FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

 

 

Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail