JFor a long time, the British television guessing game “Through the Keyhole” offered intimate glimpses into the living rooms of celebrities. According to the format of the program “What am I”, a team had to guess who the star guest was, who invited the television viewers to visit his house. Working in the home office now enables a view through countless key holes from politicians, opinion leaders, experts and others who are only gradually learning to place their devices in such a way that you cannot look into their nostrils during webcam interviews from home.

Gina Thomas

Column correspondent based in London.

The British media and the Twitter community have already given rise to numerous semi-serious social anthropological comments on how the interlocutors put themselves in scene and what can be learned from them. Probably doctoral theses will be written someday about the self-expression by individual home furnishing in the corona crisis. It is striking how often it is not only politicians who choose a bookshelf as a backdrop to convey that they have an intellectual background. An exception was the Archbishop of Canterbury, who celebrated the Easter Mass in front of a desolate impersonal kitchen cupboard, where there was no evidence of any religious cause.

The Duchess of Cambridge, better known in Germany as Kate, the wife of Prince William, pretended to be a literature lover with a bibliophile edition of classics on her desk. For her step-in-law, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, the study looked less tidy than when she was photographed in her Scottish domicile: next to her, a ball thrower for dogs was leaning against the wall, next to it were empty boxes and a bookshelf behind her The “Harry Potter” volumes, thrillers and biographies were half covered by numerous recordings of their dogs, horses and grandchildren, who competed for space with likeable frills on the front of the shelf.

J.K. Rowling is causing a sensation with its bookshelf

The Duchess’s husband, Prince Charles, succeeded in surreptitious advertising when he opened the new hospital in the East End of London via video link and supported his iPad with a stack of books in which the back of his own photo book “Harmony – A New Way of Looking at Our World ”was clearly facing the camera. After a video conversation with the news program “Newsnight”, conservative MP Robert Halfon revealed that he had put a puppet on the bookshelf for the show in his house to hide some Hitler biographies, the presence of which would have required commentary on the part of some viewers.

The Edition Suhrkamp greets, but at least: J.K. Rowling's library

Indeed, there is a lot to be trusted in this regard: The picture of the leather-bound volumes in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s library at a cabinet meeting via video link prompted an observer to ask why it looked as if the books often came as “MEPs for the nineteenth century” mocked Tory faction leaders from the British Museum’s Enlightenment Gallery, the only room that remained in the state it opened in 1827.


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