A Royal Mess: Diana’s Revenge, Part 8

This is Part 8 a series of posts on Harry and Meghan. (tag: Royal Mess) Here’s Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 and Part 5 and Part 6, and Part 7.

We last discussed the Royals back in May. Oh so much has happened since then! Want the gossip?

Shortly after Harry returned to California, after the funeral for his grandfather, he and Meghan did some truth bombs, which mostly involved him bashing his father’s style of parenting. There was also a little subtle squabbling with William about his mom’s legacy. All that is discussed in Part 7 of this series.

Then things were mostly quiet for a couple of weeks, until Meghan released her children’s book, “The Bench.” I can’t imagine an object less interesting to a child than a wooden bench. Maybe “The Credenza” or “The Endtable.” All celebrity children’s books are inherently awful. Someone should stop those news people on the Today Show from writing children’s books — it’s painful. Meghan signed the book — Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — and you all know how I feel about Americans using royal titles.

The UK press savaged the book. The American press gave it a B-. The New York Times, said “The duchess formerly known as Meghan Markle brings a boatload of baggage to ‘The Bench’…” People Magazine which reprints celebrity press releases, said it was awesome. But, all in all, it was a win for Meghan who had a lot of press attention that week.

Then she had a kid like a week or two later. The proud parents announced her name, “Lilibeth Diana,” and for a few days, there was more positive press for Meghan and Harry. Babies are always a win, even if you don’t limp out of the hospital a day after giving birth to pose for photographs.

But then there was the name. It’s a little cringe-y to use the middle name Diana, when you already have the reputation of trying to co-op the Diana brand. The Lilibet part of the kid’s name very quickly became a matter controversy, because Lilibet was the Queen’s very private nickname only used by her dead husband and mother. The royal minions said that Meghan and Harry didn’t get permission to use the name before the birth. Harry said he informed the Queen of the name when they told her of the birth and that the Queen didn’t object. The royal people said that she couldn’t very well protest after the fact. Harry and Meghan threatened to sue the newspapers that reported the royal side of things.

And, yes, they trademarked the name and secured the domain names.

That died down, and then the royal people decided to let loose the A-Bomb — Meghan is a bully. There have been allegations for a very long time that Meghan did not get along with her assistants and helpers. A number of them quit. There were stories that she was up all night sending them e-mails. There was lots of yelling. There were even stories that she threw a teacup at an assistant during the disastrous trip to Australia. The chief of staff compiled a “dossier” with all the complaints against Meghan. When this information became public, the Queen employed an outside firm to investigate these stories.

The Bully stories have been around for a while. Her side even responded to them ages ago saying that these issues should be chalked up to differing cultural and professional expectations. Americans just talk differently than the Brits, her friends said.

But the return of the bully stories really pissed off the Sussex side. Meghan and Harry threatened that they would tell more “racist royals” stories, and the royal minions immediately backed down saying that a report would come out next year at some point. Or never. Who knows? The “racist royal” card is a powerful card with perhaps some truth behind it.

Next, the UK tabloids said that the Oprah interview may have been revenge by Harry for losing his military titles. Harry liked those gold tassels and medals on his red coat, and was rather ticked off about having to wear a plain suit at formal occasions. Even though he says he doesn’t care about those things. Harry may also have been upset about the fact that his dad wants to slim down the monarchy putting himself and his cousins out to pasture.

These stories probably came from the royal minions. Why would they provide these two “Oprah explainers?” Perhaps they want to give Harry an out should he want to renounce those statements down the road (after the divorce). Later on, Harry can say that he was too upset to think clearly through all the statements he made with Oprah. Or maybe, they want to portray the prince as volatile, unreliable, petty, and, untruthful. The second motivation is probably more the case, since they also released documentations to undermine Harry’s claim that his dad cut him off financially.

