Dianified

by BINOY KAMPMARK

Plus ça change. Markets are turbulent, Iraq is disintegrating, and we still have time for a dead Princess. Or so we can assume when looking at some of the commemorative gush that is streaming out ten years after Diana’s death. Not even Winston Churchill, whose quotes dot the after-dinner circuit, compares. The saviour of Britain and empire doesn’t even warrant a service. The ethicist Peter Singer ‘encountered’ the Diana myth in 2004 as one would a tree, finding middle-aged women he unfairly described as resembling ‘football hooligans’ in commemorative Diana dress. This still continues, though the glow has dimmed.

The Diana story is a stage show. Its subplot is the idea of Britishness. To be born British has been said to put you ahead of the game, to win you ‘first prize in the lottery of life’. Tony Blair did not disagree, and proceeded to demonstrate what that might be, pushing the envelope of the cult to an extreme. We could already see signs of congenital mythmaking at Downing Street, and it looked like Blair was preparing for a career on Broadway.

And what a show it was, something that came to resemble, in the words of Carmin Callil, the Nuremberg rallies. If Diana is Saint, then Blair is her High Priest. Blair managed to use Princess, death and demagoguery to spin a fine tale of a princess both accessible and vulnerable. She was the Ennio Morricone of the cult scene, writing the death score as she was sped, Dodi Fayed at her side, to her doom by a drunk chauffeur. Blair, a Sergio Leone in the director’s chair, did the rest. Alistair Campbell, in the aptly named role of ‘director of communications’ was of course, in the credits, along with the nameless paparazzi. The show might have been termed Once Upon a time in Britain. Marketed as the people’s princess, it was a New Labour contrivance that placed Tony Blair closer to God and Diana closer to the people. Neither case was true, but it didn’t have to be.

Blair’s role in the whole saga is now firmly ensconced in celluloid format in The Queen, which had the negative effect of drawing sustenance from the Diana myth despite humanising the wise denizen of Buckingham Palace. Sadly, not even Dame Helen Mirren had the cinematic clout to outflank the spectral ‘Saint’ Diana. Theodore Dalrymple would complain in the Britannica Blog that the grief was of the pop variety, insincere and ‘pyschopathological’. A new breed of Briton had bolted out of the stable with debilitating attributes: emotional incontinence with an inclination to ‘blubber in public’ when not infuriatingly rude.

Conspiracy theories flourish in the manure of myth. Diana loyalists, and they are many, continue like new-age radicals seeking justice for the princess. For them, the enemy is the very institution that actually gave us the princess in the first place. She was flawed and modern in the way the Queen isn’t, but then again the Royal person was never foolish enough to permit it. There are still suggestions rich with the stench that Diana was done over both by forces within and without, though these are starting to echo less with time. The cheese-eating ‘frogs’ across the pond must have cut corners in their investigation, but even this allegation is only held by the most fervent Dianists. Besides, she died there, searching for happiness, hounded by media vultures and spurned by the House of Windsor.

Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, neither femme nor fatale, yet the object of the ‘crowded’ relationship that was plastered with tedious regularity across the papers, will not attend the Friday service. She prefers the discomfort of home viewing at Ray Mill in Wiltshire. Charles was openly ‘defied’, or that is at least how it was portrayed. Then again, defiance is a common theme within the Windsors, who, when not defying modernisation are best at defying each other. Once Mrs. Simpson nabbed Eddie, the royal family was never quite the same again.

BINOY KAMPMARK is a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He can be reached at bkampmark@gmail.com


Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 04, 2015
Vincent J. Roscigno
University Bureaucracy as Organized Crime
Paul Street
Bernie Sanders’ Top Five Race Problems: the Whiteness of Nominal Socialism
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is White Supremacy a Mental Disorder?
Ramzy Baroud
The Palestinian Bubble and the Burning of Toddler, Ali Dawabsha
Pepe Escobar
Reshuffling Eurasia’s Energy Deck — Iran, China and Pipelineistan
L. Michael Hager
The Battle Over BDS
Eric Draitser
Puerto Rico: Troubled Commonwealth or Debt Colony?
Colin Todhunter
Hypnotic Trance in Delhi: Monsanto, GMOs and the Looting of India’s Agriculture
Benjamin Willis
The New Cubanologos: What’s in a Word?
Matt Peppe
60 Minutes Provides Platform for US Military
Binoy Kampmark
The Turkish Mission: Reining in the Kurds
Eoin Higgins
Teaching Lessons of White Supremacy in Prime-Time: Blackrifice in the Post-Apocalyptic World of the CW’s The 100
Gary Corseri
Gaza: Our Child’s Shattered Face in the Mirror
Robert Dodge
The Nuclear World at 70
Paula Bach
Exit the Euro? Polemic with Greek Economist Costas Lapavitsas
August 03, 2015
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington