My Identity: Tom Sawyer? Deb? Tortured artist?

I personally think that one’s sexual identity is the least interesting thing about a person, but I understand that is not a common thought or feeling. I do understand why people would be fascinated by the new and strange, and the current new and strange is transsexuality. Therefore people are in a lather one way or another

I didn’t meet my first out gay person till I was 20, and I promptly fell in love with him and stayed in love till he died horribly from Aids. From then on, there has been a cavalcade of gay men and women in my life. My best friend in New York was a gay man, my boarding school roommate turned out to be gay and recently married her current wife after a first marriage to the father of her children. Most I’ve met are fantastic people, with a fresh eye on the world and straight culture and I almost always appreciate them. So I don’t really get homophobia, other than understanding that a frank and outspoken gay sexual identity is new to some people and maybe a bit scary. I worked on a film investigating identity so met quite a few transsexuals, pre and post operation and some straight up transvestites. The transvestites were pretty confident, compared to the transsexuals who, the newer they were, the more fragile and frightened. They needed quite a lot of care and soothing. Which makes sense, why would you withhold simple compassion?

Simple compassion would defuse a lot of anger. Jordan Peterson who stands on a flaming bed of fame because he is unafraid of being tough on the vulnerable, was right when he said we should not be forced to use certain pronouns. However, it is right and kind that we should choose to honor the choices of our fellows. The thing about the free world is that one must have free will to choose to be a stupid bastard or a simple, good human. Without that, we are truly lost. Isn’t that obvious?

By the way, this is how I see myself. This identity has been slivered throughout my working life. I carry around a bunch of masks: the socialite, the sophisticate, the worthy Canadian, the graduate student, the dispassionate reporter, the bewildered mother, stepmother and grandmother, the country kid who identifies as Tom Sawyer and the tortured beast sitting in front of an easel wondering from whence the next string of words. Sorry for the tilt on the photo, I’m tired.

Joe Biden – Uncle Scuzzy

I started a couple of fights on Facebook over Joe Biden’s unrestrained pawing of women while their menfolk looked on in disgust and impotent fury. ‘Why the anger?’ said these guys, ‘Surely it’s disproportionate. He’s a decent human being.’

No, he’s not. He uses his power to exhibit behaviour that is demeaning, humiliating and frankly, cruel. He has displayed his character and now he’s been busted. And thanks to #metoo, he’s done. He won’t run for President and at every speech and confab, there will be women looking at him with their skin crawling. He deserves it.

Tatler tells – One Year of Meghanomania

An old bf (a brief brief time it was too) published a piece about Meghan Markle in Tatler this week. Tatler is the top society mag in the world and one of the oldest magazines still in existence. David’s piece (read it here: https://www.tatler.com/article/meghan-markle-mania) pretty much has to be seen as definitive for now. “One Year of Meghanomania” is a masterful thrash round the nodes of royal gossip, which manages to demonstrate in all its awful grandeur just how the toffs are handling the incursion of Hollywood into their extremely special, special safe place.

Answer? Not Well. Not well at all. I do not think that, in the English-speaking world, there is any bunch of people more sharp-tongued and cruel than the British aristocracy. Their sense of entitlement is so hard-wired, they aren’t even aware it exists. Basically if they are after you, you are the fox and they are thundering across the field on two thousand pound highly trained animals. And they have guns.

I do not think that, in the English-speaking world, there is any bunch of people more sharp-tongued and cruel than the British aristocracy. Their sense of entitlement is so hard-wired, they aren’t even aware it exists. Basically, if they are after you, you are the fox and they are thundering across the field on two thousand pound highly trained animals. And they have guns.

Here’s the critical set up: “Was the tiara at the centre of that tantrum already promised to Princess Eugenie for her wedding, as some believe? (Harry and Meghan, don’t forget, queue-barged their way into the first Windsor wedding of 2018.) And did the Queen veto Meghan’s plans for a sleeveless wedding dress? The rumours may be false, but not as false as the speculation Meghan was pregnant on her wedding day – ‘that’s why the dress was so baggy,’ one young woman assured me – and certainly not as false as the rumour that theirs is an IVF baby.