A couple of days later, with all quiet on the Sussex front, a biographer, Robert Lacey released two new chapters for a new edition on his book on the brothers. William clearly gave the green light to their metal friends to spill the beans. They said that the brothers were super angry with each other, resulting in William throwing Harry out of their joint offices. The cause was that staff told him that Meghan was a big meany, even before the Australian tour.

Lacey also said that William and Kate were suspicious of Meghan from the start. They thought she had an alternative agenda. Queen and country wasn’t as important as her own celebrity status. His friends say that Meghan was “500 percent a nightmare”, and that William called her “that bloody woman” after the funeral. Will and Kate are still furious, but others are hinting that there may be a chance at reconciliation, because Harry has regrets and is homesick for his old way of life.

Interestingly, those friends also said that Will and Kate might have used some “sharp elbows” to put Meghan and Harry in their place. Meghan and Harry used social media much better than the old guard did, and there were some jealousies. After Megexit, Will and Kate snapped up Harry and Meghan’s social media people, who started making some really lovely Instagram pages and soft focus family videos for them. I do enjoy the royal’s new Instagram pages. Meghan and Harry’s Instagram page and websites remain dormant, but not deleted, like missiles in the ground aimed at Buckingham Palace should the detente unravel.

There’s some low key buzz about Meghan not playing well with her California friends either. There are also rumors that she’s interested in replicating the success of Jessica Alba’s Honest baby project company which made her a billionaire.

Meanwhile, we’re getting lots of pictures of Kate and family out and about. I really do like this Zara jacket.

Meanwhile, Harry is back in England without Meghan for the unveiling of a statue for Princess Diana. Di was not exactly a Rhodes Scholar or even terribly stable, but she was probably a nice lady, so a statue is perfectly okay. Harry and William spent a long time planning it out together, but they will grit their teeth through tomorrow’s statue unveiling. In order to keep the event as drama-free as possible, Kate and Charles are staying home. I believe that Diana would be slightly amused, and equally dismayed, that her two sons were causing such International havoc, just as she and Charles did so many years ago. The dignity and illusion of the monarchy is no match for hubris, vanity, passion, and imperfect humanity.

Who’s going to watch that tense event with amusement? Me, that’s who.

38 thoughts on “A Royal Mess: Diana’s Revenge, Part 8

  1. “The Lilibet part of the kid’s name very quickly became a matter controversy, because Lilibet was the Queen’s very private nickname only used by her dead husband and mother.”

    This was such an own goal, because they could have legally named the kid “Elizabeth” but called her Lilibet at home–and nobody could have reasonably objected to that. I give them a pass for Diana because a) it is Harry’s mom’s name and b) she’s dead. But on the whole, they come across as really thoughtless. Also, TWO UK royal family names and no American family names? Tsk, tsk!

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    1. I’m guessing that Harry and Meghan are people who really, really need pointers on how not to look like grabby, narcissistic jerks–but the personality flaws that make them act like grabby, narcissistic jerks also make it really hard for them to listen to others and adjust their behavior accordingly.

      (I’m not saying that the UK Royals are perfect people–it’s just that they put a LOT more effort into not looking like grabby, narcissistic jerks.)

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      1. “..pointers on how not to look like grabby, narcissistic jerks..” Protip: one of the better strategies for not looking like a grabby narcissist is not to BE a grabby narcissist…

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      2. ds said, ““..pointers on how not to look like grabby, narcissistic jerks..” Protip: one of the better strategies for not looking like a grabby narcissist is not to BE a grabby narcissist…”

        I’m trying to be stay agnostic about what these people are like in real life, because I don’t know them personally.

        But, yes, at some point you start thinking that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck–it’s a duck.

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      3. On the subject of jerks, my fave Internet find today is Menu listing in Chinese and the English translation below ‘Chicken rude and unreasonable’ and the caption is, “I think this is supposed to be jerk chicken”….

        Furthermore – “sources close to the pair told the Mirror: it is “almost impossible for Harry to be trusted.”

