Comments: Week of September 12, 2022


“Meghan of Montecito,” August 29–September 11

Photo: Campbell Addy

For the cover of the Cut’s “Fall Fashion” issue, Allison P. Davis visited the California home of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and wrote about what her life has become two years after she and her husband departed the royal family. The story made global headlines, with particular praise for Meghan’s candor. @AgathedeLili tweeted, “I love everything about the Cut interview. Meghan is testing the limits of her freedom. And I enjoyed every part of it. It’s like she is relearning how to be carefree.” English broadcaster Jasmine Dotiwala wrote that the “most powerful parts question why she would play nicely with people who call her child the N word, and also ‘how toxic tabloid culture has torn two families apart.’ ” Many in the U.K. press, though, harshly criticized Meghan’s participation. In a Daily Mail column, Sarah Vine called the interview “an Exocet missile tipped with poison, calculated to strike at the heart of the British monarchy … Like everything Meghan does these days, this interview is a master class in manipulation.” Also for the Daily Mail, Dan Wootton wrote that Harry and Meghan appear to “no longer have a shred of respect for the Queen or the monarchy, an institution they seem to wish to damage, even as they continue to profit off their connection to it.” And The Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner called Meghan “one of the most destructive characters in modern Royal history.” To which leftwing British journalist David Osland countered, “How is it even possible for a Torygraph columnist to describe Meghan as ‘one of the most destructive characters in modern royal history’ while Prince Andrew is still alive?” On a panel for Good Morning Britain, host Adil Ray added, “Here we are talking about racism, and we’re telling the victim to get her words right, rather than talk about the press. She absolutely got an unfair treatment by the press, compared to Kate.” Of particular note to the British press was Meghan’s comment that “Harry said to me, ‘I lost my dad in this process.’ ” The Daily Mail reported that a “source close to Prince Charles said he would be saddened if Harry felt their relationship was lost, adding: ‘The Prince of Wales loves both his sons.’ ” The week following the story’s publication, in his first address as king, Charles said, “I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan, as they continue to build their lives overseas.” The interview also caused some backlash for Meghan’s recollection that, at the 2019 London premiere of The Lion King, a South African cast member told her, “When you married into this family, we rejoiced in the streets the same we did when Mandela was freed from prison.” Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela responded that his grandfather’s “release from jail was the culmination of nearly 350 years of struggle … It can never be compared to the celebration of someone’s wedding.” For the Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg argued that the duke and duchess seem “fixated on what led them to flee across the pond to the exclusion of what they’re going to do now that they’re here.” Many other readers argued that the reaction to the profile illustrated the racism Meghan has faced. Author Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said, “The British media is aggressively weaponising Meghan Markle’s success to aggravate & trigger racist, sexist, misogynistic attacks & to incite hate against her.” And the Today show’s Arianna Davis noted how Meghan’s “first podcast episode was questioning why we treat women’s ambition as a negative thing … and now here everyone is, criticizing her for being ambitious lol.” Reflecting on the news cycle, royal biographer Catherine Mayer wrote, “Anyone who doubts the toxicity of the coverage of Meghan from the moment of her appearance as Harry‘s girlfriend to today hasn’t read that coverage … I’m not saying that there aren’t legitimate criticisms … For me a key question is how otherwise thoughtful people, people who might even describe themselves as feminists or feminist allies, get drawn into hating a woman in the public eye. It’s Meghan today, but it happens again and again.”

Photo: New York Magazine


“How to President,” August 29–September 11

“Their roles haven’t exactly reversed, but it’s striking that Obama is now more identified with piecemeal progress and Biden with a process that can be ugly and lurching but does occasionally deliver dramatic breakthroughs,” wrote Gabriel Debenedetti in an excerpt from his new book, The Long Alliance: The Imperfect Union of Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Puck reporter Teddy Schleifer praised its “extraordinarily deep reporting on Obama & Biden — inside the Oval Office, the campaign HQ, the Clinton war room, etc. It is also very fair. You’ll be smarter if you read it.” @scarylawyerguy said, “Without criticizing Obama, who had to deal with his own complicated set of circumstances, Biden’s achievements, with the razor thin majorities in both houses, are truly remarkable and not getting nearly the attention/credit they deserve.”

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Comments: Week of September 12, 2022