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  • Glenn Sonnenberg

Musings from the Bunker 3/9/21

Good morning, GOD SAVE THE QUEEN From all the unwanted publicity… I woke up yesterday morning to check the usual on-line news sources to find that the first FIVE articles on CNN were about Sunday night’s Oprah interview of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Not about the recent relief bill, not about COVID, not about voter suppression taking place in several state legislatures, not about the Myanmar crack-down, or the Chinese crackdown on Uyghurs—or any number of other major stories. These were the headlines:

  • Bombshells in Meghan and Harry‘s interview with Oprah

  • 11 things we learned from Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview

  • New Meghan clip released: Rude and racist are not the same thing

  • Is Meghan and Harry’s interview bigger crisis for the monarchy than the Diana scandal?

  • Serena Williams says she understood the ‘pain and cruelty’ suffered by Meghan

I’m not suggesting the royals don’t make for good TV entertainment—they do. And I was able to watch some of the interview before switching off. But I’ve watched The Crown and Victoria (which together conjure up images of the car that is the mash-up of those names…). I was entertained and enlightened.

But why are we so fascinated with a monarchy with whom we separated nearly 250 years ago? Simple, really:

  • Everyone loves a love story

  • Our society is preoccupied with the study of celebrity—and the steamier the story, the more play it receives

  • We were all brought up on stories of Kings, Queens, Knights and Chivalry. This is the closest modern reflection of those days

  • The crazy creaky fascinating workings of the monarchy, with all the pomp and ceremony is pretty entertaining (and, sadly, reminiscent of the Diana story)

  • But I think the key is that they remind me of us.

What do I mean by that last comment? I think all families have their share of dysfunctionality. Watching the trials and tribulations of public figures dealing with the same problems is somehow comforting. This family seems to have all the tropes of a kooky family—the “black sheep” in the wings, the crazy old guy who keeps railing about the “good old days,” the domineering matriarch, and the infighting within and among generations. Seeing human drama, sometimes sad, hurtful, and counter-productive, so vividly and openly displayed for all to see validates that the human condition is universal and troubles are not limited by wealth or standing. Sure they have palaces and private planes but, in the end, they’re just as messed up as the rest of us…

I’m done with Harry and Meghan and the fight with the royal family. That said, I can’t wait for the next season of The Crown!


Apparently some 65% of all adult Americans intend to be vaccinated—a lot but not enough and could well be overstated. I’ve been concerned about this—and writing about it—for a while. Currently over 20% of all Americans have received at least one dose of one of the vaccines. It is fairly easy to imagine that, at the current two million doses per day clip (with some being second doses), we should hit 50% by the end of May. The clamor for the vaccine thus far, with stories of people standing on line for the remainders at the end of the day to drives to the CVS in Indio and all sorts of other pursuits of shots, would point toward herd immunity in the near future.

Not so fast! My fear is that we will get to 50% and then begin to slow down, perhaps sputtering before we hit the 70-75% required for herd immunity. So who’s not getting vaccinated:

  • 30% of the military are declining voluntary vaccination

  • The Latino community seems poorly informed about the vaccine and are naturally reticent of government mandates. While the plural of anecdote is not data, I think the data supports my observation of Latino families that have experienced deaths from COVID and yet refuse the notion of getting vaccinated.

  • Then there are the “rugged individualists” in Texas and other red states, who seem hell-bent on equating succumbing to a community-wide effort to keep each other safe with state over-reach and denial of individual liberties.

  • Of course, there are the anti-vaxxers, who ascribe to their own pseudo (read that false) science

  • And conservative news media is working against inoculations, throwing out every theory of their inefficacy or danger.

Setting aside the nuts and individualists and anti-vaxxers, I’m more concerned with people who are not well-informed or are suspicious of government and are avoiding vaccination. Among the many errors of the Trump administration was the failure to build confidence in a group effort to beat the vaccine. Why there hasn’t been a massive public relations campaign—replete with non-stop PSAs on broadcast and social media, extolling the importance, life-saving attributes, and safety of the vaccination program escapes me. Every recognizable community leader and celebrity should be doing ads—in every language. We owe it to them and we owe it to ourselves. Warm regards, Glenn

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