Two celebrity suicides shocked the world in the first week of June 2018. Kate Spade, New York fashion designer and sister-in-law of actor David Spade, was found hung by a scarf in the closet of her Manhattan apartment on June 5, and Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef, food critic and global travel guide, was found unresponsive in his Strasbourg, France hotel room, an apparent suicide, on June 8.
A few months ago I joked with a friend that the myriad bizarre stories coming out of the Trump administration had begun to read like something out of Chaucer – call them the “Trumperbury Tales” – stories which were individual, varied and specific, but tangentially related by a common venue, in the Oval Office. But the recent spate of presidential pardon-related stories seems to put us on a level playing field with the great medieval poet, in a direct comparison with Chaucer’s “The Pardoner’s Tale.”
On Monday June 4th, 2018, a much-anticipated ruling came down from the US Supreme Court. By a 7-2 majority, the justices upheld the right of a Colorado baker to refuse services to a gay couple, based in his religious beliefs. The case centered on a 2012 incident when David Mullins and Charlie Craig approached Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, and asked him to bake a cake for their wedding.
At 2:45 AM on May 29, Roseanne Barr, star of the eponymous reboot of the classic ‘90s sitcom, tweeted: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby = vj”. The “VJ” in question referred to Valerie Jarrett, an African American former senior advisor to Barack Obama, and the Tweet generated an immediate controversy as racist. Barr tweeted an apology a few hours later and deleted the post, but at 1:55 PM, ABC announced that her show had been cancelled, labelling the tweet “abhorrent.”
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams became the first female African American to win a major party nomination for Governor, defeating opponent Stacey Evans in what became known as the “battle of the Staceys”. If she wins in November, she will be the first black female governor in the US.
On Saturday 19 May 2018, Prince Harry of Wales and American actress Meghan Markle will wed in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Vows will be taken at noon, before a comparatively small (by royal standards) company of some 600 friends and relatives, after which the couple will drive on a two-mile procession through the town, followed by a reception hosted by the Prince’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.