        The relationship has been particularly frosty since allegations were made that Markle bullied palace staff “

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  2. The Lilibet thing is such a massive own goal.
    You know that the Queen has to have been totally pissed-off to authorize a ‘correction’ to the news story from the palace [it wasn’t officially authorized, but *no* media story (or leak) from the palace which is about her is released without her say-so]

    And, as has been pointed out, H has just spent a chunk of time publicly explaining that the poor parenting he received from Charles, was the result of the poor parenting Charles received from Elizabeth (aka Lilibet).
    Why on earth would you name your precious baby daughter after someone with poor parenting skills, who presides over a racist family, and has driven you and your wife out of the country?

    What about Doria? Who has apparently given up her career (and the rest of her life) to be the live-in nanny to the celebrity couple in Montecito? Surely all of that self-sacrifice is worthy of her name being given to the precious not-princess…..

    It makes it really clear, that what H&M value is celebrity/royal connections – not family…..

    And they are being really, really, stupidly short-sighted about all of this – if they have any intention of maintaining any form of relationship with the Royal family. Reality is that QE2 is going to be around for max 5-7 years. No point in sucking up to her (if that was their intention, which has spectacularly failed). They need to be getting on-side with Charles — and my god, the boats have been burnt…..

    I’ve said all along that MM is going to be this generation’s Wallis Simpson – and the report that William refers to her as “that bloody woman” seems to indicate that they’re well on the way to permanent exile.

    And, what price Dumbarton being rejected as a title for Archie – by the precious pair – because it has the word ‘dumb’ in it….

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  3. Have realized that I am an oddly nostalgic Diana fan and don’t like Charles. I will pass on a tweet from my feed in which someone said, “For a second, I legit thought they’d named her Lil Diana.”

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    1. bj said, “Have realized that I am an oddly nostalgic Diana fan and don’t like Charles. I will pass on a tweet from my feed in which someone said, “For a second, I legit thought they’d named her Lil Diana.””

      Oh, that’s actually rather good.

      I’m right here hating the Diana statue with Laura. I realize that bronze is kind of heavy-looking as a material, and a lot of her charm was in her coloring and fragility, but there had to be a better way. On the other hand, it is a very maternal looking statue, and that’s who she was to her boys–not a sex symbol.

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      1. Hmm. I don’t see it as ‘maternal’ – I guess because the figure doesn’t interact at all with the children around her. It’s more like the Soviet-era ‘woman as an element of the State’ propaganda pieces – that blocky, square-on figure and the larger-than-life scale) The sculptor has completely missed the typical Diana posture – her body language and/or eye-contact saying ‘I’m interested in you’ and the way that she instinctively brought kids to the same level as her – crouching down, or sitting – or lifting little ones in her arms.

        Not loving it as a piece of sculpture. And don’t think it’s a good representation of Princess Di (either as fashionista or social activist).

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      2. Ann said,

        “I don’t see it as ‘maternal’ ”

        Maternal as opposed to sexy?

        “It’s more like the Soviet-era ‘woman as an element of the State’ propaganda pieces – that blocky, square-on figure and the larger-than-life scale)”

        Oh my gosh, you’re right!

        “The sculptor has completely missed the typical Diana posture – her body language and/or eye-contact saying ‘I’m interested in you’ and the way that she instinctively brought kids to the same level as her – crouching down, or sitting – or lifting little ones in her arms.”

        Yeah.

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      3. Yep, it’s not good.

        For me, the mixture of documented, personal details of the subject aren’t working well with the abstracted child-figures added to the scene. The Diana figure is neither maternal nor true to Diana’s personality.

        It is thought her clothes are taken from a Christmas card: https://expressdigest.com/how-the-princess-diana-statue-reflects-her-signature-style/

        In that collection of photos of the real person, you can see that she usually looks at the children in her company. It’s quite striking. In the statue, though, she’s touching them more personally than was her wont (you’ll see that in public, she seems to have held hands, rather than touched shoulders), but otherwise totally ignored them. What is she, a soccer coach?

