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Posts Tagged ‘Daily Mail’

I love the British royal family. I have no sane reason for being this way.  I am a huge Anglo-phile and love all things British (it’s a country that embraces pub culture – what’s not to love?!).  Most of my favorite authors are British, and some of my favorite TV shows are on BBC (Sherlock, Gavin & Stacy, the original Inbetweeners).  Their humor is so dry and so smart. Or maybe they’re not smart, but their accent makes them seem so. Either way, I dig it.

When I was a young lass back in the 80s was when Lady Diana Spencer became Princess Diana of Wales by marrying Prince Charles.  I remember watching the wedding at my aunt’s house – I was about 5 or 6 years old.  It was quite the event and certainly seemed to earn it’s nickname of the “fairytale” wedding. Especially to a little American girl watching the festivities outside of Boston at her aunt’s house.  That dress!! Hideous now, but spectacular then. We watched someone essentially become a Princess!  Although the day seemed like a fairy tale, the rest of her life would turn out tragically less so. I remember when her boys were born, and how adorable they were. I almost felt like I watched them grow up – essentially, we all did because every move they made was documented.  I don’t think the reality of how terrible that was actually struck anyone until Princess Diana died in that terrifying and awful car accident, essentially trying to get away from the paparazzi who made their living by stalking her every move.  I’ll never forget where I was when I found out – a group of us from college were on a white water rafting trip in Maine, and our guide casually said something about it, and we were all like, “what are you talking about?” and he bluntly responded with, “Didn’t you hear? Princess Diana is dead.”  We sat in stunned silence in our raft.  I felt like crying but I didn’t understand why.  To this day, I also feel like crying when I see the image of her sons walking behind her casket at her funeral. Especially Prince Harry – his expressions is angry, and sad and lost. I want to go back in time and give him a hug.

My fascination with the British Royal Family continued through the years, and has certainly not been helped by high speed internet connections and the Daily Mail.  Years ago, I started reading about “Waity Katie,” as the British tabloids had nicknamed Kate Middleton for seemingly waiting around for Prince William to propose to her.  They can snark all they want, because it seemed to work, and we got another fairy tale 30 years later when a “commoner” (an ugly word, but I guess they easiest way to say her family has no “royal” ties) married into the monarchy.  Of course, Kate Middleton is anything but common. How could she be to enter into the life she did? She is beautiful and glamorous without being too much so; she seems elegant and gracious and like she was born for a life like this.  I’m only slightly embarrassed to say that I set my alarm for the middle of the night to get up and watch her wedding to Prince William.  It was beautiful (then I fell back asleep, because, sorry, I think weddings are boring; I was bored during my own).  I felt happiness for them as though I actually know them, maybe because Prince William has grown up in front of cameras and the media and I was one of the people on the other side, watching.

Of course, I was as excited as anyone to hear that they were expecting a baby.  Earlier last week when it was reported that Kate had gone into labor, I said to my boyfriend, “How am I supposed to concentrate on work today?”  I obsessively checked the internet for news and updates, and got a little choked up when it was announced they had a baby boy.  Both William and Kate are so good with the media – I’m sure the last thing they wanted to do on their way out of the hospital was pose and smile with their newborn. But they did so graciously, made some adorable banter, and then whisked their little bundle home. It wasn’t until I saw the photo below that i struck me how horrible it must be to have that much scrutiny on your every move all the time, but especially when you are a new parent just trying to keep your feet on the ground.

Royal baby born

Can you even imagine how overwhelming that must be?! I guess they are so used to it by now, but it never occurred to me before what it must be like for them, to have every move they make scrutinized and captured on film.  I’m so clumsy, I trip all the time. What if I was walking down the street and people randomly took my picture when I was tripping over a curb? The mere fact that William and Kate have never been caught like this leads me to believe they are super human.

Not all that long ago, some news organization had an interview with Prince Harry, wherever he was in the world serving in the Army (somewhere in the Middle East, perhaps?).  He was polite to the interviewer, but just barely.  It wasn’t that he was being rude, but there was definitely a thinly veiled feeling of contempt coming from him. At one point he even said something to the effect of, “I didn’t want you to come here.”  The frankness of that statement will take you back a bit, but when you think about it, you can hardly blame the kid.  He’s lived his entire life with every move he makes scrutinized, and how can he not blame the world media for what happened to his mother?

All of this is to say, I wish the Cambridge family the best, and certainly more than I should be wishing people I’ve never met and have most everything in the world they need at their fingertips. But they seem like lovely people, and their baby is cute, and they make a sweet little family.  I do hope that they are able to find some privacy and normalcy as little Prince George grows up. It seems like a long shot, but for my part, I am going to consciously try to temper my interest in their lives. That’s what feeds the frenzy, isn’t it?  If there were no interest, these photographers and journalists wouldn’t make money from stalking them. But because we care, their lives will always be lived under a microscope.

