September 4, 2007

WaPo columnist overwhelmed with meaninglessness....

... on contemplating the death of Princess Diana. It seems that Anne Applebaum, being English, felt she had to write something about the 10 year anniversary of the death of Diana.
[T]he genuinely bizarre aspect of the all-consuming Dianamania that gripped Britain a decade ago this week is how slight a trace it has left. The royal family is pretty much the same, only quieter...

Nor have there been political repercussions. It didn't take long for Britons to tire of Blair's Diana-like emotionalism (some would say Diana-like manipulativeness).
10 years is not long? Here in America, we're committed in advance to being sick of every President after 8 years. We can't consider putting up with a leader for 10 years even hypothetically.
His sober replacement, Gordon Brown -- a man whose name rarely appears in print without the adjective "dour" -- is already more popular. Brown's government is dominated by technocratic types with furrowed brows and by sensible centrists, such as his plain-jane home secretary, Jacqui Smith: No sign of touchy-feeliness there.
Jacqui Smith! The last time I heard about her, WaPo fashion columnist Robin Givhan was comparing her show of cleavage to Hillary Clinton's -- and finding it "a full-fledged come-on." Now, I don't know what to think of Jacqui Smith -- or the U.K. Is it a place where an exuberant show of cleavage is regarded as staid?
One could argue that Diana's truest legacy is the screaming emotionalism of the British tabloids -- except that it long predates Diana and actually helped create her in the first place....

Ironically, nowhere does Dianamania seem more irrelevant than in the place that was meant to be its shrine. Last summer I happened to find myself at the Diana memorial at Althorp, her family's estate....

There was the original, handwritten version of the speech her brother, Charles, gave at her funeral -- framed behind glass and lit as if it were the Magna Carta.

Visitor numbers are way down from 1997, and no wonder: The whole thing feels rather irrelevant. Human beings naturally try to give deeper meaning to pointless tragedies -- even where no meaning is to be found.
Did the columnist trek to Althorp and feel cold and grouchy, or is it really true that the death of Diana caused a fever, which spiked and died away?

CORRECTION: Applebaum is not British! She did, however, write "Like most Britons, I can remember where I was when the BBC announced...."

14 comments:

Hnkn said...

Ann: We can't consider putting up with a leader for 10 years even hypothetically.

Well, that is something of an overstatement. I'm considering hypothetically putting up with a leader for 10 years right now!

rhhardin said...

The meaninglessness is that of soap opera in general. It's a repetition of the essential women's interest, which does not ever advance or change, but simply starts over.

Each iteration, though, interests women. It shows up as the news, every day, and they are the audience.

The news itself, of course, is therefore similarly trivial.

Which includes the WAPO piece.

John and Ken (KFI Los Angeles), a show just after the Diana death , and a show a show two weeks later when the NYT discovered that it was a women's phenomenon.

The audio is crummy by today's standards but you get used to it.

The second show reads to you a NYT article, ``Diana's Death Resonates with Women in Therapy'' by Jane Gross, September 13, 1997, which can be found for a few bucks in their archive ; not only women in therapy.

Men were, and remain, baffled.

Dan Collins said...

What a terrible and senseless loss of exuberant displays of cleavage. *sob*

Ann Althouse said...

Hnkn, I'm talking about We the People.

Ann Althouse said...

I mean, Us the People.

Ann Althouse said...

Grammar!

EnigmatiCore said...

"10 years is not long? Here in America, we're committed in advance to being sick of every President after 8 years. We can't consider putting up with a leader for 10 years even hypothetically."

With this President, we couldn't consider putting up with him for more than 5 years!

It kind of puts us in an interesting place. When the welcome wears out before the re-election campaign, the President loses (Carter) or doesn't run (LBJ). Fatigue usually sets in late year 6 or in year 7. But Bush Fatigue started during year 5, earlier than just about any two-term President.

Will the extended timeframe of Bush Fatigue lead to Bush Fatigue Fatigue? Maybe that is what I feel, where I am pretty tired of the President, but am getting just as tired of his critics?

MadisonMan said...

Will the extended timeframe of Bush Fatigue lead to Bush Fatigue Fatigue?

In addition to potential Bush Fatigue Fatigue, as the end draws near, I think Bush will continue to rebound in the polls, pity points as people ponder his fate.

EnigmatiCore said...

I don't know if Bush Fatigue Fatigue will help his poll numbers, but it might explain some of the problems in the poll numbers of the Congressional Democrats.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Since Blair started out hugely popular and became less so as time went on, it seems odd to say that Brown is already more popular.

Fen said...

or is it really true that the death of Diana caused a fever, which spiked and died away?

Hasn't spiked yet. The coverage of Diana's death led to the current Chandra/Lacy/Natalie underwear sniffing rubberneck. Guilty pleasures, I guess, but I've never been able to understand the followers of the Celebrity-Victim Cult.

Fen said...

FOX: BREAKING NEWS!

Scott Petterson wore a red tie into court today...

[sigh]

Trooper York said...

Another in the just the punchline series...No Mother Theresa that's not a halo...thats just a steering wheel

Peter Palladas said...

"Since Blair started out hugely popular and became less so as time went on, it seems odd to say that Brown is already more popular."

We're just so grateful to have a grown-up in charge once more.