Personally, I am pretty much done with romanticizing and glorifying Wealth Porn, the Aristocrats/Nobles and the Royals.
The Relatable Royal Trope, Explained
I've noticed that whenever a royal is supposed to be from a fictional country, 90% of the time they'll adopt a posh British accent, for whatever reason. Case in point, Vanessa Hudgens in "The Princess Switch", or the royals in "A Christmas Prince!"
Movie: I'm just a teenager who have to rule the whole country, i'm conventionally attractive, rich and two hot guys are fighting for my love... isn't this relatable? Everyone watching: no Queen Elizabeth II: OH MY GOD-
Historian Sarah Maza pointed out that not only did Marie Antoinette never say let them eat cake, but she probably didn't notice the poor people of France long enough to make such a statement. Though you can sympathize with an older Marie, having had her son ripped away from her before losing her own head. Definitely a historical figure who fell onto both extremes of the villain and victim scale
Or with the younger Marie-Antoinette, who was forced to quit her country and all her family and friends at 14 years old to marry a person she never met before in a foreign country ^^' Marie-Antoinette had nothing of a vilain, I think, she was just an innocent girl who wasn't really happy. She had almost no power in Versailles, and just tried to live with the opulence of the court (wich was not more costly than all the queens and favorites before ^^). The thing is as soon as she get on the throne, the nobles started to criticize her, as a way to criticize the king, she was accused of being sterile and when she had a child, they said it was the child of soeone else than the king. And during the Revolution, they preferred to attack the Queen rather the King, because she was a stranger (the Austrian ^^) and not the king by divine right.
I think one of the reasons people in non-monarchist countries have such a fascination with monarchy comes from fairy tales. Since most of the first stories we're told as children are fairy tales, and those are passed down from medieval times, when monarchies were considered normal, it makes sense that these stories (and especially their Disney adaptations) would make royalty seem more magical to us.
I think its good that these stories exist. We are so tired of our own problems that we don't want to face them in our entertainment too, but escape them. When we see people who seem to "have it all" not necessarily be happy just because they have fame and money and privilege, its comforting to us. It reminds us happiness does not depend on those things, and gives us optimism for the future, and reminds us we should try to find happiness in the little things in our daily life, rather than pine for things that are, for most if us, out of our reach
On the reluctant royal bit: it reminds me of the Game of Thrones last season where the question of 'who would be best to rule' had the idea that maybe it should be 'someone who doesn't want it'- the contradiction was that the last king that didn't want to rule was terrible at it, preferring to indulge themselves rather than serve.
There does seem to be a definite trend within historical or period drama, which portrays significant events from the perspective of privileged or elite groups, instead of from the perspectives of ordinary people who lived through these times. Not a positive development, IMHO. There was a great British drama series in the 90's, "Our Friend's in the North", which is a notable example of the second category. There hasn't been a show quite like this since then.
There is always that tension in British drama between twee snobbery and kitchen sink drama. It is understood 'royal' portrayals are going to be tidier, less graphic, generally 'cosier'; the royal character at the centre of the story may moan I'm so stifled, I want a real life but the film no longer has to depict a real life from the past that could have included nasty things like prostitution, poverty, hunger, crime, and its aftermath, which would affect its Universal rating, or boring things like dull, repetitive factory employment, illiteracy or a lack of access to education, and dull, cheap clothes people couldn't afford to replace in every scene. Instead, they can focus on the stunning scenes of a big house, estate, fabulous dinners and extreme fashions; Downton Abbey was the worst offender for this. Our Friends in the North was epic in that it dealt with the real reasons behind the fading of the postwar dream for so many people; slum housing estates as opportunists used low grade materials and kept the profits (see Grenfell for the enduring legacy), loss of manufacturing, as well as the things that made it much more interesting, with increased living standards, the ability to own your own business, the best access to education most people had ever seen, the working class chance to actually become an artist or a musician, for example, which even now is reverting back to the middle classes. I felt it maybe did slide into being excessively arthouse when it dealt with the 60s-70s gangsterism and prostitution, even although it was about the general loss of decency and the corruption of the police, I felt like it enjoyed those scenes too much as a production. I also feel it missed the other big development of the postwar era which was increased immigration, integration and multiculturalism, it didn't grasp that literally most of these things happened to everyone, not just the white working class, which is an unnecessary distinction. However, Our Friends in the North should definitely get its own video, it was the last of the BBC's serious playwrights do event TV imo. I actually can't think of a British series that ambitious to compare it with today.
