The BBC overdid its coverage of Prince Philip’s death so massively that it received a record 110,000 complaints. Enough many shows went off the air that I started to wonder if there’d been a coup.
For the funeral, they decided to be more moderate. I’d report on what was left on the air but I wasn’t watching. Sorry. I can’t do daytime TV, even in the name of research.
I also don’t do royal-watching, but I’ll make a brief exception. The word came down ahead of time that William and Harry wouldn’t walk next to each other in the procession. You know what it’s like when the kids are both in the back seat. It starts out well enough, but then they’re arguing about who reached across the imaginary line between them, escalates to who poked who, and the next thing you know they’re throwing ice cream at each other.
The brothers–watch the procession as many times as you like if you don’t believe me–were not allowed to carry ice cream.
Not only that, no one in the family was allowed to wear uniforms, which is interesting, because the royal family does seem to enjoy playing dress up, and they all have honorary military titles to match their clothes. Except Harry, who had to give up his honorary titles when he left the family business, although he has a less impressive one left over from when he actually served in the armed forces. Andrew, who (mysteriously) is still in the family business, was insisting on his right to wear an admiral’s uniform. And stand in the prow of a ship. That was to be towed along a street flooded to a depth of–
Ellen, stop. Somebody’s going to think you’re serious. But he did want to wear an admiral’s uniform. I’d love to know who leaked that glorious bit of gossip.
Fake journalist makes real news
An online gamer called Kacey Montagu infiltrated the White House press corps, claiming to work for a nonexistent news outlet, White House News, or WHN. Or alternatively for the Daily Mail, which does exist but which she didn’t work for.
But it’s not just WHN that doesn’t exist. Neither does Kacey Montagu.
What she–and let’s call himherthem a she, since herhistheir persona is female–did was relay questions to the press secretary via other reporters. That isn’t unusual in these pandemic days. The usual 49 seats in the briefing room have been whittled down to 14, so any number of real reporters can’t be in the room, and the ones who are regularly relay questions from colleagues.
Montagu became visible in December, setting up a couple of Twitter accounts, and her tweets were useful enough (even if they do sound pretty bland) that she gathered a serious political following.
She was finally unmasked by Mediaite, a website that focuses on politics and the media, and it was her success that did her in. She asked a question about Biden’s relationship with Obama that another reporter followed up on. It wasn’t your most incisive question, but there’s no predicting what’ll grab people’s interest. Or what’ll lead to your downfall.
What Mediaite found was that Kacey Montagu was, as they put it, “a gag persona for a former Secretary of State made of Legos.”
That needs translating, doesn’t it?
Montagu was active on ROBLOX, an online global gaming platform where users call themselves Legos. Which in case you’re not laughing is a joke.
I didn’t laugh either. Even after I found out it was a joke. The best I could manage was to frown and shake my head.
Somewhere on the platform is a role-playing group called nUSA–a mock U.S. government.
I know. People do this to entertain themselves. I’ll never understand our species.
Montagu was the secretary of state at one point but resigned because ”the President went to war with some U.K. and I thought it was a pretty bad idea!”
From this we can deduce that she’s principled if not grammatically gifted.
So who is this person? She’s been careful enough not to leave a electronic trail that leads to the person behind the persona, so no one’s sure. She told one set of people that she was an 18-year-old law student from the United Kingdom who was born in the U.S. and moved to Britain at six. That six is an age, not a time of day. She told another that she was studying political science and wasn’t motivated by politics but was socially liberal and conservative on economic issues.
People who know her online are skeptical about most of that. What they’re sure of is that she bragged online about passing herself off as a reporter.
She did say “I love journalism, and I think the Press Corps is doing a pretty bad job at the moment, so I decided I would ensure some transparency and ask some questions me and some friends wanted the answer to.”
Because what’s more transparent than passing yourself off as someone else and claiming to work for a media outlet that doesn’t exist, and what’s more incisive than asking about Biden’s friendship with Obama? Talk about your burning issues.
Cake and gnome stories
Britain’s caterpillar cake wars have begun.
Well, store A, which we’ll call Marks & Spencer, since that’s what everyone else calls it, sells a cake called Colin the Caterpillar. It’s chocolate and cartoonishly caterpillarish. And since M & S is known for high-end food, it got huffy when it found that store B, which we’ll call Aldi and which is known for discount food, started selling a cheaper cake called Cuthbert the Caterpillar, which is also chocolate and cartoonishly caterpillarish and looks similarish.
So everybody’s going to court, where the lawyers will wear wigs and look cartoonishly British-lawyerish, although, disappointingly, they will not emerge from a chrysalis to show off their wings and fly.
You needed to know about this.
In the meantime, Britain is suffering through a shortage of garden gnomes. Also of garden furniture, but it’s the gnome shortage that really hurts. The problem is due to a tragic combination of Brexit, Covid, and a hangover from the Suez Canal blockage.
I don’t know what’s going to happen to this country, but it’s getting serious over here.