Here’s what is happening to her because of the jealousy: “But it’s rumours like that, and the drip, drip, drip of stories about aides leaving Meghan’s employ and servants being upset by her manner, that are making their lives such a misery. The Prince of Wales’ enthusiasm for his daughter-in-law is being ignored, as is Meghan’s role as the catalyst for a new warmth between Harry and his father. People who’ve lunched with her have loved her; she’s beautiful; she’s clever; she’s made Harry happy. What’s not to like?”

Have the toffs brought her down yet? Not yet, but they’re having an effect.

But are they happy as a couple? Harry’s circle has narrowed, and Meghan has shown how stung she’s been by letting her friends defend her in People magazine. George Clooney has stood up for her, invoking what happened to Diana, Princess of Wales as a warning. And it’s tough when her make-up chum, Daniel Martin, posts a picture of the tea she had laid out for him – avocado on toast, chocolates – and the line, ‘Thank you Meghan for being the consummate hostess this weekend and still being the #avocadotoastwhisperer’, and posh noses sniff; it’s just not on, they say – what sort of person is she having around? Meghan wants a doula; cue mockery. Even though Britain has ten times more interracial relationships than the rest of Europe, according to a study quoted by Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging, some of the antipathy must be racist, as it was of the biracial President Obama. Which is hard to stomach. Some of it is anti-American, in the mocking Gwyneth Paltrow dynamic-5am-email sense. Some of it is captured in the Daily Express headline ‘Loving… but dominating’. Some of it reflects sadness at the passing of the Jack the Lad Harry, the roguish Harry, the roistering Harry, in favour of a more sober, duller version.”

My advice? Avoid toffs at all costs.

Where Conservatism fails Women

In another 50 years, men may regain the status they lost, but it’s going to be an uncomfortable few decades for them. I’m not sad.

I listened to as much self-congratulatory guff from Jordan Peterson and Roger Scruton in Peterson’s latest podcast as I could tolerate. Much of it seemed to mourn the loss of status they have collectively as men and the irrationality of women who won’t accept that the traditional ways served women best. “When, O when will it end?” was the tone of the (very long) podcast.

I have some sympathy for this idea, some, it’s not very large. In fact, it’s kindof tiny. I do believe that the marriages of the elites are stable and equitable, and frankly I think they always have been so. Intelligent men and women understand that deep mutual respect is the base from which to build a family, that each contributes very specific skills and talents the other does not hold and power plays are self-destructive. It’s obvious, I don’t need to belabor this.

What Peterson and Scruton miss in their paens to themselves as excellent male beings, that while they may always have been wonderful (I doubt it) their generation of men has not. The level of self-indulgence, the cheating, drug-taking, promiscuity and generally vile behavior of boomers and Gen Xers has been spectacular. And any women knows, any woman, that if it hasn’t happened to you, it’s happened to one of your friends. They have been abandoned, with the care of children entirely theirs, having given up work to build a family. Afterwards, they rebuild, with half the money if not less, a tiny proportion of the opportunity of the male, and 90% of the child-raising responsibilities. At least half of women, half, have experienced this in the last 50 years, and I am not even counting the women who sucked it up and carried on in marriages where he ran around and she kept the family going. Another 25%?

Of course some women have been badly behaved, but this pales before the immutable fact that child-rearing is their primary responsibility, and therefore their ability to make money is limited.

Let’s build in here the fact that attractive women in any workplace have been, and still are, prey.

Peterson has done sterling work in waking up young men to their responsibilities, proving decisively that in being responsible adults, you find yourself and a great deal more. But the endless harping on the insufficiencies of “feminists” is silly and beneath him.

Finally, I was at a think tank thrash a few years ago where Scruton tried to prove that gay marriage was wrong. I love (loved) his work, but this was disqualifying. It behooves men like Scruton to try to see things from another’s rather less privileged perspective. I don’t care if this makes me seem an identitarian nutcase, it’s true. In another 50 years, men may regain the status they lost, but it’s going to be an uncomfortable few decades for them. I’m not sad.

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What my Google/Facebook/Twitter/ Youtube ads reveal about me.