I think the American fascination with royals is precisely BECAUSE we don't have them. To us, royalty is like a shiny toy we threw away. We don't really want the toy back, but hey, now our brother is playing with it and that's not fair! You always want what you don't have.
The media's obsession with the Royal Family is SO. VERY. WEIRD.
As an Irish person living in the UK, the fact that I have to pay taxes to the royal family is my joker origin story.
The tourism excuse is bull, the French haven’t had a monarchy for nearly 300 years and Versailles still gets 10million visitors every year.
I'll never blame a 19 year old who had been pursued since 16 by a full adult with as much power as a monarch. Diana might have known partially what she was getting into but it doesn't justify anything that happened to her
Irish journalist Patrick Freyne wrote: “Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.”
"Oh, but Diana chooooose the Royal life" Oh, yes, when you're a 19 year old who's working at a preschool and the heir to the throne of your country proposes to you there's definitely not like... Tonnes and tonnes of pressure to accept or anything. It's trivial to say no to a proposal by the next monarch of your country.
Piers Morgan's obsession with Meghan Markle reminds me of Ben Shapiro's obsession with AOC. It's just like when a middle school boy has a crush on a girl who he knows is out of his league and never has a chance with. He thinks about her all the time so he really leans into the fact that he hates her in order to deflect from the fact that he never has a chance and so he can talk about her all the time.
"Lets fight racism together but let's not hold famous racists accountable" do these people even hear themselves? It literally doesn't make sense
Abolish the Monarchy! - A response to CGP Grey
Nothing that Shaun said, is changed by the Queen's death, except that maybe the monarchy will have a harder time keeping itself together without her.
Americans typically go to England rather than France because they prefer to go to other English speaking countries (also including: Ireland, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand).
As a French person, just pausing the video to comment on the tourism and Versaille, one of the point of not having royalty anymore is that people can actually visit the palace ! Not just stand outside and watching the royal guard making their show... well for free ^^ Getting back to the video now !
Bichen Up Ur -
Shaun: Abolish the royals because gives real facts and evidence Me: Abolish the royal family because I'm tired of hearing about them in the press
It's really interesting to see the American obsession with the royal family. Go to any American supermarket and look at the celebrity magazines they put up near the checkout counter, and you'll likely see pictures of the royal family. Americans literally fought a war to escape the influence of the British monarchy, and now we idolize that same monarchy. It's bizarre. I've even gotten into arguments with Americans about the British monarchy. You'd be surprised how many Americans will respond to criticism of the monarchy with the "tourism" argument.
"hard work is rewarded" the crowd snickers, the queen struggles to keep a straight face "shut up you guys shut up i'm reading..."
Living in Denmark, another constitutional monarchy, I used to be ambivalent about maintaining the monarchy but not long ago she stated in an interview that we shouldn't panic about climate change and generally questioned whether it is anthropogenic. This isn't surprising since she is old and out of touch with the real world but I foolishly thought that there was an unspoken rule that the royals shouldn't share politically loaded opinions She is highly regarded by a large portion of the population and these statements does sway opinions. In my opinion this negates all the minimal good she might have done through out her rule.
The Crown: an analysis of Conservative Feminism
There’s a wonderful video that depicts the reaction to Thatcher’s death in Glasgow (one of the main cities in Scotland where she was DESPISED by most) and someone asked a protestor about her view on her and to paraphrase she replies “she did nothing for women, she got her position and pulled the ladder up behind her, why would you want a prime minister who is a warmonger, who rips the heart out of countries, why would you want that in a leader of any sex”
Excellent analysis. It is true that Margret Thatcher or let's say more recently Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett have broken the glass ceiling for women in their respective spheres - however, once in power, they've acted against women's interests (as well as men's) by resisting or in some cases reversing much needed gender-equality work. So no, personally, I don't believe there's such thing as conservative feminism. Anyways, I just subscribed. Keep up the good work!