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      4. How do these projects happen?

        https://time.com/4442285/lucille-ball-statue-scary-lucy/

        I have reservations about the second Lucy, but the first one looked NOTHING like her at all.

        This seems to be an ongoing problem:

        https://www.insider.com/bad-statues-celebrities-figures-cristiano-ronaldo-2018-7#johnny-depps-statue-looks-lifeless-and-old-11

        Some of the examples are low-budget, so not going to pick on them, but there are several that were presumably high-budget projects.

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      5. I’ve been reading discussions about sculpture as a lower quality art form in the 21st century.
        [which I now cannot find to link to….]
        Saying, basically, that with so many other forms of portraiture available (photography, video, etc.) which reflect the subject in so much great ‘realism’ – portrait sculpture (and portrait painting) is a less-regarded art form. So the artistic geniuses (the Reynolds and Rodins) don’t go down that route. And certainly don’t spend a lifetime perfecting the artform.
        It’s therefore not surprising that modern portrait (as opposed to abstract) sculptures are …. pedestrian … at best.

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      6. In Chapter 8 of Evelyn Waugh’s Helena (a novel about the life of Emperor Constantine’s mother), there is an exchange between Constantine and some sculptors. Constantine is unhappy with the triumphal arch they are building for him, particularly the statues. The sculptors give him a lot of technical terms and rigmarole about modern art and how strictly representational art really isn’t in anymore.

        Constantine complains, “Your figures are lifeless and expressionless as dummies. Your horses look like children’s toys. There is no grace or movement in the whole thing. I’ve seen better work done by savages.”

        (That reminds me A LOT of our discussion of the Diana statue.)

        Constantine tells the sculptors that he would like something like the figures on Trajan’s arch.

        The sculptors squirm a bit, but beyond all their talk about representational art being unfashionable, the bottom line is that they can’t do it–nobody has the skill anymore.

        This was fancifully put into the mouths of 4th century characters, but it’s uncomfortably close to real life today. I feel like I have seen some good new sculptures and monuments–but I can’t think of anything right this instant. That’s part of the horror of the removal of the Teddy Roosevelt statue in NYC last year–racist or not, it is really good as art, and it’s hard to think of any contemporary representational works that are as well done.

        https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/statue-theodore-roosevelt-removed-reexamination-racist-acts-180975154/

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  4. @Ann from NZ,

    I’ve been reading discussions about sculpture as a lower quality art form in the 21st century.

    I wouldn’t agree. A few quick searches have turned up interesting works. Many of the interesting pieces hail from the UK.

    I would say that whenever anything is seen as a “lower quality art form,” it’s probably about to explode.

    For example, the statue of Amy Winehouse in Camden: http://www.camdentownlondon.co.uk/amy-winehouse-statue/ It is very touching that her fans place tributes to her on and around the sculpture, i.e., flowers and bracelets. The same artist, Scott Eaton, collaborated with another artist, Jason deCaires Taylor, to create the Thames Horses: https://www.scott-eaton.com/2015/thames-horses

    This piece, SHIP, is evocative: http://www.annagillespie.co.uk/ship_project.html People like to get close to it: https://www.lep.co.uk/news/two-sculptures-officially-unveiled-heysham-and-sunderland-point-651225

    Banksy: http://www.britevents.com/news/new-banksy-religious-sculpture-unveiled/

    A royal commission: https://www.newmyroyals.com/2021/03/queen-elizabeth-unveiled-statue-of.html

    There’s also the sculptor Andy Scott. Charles Rennie Mackintosh: http://www.andyscottsculptor.com/sculptures/charles-rennie-mackintosh
    The Kelpies: http://www.andyscottsculptor.com/sculptures/the-kelpies

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  5. Then there are abstract sculptures, some of them massive. My favorite of such artists is Andy Goldsworthy.

    http://infinitedictionary.com/blog/2015/09/12/art-and-nature-andy-goldsworthy/

    I recommend searching his name; he is still working. I don’t know whether I prefer his ephemera or the stone structures.

    https://www.galerielelong.com/artists/andy-goldsworthy/site-specific/site-specific3?view=slider#2

    I have an earlier comment awaiting moderation.

