry want to end up, are they ruining it in a big way? In the commotion over who the Sussexes are bothering (the royal family, the British press, the British public, and the real victim of it all, Piers Morgan’s wife, who has him back, cluttering the kitchen in the morning), Are we forgetting that the couple may have become too loud and leaky for the scrupulously private mega-A-list ranks they evidently long to join?

Serious race and mental health issues have been much debated. But let’s look at this through the lens of the kind of celebrity and status the Sussexes seem to be aiming for. First, that interview, where Oprah Winfrey was allowed to hit the Sussex piñata for headline-generating goodies. Now him Leak from Oprah’s partner Gayle King – about the couple’s “non-productive” conversations with Prince William, presumably emanating from Meghan.

So from telling your truth to filtering your truth? That was fast. Is this a good look for him “Global Philanthropy”Mindset couple? Put it this way: Did Michelle Obama ever sit on a TV couch complaining about her sister-in-law?

Supporters and detractors alike perceive Oprah’s interview as the Sussexes’ golden ticket to the American elite, but it’s not as simple as that. While such behavior is accepted as offensive to royalty, it is forgotten that it is also the antithesis of how mega-rich, super-influential, and notoriously private elites behave. The Sussexes don’t go after standard celebrities – one doubts their game plan is to finish in Dancing with the stars. It’s about the highest echelons of fame, at least the Beyoncé / Clooney level, maybe Obama / Gates, considering those philanthropic impulses, a bit of quackery with seriously normcore billionaires or billionaires, tech moguls and stuff like that. style.

Anyone who has ever fleetingly ventured into elite orbits will tell you that they are a discreet race, living in micromanaged worlds, operating a strict privacy code first. Approaching them is like going through plasma. If they give out personal information, it is in a strictly disciplined manner. These people are unlikely to feel a true kinship to the people who give explosive and heartbreaking interviews, let alone leak private family conversations to show business reporters.

In such rarefied circles, the Sussexes just don’t fit. Whatever supportive topics are being said, in private, the eyebrows can be fired by over-sharing.

I wish the couple the best, because … OMG! – Why not? However, they may have been catastrophically wrong to go back to Meghan’s story. Suits-Level fame strategy (Push. Publicize. Repeat.). When (oh the irony!) The royal family’s often maligned and tight-packed “never explain, never complain” reservation would have made them want in the elite circles they wish to join. They say you should dress for the job you want, and perhaps, exposure wise, the Sussexes should have maintained self-control for the social position they want. Now it’s a little late.

Imagine there are no celebrities who do good, it’s easy if you try

Gal gadot
Gal Gadot persuaded a host of celebrities to cry pitifully in front of camera phones. Photograph: Leon Bennett / WireImage

It’s the anniversary of that hilariously deaf Imagine video – You know, the one that marked the beginning of the confinement, without realizing that it served as a before / after of the tears of the celebrities that sprinkle that are worth anything.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, this version of John Lennon’s Imagine was, I suppose, imagined by Wonder Woman actor Gal Gadot, who attracted a host of other celebrities (Will Ferrell, Natalie Portman, Mark Ruffalo, Labrinth, Amy Adams, Sia and more) to mourn the camera phones in an effort to bring the world together. And unite the world they made – in total mockery.

Back in the real world, people got sick and died, while others wondered whether to go full Mad Max, snatching toilet paper rolls from supermarket shelves. In the video, famous people, with expressions set to utter anguish, gurgled through the tune, mostly remembering to keep their mansions and swimming pools out of the picture.

Surprisingly, it didn’t make the world feel better by witnessing the smiling celebrities dressed in expensive sweaters begging us to imagine “no possessions.” As well-intentioned as they were, all they certainly did was highlight the solipsism of the celebrity culture.

On the other hand, are the rest of us sometimes too harsh on celebrities who do good? Today, even legitimate charitable endeavors are dismissed as vain projects or cynical professional resuscitation exercises, but how are famous people supposed to react when asked to do something? “I’m sorry, I can’t visit sick children in the hospital because it would be too much like a sign of virtue.” It’s getting to the point where celebrities could be forgiven for being a bit shy about collaborating.

Long live Glastonbury! That said, I’m still not going

A scene from Glastonbury 2017.
A scene from Glastonbury 2017. Photograph: Guy Bell / Alamy

The Glastonbury festival may be happening in a reduced form in September. Although it is difficult to predict what could happen, in terms of the pandemic, organizer Emily Eavis has announced that she has applied for a concert license. Which feels like great news. Which, in turn, feels strange. What is happening to me? Is it time to stand in front of the mirror, touch my face, and whisper, “Who am I?”

The thing is, I loathe and loathe Glastonbury. It’s always struck me as a festival of annoying, mud-spattered, jester-hatted hippies and equally annoying poseurs sipping bottled beer in corporate yurts and smoking tiny, poorly rolled joints. For me, this was the closest thing to a vision of hell that it was possible to have, regardless of the acts that were being performed. The mere mention of Glastonbury was always guaranteed to irritate my nerves.

Now look at me, reduced to giving little internal cheers that “Glasters!” it could happen somehow, although statistically I’m more likely to be abducted by aliens than to go. Oh whatever. It might well succumb. Good luck to Glastonbury and all the other festivals and live events that are trying to happen this year. As for my personal change, it seems that the pandemic has changed us all in ways impossible to understand.

Barbara Ellen is a columnist for Observer


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