Margaret teacher was like “rights but just for me cuz I deserve it“
Thatcher is peak "not like other girls" energy. Also, you touched on it a bit, but I think class plays a huge unacknowledged role in conservative female leaders. I mean in order to "do it all" they have to be able to afford a lot of help. I think race plays into it too. Like, conservative upper class white women protect tradition because in a racist patriarchal classist system, they're just one step away from the most privileged social position and they want to protect their place near the top.
I think the topic of conservative feminism definitely appears in the hulu series Mrs. America. It follows various women during the 1970s, including real life second-wave feminists such as Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, and Bella Abzug. I think you should check it out!
In my opinion a lot of people use the concept of “meritocracy “ to justify their on lack of empathy. I really hate the mentality if I suffer you have to suffer too, or the mentality of “young people don’t know the hardships of life” like shouldn’t be that the idea to have a better happier future and second that’s fake sadly all generations have their own hardships and pains.
For me the problem with considering Thatcher as a feminist is that she represent (in public space at least) the embodiment of masculinity. So saying she has proven that all women can do what they want seems pretty toxic for me, because she just proves that a woman have to become like the men to success like the men. So, in the end the femininity and the feminine women are still seen as inferior to masculinity and men, because it creates this idea that only masculinity is successful in this world (which is maybe true because of capitalism). France and the US have different politics, so making a distinction between conservative/liberal or between white/intersectional feminism isn't something I find relevant (but I suppose it's just cultural difference), because for me the question is : Do we want women to do like men to have the same value, or do we want women to be seen as equal for what they do even if they're different from men?
Downton Abbey - Aristo-Trash | Renegade Cut
Dialectical Vegan Egoist
"The rich are not just players in the game, they are the referees, that's why they always win." -Renegade Cut
As an Indian watching this show I never forgot what the British was doing in India during the time it was set in. I did like the show, but still it was hard to ignore the reality of what was being blatantly ignored.
"If a rich man wants to help the poor he should pay his taxes, not dole out money at a whim,"-Clement Attlee, UK Prime Minister from 1945.
For me, watching Downton Abbey is an spectacle of alienation. It's truly like watching a show about aliens, the society they portray is so far away from reality, particularly from my reality... and there's also alienation in a marxist way.
My mom is a huge downtown fan. On a long trip she put on this behind the scenes feature examining Edwardian life and customs from the show’s posh manners expert. It was mind numbingly awful. Basically it was examining all these baroque customs and mannerisms and that they were so important and good. Basically these people were taught to be psychopaths who never showed emotion or weakness. One thing that was especially interesting was how the servants were never supposed to be thanked for their service.
When I started talking to my mom about how bad the aristocracy was, she started telling me about how "They employed so many people..."
What makes the character arc of Tom Branson even worse is that he’s Irish and by the end of the series - the movie - he’s licking the boots of his British colonisers.
I love Downton as a guilty pleasure but have always been aware of it's flaws. Interestingly enough, Thomas Barrow is my favourite character. I always found Fellowes' treatment of him really cruel: he starts the series as a stereotypical "evil gay" but is outspoken about injustice and classicism. And the series beats him and beats him and beats him down until he's a quiet shadow of himself. But it's okay! Because the Crawleys know he's gay and do the bare minimum required of accepting his sexuality by NOT firing him and turning him into the police as according to the Labouchere Amendment! (also I'll never forgive Fellowes for writing Thomas as a predatory gay right out of nowhere in Season 3)
“Downton Abbey is a really engaging show that is also bad” is the perfect way to put it, kudos. As someone from a staunchly working-class background, media portraying the 1% as sympathetic has always been a kind of guilty pleasure for me; this video neatly articulated why feeling uncomfortable watching it makes sense. Keep up the good work!
I remember when Lord Grantham said that the purpose of the nobility was to provide employment. But do they lose their titles if they stop providing employment? No, of course not.