I’ve been watching the ads focused on me for the past year. They are pretty desperate because I’m not a big shopper. For a while, the algorithm thought I was a naturopath and pummeled me with offers to increase my clientele, boost my credentials and so on. I searched hair loss for a friend at least two years ago and they still think I’m losing my hair. Cheap nasty clothes are dragged in front of my jaundiced eye twenty times a day. The occasional offer for lessons in Dressage, coming from a search at least five years ago when I considered the sport for a nanosecond. I replaced some of my ancient makeup last summer, and now Sephora thinks I’m mad for the stuff. I am not. Nasty home design from Wayfair. One search on J. Crew subjects me to months of ads.

Lots of intermittent fasting and Paleo ads, Fantasy City Builder games which is weird because I never play games. Mejuri, because I bought Christmas gifts there, heavy equipment ads because I support the oil patch. Various grooming gadgets lead me to suspect I’m overboarding on the self-care.

If this is what’s scaring people about tracking, I think we can stand down. Unless of course you are planning revolution or have a porn addiction. In which case, Math knows and is trying to figure out how to monetize it.

BTW, Epagogix believes it has cracked film financial outcome using an algorithm which nails how much any movie will make. Netflix too uses an algorithm to program its offerings. Equally, there is an algorithm which tells potential publishers whether a novel will be a commercial success. Maybe that’s why popular culture, which has led since the Sixties is now the tawdry, sloppy, virtue-signaling beast under ceaseless attack.

Lionel Shriver – Free Speech Warrior

Lionel Shriverhttps://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/other/writers-blocked-how-the-new-call-out-culture-is-killing-fiction

Last year I wrote an entire novel set in Indian country, that vast part of Canada which is accessible mainly to aboriginals, whether Innu or straight-up “first nations”. I ground to a halt when I realized to my complete horror, that is would never pass muster in a publishing house today, especially given my regrettable (in retrospect) enthusiastic participation in the issues of the day. Which already place a decent publishing contract difficult if not out of reach, since most editors in New York and London would consider me and my (entirely regrettable) opinions, anathema.

I have, after all, already been called “jack-booted” by a mainstream publishing acquisitions editor

Writers, published ones, are no longer allowed to ‘speak their truth’ if they write about anyone not specific to their race and sex. This is a silencing on a grand scale, a medieval Church scale, a jihadi in today’s Muslim countries scale. Seriously have you ever tried to watch a tv series out of the Greater Middle East? Crapola on steroids.

Literature is undergoing The Great Silencing.

I understand the resentments of people-of-color when they read about themselves in a white novelist’s work. I spent a good fifteen years in the arts community and a couple novelists have filched trivial elements of my life to create characters and reading about those characters, was a deeply unpleasant feeling. How much greater more soul destroying it would be if you were someone struggling against felt or real prejudice and see some fat rich white guy or gal cashing in on your pain? The pain is yours, not theirs. Plus they have been doing so for hundreds of years. This is real.

This is a silencing on a grand scale, a medieval Church scale, a jihadi in today’s Muslim countries scale. Seriously have you ever tried to watch a tv series out of the Greater Middle East? Crapola on steroids. There is no truth there, just superficial image-making.

I add two paras from Lionel Shriver’s piece in Prospect Magazine, here:

As for adult literature, it’s impossible to gauge the degree of politically correct censorship going on behind the scenes at publishing companies and literary agencies. Editors and agents are unlikely to assert directly that a submission’s content is too hot to handle. Having tackled divisive subjects or deployed characters who don’t hew to the rules of identity politics—rules that are often opaque, or at least until you break them—authors are left with uneasy suspicions about why their manuscripts might be attracting no takers, but with no hard evidence.

Trust me on this, it’s hard enough to get published without this lying in wait. It’s hard enough to write, given this lying in wait. Shriver again:

Equally impossible to gauge is the extent of writers’ collective self-censorship. The tetchiness and public shaming of “call out” culture has to be influencing which subjects writers feel free to address and which they shy away from, as well as making many writers reluctant to include a diverse cast. Does the edict to eschew stereotypes mean a black character can never be a drug dealer? (So much for The Wire, then. Or Clockers, both created by white men.) Rather than tip-toe through this minefield, plenty of writers must be playing it safe with characters, topics and plots that won’t get them into trouble. But this caution is invisible. Literary roads not taken are mapped privately in a writer’s head, behind a screen, with the drapes drawn. We have no record of what a host of individual authors have decided to avoid.