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    1. Love that and love that it is in Kansas City, MO. We all deserve art. I’m still dreaming of the museum that only shows art by living artists.

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  6. I don’t think there’s any lack of talent in photorealistic art (I’m more familiar with 2-d, the techniques for sculpture I don’t know as well). People just don’t want to buy it. Or they want to buy from artists who are not good at it for some other reason.

    I know less about sculpting, which among other things is frequently not carving these days, but is more complicated, casting and bronzing and painting and stonework. But, there are artists who carve photorealistic animals, for example, so I’m guessing individuals could be hired to create photo realistic sculpture. But, they’d often be craftspeople and not “artists”.

    Or the artists they hire don’t take the job of creating Depp or Murray seriously and think of it as a wax museum job.

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  7. BTW, a reason the Roosevelt sculpture was removed not because he was racist (though he was), but because the depiction itself is racist. Ugh. But, I do oppose destruction of art even if I would desire not to walk past it.

    https://voicesofdemocracy.umd.edu/roosevelt-strenuous-life-1899-speech-text/ “The Philippines offer a yet graver problem. Their population includes half-caste and native Christians, warlike Moslems, and wild pagans. Many of their people are utterly unfit for self-government, and show no signs of becoming fit. ”

    (The Cubans were apparently capable of ruling themselves, though. Why? Spanish/European “race”? Christianity?)

    But, also, “Of course we must remember not to judge any public servant by any one act, and . . . , “

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    1. bj said, “BTW, a reason the Roosevelt sculpture was removed not because he was racist (though he was), but because the depiction itself is racist.”

      Theodore Roosevelt was the first US president to have a black man to dinner at the White House.

      https://www.npr.org/2012/05/14/152684575/teddy-roosevelts-shocking-dinner-with-washington

      His 1901 dinner with Booker T. Washington was a very big deal.

      I truly wonder which pre-Obama president would survive the “was he racist?” test for being allowed a public statue. LBJ would definitely not make the cut.

      https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/lyndon-johnson-civil-rights-racism-msna305591

      And of course, the redlining that everybody is really concerned about today was a product of FDR’s New Deal.

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      1. I tentatively propose measuring presidential racism in milliwoodrowilsons.

        https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2015/11/20/9766896/woodrow-wilson-racist

        “Easily the worst part of Wilson’s record as president was his overseeing of the resegregation of multiple agencies of the federal government, which had been surprisingly integrated as a result of Reconstruction decades earlier.”

        “In a 1913 open letter to Wilson, W.E.B. DuBois — who had supported Wilson in the 1912 election before being disenchanted by his segregation policies — wrote of “one colored clerk who could not actually be segregated on account of the nature of his work [and who] consequently had a cage built around him to separate him from his white companions of many years.””

        “Outright dismissals were also common.”

        “To enable hiring discrimination going forward, in 1914 the federal government began requiring photographs on job applications.”

        A black newspaper editor protested Wilson’s resegregation, saying, “it is untenable, in view of the established facts, to maintain that the segregation is simply to avoid race friction, for the simple reason that for fifty years white and colored clerks have been working together in peace and harmony and friendliness,”

        “It’s worth stressing that Wilson’s policies here were racist even for his time. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft had been much better about appointing black statesmen to public office…”

        “Wilson’s racism even extended to foreign affairs. While it had been customary to appoint black ambassadors to Haiti and Santa Domingo (now the Dominican Republic), Wilson didn’t do that either.”

        Etc., etc.

        Teddy Roosevelt was president from 1901 to 1909. Wilson was president from 1913 to 1921.

        People are always saying that they didn’t learn XYZ in school, and a lot of the time they’re full of it. But I have to say, until the last few years, I had no idea how incredibly regressive Woodrow Wilson was.