I watched Downton Abbey for the settings and costumes (I'm a sucker for fashion from decades and centuries past), but the Crowleys were always the most boring, insufferable part of the show, especially Mary. It's kind of hard to sympathize with someone who has literally EVERYTHING whinging about minor inconvieniences when it's juxtaposed next to people who are facing issues that can quite literally destroy their lives. Mary is the fucking worst.
The Liberal Escapism of Bridgerton
i can’t stand how Hollywood’s idea of diversity means only black and white actors as if they two are the only races that exist
It's so frustrating that 'period piece' means almost exclusively a regency or victorian American/British setting. History is vast and complex yet we keep reusing the same five sets over and over again
The fact that they had no time to delve into race but had all the time to delve into gender relations is very much giving me “white feminist that thinks interracial relationships conquer all”
the idea that a king marrying a black woman would erase racism is so horribly out of touch. we've seen how a biracial woman has been treated after marrying into the british royal family, and racism is unfortunately still alive and well
I think “colorblind” casting can work in historical inspired fantasy settings when it’s made clear it’s a fantasy setting bc otherwise it rly comes off as rewriting history esp when there’s social issues at the heart of the story.
To Bridgerton, racial assimilation is preferred over cultural pluralism.
The Black Cinephile
This is a different perspective on Bridgerton that I haven't been exposed to, so thank you! Hollywood wants to pat itself on the back for showing racism in a film, but also doesn't want to shake the table by showing a more complex depiction of how racism actually is. Race is almost always shown in a palatable way in the media. I'm not sure if we'd ever see a widely-released/highly publicized film or TV show that addresses racial history/racial themes in a way that isn't extremely simplified
I watched BLACK VENUS while watching Bridgerton. It's the story of Sarah Baartman, a black woman whose life of was filled with violence and exploitation during the rrgency period. The stark contrast of real biographical black women and made up black women who serve as the best black friend, the comedic relief, and backbone without much nuance is real.
The character of Eloise was also a major example of the shows failure at making social commentary. She spends the entire series complaining about how her life is hard bc she doesn’t want to get married, she has multiple moments that think are meant to be “girl boss” moments where she schools the men in her life about how hard it is to me a woman, but every time it made me cringe. the show completely ignores her class privilege. Unlike the other girls in the series, Eloise could actually AFFORD not to marry but the show was so committed to making women the most oppressed members of the society. It felt so tone deaf and I was so surprised when it turned out she was a fan favorite.
Oh god, that "Love Conquers All" scene made every cell in my body cringe, it's so uncomfortable to hear black-white race relations described in the same terms as, like, elves and dwarves or sth. Augh, who would decide to do that over a Hamilton sort of situation or a simple "racism has never existed in this universe" AU??? Surely this has all of the same downsides and more!
The Tragedy of Being Rich | James Somerton
Great video as always, James one thing I want to say is I am an American whom has struggled with a small handful of mental health issues including Bipolar 1 my entire life and has spent most of my entire life unmedicated and untreated due to a lack of insurance (short of the occasional emergency hospital visit, only some of which do i even remember being checked into because bipolar is just such a treat ). If you, whom ever is reading this, are an American and you struggle with mental health and don't have insurance, i IMPLORE you to please call 211, it's the national mental health hotline. Results may vary but i live in a red state and despite that 211 put me in touch with a local hospital which has a commonwealth program which has given me a therapist, a psychiatrist, has paid for my meds, and a caseworker. I called 211 in 2020 in crisis and now two years later, I'm doing better than i ever could have imagined in my wildest dreams (mental health wise; still poor, still single, but look I'll take a miracle whenever I can get one). Like I'm actually stable and happy...regularly. which was literally unimaginable for me as recently as a few years ago. It's not a perfect system but in 2 years i haven't had to pay for a thing and I mean zero hyperbole when I say that 211 very literally saved my life
I've always found the theme in media that rich = cold, detached family. And that poor = warm loving family strange. Like, sure sometimes it's like that in real life but poor families can be flawed too, messed up and emotionally stunted or full of generational trauma. At first glance it comes off as demonizing whealth, but it's more like excusing it. Oh, the rich don't have it much better than you, be grateful for what you have!
