Dunking on the British Is the Only Thing That Can Still Bring Americans Together
The reaction to the bombshell Megan and Harry interview is just one instance of America's favorite pastime
Even if you weren’t glued to your screen on Sunday night like the rest of America, you’ve more than likely seen the highlights from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah. Bombshells included an unnamed member of the royal family expressing concerns over baby Archie’s skin color, Markle talking openly about her suicidal thoughts and how no one in “the Firm” would help, Tyler Perry housing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in one of his California homes, and the fact that Prince Charles stopped taking Harry’s calls. The interview ultimately showed the British Royal family for what it really is: an outdated institution whose power relies on wealth, imperialism and racism, a truth John Oliver, for one, already articulated in alarmingly prescient detail about three years ago.
While much of the interview was filled with harrowing revelations about the inner workings of British “society,” it also made for pretty juicy television, especially for Americans. It was perhaps the first time since documentaries like Tiger King or The Last Dance that America collectively watched, gasped and meme’d a piece of entertainment, and it served as a brief reminder that Twitter isn’t always a hellscape of misinformation and bad opinions.
What made this particular live tweeting event so good, however, was that much of the jokes and memes were created at the expense of England. (Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that America is not the poster child for great, decent or even mediocre institutions — look no further than the fact that our elected leaders still don’t believe the people they serve should have a livable minimum wage — which is maybe why the only time I feel proud to be an American is when we as a country come together to shit on the British, a right our forefathers sacrificed their lives for.)
And yet, while most of the internet was having fun making jokes about the Queen releasing an influencer apology-type YouTube video or Princess Diana’s vindication, a not-so-surprising subset of the American commentariat were up in arms over all the royal-shaming was garnering, even going so far to defend the monarchy. Prominent Twitter conservatives like Ben Shapiro, Erick Erickson and Charlie Kirk took to Twitter and their respective platforms to discredit Markle’s suicidal claims and paint her and her husband as ungrateful and spoiled, all so they could, again, defend a literal monarchy. The same people who typically can’t go two minutes without bringing up the Constitution and capital-F Freedom and the War that occasioned those things in the first place are now fans of the exact institution against whom said war was fought.
Wonder why …
But while a select few very vocal Twitter personalities are choosing to side with British royalty, the rest of us patriots will continue dunking on England, because as we’ve seen over the years, it’s one of those rare things — see also: the Olympics — that sparks the good, universal kind of American exceptionalism.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that we’ve had reason to remind the Brits that their shit — sorry, shite — stinks way worse than ours.
See also …
When the USWNT beat England in the 2019 World Cup semifinals
The last time I felt true joy was when the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the 2019 Fifa World Cup. You might remember the nail-biter semi-final game against England that included Alex Morgan’s iconic tea-sipping goal celebration. The English were not happy about that one, but American Twitter went crazy for it (and when we beat them 2-1).
The sheer size of America, as compared to their puny little agriculturally challenged island
Back in Tumblr’s heyday, shitting on England was commonplace. When one user on the blogging site tried to demonstrate how vast the city of London is, Americans quickly shut that down.
Europeans asking Americans dumb stuff on TikTok
It’s popular on the video-sharing app for Brits and other Europeans to ask Americans about our weird way of life, and while there is a mountain of weird/terrible things to choose from, the odd assumption that Americans don’t use kettles is not one of them. Videos of Americans shutting down these inane questions and criticisms have American TikTok users in the comment section repeating the phrase, “this is the only patriotism I am here for.”
The Meghan Markle and Prince Harry interview with Oprah
The newest edition to the list is, of course, the Duke and Duchess’s bombshell interview that produced so, so, so many good memes and cracks at the royal family.
Meanwhile, we have Gritty.
Game, set, match.
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