Monday 19 April 2021

There’s something about Meghan

This column first appeared in Malta Today

I have tried and tried, but I really cannot understand why there is so much outright hatred against Meghan Markle, not only in Britain, but more puzzling to me, in Malta as well. 

I’m not going to get into the famous Prince Harry & Meghan interview itself, because what fascinates me more are the visceral reactions to it.  Whether the couple should have stayed in Britain and continued with their Royal duties, or whether they were right to leave the UK and relocate to the US, is really no one’s business but theirs. Yet many, many people seem to care very much about it to the extent that for several days, even Covid was placed on the back burner. Why is there all this emotional investment in the lives of two complete strangers?

Many insist that after complaining about the intrusiveness of the intense British media scrutiny, they were hypocrites to then grant an interview to the most famous interviewer of all, Oprah, which would only bring them more media attention. But my take on this is that if one feels so strongly on this point, then why would one make it a point to watch the interview, thus contributing to their fame? A reported 17.1 million viewers watched it when it first aired in the States and 11.1 million watched it when it was shown on ITV.  

It is clear that many watched it, deliberately, in order to relish tearing Meghan apart inch by inch yet again, reminding me of those who used to be so scathing about Xarabank, but who then, religiously, never missed a Friday night episode.  

There are those who are convinced Meghan is a scheming gold-digger who laid her hooks into poor Prince Harry and tore him away from his family.  A divorced, mixed-race American, and an actress to boot!  For the older generation, it was like Wallis Simpson all over again. But why (I can hear some wail) couldn’t he have just chosen a nice, quiet, pretty English rose like Kate?  In fact, I’ve noticed many love pitting the two women against each other, claiming that despite her efforts, Meghan can never hope to be as classy as Kate.  Why this has been turned into a cat-fight competition between the two women is beyond me. 

Of course, what we do know is that one of the main instigators in the “let’s all hate Meghan” club was Piers Morgan in a classic tale of “there’s nothing worse than a man scorned”. What started out as an amicable relationship turned sour once Harry met Meghan and swept her off her feet.  She stopped communicating with Piers which wounded his male ego. After that it was war. From writing a glowing column about her in the Daily Mail, he used his position as the presenter of ITV’s Good Morning Britain to attack her every chance he got.  He finally crossed the line after the Oprah interview when he said he didn’t believe Meghan when she said she had suicidal thoughts due to struggling with life in the Royal family.  After 41,000 complaints were received about his comments, he resigned. 

But before his resignation he had already used his considerable influence and media exposure to do a lot of damage, both in his column and especially on TV.  He was finally called out for his abominable unprofessionalism by fellow presenter Alex Beresford, and Morgan’s reaction was to storm off the set like a petulant toddler. 

The bottom line is that Harry, despite his Royal blood, is a grown man who married the woman he loves and, quite rightly, placed the happiness of his wife and children before that of anyone else, something which I believe more people should do.  Why should his Royal duties, his siblings or even his parents come first, and his wife second?  What kind of a marriage would that be?  As for all those busy analysing facial expressions and body language, no one can presume to know what is going on in their marriage except them.  

We all know cases of outwardly ecstatic couples, covering FB with every nuance of their relationship, who then abruptly break up.  So whatever we may think of their relationship (and personally I never think about it all) it would be very silly to assume anything based on outward appearances.  

When you keep doing the same thing, hoping for a different result

There has to be something fundamentally wrong when, one year later, the authorities have not managed to come up with the right formula on how best to implement a semi-lockdown to control this pandemic. Instead, they keep doing the same things, hoping for a different result.

Once again, all sports has been stopped including outdoor non-contact sports, even though obesity is one of the contributing high risk factors if one is infected by the virus.  Rather than taking the opportunity to promote a ‘let’s get out and move’ campaign, by urging people to do some form of socially distanced, non-contact, outdoor exercise, the decision was to put a blanket ban on everything. Sure we can walk, jog or cycle, but there are people who have other favourite sports which do not put anyone at risk.  If there is the four person rule, why can’t four people go to the beach and practice yoga or do a workout? Why can’t people play golf? 

And of course you know I am going to mention tennis, which has been proven to be THE safest sport. According to one website, “Multiple research reports have surfaced in the last several months showing tennis rated as the “safest” of all sports during the Coronavirus pandemic. Physicians and health experts agree that playing tennis carries with it the least amount of risk of any sport, and in fact is safer than most activities you do around the house.”

Worst of all, by limiting what people can do outdoors, you are simply driving more people indoors, and encouraging them to mingle, especially as the PM once again stopped short of telling the public not to mix households, but went back to the old mantra, of “I strongly recommend that you don’t mix”.  Week after week, month after month for this last year, it has been people socialising at each other’s homes which has caused the virus to spread, and now with the more contagious, more aggressive UK variant, this is even more the case. 

I have never understood this reluctance to issue a Legal Notice about mixing of households, or failing that, for Prof Gauci to use the full force of her powers to over-ride any existing laws pertaining to private homes. Since it seems we have a herd mentality (but have not yet achieved herd immunity), yes, people have to be legally prevented from inviting their entire clan, including their third cousins twice removed, over to their homes for Sunday lunch.  Because, you know, God forbid it might just be our own household which sits down for a meal, maaa, how boring, ey?

Going everywhere in a herd was also the underlying reason why so many restaurants were overpacked every weekend, because even going for a meal had to be done with one’s usual “klikka”.  Which brings me to another point, did you notice the outcry every time restaurants and bars are closed and yet there is hardly a peep when theatres or the performing and visual arts are closed?  For many people, socialising is so inextricably linked to the consumption of food and alcohol that without any catering establishments to go to, they are at a loss about what to do. Now that going shopping (that other favourite past time) is also not possible, their options have been even further curtailed, which means the temptation to order takeaways and invite people over is going to be considerable.  

Yet, once again, nothing is being done to stop it.

You can keep your mask on

The news that there were sex & drugs orgies taking place over these last few months every weekend at people’s homes, made me wonder whether we are all living on the same planet.  10 – 15 men were reportedly taking part in these sex parties fuelled by drugs so that they can keep going for a whole night into the early morning hours. The result is that the GU clinic has now been faced by a worrying number of very severe syphilis cases. 

Because you know, the smartest thing you can do during a pandemic when a highly contagious virus is wreaking havoc throughout the country, is to attend an orgy.

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