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AlisonW

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Giving the Royal finger

2020-01-14 20:09:07 - by alisonw Meta Comment

I am a Royalist. And a Parliamentarian. I believe that democracy tends to be better than dictatorship though true communism (everyone working for benefit of all) is good too. I believe in people as individuals trying their best to survive and improve their lot. I believe people should have choices; from how to live their life, where to live, who to live with, and about their employment.

I can choose those views, but nobody gets a choice about being born into a Royal Family. Many countries still have Royalty, from the absolute monarch ruling some diving right of kings, like Brunei, through to a titled family with little or no power, like France. In between there are the constitutional monarchs, like the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, where the Monarch may be a figurehead for state occasions and maybe some residual nominal power.

Being born into such a family though means you have little of those choices I listed. Especially if you are the first-born child of a monarch you are almost certainly expected to become monarch in your turn when your parent dies, and on the 'heir and a spare' principle you probably have brothers and sisters too. All of you are going to be followed by the media and talked about ad infinitem. And when you decide to get married it will get worse as the press pick apart your intended.

Then we come to the UK's Royal Family; Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had a sister, Princess Margaret, who chose to spend most of her time (after being stopped from marrying the man she wanted) in the Caribbean. The Queen's children of heir and spares have had their problems kept in the public eye too, as have their children in turn.

And just like Margaret before him, Prince Harry already knows he will never succeed to the throne (unless something very major happens). His 'duties' as 'spare' are over; his older brother has procreated the next set of royal children. He joined the army and did two tours in Afghanistan.

And so Harry married a woman he loved. She happened to be a divorcée, but thankfully unlike his great-uncle he didn't have to leave the family and be banished to France, but like the press rumblings so long ago about those events his marriage to Meghan (née Markle) was frequently attacked in the British press, usually by the gutter right-wing mass-market redtops the Mail and Express.

And unsurprisingly, he's had enough of them. He wants his life back and, frankly, he deserves to have some peace from the incessant racism the press has promoted. And make no mistake it is racism, as this article comparing the treatment of Harry's wife with that of his brother's makes abundently clear. The papers disgust me.

Three cheers for Prince Harry and his wife Meghan!

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ellievhall/meghan-markle-kate-middleton-double-standards-royal

Socialising people

2009-01-29 12:00:00 - by alisonw Meta Comment Social

The current fondness for "Social media" suggests that much of the media isn't 'social', yet perusing the racks at your local newsagent will produce reams of printed matter coving the social antics of the glitterati and Z-listers whom – for a reason I've never been able to fathom – many people across the country actually profess to be avidly interested in.

Arguably the better term would relate to social media as content which is both user-created but also publicly accessible and – most importantly – where discussions between users take place. I am an avid Twitterer ([@AlisonW]) and of the bank of computer screens in front of me at the moment, Tweetdeck holds my regular attention on one of the screens, the other screens – when I can tear myself away from actual 'work' – may include Facebook, LinkedIn, Meetup, and many more of the social services that provide the background to being a freelance worker based on the road or in a home office. Instead of the hubbub around the water cooler or coffee machine we interact not quite in real time but asynchronously to pass on titbits of our lives or of news we have just heard about.

In the same was that the ubiquitous broadband and WiFi covers our lives when 'working' the replacement for the freelancer not always having a works' "do" to attend becomes the socialising of psuedo-random individuals brought together by the networking sites who create "Real Life" events in bars, clubs or offices. I've been regularly attending one at the ICA on a Friday morning called "Tuttle\ (after Archebald "Harry" Tuttle, a character in the 1985 Terry Gilliam film Brazil) which is otherwise known as the London Social Media CafΓ©, with a mixed crowd of bloggers, journos, techies, and geeks chatting about life the universe and everything over a coffee or two. Earlier in the week it was a women's event - "Silicon Stilettos" and other nights also have regular offerings such as "Mobile Monday" or "Wiki Wednesday". Social, certainly, and media? Arguably yes. The attendees not only network but publicise their networking, drawing in others to discussions on business opportunities every bit as much as what they thought of the latest film or book.

Marshall McLuhan once pronounced that The medium is the message arguing that the medium by which we hear news influences our feelings about it. The same news distributed by the British Broadcasting Corporation and by Fox News will be spun in different ways and – as pure recipients of that information – we can only hear and see what we are given. When the medium is the people we've been following via the social media routes however we can take that same 'professional corporate view' and discuss not only the facts but also the interpretation, pulling in other elements from additional sources and from those who happen to be on the spot.