Even though I largely agree about the tired clichés of the "rich vs poor" story tropes that Young royals at times fell into, as a Swedish person this show felt revolutionary. I grew up in a middle class family in a small town very similar to Simon's Bjärstad. Not far from my hometown there's a famous School that our current king attended in his teens and that I heavily suspect was a major inspiration for the school in the show. Throughout my life, I've known many people like Simon, his family and his friends, but I've also crossed paths with people just like the rich characters in the show, especially the adults. Many times watching YR I was amazed by how real those characters felt, I kept feeling "I know this person". In Swedish media, they rarely depict rich people, unless it's to poke fun of them or use them as villains, it's almost always about middle class or poor people, so it felt interesting and a bit refreshing to me to see those kind of people being depicted in such a way.
I think young royals depicts the toxicity of the media and fame, rather than wealth itself. I don't think there is a romanticisation of poverty as Simon is controlled by his socioeconomic status and it's shown in several different storylines across the show e.g. when he's failing in a class but can't afford a private tutor so he steals drugs from his father. I also think the show's usage of Willhelm's cousin losing his money and social standing, and the fear that comes with it to emphasise how unhappy the poor actually are. I don't think the show is as black and white as you're depicting of poor = happy and rich = trapped. Also focusing on Willhelm's and Simon's sexuality they're both under scrutiny for their sexual identity, its just that Willhelm's is on a national scale because he's a public figure. However, Simon's isolation from the rest of the school, while his only friends being outside of the school and probably on the same socioeconomic position as he is, emphasises this lonely existence and how sexuality plays into race and class.
When I was a teenager, my Mom took me to see "The Queen of Versailles" in theatres. It's about a fantastically wealthy family of resort owners trying to build their dream home when the 2008 financial crash happens. The conflict is that money became tight, and rather than being able to move into their massive mansion built to look like a facsimile of the Palace of Versailles, they had to stay in their McMansion instead. But he whole time, I couldn't empathize with the family at all. They were financially irresponsible, completely inconsiderate to other, the husband laid off his entire work force, and they still got things to go their way. Yet the audience was expected to say "oh how tragic". I remember how tight things were in 2008 - 2009 for my parents. How much my working class parents worried. And seeing these pricks on screen, made me angry beyond belief.
"As if a pessimistic view of the world is automatically more authentic. I think, in many ways, we consider optimism to be manipulative." - I literally had to pause the video to transcribe this to save for a sign to print out for my house because, as someone who basically lives as comic relief for my surrounding friends/family, this is something I have run up against for DECADES.
Being a Swedish person the depiction of poverty in young royals isn't really poverty but a pretty normal working class family. We have safety nets but it is hard to go through the system and you get below minimum wage. I'm still thankful I got help when I couldn't get a job but it's not glamorous and not something you can live comfortably on.
All The Artsy
The thinking that "one day I'll be rich too" really is the best thing the rich has perpetuated to keep themselves alive and thriving. When poor and middle class people identify themselves as "rich-to-be," they protect the rich, against their own interests. That's why people oppose student loan forgiveness, but don't care that all the billionaires pay less taxes than they do.
