It's been a long time since I worked for the Duchess of York, and I never really talk about it. But this week she's all up in my face, because her show "The Duchess in Hull" is airing on TV in England. This idea came to her several years ago, either while she was fucked up drunk or the next morning when her sensory processing prowess was thrown clear out of whack. The idea was/is that she, the guru of all things awful like poverty, obesity and terrible dress sense would spend a week with a "fat" family and help them see the error or their ways and spew some mindless "spiritual" shit in their faces, they would immediately give up deep fried mars bars and begin a new life complete with yoga at 6am and organic artichokes.
I don't think that I'm alone in my cynism. I wish I could say it came from a good place. But really, everything she does is motivated by self promotion as a means of making money to either pay off huge debts or support an embarrasingly over indulgent lifestyle.
Her first "hurdle" with this family was to explain who she was. None of them knew who this posh person was standing in their council house. At first you might wonder how anybody these days can not recognize a "c" list celebrity such as her, but understand. This family is POOR. That means little to no tv, no magazines,and certainly no squandering money on newspapers (rags or broadsheets). "I was married to Prince Andrew. Diana was my sister-in-law. The Queen was my mother in law". WAS is the watchword here. WAS. WAS. Oh, think the family. So you WERE somebody. Good. Did you bring any money with you? Or opportunity for us to travel, or see the world or open our minds to new cultures and experiences? No, right, just you then.
My sister tells me that at one point she is sitting at the kitchen table with the Mom of the house who is smoking and overweight and obviously poor, and says to her "You and me - we're the same". FOR GOD'S SAKE, ISN'T THERE A LAW AGAINST THIS PATRONIZATION OF THE POOR AND UNEDUCATED BY THE RICH AND RETARTDED? If this woman had been fortunate enough to receive any kind of education, any kind of opportunity in her life, she may have been in a better position to respond:"Yes, we both have a vagina now fuck off out of my house you useless sack of shit".
The family was chosen well. Poor. Misguided easy victims. Probably a bit of money in it for them. The very idea that this woman can pop into this family's life, pay a little lip service about being overweight and unhappy, then fly back to New York to prop up the bar at Fredericks is nauseating. And I'm not alone. Google some of the press from TV critics in the UK. There's a reason she lives here. Everybody in England has got her number. Keeping up the royal connection to keep herself relevant. It's shameless. And smart. Because without it she has no relevance whatsoever to a current discourse on just about anything; poverty, education, obesity. Anything really.
The idea of affluent people preaching THEIR lifestyle choices to people that basically have NO easy choices due to their unenviable circumstance is maddening in and of itself. But to make a TV show out of it is cruel and unusual punishment. Stick your raw organic almonds up your bum and let the rest of us get on with the business of making ends meet the best way we know how.
Our dreams might be dashed. Our self respect however, is still very much intact.