–Writing in the Guardian, columnist Marina Hyde looks at the recent debacle arising from Prince Andrew’s BBC Newsnight interview. Her story is entitled “How badly must you do your job for your own mother to fire you?” After several comparisons, she lands up with this one:
It wasn’t simply bad. It was the Heaven’s Gate of royal interviews, basically killing the entire genre. Nobody ever made westerns like they used to after Heaven’s Gate, and nobody in the royal family is going to be giving carte blanche to a BBC interviewer again in a hurry.
But the more famous thing about Heaven’s Gate, of course, wasn’t that it ended westerns – but that it ended its studio. Michael Cimino’s monster flop effectively collapsed the entire studio that produced it, United Artists – and the question after Andrew’s interview is how dangerous his monster flop is to the royal family that produced him. In the warp and weft of the UK’s royal story, people are always looking for the incident about which they will end up saying: “Well, in retrospect, that was the moment …” Some royal historians are already judging Andrew’s interview as seismically as Edward VIII’s abdication.
Maybe. Either way, it should always be remembered that the abdication crisis was hugely enjoyed by the public. As Evelyn Waugh remarked in a 1936 diary entry: “The Simpson crisis has been a great delight to everyone. At Maidie’s nursing home they report a pronounced turn for the better in all adult patients. There can seldom have been an event that has caused so much general delight and so little pain.” [Diaries, 8 Dec. 1936, p. 415].
Maidie refers to Maidie Hollis. wife of Waugh’s Oxford friend Christopher Hollis. She had been in a nursing home in Bristol since September after a miscarriage (Ibid. pp. 407-08). Waugh goes on to mention that “Conrad [Russell] lunched with me on Sunday, very happy with the crisis. Perry [Brownlow] is out with Simpson in Cannes. If it had not been for Simpson this would have been a very bitter week.” Waugh’s friend Perry Brownlow was Lord-in-Waiting to Edward VIII.
–Another comment on this topic also cites Waugh. This is by Charles Moore in his regular Spectator column:
Staying with a relation [in Scotland], I picked up from beside my bed Evelyn Waugh’s When The Going Was Good, a collection mainly of travel pieces written in 1930-31. In it, he describes discussions with tribal elders in Aden which centre on the King-Emperor and how pretty Princess Elizabeth is. Has it ever happened before in human history that one living person’s face and character have been known and loved right across the world for more than 90 years? This snippet helped put the Duke of York business in perspective.
The travel pieces collected cover the years 1929-35. Chapter Three (“Globe Trotting 1930-31”) is excerpted from Remote People and relates, inter alia, to the stop in Aden
–The monthly Mexican magazine Este País has a review of the book Letras sobre un dios mineral: El petróleo mexicano en la narrativa (“Letters about a mineral god: Mexican oil in written narratives”) by Edith Negrín. Waugh’s 1939 book Robbery Under Law is one of those about the Mexican petroleum industry that is considered and compared by Negrín to other works. According to the review:
The report on the expropriation, Robbery Under Law, by the English writer Evelyn Waugh, written on request against Lázaro Cárdenas, may be “the most racist and derogatory pages ever written about us.”
The review is written in Spanish by Pável Granados who is apparently quoting from the book by Negrín. The translation is by Google with a few edits.
–A new biography of David Ben-Gurion, founder of the modern state of Israel is reviewed in the journal The American Interest. The book is by Tom Segev and the review, by Ben Judah. The review opens with this:
A new biography about Israel’s founder shows that the idea of one political Jewish people is a myth, an illusion.