New York, Sept 2 (Reuter) - Slimming company Weight Watchers International has postponed the formal launch of an advertising campaign in which the Duchess of York says losing weight is "harder than outrunning the paparazzi."
Admirable words of surprising sense from the Duchess of Pork -- what a shame that her sister-in-law instead tried to escape them by driving through the streets of Paris at 200 km/h, in a heavily armoured limousine. If you're going to do this, it’s probably worth remembering to:
|So young; so well-loved;
such fabulous baps.
I used to be a fervent monarchist. This was back in the golden days, roughly between the Silver Jubilee and Charles and Diana's wedding. But since then, the continuing saga of the Royal soap opera, not least the Chuck 'n' Di show, has destroyed my respect for this institution. And, frankly, Diana's death, despite the subsequent media canonisation, makes no difference.
Sudden death is always sad, but in many ways, she’s just another in a long line: Dean, Monroe, Kennedy, Lennon, Phoenix, and now Diana, all greeted with howls about "unfulfilled potential". However, even allowing for the high-pressure world of the Royals, her life wasn't exactly a massive success, despite a sudden late burst of charity work. One failed marriage, several affairs, a nervous breakdown and some botched suicide attempts isn't a good record.
Watching TV the day she died, and
seeing her mythic status grow by the hour, I felt like I was taking
part in Heathers.
The establishment fell over to embrace her in
death, as they had excluded her in life, but I am forced to wonder just
how deep and widespread the claimed grief over Diana actually was.
Certainly, there was little sign of it in my office, going by the
number of jokes doing the rounds:
Why did Diana die in hospital?
They hadn’t any parts for an '81 Princess...
Yes, it's crap (and believe me, I've got lots more of them), but it serves to indicate that the entire country was not quite as grief-stricken as the press would have us believe.
For Diana was a media creation, who used them just as they used her. She sold papers, while their perpetual pushing of her as the "Queen of Hearts" must have been one hell of a confidence boost for someone chucked out of the world's most dysfunctional family.
The most fitting and appropriate comment on all this came from Private Eye, who said, "In recent weeks (not to mention the last ten years) we at the Daily Gnome, in common with all other newspapers, may have inadvertently conveyed the impression the Princess of Wales was in some way a neurotic, irresponsible and manipulative troublemaker...the Princess of Hearts was in fact the most saintly woman who has ever lived... We would like to express our sincere and deepest hypocrisy to all our readers on this tragic day and hope and pray that they will carry on buying our paper notwithstanding."
Eye was about the only
publication to come out of the whole fiasco with its integrity intact
also did not badly, though the timing of the accident meant
they missed the initial furore]. Witness the cover cartoon on
Man 1: The papers are a disgrace
Man 2: Yes, I couldn’t get one anywhere
Man 3: Borrow mine, it’s got a picture of the car.
They suffered as a result, said edition being blackballed by a sizeable number of newsagents, yet continued to do a fine job of exposing the double-think of the mass media:
Lynda Lee-Potter, Daily Mail, 27th August -- "The sight of a paunchy playboy groping a scantily-clad Diana must appal and humiliate Prince William...As the mother of two young sons she ought to have more decorum and sense. She has for many years criticised Prince Charles for being a distant, undemonstrative father. In the long run he’s been the more responsible parent and certainly inflicted less damage, anguish and hurt"
Lynda Lee-Potter, Daily Mail, 1st September -- "Throughout their childhood, she gave her sons endless loving cuddles...She adored her children"
What a difference a car-crash makes. Despite this, and those who said "Yep, it's sad -- now get on with life", the country basically ground to a halt for a week, most notably on the Saturday morning. The pressure exerted on anyone who failed to toe the line was incredible; those who wanted to mourn insisted everyone else did so too. Our local supermarket intended to stay open, and donate its profits to charity, but was forced to shut instead -- you do have to wonder which would have been preferred by the 'Queen of Hearts'. Little wonder her funeral drew the biggest TV audience ever, because there was sod-all else you could do, though I was amused by C4’s scheduling of a cartoon called Princess Cinders opposite the funeral...
