Remember mad anchorman Howard Beale’s admonition in Network (1976) that television was the most “awesome goddamned propaganda force in the whole godless world!”? Well, the hapless Mr. Beale only got it partly right. The most awesome force in the world is American culture, a phenomenon that now drives much of the dialogue and culture throughout the Western world and beyond.
As we approach the second quarter of the 21st century, we’re seeing the cresting of a remarkable cultural force that was incubated by Washington’s victory at Yorktown and that has gained increasing levels of traction since the U.S. Civil War, World War I and particularly World War II, which placed this phenomenon at a particularly distinct advantage vis-a-vis its war-ravaged, materially depleted counterparts and erstwhile rivals in Western Europe.
A Pulverizing, Flattening Social Force
Indeed, looking back over the past 30 years following the collapse of of Soviet communism, it’s worth recalling how many on the left finally concluded, however reluctantly, that American culture – all the pulverizing, flattening effects associated with it – ultimately proved to be, paraphrasing Beale, history’s most awesome, radicalizing force in the whole godless world.
The whole world has been Americanized – and it leads one to wonder if any ancient institution, including one of the most ancient of all, the British monarchy – is equipped to withstand this force over the course of time.
It’s fascinating to consider all of the subtle ways that this cultural force is playing out in every facet of modern life.
The Late Prince Diana Wasn’t British
Consider the late Princess Diana, who was eulogized at her very Americanized funeral by her brother, Viscount Althrope, as a “very British girl.” Actually, she arguably wasn’t at all. Despite her very noble and very English pedigree, she embodied many of the aspirations of global American culture – a penchant for personal independence, self-expression and self-actualization.
Even her comparatively sober, responsible son, Prince William, the royal heir, has expressed his qualms about assuming the Windsor mantle and in ways that sound, well, rather American. And this really isn’t all that new. The Duke of Windsor, the former Edward VIII, who always evinced a special affinity for American culture, even incorporating American slang in his casual discourse, possibly wedded a twice-divorce American social climber as a pretense for abandoning the British throne, likely because he, too, had been infected with American notions of personal independence.
Now the monarchy is imperiled once again by an even more explicit expression of this this awesome cultural force: a grasping, b-list American actress whose personal agenda has been hiding in plain sight for the past four years, one that puts her late mother-in-law’s rather ill-defined and hastily improvised agenda to shame.
A Fresh Face among Staid but Stuffy, Lilly-White In-Laws
Some royal watchers speculate that Meghan initially harbored a desire to transform the monarchy from within, carving out her own distinct royal identity amid her staid but rather stuffy, lilly white in-laws. She aspired to be the fresh face among the Windsor clan, not only equipped to energize this thousand-year-old institution but one who, over the course of time, would be regarded as so valuable and indispensable to the Crown’s long-term success that she would be afforded the opportunity to establish her own distinct style and agenda.
Predictably and in remarkably short order, she realized this this ancient institution operated by its own time-honored and distinctly rigid rules. The full weight of this new reality fell on her carefully sculpted shoulders: She had been assigned a non-negotiable set of job responsibilities, that not only detracted her from her personal career aspirations but that also effectively consigned her to what amounted to gilded oblivion – a mere face and a tightly constrained voice consoled only by the knowledge that her fate was shared with the world’s wealthiest and most exclusive family.
She balked, predictably resorting to American arguments about one’s being entitled to happiness, self-actualization and self-expression.
Then followed disruption – the quintessential American desire for separation and a fresh start, albeit with the the tacit understanding that she would continue to profit from Windsor family connections.
While this likely amounted to a deviation from her original plan, Meghan, with poor, dimwitted Harry in tow, had drawn closer to her goal of carving out a sort of semi-autonomous woke Windsor counter-monarchy, one in she could fuse the legacies of Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks and the theology of Oprahism into a neatly crafted, compellingly new alternative brand.
In time, though, elements of Plan B proved to be as problematic as Plan A, notably, running up against the Royal Family’s obstinate refusal to allow the Sussexes to profit from their residual royal ties.
A Scorched Earth Plan C.
From the Sussexes’ swanky digs in exclusive Montecito, California Meghan improvised a new, scorched earth Plan C, turning wokeness up to full throttle, accusing the Windsors of mental abuse (one of the standby American strategies in divorces and HR disputes) and even characterizing them as a vestige of white supremacy.
Granted, millions of people see through this grifting, grasping woman and have from the very start. But millions of others have predictably swallowed this Cinderella narrative hook, line and sinker, just as they did Diana’s version. Moreover, there are plenty of facets of woke elite culture, particularly within the corporate sector, that very well may lend a lucrative helping hand to the Sussexes over time. And that is precisely the outcome that Meghan planned for and expects. And she likely will be proven right.
So, it’s entirely possible, if not likely, that Meagan will be remembered generations from now as a truly singular historical figure: not only as fashion icon and trendsetter but even as a dynastic matriarch of sorts – the founder of a new, radically chic form of monarchy, one that represents a the culmination of global American culture, leavened by a heaping serving of wokism.