Real Class

23:58 Mon 30 Jul 2007. Updated: 08:24 31 Jul 2007
[, ]

I read two articles today which deconstruct public personas. Both subjects happen to be women, although the men connected with these women don’t look too good from the articles either… the first is Judy Bachrach’s dissection of Judith Guliani, in Vanity Fair, and the second is Germaine Greer’s demolition of Princess Diana.

These articles can be read in a variety of ways, including as politically-motivated hatchet jobs, but I think that perhaps the most important aspect of them is their uncovering of the mythmaking narratives at work in celebrity and in politics. And in power, of course.

Judith Giuliani isn’t particularly well known worldwide, although she’s undoubtedly prominent on the East Coast of the United States. But most people haven’t made up their minds about her, and the Vanity Fair article punctures a myth still in the making. The importance of that myth, however, for her husband’s political fortunes, is rather revealing. As is the fact that these myths can be so easily spun, and so much of the media and political establishments buy into them, eagerly pandering to the propaganda that the rich and famous want to put out.

Greer’s piece, on the other hand, takes on Princess Diana, who is not only much-loved but also dead. Her article will doubtless be seen as being in extremely poor taste, and will outrage many. It deosn’t pull any punches. Given the sheer mass of Diana hagiography out there, however, it’s nice to have some reasoned counterweight. Americans are generally quite enamored of the British royals, a trend I view as indicative of how they’ve abandoned their anti-monarchial history (there are plenty of other signs, sadly), and so I suspect most Americans will find Greer’s piece unpleasant and mean. But in truth, the British royals (and, to a lesser extent, aristocracy) are semi-sociopathic parasites. They contribute almost nothing, they leech off vast wealth, and what they do give to society is self-serving, facile, and harmful—the idea that bloodlines matter, that they are deserving simply because of their lineage, all the ugly underpinnings of royalism and feudalism. To be a “royal” is to have been born into a bloodline that has by definition inherited vast wealth by virtue of having succesfully stolen it from others far back in history and then kept it by manipulating people viciously and navigating many nasty power games. That doesn’t mean they’re born bad… but their heritage is one of deceit, unearned riches, and a profoundly misplaced sense of entitlement. Few of them seem to reject this heritage, instead using the myths of “nobility” to get away with whatever they can.

And in America, “success” and wealth are seen as royalty. America’s class system is possibly more brutal than Britain’s, and the culture seems to want to produce an aristocratic class that can be regarded similarly to the British royals—which is why part of why there’s such fawning over the rich and powerful.

The pieces I link to both pull back the curtain. Sadly that curtain will fall back into place, instead of being ripped off and burnt.

« (previous)

2 Responses to “Real Class”

  1. mollydot Says:

    They both link to Guiliani.

  2. Tadhg Says:

    Corrected, thanks!

Leave a Reply