Question: When you think of Downton Abbey and its nostalgic embrace, indeed celebration of a rigid class system where the rich get richer and the lowly servants don’t, wouldn’t you assume that conservatives in particular love the show?
Of course, that’s a generalization. Folks red, blue and purple are fans of the costume drama that begins streaming on Peacock on July 15 and streams on PBS and HBO Max.
But I’ve been on a couple Downton Abbey Facebook pages for about a year now–having immense fun and meeting amazing people like Britt–and I’ve seen a whole lotta conservatism there. Put it this way, those who support the mouthy, rude woman who questions the system and wants to try to overturn it are in the minority. This isn’t a scientific finding, but some pages in particular have a vociferous red bent.
So, when I posted a photo of Hugh Bonneville, the wonderful actor who plays Lord Grantham, a.k.a. the very right aristocratic Robert Crawley, the 7th Earl of Grantham and the show’s change-resistant patriarch, wearing a face mask and giving a thumbs up, I expected some flak or perhaps just a lukewarm reception. Just the opposite: I got nearly 450 likes in under 24 hours, one of the best responses to a post yet.
Now, it’s a really nice shot. He looks great, seems to be enjoying a cocktail through a straw, and you can see his eyes smiling. And people loooooove their Lord Grantham, let me tell you. He’s a kindly overlord, part of the show’s great appeal.
But I still expected some to be turned off because they don’t believe in masks and certainly don’t want some hippie liberal actor telling them what to do.
So I took a little poll on the same page (thanks to, well, Mark Zuckerberg): Did you like the photo just cuz Hugh looks cute and chipper, or cuz he’s urging everyone to help with covid by wearing a mask.
Well, in early results, the latter is winning by a landslide. Yes, humanity, Downton Abbey fans care more about getting over covid, and clearly endorse mask wearing, than they do about seeing yet another picture of a favorite star, just cuz he looks cute.
Reason for hope? I hope so.
Note from Britt: This is encouraging and does give hope that conservatives are willing to embrace mask wearing. Perhaps the issue is not as polarizing as some of the media would have us believe, but the more that conservative heroes wear masks, the better.