Friday, March 12, 2021


John Lennon was fully within the continuum of mid-20th-century pop.

•   Let's get to this week's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies first: A call for patriots to do something positive about the growing shortage of problematic cartoon characters, and a meditation on the days when a worker had a little slack and why he doesn't anymore.  (Subscribe! Cheap!)

•   Peggy Noonan:

That wasn’t just a high-charged celebrity interview that everyone talked about and then it went away. Oprah Winfrey’s conversation last weekend with the duke and duchess of Sussex will reverberate and last. It was history, a full-bore assault on an institution, the British monarchy, that has endured more than 1,000 years.

To me, it was this week's stupid tabloid bullshit, which will be replaced by next week's, but I don't absolutely have to fill this space every week, and my audience is not largely comprised of gossip-addicted fossils for whom the doings of Lord Bollocks and Lady Hammerhead are of intrinsic interest. After some snide cracks (“That must be a comfort to them") to let the punters know she's with the Dear Old Queen on this one, Noonan does some deepthink:

Public life has gotten extremely, unrelentingly performative. Have you noticed you keep hearing that word? It means everyone is always performing—the politician, the news anchor, the angry activist. This gives natural actors an edge, and leaves those who aren’t by nature actors at a disadvantage. 

I would say the Royal Family are actors by training, indeed by heredity, like the Flying Wallendas. They're in the paper and on the telly all the time, and they don't have any function or skills rather than to Play Royal. Maybe Noonan refers instead to her preference of performance style?

Meghan was a professional actress.

Both Meghan and Harry speak a kind of woke-corporate communications language that is smooth and calming but also slippery and opaque. 

Ahhh I see the problem now -- Meghan and Harry are part of the wokemob cancelculture all the senior citizens are snarling over! Noonan is even moved to do some sleuthing on behalf of the House of Windsor: 

Some of what was said beggared belief. Meghan claimed that going in she didn’t really have any idea what the royal family was, didn’t Google or do any research... [Princess Diana's] funeral was watched by 2.5 billion people. Meghan Markle, home in California, was 16, presumably loved media, and went on to study acting. Is it believable she didn’t know this story, follow it, see who had the starring role?

What little girl didn't obsess over the People's Princess? Noonan obviously did, and she was 47 years old when Diana snuffed it. 

Why should an American care about any of this? 

Ugh here it comes.

I suppose we shouldn’t. In a practical way we’re interested in the royal family because we don’t have one, don’t want one, and think it’s great that you do. 

We do?

...But I think there’s something deeper, more mystical in our interest, a sense that however messy the monarchy, it embodies a nation, the one we long ago came from and broke with. The high purpose of monarchy is to lend its mystique and authority to the ideas of stability and continuance.

It's bells and smells for Proddys! 

Henry VIII, Mad King George, Victoria—these names still echo. It is rare and wonderful when you can say of a small old woman entering a large reception area, “England has entered the room.”

I cannot, as the kids say, even. 

Someday Elizabeth II will leave us and the world will honestly mourn, not only because of what she represented but because she was old-style. She performed but wasn’t performative

When my avatar steps out of her castle and does her jar-opening gesture to the crowd, it is performance; when yours does it, it's performative. I really think this is more in the realm of nostalgia and perhaps senile dementia than the realm of politics, but the worship of these living totems whose long-running show only serves to slightly distract from the clownish chaos that is Britain today does seem very conservative.

•   LOL, Andrew Cuomo quoted at The Hill :

“People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth. Let the review proceed, I’m not going to resign, I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.”

This is yet another proof point for the position that crying "cancel culture" was always the last refuge of a scoundrel or a Substack (except mine! Subscribe, cheap!).  As in most other much-blubbered-over cancellations, the putative victim is a powerful man accused by liberals of an "unwoke" offense such as molesting subordinates. Cuomo obviously expects some wingnuts to rush to his defense on those grounds -- and he may be right, because if there's one thing conservatives believe, it's that a white man accused of crimes against the lesser breeds should always have the benefit of the doubt. 

That's why conservative propagandists like Bethany Mandel are rushing out the message that "They're Trying to Impeach Andrew Cuomo for the Wrong Thing" -- because getting Cuomo for a nursing-home cover up would further the Republican talking point that Democrats really killed those half-million COVID victims while Tubby heroically held superspreader events to try and protect them with herd immunity. Whereas getting him for groping girls -- now, who does that help, I ask you? 

The difference, of course, is that Democrats have the muscle in New York to bring Cuomo down, and history shows they're willing to expel even one of their own for such offenses -- something you can under no circumstances say about Republicans. 

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