So Facebook's algorithms have finally got it right, predicting a moment of deviation from my normal path. Yes, it must have been a rather odd confluence of circumstances that put a Daily Mail link in my feed, but - like the fool I am - I clicked on it. It was a write-up of Piers Morgan's most recent Twitter exchange with a bunch of people on the subject of Meghan Markle (and by association Prince Harry, of course). I read the first bit, just to see exactly what was being discussed: Morgan doesn't think that the criticism of Meghan Markle comes from racism against her. That point, in itself, seems a fair one to make. Just because you don't like someone, or you want to criticise their decisions, that does not mean that you are prejudiced against that person. I went through a bit of a crisis of my own liberal values when I took an intense dislike to someone I had met who was (and presumably still is) gay, and because he was so overtly gay, I made the wrong connection and assumed that it was his homosexuality that I didn't like. It wasn't that, of course, but it did take me some thinking to get around to reconciling myself with what I had felt.
So, Piers Morgan may well just dislike Meghan Markle's personality or her decisions. But the extraordinary rant that was the second part of the article I read, which I - not being familiar with the Mail except for the odd story appearing in my phone news feed - assume must have been something he had written for a print editorial, was, as I suggest in the title, ridiculous and terrifying. Piers Morgan has, on account of his somewhat inexplicable presence on daytime TV and the continuing publication of his views in mainstream newspapers (and, probably, because of his participation on Twitter) got the ear of a decent proportion of the people of this country. And if that is representative of what people are reading - in this case about two relatively minor public figures, who have perhaps erred in the timing or the manner of their announcement about their future, but not so clearly erred in the content of it - then I despair, because it is so lacking in nuance, in balance, in any kind of depth of thought about the situation.
But then, nuance and depth of thought are not the prevailing wind of today, not at least in the mainstream of news media and politics. One need only think back to the general election campaign, in which a three word slogan seemed to be the thing that appealed most to the public, for evidence of that. Morgan makes a career, as far as I can tell, of representing the man on the street view, the sort of small-c conservative world-picture that sees the white poppy as a disgrace because it mourns the death of Osama Bin Laden. One wonders if he would maintain that sort of view in private, but the raggedly askew arguments that he brings out whenever confronted with a bleeding-heart liberal suggest that perhaps he really would...
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought