Let’s go to press!

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An intimate moment in Central Park. 4:30 PM. Photo: JH.

Monday, May 6, 2024. A cool weekend, temperature-wise. Actually it felt like cold although the weatherman says it’s gonna get warmer this week. He said that last week and the week before. Eventually Mother Nature will come across. Meanwhile the green is getting greaner all over town and in the parks, so that’s good for what ails ya.

Yesterday’s cover of the NY Post.

The gossip in the Post. I look at it first thing at my desk in the late morning. Its initial page when you go online is basically The Gossip. The serious is not-so even though it’s there for you to take it all in. There is often something that is actually tragic in terms of life and survival (animal lives included). A lot of victims, particularly children, women, and animals. Mainly by creeps and jerks.

I’ve been reading gossip pages in tabloids since I was a kid of ten and eleven — going on my bike to pick up the newspaper/candy store where you could buy Fleer’s Double Bubble for a penny a piece.  And the two New York tabloids for my father, the Daily News and the Daily Mirror, which was owned by William Randolph Hearst.

Probably entirely unknown today, I first read Walter Winchell when I was a kid, and was fascinated by him. He talked in print. He started out life on the stage as a kid in the early 20th century, working in vaudeville (performing). And then by the late 1930s he became the leading New York columnist in this country with an audience of 30 million readers a day (this was back when everyone read). Also, Winchell had a radio show every Sunday night at 9 pm, to which my father would sit by the radio to listen to. And I’d hang around (it was bedtime) just to hear his voice, the delivery. You believed him.

He went on the air, opening with his quick but distinct staccato delivery:

Walter Winchell on the cover of Time at the peak of his power, July 11, 1938.

“Good evening Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea … let’s go to press!”

The message to this kid listening was about the great big world out there, the one where I was gonna wish to see and meet and feel the brusque excitement of Walter Winchell’s Big Town. Someday maybe.

The Post that I look at briefly every morning all these decades later still has some of everything. What makes it different from Winchell’s column, is the gossip in today’s Posts can be an item that will give you the creeps. Like last Friday’s about a father who murdered his six-year-old son by making him exercise walking on a machine torturing him to death.

This item included a video of one of those paternal evil exercises. A six-year-old murdered by his father forcing all of his child’s energy out of himself. There’s no resolution to how it makes you feel. Not quite the neighbors’ dramas, but actually child murder. Also not the first or second or third one I’ve read on those pages over the years. We now have an open slot for that these days.

One “news” story I read only in the Post is the relationship between the Princes, William and Harry. And the public’s judgment about Harry and his wife.

Prince William, Prince Harry Happy times
The brothers during happier times. Credit: Guy Corbishley / Alamy Stock Photo

Theirs is a common family problem that occurs when there is a new major change in the life of lives of the young and upcoming adults. And with natural sibling rivalry. Such as the first stages of marriage.

You can blame it all on Meghan, which is what the press and most people who discuss it do. The problem with this kind of publicity is it’s customized to fit an opinion based entirely on your eyesight. And not knowledge. What you think of that person whom you may know by their photo, is the result of your eyesight and your imagination.

When Harry represented his country and the Throne.

That visual smudging rubbed off on Harry’s “character” who before marrying Meghan was a hero of a Prince traveling the world representing his country and the Throne. An ambassador like his now legendary mother. A great asset in the world to his country.

But now Harry’s reputation has been punched around to Forgotten. Imagine having that problem in your (new) marriage: millions of people reading about how horrible you are (sez the gossip columnists).

Now of course, the Royal family is being touched with extremely serious medical matters. This is also happening when the 21st century has ongoing lessening interest in the Lives of Royals living high, wide and grand, making public appearances for the good of … someone.

I personally think it would be ideal if poor Charles were to abdicate and turn the throne to his sister Princess Anne, a no-nonsense, intelligent woman, very much her Mother’s Daughter who from the little I’ve seen could turn her family and maybe the country into shape.

Princess Anne, very much her Mother’s Daughter.

This whole matter of the British Royal Family is not the fault of those princesses and princes, but rather the result of the way the world is going for everyone living in it.

William and Harry’s relationship mirrors the relationship of their mother and father who came before them. It is generational, just like your family. And their mother and father both individually grew up in difficult parental relations which was, of course, the result of their mother and father, the beloved Elizabeth and the father Philip who also came from “broken” family marriage/relationships but On High.

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer during their engagement. Credit: Trinity Mirror / Mirrorpix / Alamy Stock Photo

All of this is simply a “lifetime” for all of us, one that ends as irrelevant as when it was begun. The boys evidently had a good mother. One gets that impression from having watched her in public and knowing people who always knew her. Her death was a great loss for her boys.

Her marriage to Charles was an early notable disaster, but not an accident, obviously proposed by others who arranged it while never considering anything about him or her as individuals. Charles was simply Heir and the Throne was still a long way off in his life, as it turned out, Waiting for his Mother to Die.

Diana came with the background. She was a direct descendant of  Gen. John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, the hero whose armies defeated the armies of Louis XIV in the Battle of Blenheim.  Which marked a century-long Decline in the power of France in the world.

When the first duke died his only son and male heir had pre-deceased him. His daughter, Henrietta, then married to Lord Spencer, became her father’s heir, the Duchess of Marlborough. Her Spencer heirs would obviously take on the Dukedom in the following generations. The family that she began were Spencers, as were her male heirs. It was that fact that obviously made Diana an Approved Object of marrying the heir to the Throne.

Consuelo with cousin Winston Churchill, who would remain a dear friend and confidant to her throughout her life.

The name Churchill had been resumed in use replacing Spencer, taken on again by choice in the mid-19th century when John Churchill’s memory was good for the family financials, and assured England’s population of being more powerful than the Sun King whose throne by then had been gone for more than a century.

This re-naming move led to the family’s revival in the 20th century corridors of power with the presence of Winston Churchill restoring the family’s position of worldly prominence. This was enhanced when the 8th Duke of Marlborough married the teenage American railroad heiress, Consuelo Vanderbilt.

The money provided in the arrangement repaired the two centuries-old crumbling of the palace roofs, enhancing the reputation in the fields of Power as well the family coffers. Consuelo’s dowry had been $90 million in railroad stock (900 million in today’s currency).

Life went on but rather unhappily until more than two decades later when the duke and the duchess of Marlborough divorced, with both remarrying to new partners.

None of this would have made it to the Post‘s morning gossip/social page.

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