That’s what I mean about the Great Silencing. I would ask this question to those who are tempted to censor. Who the hell are you to decide the direction of the culture?

And to those people of color, I ask: what if we whiteys had not spent the last three hundred years writing about the wrongs done those discriminated against? What if all those (usually male) novelists hadn’t made people feel how awful it was? How do you know that you are not creating the next great wrong? You don’t. Art must be free, speech must be free. Let the freaking market decide. The culture has already turned towards you. Let. It. Ride.

Because, make no doubt, without the entire (sometimes hideous) panoply of human life on display, we on a fast road to tyranny.

I add the usual disclaimer. There are four separate Indian bands represented in the bloodline of my blended family, starting in 1783 when one of my ancestors married into the Mohawk. I have Venezuelan cousins, and my grandchildren have Jamaican cousins. So politely, piss off with your accusations of racism.

The Future, A Good One. Srsly.

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I honestly live in the silliest place in the world. It is also one of the sweetest, if you avoid the politics which are absurd to the point of cruelty. And, it is very very beautiful. And silly. Oh, I did say that. I should say it again. Very sweet and humble and silly and human.

I also think it is a model for the future. This is a place where the great god commerce is not allowed to pace and growl and subsume everything in its path. In fact, commerce greets a committee of furious 70-year-olds who have an even more intricate grasp of regulatory structure than any big city lawyer. The lawyers who are certain they can overwhelm any hick hippie usually end slinking off, holding various injured parts of their bodies, their eyes filled with hurt and confusion, with $1,000,000 lost to said regulatory structure. We know how to make money here, no doubt. It’s just not in the time-honored way.

The lawyers who are certain they can overwhelm any hick hippie usually end slinking off, holding various injured parts of their bodies, their eyes filled with hurt and confusion, with $1,000,000 lost to said regulatory structure. 

This morning I received a message about some artisan firewood for sale. We had a crashingly lovely windstorm at Christmas which left many of us huddled around our propane stoves and fireplaces, barbequing turkeys, the racket of a generator deafening the quarrels, I mean carols, and trying not to die. The wood that fell is now for sale. It is special. Very special. And specially expensive. Hello? Labor?

This is windstorm firewood! It was manifested and air dried by the wind gods themselves! It should be more expensive! It will be more expensive! The price for ‘windstorm’ firewood is probably going to be somewhere around 1.75X regularly priced firewood that is itself already 2X’ish what it should probably cost. You do the math..

But really the reason this place is special is not because our leaders are lethal manipulators of the body politic not to mention, hold off capitalism, it is because of the kids who are coming here to start new lives. They want to bake and grow. They want to farm. They want to live in sweet little cottages, raise a family and work the land using permaculture and no toxic substances and well let’s hear from one of them:

“We see different things crumbling around us and we want to prop them back up and create something beautiful . . . Once that’s started, [we] realize how healing and grounding it is to be involved in those natural cycles and to be aware of when the rain is coming and be excited about it. Having dirt under the fingernails all the time is a pretty good feeling,” said Milo Stuart, another young farmer working on the island.

This place, Saltspring Island, used to provide the whole province with fruit back in the day before industrial farming. The region around the island is lush and pleasant and fertile. All the way up to Whistler, young people are spreading out like kudzu (only in a good way) changing the culture from within.

Why wait till some dreadful vulture capitalist outfit spits you out like so much rotten meat and you are left with a nervous breakdown and an addiction to painkillers?

“It’s super fun for me as a farmer to be able to see what’s happening on farms all over the world via Instagram,” Stuart said. “You’re getting ready to get going for the season and somewhere in Australia they are fully into it and doing something completely different. You almost get to go back and forth in time that way. There’s a camaraderie in it and it is super inspiring to see the movement happening actively.”

