Reality and Myth Blur
She was the princess of postmodernity. Diana embodied
contradiction; she defied definition; and she mastered irony. There
was no line - traditional, cultural, moral, political,
psychological, personal - she could not blur.
In her life and afterlife, the real and the virtual tumbled
together; praise and blame trespassed upon one another, tradition
and pop culture united; hope and cynicism coexisted; and truth and
hypocrisy made their peace.
Hail her or not. But above all, notice how she redefined,
even deconstructed, so much of the old world in order to ascend in
a new one, a world foreign to the logic of centuries of Western
Ronald K.L. Collins
Author of "The Death of Discourse" (Westview/ HarperCollins,
My five-year-old son and I were camping with friends in the
Blue Ridge Mountains the night Diana was killed.
Although none of the adults in our small group had paid much
attention to Diana while she was alive, we were all sad and shocked
the next morning when we noticed a headline in a box outside a
restaurant on a rural road. My son heard us talking and immediately
"A princess?" he asked. "Why were photographers chasing her?"
"She's lucky if they want to take pictures of her," he told
me. "I like it when people take pictures of me."
I tried to describe what it was like to be so famous that you
no longer had privacy.
"Just imagine if every time you left your house photographers
took your picture," I suggested.
He couldn't imagine this. Instead he suggested that she buy
everything she need and stay inside her castle.
Washington, D.C.-based writer
What Happens Now?
Do we all just turn around and go back to ... whatever?
British Prime Minister Tony Blair is proposing a memorial to
Diana in Wales. Fine. People can make pilgrimages there. But can
we not do infinitely better? If our leaders fail to grasp the full
essence of Diana's universal appeal and the full potential of her
example, maybe we can tell them.
Diana wasn't a rocket scientist; she didn't seem to have a
great store of knowledge and wisdom. Maybe she would have gained
that had she lived. What she did have was the capacity to grow
higher in adversity and break through society's cruel mental walls
to demonstrate her public interests and genuine compassion. She was
"neighbor" to the least favored and forgotten in exactly the way
the Bible story of the good Samaritan meant.
We can do that. We can make changes in ourselves out of the
adversity of our loss at her passing. And these changes can stand
as each of our own living memorials to the people's princess. Not
idolatry, this. It's the supreme compliment - imitation.
Columnist for The River New Herald, in Rio Vista, Calif.
The Blame Game
It's oddly selective. There's much more blame to go around
than most blame-game players are prepared to apportion. …