This will surely be easier said than done for me. I might need to find a 12-step program.

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Has anyone else caught on to the ridiculous controversy about this woman?  I think she was even on the Today Show yesterday.  As an avid reader of the Daily Mail, I had actually seen this story when they first posted it earlier in the week, but didn’t think much of it except the obvious shallow reaction of, “Is she really that good looking? I’m not seeing it.”  But maybe she doesn’t photograph well, or maybe she’s just one of those women with that je ne sais quoi that certain women have – they are not what you would classify as stunning, but there is something about them that just makes them attractive to people. Also, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, so who is anyone to judge what other people deem beautiful?

Whatever the case, the woman isn’t wrong. Maybe people are annoyed because it seems like she’s being cocky, and what she’s saying does come off as conceited.  Who writes an article talking about how good looking they are and how difficult it can be? Are we expected to feel bad for her because she’s so good looking? It’s like asking people to feel bad for someone because they’re too rich. So many people are trying to be beautiful or rich, so why should they pity someone who has those things and is complaining about it?

I say she has a point (and this makes me cringe to write) because I can relate.  I would never walk around assuming that people think I’m good looking.  I spent many years being awkward and ugly, with glasses and braces, bad hair and worse clothes (it was the late 80s; I was screwed).  In high school I started to pull myself together, and when I got to college, a strange thing happened. I was suddenly the girl people referred to as “pretty.”   I had a lot of attention from boys and, subsequently, a few enemies in the girls I knew.  Mike (of this blog’s fame), sometime during or after high school, came up this gem to describe the phenomenon:  “Nature made you ugly, but science made you beautiful.  The gods are cursing you.”

When I look in the mirror, I mostly still see a goofy, awkward kid from the 80s who desperately wanted blond hair, blue eyes and freckles (how dare Jan Brady complain?! She had no idea how lucky she was!).    In my adult years, I am often complimented on my looks, and somehow have acquired a “fan club” at my place of business (it’s actually very awkward and I hate having to call the Help Desk).  It has occurred to me that the world sees me differently than I see myself.  I can relate to Samantha Brick because I have had women, usually strangers, be very rude to me for no reason. When I was in London, on the Tube by myself, this one woman gave me the stink eye for a full twenty minutes.  Once people get to know me and realize I’m not some pretentious, stuck up jerk, they tend to warm up to me. But sometimes I have to work to get there. I also had someone disparagingly say to me once, “Oh, you must have been a cheerleader in high school.”  Actually, no. The cheerleaders would probably have rather jumped in a vat of hot oil than be my friend. I was in honors classes, was a member of the National Honor Society, and was the Arts & Entertainment editor of the school newspaper.

I think the most blatant instance of this prejudice I’ve experienced was earlier last month, when I went into a liquor store to buy a gift card for my assistant’s birthday.  The store was empty and there was an employee standing at a register, but he was going through paperwork and the register clearly wasn’t open. I patiently stood in the waiting area. When he finally looked up at me, he disdainfully said, “Can I help you with something?”  I (quite politely) said, “Yes, I’d like to pay for this.”  He went to another register and I followed.  He looked at the card, and then looked at me like I’d personally wronged him in the past and said, “You know this is like cash, right?”  I replied, “Excuse me?”  He said, “If someone loses this, it’s like cash. You don’t get to replace it.”  At that point, I was sick of being polite to him when he was being so rude to me, so I curtly replied, “Yes, I’m aware. Thank you.”

Maybe it’s from living in LA, where there are a lot of pretty people who expect to get things or be treated differently for what they look like, which I agree, is annoying. I get sick of it too. But this guy’s attitude was so unnecessarily rude and very presumptuous.  It seemed that he assumed I was the type of person who thinks I should get whatever I want.  Because I spoke only a handful of words to him before this rudeness started, I can only guess that his negative attitude towards me was based on what I look like. I’ve heard the expression that a lot of guys secretly hate pretty girls because they remind them of the girls who rejected them in high school, and I think there’s a grain of truth to that. The irony is that, in high school, I was such a dweeb, they probably would have rejected me first.

At any rate, all I’m saying is, even if it came out the wrong way, and even if she’s not your idea of a super model, concede that there is more than a grain of truth in what Samantha Brick is saying. But the theme of what she’s saying has more to do with people being unfairly judged by their appearance (whether it’s for something “positive”, like being good looking, or for a terrible reason, like race) and how they are subsequently treated. If you think that people don’t treat others differently based on the assumptions they make about what they look like, think again.

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