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Lady and the Trash

why, precisely, was this woman famous?

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, September 03, 1997.

Cutting to the chase, with every pun intended, if there were any way to have brought about these long overdue reflections we are now subject to about the role of the media, about delusions of romance, about the romance industry in general, about the British monarchy, about Euro trash, about alcohol, about paparazzi, about the moronic public, and if it had not required the deaths of three people, one of them the former Princess of Wales, I would have said “Good.” As it is, all I can say is “eh.”

This is really a story of an Egyptian social climber trying to marry the world’s inexplicably most popular woman and, if nothing else, allow his father to get a British citizenship, a goal that has eluded him and his billions for years. After a highly publicized affair, carefully scripted and running along standard alcoholic lines, the couple got into car piloted by a man too drunk by a factor of three by the admitted standards of the French. Think about that. That’s like hearing police in Rome Italy suggest somebody was driving like a madman. Considering the source, you’d take notice. Driving 120 miles an hour with a driver severely drunk by French standards, the car - surprisingly - was unable to navigate a narrow tunnel a block from the Eiffel Tower, not precisely rural France. They were running away from five to seven photographers on motorcycles, who shoved away police and rescuers to get the mangled bodies on film, for which they expected to get well paid by the people who would have taken your money - admit it - at the check out stand. Or, like me, you could have retained your urbane superiority and simply waited for the same photographs to be published in Time or Newsweek as they run predictable stories about our embarrassing cousins, the tabloids. Just Look What They Did. All on high quality glossy paper.

Why in the world was this modestly attractive woman famous? She demonstrated only the standard gold-digger line. She married a man in love with someone else, clearly so, and we are to believe that she was horror-stricken when she discovered the affair. But she and her husband had nothing in common: he is a predictable and reclusive bore, she was a party girl. She came out of it with more money, prestige, and cleavage than a nanny - her previous occupation - might have provided. She was the mother of a future king, unlikely to see her hit the streets for food. She gets divorced and continues to party. For this we were to feel sorry for her. As dysfunctional as her husband, separately they confess their affairs not only to the world but publicly to their children, for whom they are both so concerned, we are told. Of course, in Europe infidelities are not the horrors they are in hypocritical America. They are the norm.

You listen to the teary testimonials from women about how Diana was a Princess in Love, and how she loved romance, how she loved children, how she was so philanthropic, and how she was such an inspiration. She was philanthropic with her husband’s and other people’s money, not her own. She got paid a lot to show up and look good. She seemed pleasant and all, but who can’t be wonderful with children if you know when the time comes - at your choosing - they can be sent off with the help and to boarding school, and - in any case - away.

It is hard to deny that her popularity was due almost solely to her magnificent wedding, watched world wide. It is the dream of allegedly adult women - mostly American - to be so married to a king under such conditions. Did she really marry into the House of Windsor for love? Has anyone? Would anyone? Look at them for goodness’ sake.....

Perhaps if people - men and women - put more thought into visualizing the marriage - you know, sex with one person, children, the same stories, annoying friends - rather then the wedding, we’d all be better off. Weddings: once meldings of dynasties, now extortion festivals where words like ‘love’ and ‘forever’ pass the lips of near-children who cannot imagine fifty years, much less imagine living it with one person. I wish that tradition would die with Diana: that festival of hypocrisy, greed, and stupidity of unreal expectations.

But I’ll settle for a few paparazzi. Their contention, that Diana lived by the flash and had her death recorded by the flash, is true as far as it goes. But carry it one step further. There is probably a large market right now for a video showing the photographers who were in pursuit of the Princess of Wales being slowly pulled apart by competing products of John Deere, or burning to death by acetylene torch held by the families of the deceased. I don’t hear the lynch mob forming.