After that passed, things calmed down, with a blip when Andrew Morton re-released his book on Diana, with extra added salacious bits. Needless to say, this treacherous little volume sold like hot-cakes -- one wonders how many copies went to the same people seen weeping uncontrollably outside Kensington Palace? I await with interest the (surely inevitable) Hollywood movie, and would suggest Madonna for the role -- for who better to play the world's biggest media whore than the world's second biggest media whore? Sign up Antonio Banderas to play Dodi, and let's have Jeremy Irons as Charles. Get Oliver Stone to direct it, and we can play up the conspiracy angles. Speaking of which...
|The above picture is allegedly
Di trapped in
the wreckage, though I’ve my doubts;
apologies for the quality of the reproduction.
But it’s in Paris that paranoia runs out of control, like a Mercedes-Benz with its brake-cables cut. Diana apparently had no British security cover, nor had the UK papers anyone on her tail: were they warned off? It seems strange that Diana allowed herself to be taken at speed by a drunken, non-professional driver, while her trained chauffeur went on a trivial diversionary mission, and near incredible that neither Dodi, a Muslim, nor the surviving security man, realised the driver's state and drew attention to it. It is easy to tamper with a blood sample [it’s also easy, incidentally, to give someone a 'heart attack' in an operating room...], and rather than a single figure, we’ve seen a surprisingly wide range of values quoted for the amount of alcohol in the driver's blood.
The only public evidence of what happened came from eye-witnesses discovered by the media - although you might think traffic cameras would have provided impartial data - as the survivor hasn’t given many interviews to the press: perhaps he was given the choice of that or a mysterious relapse. Oddly, everyone else seemed to be American, as if there were there no French around Paris at the time. One also wonders what happened to the paparazzi film and cameras; I suspect they’ll be quietly destroyed out of "respect for the Princess". The Al-fayeds said "motorcycles were seen swerving in front of the vehicle", though the source of this information is unclear.
Eye-witnesses describe hearing a loud bang or explosion before the crash; no-one has followed this up, and while the car blew all the way across the tunnel, metal and glass flying, with enough force to kill three out of four occupants, there was so much as a reported scratch on any of the unprotected motorcyclists supposedly closely flanking it. The other story that the French police released and then later withdrew was the speedometer "sticking" at 196 kph. Someone must have pointed out that this type of Mercedes does not have a mechanical speedo... Witnesses driving by saw the passenger side door open and the survivor's legs on the ground as if trying to get out. One described an argument as like that between people involved in an accident - was the security guard walking about? Indeed, the media first reported that Diana too was walking and talking after the accident. The first people at the scene of the accident, heard the bang and run into the tunnel, but were chased away by an unidentified individual.
|This photo comes with a choice of two alternative captions: “Well, there goes your no-claims bonus for this year, Henri”, or “That’s what you get for trying to overtake Michael Schumacher”.|
If the limo could travel at high speed, the roads must have been quiet, yet it took 15 minutes to get an ambulance to the scene. French emergency services often operate on accident victims on the side of the road using especially designed portable operating theatres. On this occasion, they didn't: instead, it was two hours before she went to hospital -- though there were two closer than the one to which the Princess was taken. There, they tried to revive her through heart massage, which seems rather primitive. By now, the BBC and CNN were already blaming the paparazzi who were allegedly chasing the car, strongly promoting this as the true cause of Diana's death, and leaving virtually no room for other theories.
So many questions, so few answers. You don't expect such a public death to be completely without inconsistencies - even the best Hollywood movies have continuity errors - but in this case there appear to be more than I’d expect. If "they" wanted rid of her, it was a terribly public way to do it, but public spasms of grief allow a great deal to be concealed, and it sent out strong signals to any other enemies of "them" out there. Conveniently, it happened abroad, out of British jurisdiction, but close enough to get her body back, and out of sight, within hours.
