The contretemps over “Good Morning America” co-anchor Lara Spencer mocking Prince George for taking ballet lessons is both a tempest in a teapot and the latest salvo in the culture wars that began with the demonization of Western civilization in the 1960s by liberals who could not separate it from its imperialistic, colonial roots and continued with the demonization of the arts in the 1970s and ’80s by conservatives who decried the arts falsely as a louche tax drain.
“We’ll see how long that lasts,” Spencer retorted to the news that the young prince is taking ballet lessons, with his father Prince William’s enthusiastic approval. It was the flippant, stupid remark of someone with no cultural background (remember her short-lived stint on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow”?) trying to be witty or at least cool, and it was met with swift condemnation, a swift apology and a redemptive moment played out against the backdrop of 300 male dancers in Manhattan’s Times Square.
And that would be the end of it, except that, as one person put it, you can’t unring a bell, particularly in a divisive time in which every statement seems to be a clarion call to partisanship. Perhaps that’s unfair. We all make mistakes. We’re all more than our worst days. Yet Spencer’s ridicule cannot be undone, particularly for those who have been mercilessly bullied or marginalized for their love of the arts.
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