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  #761  
Old 02-19-2013, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by cepe View Post
She didn't take any pot-shots at Catherine - she made them at the media.
Ms. Mantel seems like an incredibly smart woman with a decent sense of humor- I imagine she knew there was a fair chance her comments would be taken out of context, although I doubt she realized that an academic lecture on royal history would get this much attention. The lesson is that anyone of any note who dares to bring Catherine's name up in a way that doesn't follow the party line is probably going to find themselves on the front page.

It must be frustrating though- to put so much care into choosing your words and work so hard to express some very subtle emotions and thoughts in an accessible way and then have so many people criticize without bothering to learn the context.
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  #762  
Old 02-19-2013, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
This actually has me very interested in reading her books- I think I'll stop by the library tomorrow and get the first one.

Ms. Mantel's perspective on royal history sounds really, really fascinating. It's a bit sad that her words are being deliberately misconstrued.

Here is the link to the full piece should anyone want to read it without the editorial input of the various royal reporters: Hilary Mantel ∑ Royal Bodies ∑ LRB 21 February 2013
Good heavens, you don't think anyone would really want to read the real deal rather than misquote the misquotes in high dudgeon!

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Originally Posted by Hollie View Post
I am willing to bet 9 in 10 people who commented on the Hilary Mantel's comment did not read the full actual speech

And I feel quite sorry for the author because I feel that piece was pretty well written. This is like the official portrait "scandal" all over again.
You said it. One smart lady pitching to a particular slice of academia hijacked and used as a battering ram!

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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
You should go back and read the piece again. The "cruel" remarks were not about Kate herself- they were about the public persona created for her by the media and of how she's portrayed within that sphere. They were not about Kate personally- she was dismantling media archetypes and pointing out that for most of her marriage, Kate was spoken of only in terms of what she wore- no real attempts were made by the media to cover any other aspect of her story, plus she's private so there wasn't much else to cover. Now that she's pregnant, she's being spoken of only in terms of her pregnancy and a whole new madonna-like media myth will emerge, which will still totally ignore Kate's intellect and personality. To succeed in her role, she has to hold herself back and be as neutral as possible and it must occasionally be frustrating. I think this piece nailed that.

And Hillary Mantel did not insinuate that Kate doesn't read or even what she ought to read- she opened with a thought experiment about which book she'd give a famous person to read, and chose Kate and a book on the role of royal women and how they've been perceived at different historical points. It's a good answer.

I honestly think that Kate is educated enough to read that piece herself should she wish to do it and understand that it was not insulting to her. It's if anything, quite sympathetic.
I admire the author and I think her choice of gift was nothing short of inspiring.

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Originally Posted by EIIR View Post
The Prime Minister has now been drawn into the controversy over Mantel's comments, calling them "completely wrong" according to the BBC News channel.

To put this in context, the PM is currently on an official visit to India. The fact that he felt it necessary to publicly comment on this is totally bonkers.
And I am absolutely positive he carefully read the entire speech before he planted his size 12's right in his mouth! I mean, let's just sideline the whole purpose of his official visit to India and insult his hosts whilst he attends to an urgent political situation at home . . . and then to go on international TV and show his arrogance, ignorance and total lack of political nous and diplomatic savvy!

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Originally Posted by cepe View Post
She didn't take any pot-shots at Catherine - she made them at the media.
In a perfect nutshell!

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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
Ms. Mantel seems like an incredibly smart woman with a decent sense of humour- I imagine she knew there was a fair chance her comments would be taken out of context, although I doubt she realised that an academic lecture on royal history would get this much attention. The lesson is that anyone of any note who dares to bring Catherine's name up in a way that doesn't follow the party line is probably going to find themselves on the front page.

