The ‘fake story’, but the ‘slip’ at Bridgerton could land on the blind spot of cancel culture
Spring is here. The sun shone non-stop for a whole week! Temperatures are around 20 degrees Celsius. But is the sun setting on the image of the Commonwealth – long dominating as the last representation of the once mighty British Empire? It certainly would seem so – as Prince William and Catherine visit the Caribbean to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
It’s a good life – if that’s nostalgia. Once you go out and kiss dimple babies – or dance with the natives. But then the natives must adore you for who you are, and not be troubled by the colonial past. The reception this time around, however, was very different from previous years.
Wherever they go, the natives remind them of colonial slavery and want to get rid of the queen as head of state and become a republic like India did. Even so, the royal duo continued; Kate changing into a different costume every hour and William trying to spread the joy. Our tabloids are happy with the photos.
And the young royals, of course, were perfect. Catherine in all her beautiful clothes and her dazzling smile; William displaying the seriousness and sensitivity for which he is now known. However, the world has changed. The new world demands conversations and commitments that go beyond photo opportunities. William certainly seems to have caught the zeitgeist and has admitted, according to media reports, that he may not be in charge of the Commonwealth – as his grandmother had been so well. Obviously, each country they visit now will need to have a carefully crafted interaction with the locals – recognizing that their shared history may not always have been perfect.
Yes, and part of this shared history is not only about colonial oppression, but also about racism based on skin color. The “colorblind” cast of the hit Netflix series Bridgerton, with its dark-skinned faux royals in a regency setting, does perhaps more to soothe the wounds than any actual royalty. It’s a fantasy version of the story, of course, but at least it acknowledges that dark-skinned actors could be given “regency roles” because they’re just as competent as their white counterparts. The lead actress, Simone Ashley, is from India and certainly breaks the stereotype – taking over from the very beautiful and charming Phoebe Dynevor from season 1. The fact that the white male lead, Jonathan Bailey, who plays Anthony Bridgerton, don’t. refer to Ashley’s skin color, and that the writers didn’t cast her as an ayah or an Indian princess makes the story plausible. Simone, from Camberley in Surrey, represents the latest effort in TV and film to spread ‘diversity’. Bridgerton Season 2 isn’t as engaging as the first, but as a “regency romance” in the best “Georgette Heyer” mold, it offers an escapist fantasy where colonial underdogs and rulers mingle. on an equal platform. It may be a “fake story”, but in the age of “fake news”, it is completely acceptable. We are waiting for followers of the cancel culture to react.
And more bad news: inflation is severe. Households face energy bills four times higher than last year. The only happy person is Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A month ago he appeared to face a rebellion within the Tories and could have been sacked. Cabinet rivals polished their images and their swords. Now, however, thanks to Mr Putin, Mr Johnson is a warlord emulating his hero Churchill. It’s not about a contest. It’s spring for Boris at least. There were rumors of an early election. But we learn that the Queen will open Parliament for the next year 2023-24 on May 10. It will be a sight to watch as this is the seventieth year that she has been doing it. Just imagine that the Queen ascended the throne in 1952, just two years after Doctor President Rajendra Prasad inaugurated the Indian Parliament in 1950 after India became a republic!
In fact, the 95-year-old Queen, despite her poor health, is determined to attend the memorial service for her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, next Tuesday. She hasn’t been seen for a while. The whole family will show up for the service (minus Harry and Meghan, of course).
The war occupies us on TV and in Parliament. There was a dispute over how many Ukrainians to give visas to. As things stand, immigrants are not the government’s favorites at any time of the year. Boat loads from France created problems not only when their boats capsized, but even more so when they landed. Normally the Home Office doesn’t want any if they can help. Ukrainians, however, are different. Somehow we seem to have managed to bring a few thousand Ukrainians here to settle with families who have offered them their spare rooms or second homes. But for how long ? – before inflation and other misfortunes stifled charitable British instincts?