...how I freaking hate Princess Di? I'm sure I have. Several times. But since a day can't pass without somebody still bringing her up, I have been forced to remember that she was my Paris Hilton before there was a Paris Hilton. That's how much I hated her. Now I hate her even more because according to Tina Brown, we have Di to thank for the nightmare that is Paris (and Lindsay*, and Nicole "Bones" Ritchie and a veritable host of talentless anorexics whose only wish is to strut their puny, disgusting lives in front of a camera). *Lindsay is somewhat talented, but way screwed up by: celebrity!
I'm sure that the Tina book is most interesting, but this is not something we didn't know already. We saw it, beautifully in The Queen (the movie). You could tell, even in the eighties, that this woman craved the camera like I crave macaroni and cheese and Chinese food and onion rings and ice cream (and tortilla soup and tacos de carnitas from the Mercado de Medellin). Every coy smile and flutter of the eyelashes was calculated to elicit sympathy, as if she was a hungry orphan in Darfur and not a wealthy aristocrat living a fraudulent life of her own devising. I also freaking hated her hair.
Is it our fault that she married a guy who didn't love her and had huge ears? No. They had two kids. How did that happen? He closed his eyes and thought of England?
My acting teacher used to say that asking for pity or sympathy is the most boring choice for an actor. The kiss of death. Well, that's what happened to me with her. I could not tolerate her cloying goodness, her pretense of fresh scrubbed innocence. It was as sincere as a Hallmark card. But people bought it. Now, Paris Hilton has fans. Fans of what?
It is true, and sad and terrible that Diana's legacy is this: thanks to her we have to live with this celebrity frenzy that not only shows no sign of abating but that apparently knows no limits, no shame, no dignity, no curb. A freefall of vulgarity and banality and spin.
I was not around in the age of the heiresses like Doris Duke or Barbara Hutton. They were probably nuts, but I'm sure they had to have more class than what we see today. Whatever their skankiness, it probably happened safely behind closed doors, not in full view of the entire world.
I have an idea for the shortage of Army recruits: draft the p.r. people who work for these media whores. No need to thank me.