Do "Harry and Meghan" Matter?
Is their story just fluffy nothingness, or is it actually dangerous?
This morning, I mapped out a really serious newsletter on a yellow stickie. Talking about social responsibilities for children and families, I had a nice anecdote to start off the newsletter with some judicious sprinkling of facts and research.
But what am I going to do? I’m going to write a review of a dumb television show, and save the smart newsletter for another day. I owe you smart, I promise! Instead, I’m going to vent. I just watched the last two episodes of the Harry and Meghan Story on Netflix, and I have thoughts.
While I have been fascinated with the royal dramas over the past few years, I wasn’t planning on watching their Netflix show. The trailers made Harry and Meghan sound very angry, and who needs somebody else’s mental health issues aired in your living room on a Thursday night? But I was curious about their furniture and homes and castles, so I decided to check out the first episode last night.
My husband was less than pleased about my entertainment selection for the evening. “We’re watching what? When we could be watching Yellowstone? Oh my god, kill me now…. Can we turn this off now? This is bad. This is really, really bad. I’m going to walk away. I’m going to walk away. This is so bad that I’m working. I would rather read work email than watch this.”
And the show was bad on many levels. Their story alternates between boring — He opened champagne the night that he proposed. Wow. Those crazy kids! — to just painful. If you don’t cringe at the oversharing, then you’ll gag at Meghan’s Julia Roberts impersonation or her “gosh, darn, I was so clueless” routine.
This series pushes the narrative that Meghan was a naive hayseed from America, who knew nothing about British traditions and royalty. She said she found out that granny was going to join them for lunch with little notice from her thoughtful fiancé, so she had just minutes to learn how to curtsy. She said that she was surprised that the royal family remained being royal-ish even behind closed doors. Did she really think that monarchy was an elaborate movie set? Did she think Queen was actually Judy Dench in a puffy wig?
This first trilogy — three hours out of the six-hour package deal which cost Netflix $100 million — is actually a giant Meghan Informercial. A handful of friends, former employees, a fragile niece, her mother and Harry, of course, tell the audience that Meghan is a breath of fresh air, so natural, so fun, an activist, a producer, smart, and perfect in every way. In a recent interview, Meghan said that people in South Africa were dancing in the street when they got married and compared herself to Nelson Mandela — totally not crazy at all.
With his brother and father completely erased from his life, the only things we learn about Harry’s origins is that he hid out in Africa during some traumatic younger years and that he has a weird mommy complex. Harry constantly says that Meghan is like his mother, whom he doesn’t remember. A recent biographer wrote that Harry told his aunts — Diana’s sisters — that Meghan was just like his mum, but they told him, “no, she’s nothing like your mum.” The aunts don’t appear in this show, nor does any of Harry’s family. Massively sad, if you think about it.
With large arched window behind her, and bedazzled in three-hour hair and make-up, Meghan does not make for a very sympathetic victim.
So, who cares, right? Isn’t this just another rich person’s vanity project, like a ghost written autobiography or a plaque in a museum?
The Harry and Meghan show is more than just another harmless vanity project. It is a missile aimed at an entire country. Every time Meghan’s minions describe her spontaneity and intelligence, she insinuates that that there’s a rather large stick up the ass of the rest of the royal family. With the aid of a few Ye Olde Maps, some professors race through hundreds of years of history to conclude that the entire country is guilty of racism and is semi-evil.
Harry hates his country, but isn’t content to walk away and create a new life for himself. Instead, he wants to salt the earth of a country that raised him in the lap of unimaginable wealth and comfort. With Meghan, he gained a partner who has the tools to turn his vengeance fantasies into reality. The problem is that his vengeance has international implications.
Because of accident of birth, Prince Harry has both visibility and wealth, as well as access to massive world-wide platforms on Netflix and Spotify. Their minions, who call themselves the Sussex Squad, continue to spread the word on Twitter, Instagram, and probably TikTok. This sadly damaged young man can tar the reputation of Great Britain, and by extension, all of Europe, America, and other democratic nations. He is Putin’s little hand puppet.
I have a major problem with the influence of rich people in the world of democracies. Elon Musk buys Twitter and can decide our society’s boundaries of free speech. Bill Gates rewrites the country’s school curriculum. Jared Kushner tries to broker peace in the Middle East. Harry and Meghan is undermining a well-regarded western democracy, because of a personal grudge and extreme ambitions. Rich people should not be able to play God with our lives.
While this Harry and Meghan show has been panned, sometimes hysterically, on both sides of the Atlantic, I think it’s a mistake to write off the show as a vanity project gone awry. I think we need to a close look at the role that wealth plays in international politics, and do our best to keep smart people, democratically elected people, and the most stable democracies making decisions and keeping the world safe.
Disclaimers and all that
I am not an entertainment writer. This is pure hobby and pure speculation.
A few years ago, I developed an unusual interest in the British Royal Family. From time to time, I do a brain-dump and write blog posts about them. For the whole series of blog posts about the Royal Family, tag: royal mess. To start from the beginning, start here.
I’m supposedly taking a brief hiatus from other writing, but I still did some Instagram stuff this week.
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Agree completely. And my husband also boycotted, but I was all in. Escapism and all that. What do you think of them calling each other H and M? I find it odd on so many levels. Sad and disturbing overall. But definitely escapism. Always enjoy our writing and ranting. :)
Ignorance is bliss.