Making a cult figure into a caricature is par for the course and in fact an ‘occupational hazard’. So, doing a ‘Diana at 50’ is not quite as repulsive as the devotees of divadom would like to believe. What is a tad ugh is that it appears in Newsweek and not Hello or Ok or Vanity Fair or Marie Claire. It also sounds awfully juvenile.
Written by Tina brown, it has the tone of an adolescent finding mommy’s hip pictures in the closet. Only, here Ms. Brown tells the world that Lady Di would have given up toy boys but not the big toys. She’d go for some hedge-fund guy in her 40s and then move on to “a high-mindedly horny late-night talk-show host, or a globe-trotting French finance wizard destined for the Élysée Palace. I suspect she would have retained a weakness for men in uniform, and a yen for dashing Muslim men. (A two-year fling with a Pakistani general, rumored to have links to the ISI, would have been a particular headache to the Foreign Office and the State Department.)” Sure, that’s the only type of dashing Muslim around. This is so clumsy that I don’t understand how anyone finds it disrespectful.
Her fitting in with the Etonian leaders just seems like so much fluff. The mention of a probable meeting with “Gorby” (Gorbachev) is pure treacle as “she would have caused his birthmark to flush deeper as she leaned in to hear him speak of his wife, Raisa, grasping his hand as she fixed her big blue eyes on him”. Oh, and she’d find her best friend in her ex-hubby.
The more important point we might examine is how the so-called liberal western media treats age. On the one hand we have the Sophia Lorens and the Helen Mirrens walking around and being applauded for their sex appeal, but Diana as mother-in-law, despite the botox shots mentioned, is shown to age in the cover picture. A woman who can get her skin ironed out will keep the crow’s feet? Worse, she is carrying a shoulder bag in a manner that looks just terrible. This just does not go with the style one has seen her in and as.
It appears that Newsweek and Tina Brown are totally off regarding what middle-aged people do, and it is surprising given that the magazine is pretty conservative and Ms. Brown is not a greenhorn herself. It reminds me of how women well in their 30s in our part of the world refer to other women and men who might not be up to their ‘standard’ but may or may not be much older as ‘aunties and uncles’, and I am not talking about in form of personal address, but in print, as in “The hall was full of auntie types”. Read some of the so-called parodies and even books on social butterflies by butterflies and you’d get what I mean. So, the references to Diana having a Facebook account and tweeting from Davos by trying to show her keeping up with the times are in fact like stale jokes, especially since even the Pope has just started tweeting.
Social networking would have been one of the satellite things in her life. She’d be spending much more time with big toys and it does not seem likely that she’d post her daily schedules unless they have a larger social relevance. Diana was a sucker for the cameras and would have been courted by talk show hosts and get prime time for anything that she did. But it is also possible that she might have been rendered irrelevant after a while. Her antics, such as they were, remained as a reminder of the woman wronged. She got it so right just for that.
The article is, therefore, a bad caricature and a rather sophomoric ‘looking into the future’ type account of the past. If it was intended as a tribute, then it is flat. If it was meant to be a probing essay on how royalty would evolve, then it lacks even the sharpness of a needle pricking a haystack.