Honestly, for me this all boils down to this: A rich person can walk away from their wealth. A poor person can't walk away from poverty. The best example I've seen of this was in GoT. On the one hand you had Cersei who, from the very beginning, complained about how horrible and unfair her life was. How, although originally near identical to Jamie, she was later forced to learn mundane things while he learned how to fight. He was going to inherit Casterly Rock, while she was married off to Robert. And granted, at first all that did sound horribly unfair. And then we're introduced to Brienne, who was also a highborn woman. She too detested that lifestyle, but instead of accepting her fate, she left it all behind and became a warrior. Was it easy? No, and we're constantly shown and told how difficult this road was for her. How people constantly looked down on her and insulted her. Yet she persevered and became one of the best warriors of her time. After that, every time Cersei complained about her life, all I could think was that she too could've left it all behind. But chose not to
I dont entirely agree with the interpretation of the characters of Young Royals. I think its correct through the lens of class but not in general. Simon's character is not solely tied to Wilhelm and he has many of his own storylines (like his relationship with his neurodivergent sister), and that's why I thought this series was much better in portraying multidimensionalism in poverty. Also his sister makes a huge fuck up at the end of the season by essentially indirectly betraying her brother, and she too is just as poor. Thus I don't believe that this show solely plays into the "poor=free and empathetic" and "rich=pressure" trope
I thought of Young Royals more as an anti-monarchy show, tbh. Yes, Wilhelm is wealthy, but that doesn't cause his issues - the enforced state of celebrity does. If August or any other uber wealthy person at that school was gay, it wouldn't have the same consequences for them because they aren't forced to be public personas. While Wilhelm's wealth is obviously connected to his royalty, he doesn't seem to have internalized an ideology of economic hierarchy (might makes right/just world fallacy), unlike August or the Roys of Succession (where that type of ideology introduces other ways of hierarchical thinking, like thinking of your children as assets or your friends as lackeys under your dictatorship). So, Wilhelm is a "good rich" whose problems don't stem from a warped sense of reality due to wealth, and maybe this rejection of economic hierarchy is actually tied to his royalty also - because the position as royal, which grants him his wealth is obviously arbitrary and not caused by any active, good quality about him or his family. With Succession there's another media dynasty family, introduced in season 2, which seems to be much happier and more emotionally connected and healthy - showing that rich people can be happy. In Young Royals too, it's easy to imagine that there are happy rich kids walking around on campus, but like in Succession they are not allowed to be the focus long. I suppose happy rich people would just not usually make for a very interesting story because it lacks in emotional conflict or external conflict, but stories about poorer people on the surface makes less compelling escapist content, because every issue becomes much less trivial and more threatening when the characters experiencing them are poor. I don't know - I loved this show, and Succession, but I don't suppose I would have really enjoyed either if Simon or Wilhelm was a girl, or if Roman wasn't so gloriously Roman.
i cant speak for all of europe, but i grew up in a poor household in england and honestly i really appreciate young royals depiction of simons family. the stereotyping that takes place in british schools of kids growing up in working class households (often council estates) is absolutely brutal. i won’t go into detail but the things middle class kids would say about poor kids families are horrible, and although that’s sometimes the case (and was for me) it’s really refreshing to see a caring, stable, and happy working class household on tv. obviously simons household doesn’t come without it’s flaws, but from a poor english perspective it was really nice to watch a much more accurate to what a lot of my friends growing up experienced. edit: i realise simons household probably isn’t struggling as much as those i grew up around, but the basic depiction of the poor character having a nicer family is something i appreciate
The media loves portraying poor people as kind and empathetic, but they always fail to recognize how exhausting living under capitalism is, both on a physical and an emotional level. When you're emotionally exhausted, you do not have the energy to empathize with others. Parents of poor and middle-class families often are emotionally neglectful because of their exhaustion, which then is passed down in generations. Open-ness and understanding also come from education, which a lot of people couldn't, and can't afford. Also, one time I saw someone say that privileged people think hopelessness is the epitome of emotions in media (like how straight male directors LOVE having a bad ending in a movie) because it's an emotion they don't feel as often marginalized groups do. Meanwhile, movies made by minorities tend to have good endings and be hopeful because it's what we have to cling to. If minorities indulged in hopelessness, all would be lost for us.
As a swede I must say that Simons family is not Swedish poor. They are lower middle-class, Simons friends however are actually working class. So Young Royals does not show Swedish working-class poor people vs the royals, it shows a very manicured version of "poor" lower middle-class and really skips over the actually poor people (Simons dad, his friends who's homesituation we are never shown but I think there is a reason why they eat at Simons so often). The show really brush over this except for some tense moment in Simons interactions with his friends and family, it's a real shame.
The Monarchy: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
The Young Hegelian
John Oliver. The only Oliver who hates the monarchy more than Cromwell.
