The big news this week, as I am sure everyone has heard by now, is that HRH the Duchess of Cambridge is with child. Happy news to be sure and we send our sincere congratulations to the Duke and Duchess. Unfortunately, the Duchess has been suffering from especially severe morning sickness as a result and has had to have a stay in the hospital. We hope she feels better soon (and that this does not put her off having more children in the future). However, there was a disgraceful invasion of privacy that came in the form of a prank call to the hospital by some Australian radio personalities doing a very poor impersonation of HM the Queen and HRH the Prince of Wales. The only time I heard tape of the call I kept picturing those atrocious puppets from “Spitting Image” in my mind -that bad. Yet, the hospital staff was taken in enough to give a full report on the Duchess to the chuckleheads in question. This, needless to say, greatly annoyed me and made me wonder how anyone could find this “funny” or think it an appropriate joke. This is the same Duchess of Cambridge who, not long ago, had topless photos of herself splashed all over the tabloids thanks to the invasive lenses of a particularly sleazy photographer. After that, one would think that people would try to be a bit more wary and respectful when it comes to the privacy of the Duchess. Evidently not.
But, as most know, the bad news did not end there. The nurse who answered the phone and transferred the call just turned up dead, apparently a suicide. Still find this funny chuckleheads? Surprisingly, the radio duo in question have not, as yet, been fired but they have taken a sort of leave of absence. Now, I am not saying they should be fired. I do think they should be sufficiently ashamed of themselves to quit. I don’t know how things work in Australia, but in America this would disqualify them for unemployment benefits (unless that has changed here too). It all displays a disgraceful lack of overall character on the part of our civilization. It reminds me in some ways of the recent anti-bullying campaigns. What a shame that traditionally disgraceful behavior is tolerated and even rewarded to the point that people have to take their own lives before society even notices there may be a problem. Perhaps something else was going on in the life of this nurse that had her close to the edge in the first place, but the tragedy serves to illustrate the “collateral damage” that the instigators of these pranks seldom take into account. Everyone thinks the royals are fair game (God knows why) but they don’t consider how their attacks on the royals might harm other innocent bystanders.
Perhaps this will result in greater respect for the privacy of others, perhaps not. However, just like the media distancing that followed the death of Lady Diana, it should shame society as a whole that a person has to lose their life just to get people to act like decent human beings toward one another. Now, of course, some have shown considerable anger toward the radio personalities and some are starting to say that a tragic situation should not be compounded by unpleasantness directed at them because of the suicide of this nurse, a married mother of two. Spare me. These two are not the victims in this story -not even close. Any consequences they suffer will only be because of events put into motion by their choices and their actions. The fact that they did not think it through perhaps does not take away their responsibility for their own behavior. Their privacy was not violated as “a joke”, their humiliation was not splattered all over the world and they have lost no loved ones. Obviously (it should be anyway) whatever consequences they do suffer should be in proportion to their behavior but they are in no way anywhere even close to being among the victims of this story. They will certainly get no sympathy from me. They deserve what they get. I hope the laughs were worth it.
Also, with the announcement of the pregnancy, there has been another round of chatter about the changes to the succession, specifically doing away with the ban on Roman Catholics (rarely mentioned) and the end of male preference (always mentioned). It is not surprising, it is not unexpected but it is alarming for a couple of reasons. First, I am rather saddened that there seems to be no organized voice anywhere (UK or commonwealths) making the case against such a change. I really have no problem with doing away with the ban on Catholics, as the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England it seems unnecessary to me and, let us be honest, it is not as though England is being overrun by Catholics these days or that most take religion very seriously. I am though very much against doing away with male preference, because it goes against the traditional view of marriage (that a woman joins the family of her husband and not the reverse) and because of the leveling mentality behind it. Where will it end? Such a change will not affect my support for the monarchy of course, but it is a little depressing that no one seems to support the traditional view anymore. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I am rather alarmed at how such a dramatic change to centuries of tradition and the established constitutions of numerous countries around the world seems to be taking place with such ease. Is it really that easy or is it that the politicians carrying this out were betting all along that no one would care enough to make a fuss about the letter of the law being honored? From where I sit, it does not bode well…