Given that someone killed her (and I appreciate this is a pretty big given), who was it? The favourite targets are the British 'establishment', an umbrella term which includes the Royal family. The benefits for them are immediate and obvious. Diana was more than an embarrassment; according to James Whittaker of the Daily Mirror, they regarded her as "poison". Diana cut herself free, did not work for the Government, and was politically unaligned. She was a loose cannon; dangerous, out of control and her access to the future heirs posed serious problems. In death, she can be re-absorbed into the fold, boosting Royal popularity while simultaneously ridding themselves of the most public sign of their failures.
That alone might be enough, even discounting her relationship with Dodi, whose father feuded with the establishment, over both the control of Harrods and his application for British citizenship. He paid Tory MPs to raise the question in the House of Commons, then revealed he had done so, fuelling the "sleaze" crisis which helped bring down the government. But as a relation of the future King of England, it'd be hard to deny him a British passport. Any marriage would probably have meant Diana converting to the Islamic faith, like Jemima Khan. You can imagine concern in certain circles: "My God, what if the Queen Mother were a Moslem?". Unsurprisingly, this has provoked a number of anti-Semitic angles, and to balance these, a few anti-Arab ones as well, with rumours suggesting Al-Fayed was thinking about disinvesting in the British economy.
Meanwhile, Charles, now a widower rather than a divorcee in the eyes of the church, can remarry without causing problems to the "Defender of the Faith" bit. [If I were Camilla Parker-Bowles' ex-husband, I’d be more than a little nervous...] Don't be surprised if it's used as an excuse to bring in draconian privacy laws, limiting the ability of individuals to gather information on and document the activities of the establishment. This theory would presumably be popular with extremist American politician Lyndon LaRouche (and I mean ‘extremist’ even by their wild and wacky standards), who believes the Queen is the head of an international drugs cartel.
However, it seems pointless for Charles to have divorced her just a few months before the "accident". Another strike against this theory is that Colonel Gaddafi believes it -- though in the same speech, he warned his people that the West might invade Libya because of its sun, sand, seashore, dates, watermelons and, er, camel milk. "The camel is also a reason for them to invade Libya. The camel is unique because he can go for months without drinking. He also has good milk. In fact, why do you import milk from Europe when you have the camel's milk?" [Ok, I take back what I said about American politicians in the previous paragraph...]
While this is the main scenario propounded, it's far from the only one. Second up is that ol' favourite, the industro-military cartel. As is well known, Diana was a outspoken campaigner against landmines. The manufacturers, not just in America but the rest of the world too, cannot have been too thrilled by her activities. Against this, her death will almost certainly result in a total ban, as any other result would seem churlish in the extreme. Maybe the anti-landmine lobby ruthlessly sacrificed their own spokeswoman. This reversal also applies to theories involving the Royal family, as Diana's death could benefit, or be a mortal blow to them. Did a secret faction hope to discredit the Queen and turn Britain into a republic? With Diana at her peak of popularity, but about to remarry and fade from the limelight, they arranged the death of the Queen of Hearts -- "our Queen, their pawn" as one proponent suggests! In so doing they create a martyr, a heroine to remain forever young, wronged by Charles, Camilla, and the nasty Royals.
Bizarre as that sounds, it's by no means the most extreme idea: Interflora were behind it all, Eddie Large did it to divert attention from his road rage conviction, Elton John was to blame (Gianni Versace was just a dry run), or Di is still alive, and the whole thing was a scam to allow her and Dodi to vanish into hiding, with the connivance of the Royal family. Hard to tell who is joking, though the last does explain why there was no ‘lying in state’: someone would have realised it wasn't her in the coffin -- expect Diana sightings to follow. And Tom Cruise took a strong role in using the affair to support restrictions on news reporters. Cruise is a Scientologist; they have a long history of attempts to silence its critics. Mere bandwagon-jumping, or something more sinister?
