In all the press coverage I have seen of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan and Harry, it has been treated as a tale of personal tragedy, a terrible racist family squabble, for the British royals — but not one mention of the larger tragedy at the heart of Heathcote Williams’s “Royal Babylon,” namely the immense damage caused by the monarchy’s greedy, rapacious treatment of peoples and nations the worldover.
Jay Jones says
Wife insisted on watching the interview, and I gave it a try, but veered from incredulity to laughter. If Team Sussex had been able to go with Plan 1 – the semi Royal branding, website, etc. this interview would never have happened. As it happens, Plan 2 will turn out to be the far more lucrative option, the martyred Showgirl and the Prince tale. Meghan had the crushed Diana tone down pat, but nuanced by her own thespianism. Oprah kept giving up her OMG face, when the production signalled that all the big reveals were pre-set. They had graphics ready to drop in with phony headlines to show the deluge of racism that MM had to contend with whilst being oppressed by the Windsor toadies. The disclaimer at the outset of not being paid for doing the interview might play with the public, but the millions of views worldwide is of a value almost beyond measurement. It would have been wonderful to have Heathcote’s observations on what – otherwise possibly nice, not especially gifted – people, will sink to for the “first disgrace” of poisonous fame.
Oprah, of course, has form with this sort of thing.
Jan Herman says
Yes, i noticed that OMG face, which looked to me rehearsed. i should also have mentioned the damage done to wildlife by the royal family’s horrifying bird slaughters on hunts in the local countryside and by animal kills on globe-girdling trophy safaris and, not least, by its plundering of nature—all of which Heathcote’s indictment describes in excoriating detail.
Jay Jones says
All that animal sacrifice to salve ennui and demonstrate debased prestige. Heathcote made the royals his own blood sport in numerous works including The Abdication of Queen Elizabeth II – which we ran in Wordworks – and the play At It!. Royal Babylon was an attempt to take the subject to the cleaners and burn the ticket on the way out. You might remember his portrayal of Prince Harry in there, not much as there wasn’t much to bother with except his gutterish social pursuits.
Well-observed, Jay; From the beginning the whole thing felt like a setup to play the TV viewer, who, like all marks, can’r be played unless he wants to bw in on the game.. (Same with the press.) On another front, M&H may not have been paid, but Oprah was; seven mil and more went to Harpo, her production company, and she has a production deal with M&H to create content for Apple TV. Oprah’s disingenuous reactions were, as you’ve implied, clearly part of the show. The level of inanity was stupefying
those Battenburgs should have had the standard guillotine treatment a long time ago. but there they still are, headed by that old cow “her vagina so old it’s haunted. her backpassage resembling a cat-flap.” we should be eternally grateful to Heathcote for his observations.
Jan Herman says
and for those who are curious about where that notion of the haunted vagina backpassage cat flap comes from, tiz from another of Heathcote’s poems too:
as to monarchies: the dutch is still there second richest after the uk one. money accrued by slave trade numero one to put on the block. then the Swedes / the Danes / the Norwegians / the Spanish all still there usurping their people.
Monarchies are societal and political dinosaurs that are overdue for a very large meteor impact.
Considering that the amassed wealth of royal houses was accumulated through slavery, colonialism, serfdom, and wars, it astounds me that so many citizens of “monarchical” states can treat them as symbols of something positive with some kind of reverence.
The English monarchy should, in fact get get treated according to the “Sussex model”: Strip them of their properties and wealth and let them earn their own living as “TV personalities” in reality TV shows.
The reality TV segment has made millionaires out of completely uneducated redneck backwoods hicks and Las Vegas pawn shop loan sharks, so the “royals” – all put together – should be able to make at least as much money as Oprah and live very well. If they can manage that, then bully for them.
Meanwhile, their properties, art collection and antiques can be put into a public trust as museums of a defunct system of exploitation, and the proceeds can provide philanthropic funds for development projects at home in rural areas and inner cities, and in countries that have been set back hundreds of years because of royal support for colonialism and the slave trade.