My grandfather was a detainee in one of the detention camps during the Mau Mau emergency in Kenya. For five years he endured harsh interrogations (beatings, hours in stress position, starvation, forced labor) until he was able to convincingly renounce an oath he had never taken in the first place. When he left the camp, he found two of his children had died and my grandmother and the rest of his children on the point of starvation from being forcibly housed in a concentration village (yes concentration as in WW2 concentration camps) with no access to food. Thank you JO for bringing this atrocity to light. Anyone seeking more information read Imperial Reckoning by Caroline Elkins
I love how John is not a hypocrite. He's actually got offer from The Empire to get OBE but he refused. He doesn't want to owe them anything
Thank you for highlighting the maumau story, my grandfather who is still alive and in his nineties was a victim of that horror, he was detained in Kismayu in Somalia and watched his siblings burnt alive, only a sister remained. He usually narrates these stories alot. He says before everything was forcefully taken away his family were actually wealthy landowner.
Irish Times: “Having a monarchy next door is a little like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and has daubed their house with clown murals, displays clown dolls in each window and has an insatiable desire to hear about and discuss clown-related news stories. More specifically, for the Irish, it’s like having a neighbour who’s really into clowns and, also, your grandfather was murdered by a clown.”
The existence of the monarchy in the UK still active in the 21st century has mystified me. Oliver's analogy of two popular ambassadors from Disney to individuals of a certain genetic descent in crowns, tiaras, distinctive costumes and while wearing numerous medallions now makes the whole system so much more clear to me (as a U.S. citizen
“As an American with Irish blood, all I know is that we had to run those guys out of both our countries.” -George Carlin
why the old money aesthetic never gets old
To me the old money aesthetic is the perfect mix of aspirational and unattainable. It's just fantastical enough for the desire/longing to be there, because it can never be truly achieved unless you're born into it, but it's still a look you can mimic or try to embody for yourself to feel upper class/give you confidence to try and ingratiate yourself into those circles. If the Kardashian/designer handbag style is the American Dream personified through style, the old money aesthetic is a calmer version. The Kardashian look screams "new money" and can be seen as trying to be flashy to mask insecurities, but old money is quieter and has nothing to prove because they KNOW that money isn't going away. Also plaid and blazers and sunglasses just look great lol. I love the whole Gossip Girl style.
Fun fact about Rockefeller: I visited Morehouse and Spellman College (Historical Black College/University) and came upon the portraits of a young man and woman. I looked down to read the bibliography, saw that they were the twins and Rockefeller's children! Apparently, he had two illegitimate biracial children who couldn't attend the ivies, so he funded and created Morehouse and Spellman for them. Something they never teach you in history books. EDIT: You will not find information about it on most online sources, it is a hidden fact. I suspect it was fairly common back then anyways. If you want to see for yourself, I suggest you all take a trip to Atlanta and visit those college campuses.
As someone who has been into the old money aesthetic since 1999, you're spot on on the fact that there is a lot of layers to it--some positive but many negative. My parents are upper-middle class Turkish immigrants in the US and we were adjacent to many of the Turkish elite before moving here, which inspired a desire for all of us to be upper class. My family is full of doctors and lawyers, so education was highly valued. Everyone was rich but not wealthy, so there was this great desire in all 25 of us to rise to status. For an assignment for 6th grade asking what our biggest dream was, while everyone in my class wrote things like being a great friend or becoming an astronaut, and I fucking wrote "to go to Harvard" (and no, I did not make it into Harvard LOL). None of us are technically white, but we all "feel" white, which is a built-in part of Turkish culture as well (the elites of Turkey are literally called "The White Turks"). My dad studied in Italy and would always say he's Turkish but feels more Italian, for example, because he saw that as more elite. It felt really weird in the last year to see the rise of the old money aesthetic, because I can now see there are a lot of people that grew up with the fucked-up values I grew up with and it's been incredibly hard to de-program. It had died off in my life until I started my job in tech and the pandemic hit. Coupled with the absolute hated of my job but earning enough to still feel like being wealthy is 'within reach' (which is probably why it's only aspirational for white upper-class people honestly), I fell back into the fantasy. I'm trying my best to just continue to like loafers and plaid but see ivy league schools and vacation homes in Marbella for what they really are.
