Greetings, my fellow port swillers!
The passing this week of Debo, Dowager Dutchess of Devonshire and last of the Mitford sisters prompts this article in today’s UK Telegraph: The Mitfords and the Kardashians: class vs trash.
They dazzled, outraged and added immeasurably to the gaiety of the nation; only a churl could fail to shed a nostalgic tear for the passing of Debo Mitford. The death, aged 94, of the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, the last of the glamorously posh, gloriously eccentric Mitford Girls, marks the end of an era. And the beginning of a new one.
Times change, modern mores evolve, and if it is true that every generation gets the celebrity dynasty it deserves, then we must (however reluctantly) pass the baton on to another clan of strong women. Yes, Kardashians, it is your time to shine.
Most of the rest of the article really boils down to comparative trivia.
Apart from the headline (which she probably didn’t write) and the second paragraph quoted above, the author remains fairly ambiguous about whether this change is a Good Thing or a Bad Thing. Needless to say, ol’ Robbo thinks it a perfectly Horrid Thing, even while he believes the author to be spot on. “Evolve” is misused here, however, because to the average person it implies to get better. I’d have said metastasized. Show me the evidence that things – politics, culture, morals, civility et al. – have got better. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Know what this reminds me of? The evolution (there’s that word again!) of the Official Preppy Handbook. The original was a (very gently snarky) compendium of rock-solid Old Guard New England Upper and Upper-Middle values and standards. The new one is an abomination of post-modern nouveau chic (a lot of which, come to think of it, applying to the Kardashians).
I don’t really know what else to say about it other than Gawd help us.
UPDATE: Apropos musickal riff, inspired by RBJ. Enjoy!