Richard Brian McCarty
As reported around the world, Britain's beloved Princess Diana is dead. Amid the shock, grief and outrage at paparazzi that caused her driver to engage in a high speed chase in Paris, missing is the tragedy of Diana the human being.
Diana, when one looks past the Princess status, was a just a human being. From reports, she apparently was a kind human being. Killed with her are two, possibly three other human beings. Each with loved ones, attributes, faults, and dreams. Each tragically effected by the media out of control. Each life they touched was effected.
It is easy to note the driver should not have driven in the tunnel in Paris at such a high rate of speed. But, it is understandable. The paparazzi, fueled by promises of big money, had not left Diana, the person, alone. Moments that other people take for granted as private wound up on the front page of tabloids, and then in mainstream media outlets when it came to Diana. The frustration had to have all those around her to the point of tragic results.
To the media, Diana had become a object, not a person. Lost in the tabloid reports of whom she was dating was the fact she was just a woman. She was a woman who had been both a cook and a princess in one lifetime. She had married a man that turned out not to love her. She left him. She tried to go on with her life. It's the same story millions of men and women live out all over the world.
But, she was a princess. And, for that, the public wanted to be fed pictures of her every move. Society's hunger for the sensational about other people's lives gave the demand for the paparazzi. People will voice their outrage over the tragedy while they eagerly await one more photo or one more news item about it.
It is tragic that Diana died, especially for her children and for those who knew and loved her. But, what is more tragic is the indictment of society her death brings. Instead of letting people live their private lives privately, society demands to know. Instead of trying to make their own private lives better, people hunger to know about everyone else's, especially someone as famous as Diana.
The American fascination with Diana comes from the fact that her character was so American. She did go from being a cook and kindergarten aide to being the Princess of Wales. She preferred the non-royal to the royal. She reached out to those in need. She had grace and humility. And, like other American icons, she died tragically young.
It is the world's fascination, and my own that haunts me now. I imagine the life Diana would have had she not been the Princess of Wales. I picture her with the same style and grace teaching kindergarten in a public school in England. She would still touch lives, but in a different way. No one would care about whom she dated except for the people whom she chose to let know. Maybe she would laugh with friends about the time she dated the Prince of Wales. For some reason, I see Diana the person living happily ever after in that life. That's the fairy tale I wished would have happened now.
But, alas, she married the Prince of Wales, and lived hounded ever after. The fairy tale went all wrong. She did not have the love of a lifetime. Diana's children, whom she apparently loved dearly, are motherless. Further, she gave up all rights to privacy we take for granted. Stories about half-hearted suicide attempts during her early years of marriage and her battle with boulimia now find their way to television sets around the world. Even in her death, society wants to know.
Diana's death can be summed up with a line from Kris Kristopherson's " Black and
Blue." " It's too late to love her and leave her alone."
Richard Brian McCarty has worked on several political campaigns of conservatives. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes all three.
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