Further Thoughts on Diana

By Ronald K. L. Collins, Nadine Epstein, Ellie Moller, Richard Harsham, Ken Kobre, and Alvin S. Felzenberg | The Christian Science Monitor, September 12, 1997 | Go to article overview

Further Thoughts on Diana


Ronald K. L. Collins, Nadine Epstein, Ellie Moller, Richard Harsham, Ken Kobre, and Alvin S. Felzenberg, The Christian Science Monitor


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 civilization. Ronald K.L. Collins Author of "The Death of Discourse" (Westview/ HarperCollins, 1996) Castle Confines 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 got interested. "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. Nadine Epstein 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. Ellie Moller 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. …

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