You can laugh at them now all you like. But admit the superculture out there is not getting tamer, it is getting more lethal and complex every day. Maybe it’s the better part of valor just to learn how to build a fence. Why bother to wait till some dreadful vulture capitalist outfit spits you out like so much rotten meat and you are left with a nervous breakdown and an addiction to painkillers?

“When I look at it, I’m most proud of the big things. I see the whole yard that’s fenced and I remember pounding all of the posts and that gives me a lot of pride. I never knew how to do that, and I never even thought of how a person would put up a fence. It kind of amazes me that we did that,” she said.”

Is Mysterious Illness Really Wisdom Training?

Last week the NYTimes published a piece about the actress Selma Blair and her diagnosis of MS. MS is another of the mysterious illnesses into which category fall CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia. For the first while, Blair was told by doctors that her tiredness was a function of being a new mother, and barely stopped short of saying “It’s all in your mind.” Eventually, after a struggle, she was formally diagnosed and felt relief that finally, she could do something about it.

This is a typical response to mysterious illness, both from GPs and from sufferers. People, women mostly, resonated to Selma’s story.

“There are some things about M.S. that certainly remain a mystery,” said Kathy Costello, the associate vice president for health care access at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “But a significant amount more is known now, versus 20 or 30 years ago.”

What if mysterious illnesses are the catalyst for transformation?

Yeah? After how many billions spent? What did all that money and research find? Well the disease is intermittent. There is no cure. You can take steroids, which break down your organs while giving you relief. There are symptom management strategies, but no one truly knows nothing.

I have a friend who used bees to force his MS into remission. He would lie down on his stomach, his wife would place bees on his back in a cross pattern and the bees would sting him. He would howl in pain but then the MS would go into remission for a considerable period of time.

“Most people with the disease have the “relapsing-remitting” form of M.S., which means that they experience a cycle of worsening and recovery.” (Kathy Costello again). Basically, it is an immune system disorder, or a ‘who the hell knows’ disorder.

Because I grew up with a schizophrenic parent, I’ve had about six therapists in my life. There was no way I was following in her footsteps.

Let me ask a couple questions. What if all mysterious illnesses start in your mind? What if you could stop them in their tracks by bringing forward the emotions you are suppressing using said illness? What if people who did so were considered courageous, not weak? What if you became so attuned to your inner self that like an expert mechanic, you could pop the hood, tinker around, find the offending fear or rage or sorrow, let it out, fully experiencing that moment and then letting it go? Leaving yourself in recovery.

Every bout of therapy has given me access to new strengths and new solutions. But mental illness, even at the level of a cold is still considered such a liability, that people hide any manifestation of it, refusing to admit that they are the cause and that they hold the cure in their own hands.

Because I grew up with a schizophrenic parent, I’ve had about six therapists in my life. There was no way I was following in her footsteps. I moved cities five times when I was younger and always found someone new. As a result, this idea to me is not shaming or indicative of my weakness or inability to “measure up”. Every bout of therapy has given me access to new strengths and new solutions. But mental illness, even at the level of a cold is still considered such a liability, that people hide any manifestation of it, refusing to admit that they are the cause and that they hold the cure in their own hands.

Because I was acutely, daily, aware of schizophrenia I read widely and seriously, and the one theory I found that made sense, is that without schizophrenia human evolution would have been much much slower. The energy in a schizophrenic brain is so over-powering that ideas and theories and connections and then solutions, happen very very fast. This is certainly true of the schizophrenics in my family. The only problem is that their brains, driven by excitement, take the next step into madness.

What if mysterious illnesses are the catalyst for transformation?

What if mysterious illnesses hold the key to the next evolutionary step?

What if, buried in illness, is the wisdom that we, as a species, need?

My 19th Nervous Breakdown

24 million people worldwide have CFS; 300 million (or 3-6% worldwide) have fibromyalgia.

