— or how we in Britain have had another lesson in free speech.
The extreme points of view towards the royals in this country can be dizzying. It’s impossible to have an intelligent discussion about the Royal Family without someone getting their knickers in a twist about something–and nearly always the wrong something.
Real example: When people on Twitter said they didn’t like the portrait of Kate because her eyes looked at best, lifeless, at worst scheming, other people tweeted in reply that they loved Kate and thought she was a blessing to the country and how dare anyone call her scheming. Seriously. This is the level of contorted confusion with which people discuss the royals, and especially Kate. She is the new addition to the triumvirate of Things Polite People Don’t Discuss because otherwise The Dinner Party Will End Badly: Sex, Politics, Religion. And Kate.
And the press know this. They use it to their advantage at every opportunity because indignation sells papers. But while Hilary Mantel, two time Man Booker Award winner and highly respected historical novelist, may have known this, she grossly underestimated how powerful these polarized opinions of Kate really are. And worse, she completely underestimated how the British Press searches for every opportunity to capitalise on it.
For while Mantel can say what she likes (free speech) about how a royal consort is portrayed to the world in a lecture focusing on royal consorts, the press can also freely (if unfairly) take her words and twist them in order to stir up the populace in a frenzy of hate against anyone who dare say a cross word about Kate. Even if they didn’t. (Read the lecture–Mantel was actually showing support for Kate in her predicament.)
I realise there are the dark flip sides to every freedom, and that these are part of the price we pay for that freedom, but the British press have once again shown that selling papers is more important than reporting facts, and I would be embarrassed to be associated with one of the daily rags who tarnish the industry (yet again).
I’ve written more on this over at Expat Focus: The British press are at it again. Click the link to see the rest.
I’m interested in your opinions–please add to the discussion here or over at Expat Focus!