But perhaps my favourite surrounds Princes Harry and William. A main tenet of conspiracy theory is "Follow the money": in this case, the money goes straight to the heir-but-one and his brother. As a result of their mother's death, they’re now looking at the rough equivalent of a lottery jackpot each, and under normal circumstances, would be prime suspects. I will admit, however, that doubts must be cast, however, over their ability to organise such a hit while on their summer hols, even if their pocket money could probably stretch to it.
We can be almost certain about one thing: the truth will never be known with any certainty. Now that these conspiracies have had mainstream coverage, the entire affair possesses all the trappings of a modern myth: history inevitably shows that such things become more, rather than less obscure, with the passage of time.
[Indeed, this already seems to be
happening. Witness the following: is it cunningly constructed
Government disinformation, designed to conceal the truth by making it
ludicrous, or just a jape? Perhaps it’s even the truth -- for
who’d believe it...?]
"Ever since the botched Calvi job under Blackfriars Bridge, the Pope has sought revenge on British Royalty. An uncomfortable truce held between the Windsors and the Vatican during the 80's, but the pontiff recently said on VNN (Vatican News Network) that Diana was no longer "the next Mother Teresa", a position promised in 1984 when she followed papal decree and refused to open a new Wyeth factory in the Welsh Catholic stronghold of Abergavenny. The Vatican/Windsor truce was negotiated in early 1985, following four years of intense, secret fighting whose commencement can be traced directly to the ‘81 botched assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. Carried out by muslim Mehmed Ali Agca, it was arranged by Mohammed Al-fayed, father of the ill-fated Dodi. He longed desperately for British citizenship and was put up to the job by the current Capo of the Windsor mob, Price Philip, still stinging from the 1979 death of his uncle, Lord Mountbatten, at the hands of the Vatican's special Irish service.
The ‘85 truce was negotiated by Senator Edward Kennedy, representing Vatican secret interests in the US, and vice-president Bush, former CIA Chief and Anglican lay minister, pressed to the temporary service of the Windsors by then governor of West Virginia Jay Rockefeller, a fellow Trilateral Commission member. In 1990, Bush would help arrange the embarrassment of the Vatican's highly placed agent, Chaldean Catholic and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, by instructing American ambassador April Martin to lure him into encouraging Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait. The Windsors controlled the puppet government of Saudi Arabia, but had been shut out of the lucrative Kuwaiti market, and responded with a mass rejection of the Catholic institution of marriage. This resulted in all the Queen's progeny - save closet homosexual Edward - being divorced in the same year. An angry pontiff almost gave the conspiracy away when, in a fit of rage, he ordered a special Vatican controlled IRA active service unit to firebomb Windsor Castle. The Vatican also instructed their puppet government in Westminster to tax all royal personages.
The burning of Windsor Castle, in which sixteen junior, and luckily nonphotogenic, Royal Family members lost their lives, forced the Queen to sign a treaty with the Vatican agreeing to abide by and promote the one true faith in the UK. At the end of that year in her Xmas Speech, Queen Elizabeth II clearly blamed the murder of Christ on the Jewish race. The last straw for the Vatican happened when Diana allowed herself to be photographed having unprotected sex with a Muslim, then drunkenly announced she was leaving Britain for good "because the last Tory government were such assholes". John Paul II took this as a personal insult and ordered Masonic lodge P2 to eliminate her forthwith, financed by Du Pont, manufacturers of the world's finest subterranean anti-personnel devices.
The car's brakes were interfered with and her regular driver (trained in anti-terrorist driving techniques) was fed a dodgy meat madras by Catholic waiting staff at the Ritz. It is thought the Mercedes cruise control was hacked into over a land line from the Vatican and reprogrammed to accelerate to maximum revs when going around tight bends."