Last week I hied myself off to a psychotherapist on the island. Kendra, I’ll call her has 22 years of experience in Los Angeles and has treated many people with Chronic Fatigue and Hypothyroidism. This is extraordinary to me because in the 25 years I have been lugging this illness around, I have met in person no, repeat, no physician or naturopath who knows more than I do about it. 24 million people worldwide have CFS, and those with Fibromyalgia count between 3%-6% of the world population. 5% of the world population is 300,000,000 people. These are staggering numbers, and in response, many thousands of practitioners, research labs and government agencies are now involved in working out a cure. They are not getting very far. They know it is an immune system disorder, they think it has to do with the microbiome, and it is triggered by some kind of viral or bacterial infection that does not go away. But that’s pretty much as far as they’ve got People are bedridden for decades, and many do not improve, in fact, they get worse.

About six weeks ago I found Dr. Rawls in the States who contracted Lyme Disease after he had been practicing as a GP for several years. He was sick for ten years. While he was down and out he researched herbal medicine and came up with a constellation of herbs that work to destroy the microbes that trigger Fibro, CFS/ME, Lyme, Shingles, etc., all the culprits causing dysfunction. I’ve been on his program for six weeks and I feel very much better. I can work and I can exercise, though I still have Epstein-Barre Viral symptoms – that’s the mono virus, appropriate given myself as a teenager.

This is what I’ve done to heal myself: moved to the country, worked from home, found a peaceable mate, built relationships within my family, taken medication “to improve the quality of my sleep”, started Low Dose Naltrexone, constructed a nutrient programme with various doctors and naturopaths that is bleeding edge, learned to meditate, learned to pray, established a rock-firm spiritual practice, spent hours hiking hills with my dogs, bought four dogs, given up gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol, built a healthy house surrounded by a conserved forest, monitored all my blood work and fixed anything that was out of whack. It’s a full-time freaking job.

Anyone who grows up with a schizophrenic parent is behooved to monitor one’s mental health, and I have had a half dozen therapists over the decades, even a classic Jungian in London, who helped me find the beginnings of my writer’s voice. I am intimately aware of my precious self and its various (sometimes amusing) perambulations right back to the year dot, and I’ve made friends with myself. I am conscious 60% of the time, sometimes more. But therapy I realized, specific to the illness, is something I’ve not tried.

Just prior to my visit, I’d been studying the role of the autonomic nervous system and CFS. There are several practitioners who insist the disease is caused by an overactive flight or fight response. This made sense to me. Much of my work has scared me nearly to death, and in fact, the first thing that Kendra established was that I’d fallen ill after two years interviewing torture victims and the falsely imprisoned. I’m no Marie Colvin but along with listening to Palestinian nurses detailing Iraqui soldiers slamming baby’s heads against hospital walls, not to mention being up close and personal to families who had lost children in Northern Ireland’s terrors, I’d spent eight months strung between New York and South Africa nailing down the rights to Nelson Mandela’s biography and spent his first weeks of freedom in his back garden. Exciting as hell, but seriously exhausting. Plus one was shot over and nearly trampled in one of those African stadium rushes which are blinking terrifying. This coupled with a sometimes hair-raising though fun and exciting family given to paranoia, rage and reality breaks, set me up for Autonomic Nervous System disorder. And all I have to do is shift myself over to the para-sympathetic nervous system (which is when you feel relaxed, rather than feeling ready to fight the Kurgan hordes or whatever) AND LET MYSELF HEAL.

Since that moment of revelation, a true Ah-Ha moment, I feel good almost all the time. Kendra bolstered this theory with the work of an overlooked physician, Dr. John Sarno, who taught at NYU, who said, ‘look, your body is talking you into this because you need it. Figure out why you need it and the illness will vanish. It might take some time, you’ll have to work with your mind, and maybe bloody hard, but you will recover and you will not relapse. Sarno insists that pretty much all illness can be related to uncathected emotions, including cancer. We give ourselves disease, in order to block uncomfortable feelings.

No one (in the CFS/Fibro community) wants to hear it’s all in your mind because that means you are weak and pathetic and do not deserve to live. This, of course, is a militarist view and not helpful or deep or caring or useful. What people can hear is that “Hey girl, you were so disciplined and hard-working, you blew up your nervous system and you have to find a way for it to heal.”