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      2. Roosevelt was a racist and a eugenicist. Well, many people at the time were. But also, like many people all the time, he acted in some racist ways and he acted in some non-racist ways. We’re all pretty complex.

        Anyway, Roosevelt wasn’t the kind of eugenicist who wanted to sterilize or murder non-whites, but what he did want was for white women (um, the right kind of white women, i.e., not Irish or Italian women) to have more children. He was very critical of birth control for that reason. And he thought that women who died giving birth were noble and should be celebrated the same way soldiers who die in battle should be celebrated.

        My husband loves TR and every time he says something positive about him, I have a few examples of TR’s racism and sexism that I throw back at him. He thinks we should both love TR because we both grew up near Sagamore Hill. LOL, I’ve never even been there.

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      3. OMG, seriously, the “TR has black friends defense”?

        I did make a mistake in describing TR as racist, because, as I’ve argued before, I think the word should be used fo describe behavior, not people. I picked the quote because it is in an illustration of a racist behavior I find particularly egregious, the argument that race itself makes a person or people fundamentally suited (or unsuited) for accomplishing a human task (picking cotton as in the Mississippi secession declaration or ruling themselves as in the Philippines) .

        And, of course, rarely are people uni-dimensional. Racist indexes aren’t useful and I refuse to rank people in sum. Kiddo’s HS is named after TR and other words from that speech “The Strenuous Life” is the title of their yearbook:

        “I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil …”

        Public statuary is always going to be evaluated qualitatively as it should be.

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  8. Here’s a review of a reporter who likes the statue: https://people.com/royals/i-reported-on-princess-diana-heres-what-the-new-statue-gets-exactly-right/

    I think the flaw about it for the visions I have of Diana is that she is looking out rather than at the children. In the pictures I know, she seemed to look at the children.

    My image of her was not fragile. The reporter talks about how her height was a part of her image. She always seemed robust to me (and, frankly, I always thought this was an aspect of her eating disorder — I’ve noted that public women with who are tall but not model thin, with faces that aren’t carved face pressure to be thinner),

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    1. That statue is a scream. About the worse thing ever.

      People isn’t a real magazine. It just reprints celebrity press releases. Don’t forget they certainly knew about Weinstein and others, and SAID NOTHING. They should be out of business and prosecuted.

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      1. Wait, so whose press release is this article? which purports to be from “PEOPLE’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Simon Perry” and who writes of a personal experience:

        “The image I saw cast in bronze was most definitely of the woman I remember. I saw Diana several times but was lucky to be in the same room as her on two occasions — once relatively close. She was famously tall, of course, but that day, I always recall, her stature made her appear to tower above the guests at the reception. ”

        I mean I understand that when People (or the Daily Mail) cites “sources close to [celebrity]” it’s probably a press release (or at least a trial balloon). But, did someone call Simon Perry and suggest that he write about Diana being tall and fit from the gym?

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      2. I bet that reporters at People magazine knew that Weinstein was raping actresses and never reported it. And then wrote positive articles about him. It could be argued that they fostered his career, which enabled him to grab women and thus abetted the crimes. IDK.

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      3. A magazine that isn’t real and just reprints celebrity press releases should be prosecuted for not having published an investigative piece on Weinstein that NBC wouldn’t release (according to Farrow)?

        Is this hyperbole to reinforce how much you hate People magazine (even when cited for a fluff piece about how a particular reporter says he likes the Diana statue)?

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      4. Trying to respond to bj, but I’m having trouble with the nesting comments on my own blog. Should probably look into that…

        I really don’t understand what you’re saying, bj. Weinstein’s behavior was known to people in Hollywood LOOOONNNNNGGGG before the Farrow article and the NYT. I was reading about it on the trashy gossip websites on the Internet. If it was general knowledge in Hollywood, known by people who call themselves reporters and carry press credentials, but they never wrote about it, then… yeah, there are huge ethical issues, if not legal concerns.

