Why do we ponder and discuss such detailed and intimate parts of the lives of notable people such as the Duchess of Cambridge and the Queens of Europe? Is it not an invasion of their privacy, and rather immoral and impolite at the very least, to give such a deep analysis of such things as the homes, outings, tastes, daily lifestyle, and our own personal opinions of these figures? Why not just wait until these subjects are deceased, like the individuals ‘normal’ historians and anthropologists study?
These questions have several answers, so let’s explore the topic at some length in a future conversation. The short answer though, is that such analysis and commentary is interesting to a wide audience, and not just academics. Humans are social animals, throughout our history and our evolution we have always been deeply interested in the activities, interests, and lifestyles of others. It is part of our nature to admire, to imitate, to adapt the ideas of another to our own preferences and culture. Wonder and imagination allows us to live a hundred thousand lifetimes in one, to experience the world through the eyes and minds of others, and to form a deep understanding and kinship with entire other cultures and societies through this act of experiencing someone else’s life.
I write about the living because I am interested in how they live, and I believe it does form an important part of the entire world narrative that forms our human history and global society. Especially compelling are the the life stories of widely followed figures who knowingly offer their lives into the public realm in exchange for occupation, status, wealth, or a place in the historical narrative. The physical privacy of these individuals should be protected, but their intellectual privacy, the privacy to be free from speculation, imagination, and wonder… this is a privacy that no individual human can be afforded, because whether it is written or unwritten, spoken out loud or whispered only in thought… every detail and activity of these people’s lives is being scrutinized, analyzed, evaluated, and discussed into the most abstract and archaic ways, by millions of people at any given instant in time.
The amount of material generated on these topics and about every aspect of these individuals is staggering, material that is often erroneous, poorly analyzed, lacking in research, composure, or basic good taste. There is very little impartial high-quality journalism or academic dialog circulating on these topics – subjects which are still considered by many to be in the realm of popular culture rather than world history. Such an attitude is cavalier, dismissive, and illogical – these are people who are going to be studied now and for many years to come, and the best way to do this is respectfully, with high journalistic and academic integrity, and also through the lens of human compassion.
Let’s change the stories from tabloid to biography, let’s elevate the conversation and make things interesting while still keeping it classy. Stay tuned for articles on society, notable personages, and modern lifestyle in the upcoming Lady & Duchess Journal.