This idea is pretty much anathema to the massive CFS and Fibro community of patients. No one wants to hear it’s all in your mind because that means you are weak and pathetic and do not deserve to live. This, of course, is a militarist view and not helpful or deep or caring or useful. What people can hear is that “hey girl, you were so disciplined and hard-working, you blew up your nervous system and you have to find a way for it to heal.” This skates very close to New Age “if you build it they will come” philosophy. I don’t care. Right now, it is working for me.

In my mother’s time, what I experienced in a mild form and somaticized, was called a nervous breakdown and you were considered weak, rather than diligent and courageous. During the 18th century, it was called neurasthenia and you were considered weak and pathetic. Nervous system diseases, I believe, and surely this is obvious, are related to the blistering hot speed of change, both societal and personal. We have built ourselves a terrifying world, where people are hag-ridden by one imperative after another every day. I do not know the solution, but recognition, I learned from one of my many therapists, is at least half the battle.

Team Sussex or Cambridge?

A friend and I have been in a year-long discussion about the cable tv actress who has been elevated to Duchess-hood by marrying Harry Windsor. Megan Markle, from a broken, mixed-race family barely this side of trailer trash is notable for wanting to heal the world while wearing millions of pounds worth of couture. She is backed by the mixed-race aristocrats of the entertainment industry, and is correctly thought of as being the missing link/image that will carry the Royal Family and the largely black Commonwealth into the future. Thatsa lot of weight on one slim, toned, and decidedly pretty back.

She is backed by the mixed-race aristocrats of the entertainment industry, and is correctly thought of as being the missing link/image that will carry the Royal Family and the largely black Commonwealth into the future. Thatsa lot of weight on one slim, toned, and decidedly pretty back.

A weight she seems capable of carrying. Dubbed Tungsten by Prince Charles, her compassionate yet delighted yet modest smile seems permanently fixed, without a hint of strain. She is emotionally labile, like Diana, but in contrast, her knowledge of herself appears to be deep; it also seems to have been absorbed from Gray’s Anatomy. Don’t mock, why else is that show the longest running evening soap on tv? Because it shows people (women) how to feel, and how to talk about their feelings. She seems to have won the first skirmish against the vicious largely queeny gay crowd that makes Buck House run on time. I find that impressive. Less impressive however is her insistence that there be more people of color teaching at universities (in fact the proportion of people of color teaching and the population of people of color in Britain is almost directly equivalent) and that they will raise their child gender-neutral, which is fine, I guess but worryingly batty. And that we peons should stop consuming so much, recycle and scale down our traveling. Ignore the fact that I spent $750,000 on clothing, my Hollywood friends gave me a $500,000 baby shower and we burned up many millions on travel last year.

My friend, English by descent, with a former Prime Minister in her background has a sharper interest in Sussex’s ascent and behavior. Her back is up. She suspects Sussex is a fraud interested only in self-glorification. And that this is not the point of the British monarchy. The point of the royals is to represent British culture and democracy. Not to prance around in $50,000 dresses smiling like you are a combination of Mother Teresa and Princess Diana and Julia Roberts in a Dior commercial.

I spent seven years as an occasional royal reporter in London. It was the price of admission for a woman at Time Inc., at the time, and for a while, it was pretty interesting. I met some of them, had lunch with a lady-in-waiting or two, went to the balls and Ascot and Cartier Polo and so eternally on, and I assure you there is nothing Hollywood about the family or its court. While every generation fields its Megan, its Margaret, or its Wallace Simpson, mostly the Windsors look like horses, dress like country-folk, and are never ever brainiacs. They are the most serviceable people alive. They survive by representing not the flashy, but the ordinary, the hurting, the weak. Their days are scheduled within an inch of their lives way past the time most of us have retired, and less than 10% of those occasions are opportunities to dress up. They survive through practicing discipline and restraint and humility that at least, appears genuine. Over the decades I’ve watched them, the glamour-puss is eventually relegated to the status of family embarrassment.

Catherine, in sharp contrast to Megan and despite her considerable beauty conforms to this virtuous path. She will certainly end her life as admired as the current Queen. It would behoove Miss Megan to sit at her feet. It is after all, her assigned role.