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    2. As you all know, I could not care less about all the royal scandal stuff, but I do love public art. I don’t have strong thoughts about the statue, but I do want to say that the “Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain” in Hyde Park is an amazing design and our kids loved it.

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  9. There are some sculptures worth seeing, particularly in the UK.

    https://londonist.com/london/art-and-photography/remembering-amy-winehouse-in-camden

    That artist also did the Thames horses, with Jason deCaires Taylor. https://www.scott-eaton.com/2015/thames-horses

    (His website is worth the visit. The “experiments with geometry and motion” are mesmerizing.)

    This is an interview with the artist: https://www.open.ac.uk/arts/research/pvcrs/2016/eaton

    I would not say that new technology has rendered the ancient art of sculpture redundant. However, I suspect some of the most interesting pieces will be found inside immersive video games. It’s already on its way–Scott Eaton holds workshops for artists working for Blizzard Entertainment.

    As virtual reality improves, the younger generation may be able to visit works of art that the older generation cannot see.

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    1. Oooh, the Thames horses are really cool (and the artist, Eaton, cites to being responsible for the “digitial design”, not, presumably any actual sculpting).

      I adore the National Portrait Gallery. I love this sculpture of George HW Bush by Pat Oliphant

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      1. I love the dead parrot.

        Has anyone else had a chance to read the Wall Street Journal article about graduate degrees? The headline is “Financially Hobbled for Life.”

        OMG

        Columbia comes off particularly badly. They should be ashamed of themselves.

        https://www.wsj.com/articles/financially-hobbled-for-life-the-elite-masters-degrees-that-dont-pay-off-11625752773

        Julie Kornfeld, Columbia’s vice provost for academic programs, said master’s degrees “can and should be a revenue source” subsidizing other parts of the university. She also said grad students need more financial support.

        I’d like to know what other parts of the university film graduate students are supporting. I don’t agree that master’s degree students should be treated as cash cows. I think that federal student loans should not go to institutions that behave that way. It’s quite clear from the article that tuition levels and the length of programs have increased because graduate student loans are not capped.

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      2. Cranberry said, “I don’t agree that master’s degree students should be treated as cash cows.”

        Oh, but that’s what they often are!

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      3. https://mobile.twitter.com/JStoteraux/status/1413326562821246978

        James Stotereaux tweeted:

        “There were 55 students in my incoming class at Columbia’s MFA Film program. Only 4 of us ever managed to make a career out of it. And of those 4, one guy dropped out the first semester. Funny enough he’s the most successful one having co-directed Avengers Endgame. Hi Anthony!”

        “During my 2nd year I suspected that the school wasn’t providing a launching pad to a career — most of the instructors were struggling to establish a career themselves & many weren’t even much more experienced than their students. A 4th yr student taught our cinematography class.”

        “The brass ring the program dangled was that your film could be chosen for the annual festival where, in theory, big-time agents would see it and maybe sign you. But it was cutthroat to even be selected for the festival. And tuition didn’t cover the cost to make those films.”

        “You were on your own to pay for them. One year the film that won the festival was a WW2 story shot in Europe complete with a ****ing tank. Students were going into debt to the tune of 100K to make films with the hope that they might maybe have a chance to be seen by a CAA agent.”

        “Not having the money to make a film, I switched to writing. I teamed up with a friend to write a screenplay that we hoped could be our calling card. We proudly entered it in the program’s script contest… only to have the faculty judges reject it in the very first round.”

        He sold the script within a year.

        “I was officially a working writer, but I was still 2 credits shy of getting my degree. I asked if there was possibly a way I could finish my degree while in LA starting my career. But Columbia was offended by the request and refused. So I dropped out within 2 credits of MFA.”

        …and now he’s telling the whole world this story.

        This is getting too long to keep quoting, but there’s a squirm-inducing story in there at the end.

        He also mentions that the entering class was very diverse…but that just makes it worse to stick them with so much debt with so little chance of making enough money to pay it off.

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