ON DIANA: Lisa asked in the comments section of the previous post what my thoughts were on a UK documentary showing photos of Princess Diana as she lay dying in the back of her Mercedes in 1997. A decade since her death, Diana remains the gold standard when it comes to being hounded by the paparazzi and having every slip-up, hasty word or relationship splashed across the tabloid pages and dissected on television. Britney, Lindsay and Paris have all done far worse things on camera and off, but are given a pass for being young and stupid -- despite breaking laws left and right, being hooked on drugs and generally being spoiled out of their goddamned minds.
For Diana. Companero...
There was always something extra nasty about the press' coverage of Diana and that continues even in death. Sure, she manipulated the media when it worked to her advantage, but I prefer to focus on the good works she did while alive. Diana was rich and pampered, so she didn't have to go read stories to critically ill children, walk through landmines or spend time at AIDS hospitals. As far as I'm concerned, Diana got a pass to do whatever she liked in her personal life the day in 1987 she walked into a London hospital and sat holding the hand of man dying of AIDS, one of the first to break the stigma that AIDS could be caught through casual contact and that those suffering were undeserving of compassion. She would make clandestine late-night visits to hospitals taking her sons with her. In 1989 she would open the UK's first AIDS Centre.
I'm sure the photos of Diana dying will make it to the internet and the documentary being screened on the UK's Channel 4 may even make it over here, but I won't be watching. I stopped buying tabloids long before Diana died and now I avert my eyes when I'm in the check out line at the supermarket. I prefer to remember Diana for the things she did, not the clothes she wore or who she slept with.
I actually can't believe it's been 10 years since Diana died. That night, I had been at a friend's house having a heated argument with a priest over the film Wings of Desire. He found it both a bore and sacrilegious at the same time. Angels would never become human, was his argument, would never be tempted by sin or interfere in the actions of others. I disagreed. Vehemently.
We're 20 years on from Diana's visit to the AIDS ward and there is still no cure and there are still ignorant, homophobes among us. In Moscow this past weekend, activists were beaten and arrested by police in front of city hall as they tried to present a petition against the cancellation of a gay pride parade. There were the typical signs and slogans, including AIDS is God's Wrath. While nothing much surprises me anymore, it's still shocking on some deep level that this kind of prejudice and ignorance flourishes...and often gets a helping hand from our elected officials pandering to the right-wing Christian nutjobs. I'm talking about you George W. Motherfucker, and all your ilk. We need more Dianas in the world.
For Diana. Companero...