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.

Read more Apt. 11D, the newsletter

9 thoughts on “Do “Harry and Meghan” Matter?: Is their story just fluffy nothingness, or is it actually dangerous?

  1. Well, there have been ups and downs for the Windsors, but it’s only ups for ‘royal experts’ https://pagesix.com/2022/12/09/prince-harry-will-be-shunned-from-returning-to-uk-royal-expert/
    Yah, I think she is deranged and greedy and catching hold of whatever brass rings she thinks exist, and I see him as weak and needy and whipped. That said, it seems to me that the Windsor strategy of giving them enough rope to hang themselves is a good one, and that H&M will be forgotten in five years and the rest of the family will be doing okay. Nasty piece of work, she is.

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  2. My guess is that Harry is a guy who needed a lot of structure in his life, and without being propped up by the royal family’s routine and the routine of life in the military, he’s collapsing in on himself.

    Being your wife’s prop is not enough of a life for a grown man who is closing in on 40.

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  3. OK, reading the newsletter.

    Laura wrote, “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.”

    Musk is bringing a ton of transparency and accountability to twitter. Old twitter was an old boys’ club, with completely different sets of rules for different people. You would have, on the one hand, genocidal dictatorships bragging on twitter about anniversaries of invasions (like the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the invasion of Finland), or journalists calling for violence against the Covington boys, while on the other hand, big accounts got banned for jokes. There was no rhyme or reason to it except that old quote: “For my friends, everything, for my enemies, the law.”

    Musk can be really chaotic, and at times he seems to be rediscovering the wheel, but there is already a lot more transparency with regard to how twitter works and hopefully, new twitter is going to be a lot more fair than old twitter.

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  4. There’s another old quote that says something like, when people used to have privilege, a more even playing field is going to look like injustice.

    Liberal/lefty folks used to be able to disappear accounts on twitter that presented inconvenient facts, and they can’t do that anymore, so they feel sad. There was a lot of bad liberal behavior on twitter over stuff like Hunter Biden’s laptop (which is real, folks!) and COVID. There were also a lot of cases (non-partisan cases) of people with big accounts getting locked out of their own accounts by internet pirates and twitter HQ being unresponsive and unhelpful…despite having thousands of employees.

    I feel like there should be a lot of tools to manage your own account and experience, BUT as long as people are obeying the law (not threatening violence, not explicitly trying to crowdsource violence, not posting illegal sexual material), it should be hard to push them off the platform entirely.

    Also, some reminders:

    –Folks used to respond to complaints of unfairness and censorship on twitter with, “It’s a private company. They can do what they want.” Well, the shoe is on the other foot now. Maybe that wasn’t actually a killer argument? Maybe people do have a right (indeed, a responsibility!) to complain about injustice and suppression of discussion?
    –Twitter isn’t the only social media platform. There are others. It’s just the only major one that has ownership that is responsive to conservative concerns.

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    1. Old twitter also was HQ for mobbing efforts directed against private individuals.

      A lot of really ugly stuff was organized via old twitter.

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      1. “A lot of really ugly stuff was organized via old twitter.” Yes, often by the Republican president of the United States.

        By 2018 or 2019 it had occurred to me that the head of twitter was the most powerful person in the world, because only he could prevent the most powerful person in the world politically from constantly being in the head of, on the phone of, on the computer of, as many of his constituents as possible, in a way that he could never have managed on any news channel or certainly via other official channels. If “lefties” had really been in charge his account would have been shut down long before the 2020 election. It was an insanely effective tool of manipulation and control. I assume the Twitter leadership allowed it because it was so lucrative.

        And of course, there will be a lot of really ugly stuff organized by the new twitter. There already is.

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    2. Well no social media company really does much in terms of monitoring, my friends who’ve worked for Facebook , Twitter and Instagram tell me. (I lived in SF till 2016). Most is done by AI and a group of low paid contractors. The goal is largely to avoid losing advertisers. No one really cares about what is being posted, only that there are plenty of users to see ads (and to generate data to sell).

      I don’t think Harry and Megan are that influential, but I do agree that there are a lot of social media influencers who have zero expertise on a lot of things and could do harm. My BIL works in the bariatric surgery department with physicians designing protocols and especially with teenagers social media can create some pretty scary situations.

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  5. Frankly, my first thought when I read Laura’s headline for this post was “no.”–they don’t matter. But Laura makes an interesting case that the desire for getting even for the many perceived slights the couple experienced might well affect the British economy–well, maybe. We’ll have to see. My thinking is that once the Netflix series is over, whatever larger interest in the couple might disappear. I keep thinking of how impotent the Duke of Windsor was over time–folks just stopped caring about him, just as, I think, some folks stopped caring about Princess Margaret over time.

    As to Twitter–I think we can decide what’s going to happen by watching its advertisers–the more who leave, the less likely Twitter will have the place it does in our contemporary culture. If it converts to a subscription model, expect it to get even smaller–folks don’t like to pay for something they’re used to getting for free, unless they get something they don’t get anywhere else–cable TV, for example, adds content that broadcast TV doesn’t have. Twitter has never been a large social media platform, though it attracts people who like to listen to other people on Twitter–as folks leave, however, the interest level will drop. Once the FOMO factor diminishes, it’s game over for the platform. The one major change I’ve seen in my Twitter account since Musk took over is the daily tweets of numerous scantily clad women propositioning me–I didn’t know there was anything like that content there. Maybe it’s an attempt to keep the over-65 male like me on the platform.

    As for the Hunter Biden laptop–we’ll see. I’ve seen some of the best reporting on the topic from New York Magazine. I predict it’ll be politically embarrassing, but to both the Biden family and more so to Jim Jordan and his toadies. It’s the email server all over again. Here’s a couple links from the magazine: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/hunter-biden-laptop-investigation.html

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/12/twitter-files-explained-elon-musk-taibbi-weiss-hunter-biden-laptop.html

    One final point–we’ve always had press barons, wealthy men, who control what we see and read–Musk is fundamentally no different that William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer, or Rupert Murdoch, or the Sulzbergers or Grahams. The best thing about the internet, for all of its faults, is the ability access a huge amount of content and bypass those gatekeepers. That’s more like free speech than any single platform, especially something like Twitter. It doesn’t deserve the privileged space we’re giving it in our heads.

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    1. Yes, Steve had a similar response to my newsletter and also mentioned Hearst. I hope that you’re right that our modern day Robber Barons are quickly forgotten and mostly toothless.

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