Den Links Literature Reviews Bookstore Friends Humor Claire's Essays Claire's Books Wolfe's Lodge

Previous FRIENDS Next

Wolf Tracks

This isn't just about Princess Diana; it's about our own attitudes that keep us unfree. Charles Curley, who wrote it, is a gun-rights activist, software engineer, writer and wonderful human being.

Pavane For a Dead Princess

By Charles Curley

Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car accident in Paris this week.

So bloody what?

Diana's death was a personal tragedy to her family and friends, and especially to her children. But why on earth should it matter to the rest of us? Who was Diana that we should mourn her? What personal greatness did she possess for which we should honor her?

Americans seem to have an infantile fascination with the British aristocracy ,and especially the royal family. They laud Diana because she was charitable to children. Well, so what? It's easy to be charitable when you come from a family of wealthy aristocrats and your former husband is one of the highest ranking aristocrats in the country. As a member of the royal family Diana was, in fact, paid mind boggling amounts of money to undertake publicly charitable work. It was part of her job description (though we concede she met her responsibilities exceptionally well).

Also, if Their Majesties' Governments for most of this century weren't so intent on following policies guaranteed to impoverish children and their parents, maybe those children wouldn't need so much charity.

For example, England just might not require so much charity for children's hospitals if not for the vampiric National Health Service's Hillarycare run amok.

Ultimately, every dime that Diana was paid and that she spent -- including the $1.2 million per year she splurged on clothes -- came out of the pockets of the productive people of Britain. Even that money which came from inherited assets was nevertheless the result of centuries of plunder.

This is a woman who was born to the aristocracy and married into royalty. She had a "fairy tale marriage" with Prince Charming and the rest of that tripe. But she did it on the backs of the British taxpayers: the ultimate welfare princess.

My real purpose, however, is not to damn Diana. She is neither the first nor last expensive public ornament to decorate the world press. And while she undoubtedly had many negative qualities, there is no doubt she had many fine qualities, as well. She was graceful and beautiful. She worked hard at her "job" as a princess. Her children adored her, which always tells us something. And even after she ceased to be a paid, professional royal, she continued to do public charity work.

My real purpose is to ask why we Americans -- including a surprising number within the freedom movement -- actually feel that a person like Diana is important. Why do we persist in believing she has virtue and significance beyond the ordinary when the only truly notable thing she ever did was get married? (And the only notable thing he ever did was get born.)

Why is it that all of the attention is on Diana? Where is the great outpouring of concern for Dodi Al-Fayed, her, ah, "companion" for the evening? Are we to be regaled on National Propaganda Radio with how much he has donated to charity?

And what of the chauffeur? Does anyone give a damn about him? He was just a poor working slob, he was. No one in the press even named him -- until they received the tantalizing information that he was drunk to the passing-out point as he drove through that tunnel at 120 mph.

Then, suddenly he became "important," too...but only because he may have had greater culpability in Diana's death than was first known. Not because any of us consider his, personal death a tragedy.

And the bodyguard, the sole survivor of the car's complement? What of him? Are the Sloan Rangers, those upper-crust young English wastrels from which Lady Diana Spenser sprung, lining up to donate to his medical bills?

Diana was known to Americans for one thing and one thing only: she was royalty. Er, excuse me, but didn't we fight a war to get rid of royalty? And wasn't it the House of Windsor, formerly the House of Hanover, whom we fought that war to get rid of?

Let me ask you this: If you heard that the neighbor woman two blocks down and five houses over had died in a car wreck -- a woman you did not know -- would you mourn her? Not likely. In fact, if you heard she died because her car was traveling four times the speed limit, driven by a companion with four times the legal blood-alcohol limit, you'd probably say something like, "The fool got what she deserved. Damn lucky nobody in any other cars got hurt."

But there is every possibility that a woman down the street, around the corner, on the other side of town is a better human being than Diana was. That anonymous woman may have done more good works, endured more hardships with more courage, had more integrity, been more intelligent, been more loving, been a finer, stronger, more noble person, than any princess who ever lived on earth.

So why not mourn her? Why not impute superhuman qualities to Dead Neighbor X? Why do so many of us assume, wrongly, that Diana HAD to be better than some unheralded other?

A day or so after the tragedy, I heard a freedom fighter defend Diana by proclaiming that she was "kind to ordinary people." Well, excuse me, but Diana Spenser Windsor was an ordinary person. She pissed, shit and puked just like the rest of us. She closed out her share of bars. She was just as prone to hemorrhoids, gas and the heartbreak of psoriasis as any other poor schmuck. Being a product of an inbred aristocracy, she probably wasn't as intelligent as most of us. She never wrote a great book, made an important scientific discovery, or performed a death-defying act of personal heroism. She was, in fact, discouraged from doing any of those things by her training, background or the nature of her "job" as royal.

Diana was no better than that lady down the street. No worse. So why is anyone making a big deal over her death?

If we ever wish to be truly free, truly self-respecting people, we must stop assuming that anyone is more important than we, knows more than we, is better than we, merely because that person has a famous name or face. The only thing that set Diana Spenser Windsor apart from you and me was that she was richer and more famous. That's all. If you believe that makes her more worthy of respect than someone less wealthy or less known, then I submit that you are already wearing a mental saddle for the aristocracy to ride.

If we can bring ourselves to stop worshipping stars and celebrities, then maybe we can bring ourselves to stop worshipping "officials" and media-proclaimed "authorities." Then, maybe, we can rid ourselves of the self-important leeches who live off our money and gain power from our uncritical goodwill.

© Charles Curley.
Permission to reprint freely granted, provided the article is reprinted in full and that any reprint is accompanied by this copyright statement.

Previous Top Next

Wolf Tracks

| The Lodge | Claire's Books | CW Essays | CW Sillies | Patricia Neill | Friends
| Bookstore | Reviews | Literature | Sound-Off Archive | Den | Links |

If you find anything awry at this site,
please contact the Web Tender.

28 November, 1997