Article by Brendan O’Neill, in which he reviews Tom Bower’s new book, Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War Between the Windsors.
Isn’t it striking that the Trump administration was continually slammed by liberals for its promotion of ‘alternative facts’, whereas Meghan is loved by liberals despite also seeming to deal in ‘alternative facts’? The Trumpite Orwellian category of ‘alternative facts’ really means pushing ‘claims that do not conform to objective reality’, raged USA Today. ‘Traditionally known as false or misleading claims; also, lies’, it continued. Does that apply to the Duchess of Sussex, too? Are her claims about being an only child and getting married three days before she actually got married also ‘alternative facts’, false claims, misinformation?
This is not to say Meghan Markle is a liar. It is more complicated than that, and in a sense more sinister. She appears to be a product of the end of truth. She seems symbolic of a postmodern culture in which self-definition now takes precedence over objective reality. In which our narcissistic description of ourselves carries more weight than any anchored, measurable facts about ourselves. In which one can ‘identify’ as anything one chooses, however estranged your identification might be from material reality. A man can be a woman, despite having a penis, and Meghan Markle can be an only child, despite having siblings. That’s their truth, man.
Together Meghan and Harry have become globe-trotting moral reprimanders, with often unwittingly hilarious results. Meghan guest-edited Vogue, using it as a pulpit to preach about the evils of climate change. Yet she takes private jets the way the rest of us order Ubers, says Bower. Harry flew in a private jet to a Google camp in Sicily to speak about climate change. ‘His plane was just one of the 114 private jets, as well as a fleet of super yachts, that had ferried billionaires and celebrities to the festival.’ Later, at a press conference in Amsterdam to promote an eco-travel campaign (!), Harry is outraged when a journalist asks him about his private jet-setting. Ninety-nine per cent of my flights are commercial, he says. Actually, at least 60 per cent of your flights are private, he is informed. ‘No one is perfect’, he replies. A few days later the pair flew by private jet to attend the wedding of a close friend who was getting hitched to the son of an oil billionaire.
We may never know all the facts about some of these stories. But we should bear in mind a point Bower makes well – that in the woke ‘religion’ of Hollywood celebrities, ‘the concept of “universal truth” [is] false’. Indeed, Meghan herself has said that ‘life is about storytelling, about the stories we tell ourselves, the stories we’re told, what we buy into’. We all have the right to ‘create our own truth about the world’, she says. Behold the Princess of Postmodernism, for whom truth is whatever she says it is. I am the Truth – the final rallying cry of the narcissistic new aristocracy.