"I got my first Louboutins when I graduated high school...." DO YOU EVEN HEAR YOURSELF?! lmfao
I love that the old money preppy clothing style was created by someone from a working class background
explaining the "old money aesthetic"
Would love to see you breakdown why Generation Z seems to be obsessed with finding an "aesthetic". This emergence of hyper-focused trend cycles has been really interesting to see lol
the main difference appears to be that when new rich people buy their way into college, it's a scandal. when the old money do it, it's a legacy.
As a Canadian, the fact that you can get into a university because your parents went there is ABSURD to me. Like, dystopian alternate reality absurd
There is a saying in the vintage fashion community that says, “vintage style, not vintage values” meaning that one may have an affinity towards the styles of the past without espousing the regressive values accompanying those outfits and hairstyles.
I'd like to touch on the "taking tennis lessons on your free time" part because for me, it's pretty relevant. Many of us who romanticize old money admire and/or wish for the ability to have more time to enjoy life and develop skills out of sheer interest, or simply have a decent amount of time per day or week to dedicate to our own pleasure. Millennials are the victims of hustle culture in a decaying economy and gen Z are the consequence. Wealth doesn't even have to be extrapolated to generational level: it's extremely hard for an individual to make enough money to be able to afford said activities and when achieved, requires a 60 hour work week, if then. I am in med school in a third world country, aware of the fact that the first few years of my career won't allow me to pay rent. As the atheist/agnostic population grows and the romanticization of sacrifice as a way to find purpose devalues, a sense of meaning emerges in pleasure. Most of us don't know or don't believe there is a point to life, but agree it is to be enjoyed, either as a purpose itself or as a way of making the pointlessness more tolerable, yet, most of us are barely able to make some time to go to the gym or a bar on the weekends. Juxtaposed, old money families. Who spend their weekends at the country club, horse riding lessons, impromptu trips wherever and whenever, parties. Families who don't have to think twice or look at their wallet before making the choice to give into a desire. I think deep down, we all want and need a bit of this.
I was raised by my grandmother: a poor, non-white , illiterate woman. She was, tho, one of the most amazing seamstress I know and she learnt everything from second hand magazines that came with patterns. She couldnt even read and she learnt from the pictures. These magazines were mostly filled with what you would call "old money aesthetic" today, but for her, decades ago, it was what gave her confidence to walk on the streets even when hearing racist insults. I was raised having her teaching me how to dress "elegantly", so to me, when I see this trend, all I think of is my grandmother and how she would love for me to dress like that... haha. It is a bittersweet story but I thought I could share.
Doyoung is done with Nct
I remember when The Corpse Bride introduced me to the "Old Money" and "New Money" situation, I remember Victor's family, a newly rich family and Victoria's family, an old money family marrying off their daughter to a new money family in hopes of retaining their former glory since they've lost all their money and Victor's family marrying their son off of an old money family in hopes of getting in the high society, though the old and new money aspect of the movie wasn't showed enough, It did help me get an idea as to what old and new money is.
I'm from a lower-class family and somehow ended up dating a guy that was old money. Despite being worth millions they were frugal in odd ways. Most of their possessions were things they found second-hand or inherited and preferred to buy quality items that lasted them for a lifetime instead of overpriced fast fashion. They chose simple, local handmade items with no noticeable logos instead of a gaudy Gucci jumper that was made in some sweatshop in China. They taught me it's about having an eye for quality and the knowledge behind how/where those items were made. Just because something is expensive doesn't make it worthwhile to buy. My ex's mom knew the history behind all the books, clothes, jewelry, kitchenware, and art she owned, and all the different companies or designers involved. Everything in her house had a story to it. Books and being learned were also important. My ex and his family went to ivy-league college and there was a definite emphasis on doing well through discipline and hard work, not by throwing money around. He and his sisters didn't have any social media. They didn't have a TV in the house either. Just a radio. They were in their own bubble in some ways, disconnected from the world. They were also quite "normal" at times. They got groceries at a normal store, enjoyed going to the beach and having ice cream in the summer, drove an old defender, ate at a pizza joint once in a blue moon. There was very little, if any, junk food in the house actually. My ex didn't have McDonalds till he was in his late teens either. Anyway, they were kind of insane in other ways and did judge me for being lower class so eventually I had to peace out. God, I miss being bouji sometimes though...