Thursday, August 7, 2014

golden thread; glorious moments

What Diana was doing was a form of lobbying.  Or -- campaigning.

Tina Brown wrote her Diana book with a combination of research, scholarship, and a voice which has in it a bit of the 'smart-mouth.'  Deep-thinking scholars probably wouldn't approve of that, but -- it's her style, partly shaped by working for magazines in England with names such as "Tatler."  (Shrug, skyward eye-roll....)

Much of the time, I like her writing.

-- "...just when she was on the point of casting off the most toxic elements of celebrity culture and using her fame as collateral for daring social activism"

-- "Diana was not there to hear it.  She was alone on an island, in her grave at Althorp."

-- "Diana stepped into the throbbing heat of Luanda..."

-- Tory Defence Committeeman Peter Viggers "popped a vein"

-- [it doesn't help...] -- "Actually, it did help."

-- "It helped enormously."

-- "She had landed herself in the middle of controversy...Well, too bad."

-- "a cause that was heartrending, underpublicized, and controversial"

-- "Chased in Angola by the press..."

-- "the day after the Tory smoke bombs went off..."

-- "The Tory government...smoothed it over...promised support...Too late!"

Tina Brown's writing is "punchy."

Too late!
Tory smoke bombs!
Chased in Angola!
Well, TOO BAD.

Actually it DID help
he "popped a vein"!
Throbbing heat
casting off
casting off the toxic elements
social activism
daring social activism

---------- [excerpt] ----------------- It is fashionable to believe that without the persuasive bridge-building of Tony Blair [right after the death of Diana], there would have been a convulsion in which Britain became a republic. 

In the end, I doubt it. 

There has never been a serious appetite among the British people for replacing the monarchy, however flawed, with a regime fronted by some official in a business suit.  They tried a version of it after beheading Charles I and nobody much liked it then.  For most Britons,

the Crown is the golden thread that connects the people to the most glorious moments of their history,

exercising a force for stability

in an otherwise bewilderingly changing world.  Not for nothing have the Elizabethan and Victorian ages been named after those two great queens.  It is seen as reassuring that the Crown represents a constitutional force above politics, providing a bulwark against the egos of over-mighty politicians (who in other countries at other times have established dictatorships). 

There is something satisfying about Blair's otherwise obstreperous aide Alastair Campbell having to trudge from Downing Street to Buckingham Palace for planning meetings when  the rest of the world has to come to him.
----- [end excerpt]

(Some early lobbying by Diana, in 1983) ---- [excerpt] ----------- She mesmerized Bob Hawke [Australia's then-Prime Minister]

and even extracted a curtsy from his wife, Hazel.  By the end of Charles and Diana's tour, a poll in Australia found that Monarchists outnumbered Republicans two to one and, hey, that was the point, wasn't it? 

The twenty-one-year-old Princess of Wales had proved she was a dazzling new PR weapon for the British crown.

...Victor Chapman, the press secretary on the tour, got used to late-night phone calls from Charles complaining about the scant coverage of himself in the press compared to the hagiographic acres accorded his wife. 

The Prince retreated into Jung's Psychological Reflections and wrote exasperated letters to his friends:  "I do feel desperate for Diana," he wrote in his April 4 letter to a friend, "There is no twitch she can make without these ghastly and I am quite convinced, mindless people photographing it . . . What has got into them all?

 How can anyone, let alone a twenty-one-year-old, be expected to come out of all this obsessed and crazed attention unscathed?"

Stronger than ever, is the answer.  In Australia and New Zealand, Diana graduated to being a seasoned media sophisticate with the stamina and the charm repertoire of a big-time star.