It must be frustrating though- to put so much care into choosing your words and work so hard to express some very subtle emotions and thoughts in an accessible way and then have so many people criticise without bothering to learn the context.
Poor Helen Mantel. Whatever did she do to deserve the vilification of the uninformed.
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  #763  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cepe View Post
She didn't take any pot-shots at Catherine - she made them at the media.
It sounds like everyone owes Ms. Mantel an apology, including David Cameron, who made a bit of a fool of himself.
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  #764  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:21 PM
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Poor Hillary Mantel, indeed. She can't even make an academic lecture without people going postal over a supposed attack on Catherine. An intellectual, thought-provoking speech is dragged through the mud because people have a knee-jerk reaction to the words without truly understanding the meaning. People hurl abuse at an award-winning author, disparaging her looks and calling her jealous. This is akin to the unlucky portraitist who dared rendered Kate in a way that he truly saw her that was unpopular to the public. Woe betide anyone who doesn't toe the line, or you'll get public retribution. This a terrible witch hunt and David Cameron should have known better than to have involved himself in it. He's just fanning the flames by his participation.
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  #765  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by GracieGiraffe View Post
It sounds like everyone owes Ms. Mantel an apology, including David Cameron, who made a bit of a fool of himself.
Well at least he has the Leader of the Opposition to keep him company.
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  #766  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:44 PM
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This is a classic example how so many read in such a hurry that they miss the true meaning.
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  #767  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Grandma828 View Post
This is a classic example how so many read in such a hurry that they miss the true meaning.
It's also a reminder of why the average news story is written at an eighth grade reading level- most people don't have the time or patience to parse anything with more nuance to it.
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  #768  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by GracieGiraffe View Post
It sounds like everyone owes Ms. Mantel an apology, including David Cameron, who made a bit of a fool of himself.
I wonder if THAT will ever happen!
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  #769  
Old 02-19-2013, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
It's also a reminder of why the average news story is written at an eighth grade reading level- most people don't have the time or patience to parse anything with more nuance to it.
You just can't let Hillary Martel loose on the general public, she's too intellectual for many to comprehend!
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  #770  
Old 02-20-2013, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
It's also a reminder of why the average news story is written at an eighth grade reading level- most people don't have the time or patience to parse anything with more nuance to it.
You might be overestimating the public. I was always told when giving a speach to keep it at a grade 4 level.
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  #771  
Old 02-20-2013, 12:30 AM
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Alison Weir has written a response article to the one done by Hillary Mantel. It's definitely more Catherine-friendly, if you will. I think the bottom line is, as Ms. Weir points out, that no matter what Catherine does, she cannot win. There will always be those who are out for blood, and want to criticize and tear apart her every move.

Kate Middleton: the perfect royal consort - Telegraph
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  #772  
Old 02-20-2013, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Daria_S View Post
Alison Weir has written a response article to the one done by Hillary Mantel. It's definitely more Catherine-friendly, if you will. I think the bottom line is, as Ms. Weir points out, that no matter what Catherine does, she cannot win. There will always be those who are out for blood, and want to criticize and tear apart her every move.

Kate Middleton: the perfect royal consort - Telegraph
That was a strange response I think. I admire and respect Alison Weir and if anyone has the background to put Mantel's comments into perspective, it's her- but I just don't agree with her take on this. I think she's making the same mistake Hilary Mantel was arguing against and conflating the public Kate with the private one. The comments about the couple being clearly in love based on their public body language and about Kate's aspirations and desires rubbed me the wrong way- not because I think what Ms. Weir says is inaccurate, but because I think she's engaging in exactly what the original piece warned against: looking in from the outside and expecting that you can see what's really there and that you have some insight into the "Real Kate".

I feel a bit hypocritical- clearly I enjoy doing that or I wouldn't be a member here. But I also recognize how quickly it can shift from fun and harmless curiosity into something more destructive and obsessive- we've got a few good examples in the not too distant past to remind us of that.
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  #773  
Old 02-20-2013, 01:32 AM
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What is happening to Hilary is not like what happened to that painter; he did a horrible job and people commented on how bad It was. Hilary gave an intellectual academic speech and had bits of it cut out and a false story was invented and fed to the masses.
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  #774  
Old 02-20-2013, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Daria_S View Post
Alison Weir has written a response article to the one done by Hillary Mantel. It's definitely more Catherine-friendly, if you will. I think the bottom line is, as Ms. Weir points out, that no matter what Catherine does, she cannot win. There will always be those who are out for blood, and want to criticize and tear apart her every move.

Kate Middleton: the perfect royal consort - Telegraph
As I wrote in an earlier post, this is exactly how I read Mantel's piece as well and found Mantel's critizism uncalled for.
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  #775  
Old 02-20-2013, 05:16 AM
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If thats the case, I think it's the media's fault that Hilary Mantel's lecture was misunderstood. They presented it as if Hilary was judging The Duchess of Cambridge very unfairly. If an apology is needed, it should come from members of the press who took Hilary's lecture and made it into an attack on Her Royal Highness.

I still can't help but think Mantel's thoughts about The Duchess of Cambridge was unfair but she's entitled to her opinions. I think Catherine knows who she really is and I think William is happy that he married the woman he love and respect.

This too shall past.
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  #776  
Old 02-20-2013, 07:53 AM
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I think this is the best paragraph in Hilary's whole essay:

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I used to think that the interesting issue was whether we should have a monarchy or not. But now I think that question is rather like, should we have pandas or not? Our current royal family doesn’t have the difficulties in breeding that pandas do, but pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment. But aren’t they interesting? Aren’t they nice to look at? Some people find them endearing; some pity them for their precarious situation; everybody stares at them, and however airy the enclosure they inhabit, it’s still a cage.
I've thought about this a bit in the past few years and it has made me realise that I am certain I have no interest in being a member of any royal family today and I am also certain in my mind that royals shouldn't hold any power. I also hold a very low degree of interest in current royals, compared to those long gone.

The royals that I am interested in and I respect are people that died a very long time ago. They lived when the monarchy had complete sway, so while you could get the complete crazies and nasties treating people like dirt, you also got amazing, cunning, self-empowered, brilliant people who wanted to improve society and look after their people, like Elizabeth I, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Anne of Brittany, Melisende of Jerusalem, Theodora I (for the purposes of this conversation, I've chosen women because the Mantel/Kate issue has raised a lot of points about the singular, base function of many royal women).

I think in part, because of the scope of royalty has (rightfully) been so limited in modern times, you get a bunch of people on show who from the outside seem rather feckless and inoffensive, and appear even more one dimensional because of their essential uselessness in a era where utility and purpose are emphasised as paramount.

In these long gone times, because of the then-essential nature of royalty and their influence, these people had purpose and of course real, world-shattering drama in their lives, which gives them so much gravitas compared to royalty today, who are reduced to ribbon-cutters, and yes 'mannequins'. Kate's 'crime' is joining herself with a near endangered species, who are only permitted to be aesthetic, and are required in public to be essentially, polite but valueless voids. This is why some people hate her, and yet she is just filling the job description for royalty as it stands today. It's a hard path.

I'm sorry, I've rambled on quite a bit. To lighten the mood, David Cameron after he reads (or has someone explain) Hilary's thesis to him and realises he should have never weighed in on the topic in the first place:

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  #777  
Old 02-20-2013, 09:06 AM
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Very sad that after a life trying to be a useful person and succeeding brillantly, there are still people who consider Prince Charles to not be much more than an animal.... In which world do you live?

How many people did you or Hilary Mantel help out of the gutter into a new, meaningful life? But no, because a lot of people want to look at the Royals they have no value? How shallow a view is this?
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  #778  
Old 02-20-2013, 09:06 AM
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I have just read that Mantel made her speech on 4 February. Why the media decided to comment on her few selected sentences on the day of kate's engagement (19 February) is truly a great mystery.
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  #779  
Old 02-20-2013, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by HRHHermione View Post
That was a strange response I think. I admire and respect Alison Weir and if anyone has the background to put Mantel's comments into perspective, it's her- but I just don't agree with her take on this. I think she's making the same mistake Hilary Mantel was arguing against and conflating the public Kate with the private one. The comments about the couple being clearly in love based on their public body language and about Kate's aspirations and desires rubbed me the wrong way- not because I think what Ms. Weir says is inaccurate, but because I think she's engaging in exactly what the original piece warned against: looking in from the outside and expecting that you can see what's really there and that you have some insight into the "Real Kate".

I feel a bit hypocritical- clearly I enjoy doing that or I wouldn't be a member here. But I also recognize how quickly it can shift from fun and harmless curiosity into something more destructive and obsessive- we've got a few good examples in the not too distant past to remind us of that.
Great post. I feel exactly the same way about both things.

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Originally Posted by NGalitzine View Post
You might be overestimating the public. I was always told when giving a speach to keep it at a grade 4 level.
I've learn that one should adapt the level of our speech to the audience. In Mantell's case, she was not talking to the masses (who seem not to have more than grade 4 level sometimes), she was giving a speech in a lecture at the British Museum, organized by the London Book Reviews. She was somehow talking to her peers, so she shouldn't need to translate all her reasoning to 4 or 8 grade levels.

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I have just read that Mantel made her speech on 4 February. Why the media decided to comment on her few selected sentences on the day of kate's engagement (19 February) is truly a great mystery.
that's a good question but it's even more interesting when you follow some royal reporters on twitter and yesterday some of them were implying that the timing of her speech was publicity seeking from her part. This was at the very beginning before we all started to notice the speech was done a few weeks ago.
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  #780  
Old 02-20-2013, 09:48 AM
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I have just read that Mantel made her speech on 4 February. Why the media decided to comment on her few selected sentences on the day of kate's engagement (19 February) is truly a great mystery.
No great mystery at all, your post explains exactly why the media posted this story yesterday.
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