A “Media Event”: Death of Princess Diana
The cold public stirs awake, smelling blood at the slightest hint of sensation and it is this that the media feeds on.
The incident is colored, amplified and exaggerated to feed the vicarious hunger of the masses – it imposes themes on the gullible consumers that media itself has contrived. The death of Diana has been blown out of proportions – a simple accident has been made hyper-real to pander to the hungry public so that the media gained fame and money from the unfortunate ordinary accident. Diana’s life has always been in the limelight of the media and this was seized upon through the television concern for her, reality shows, public outpourings of grief; in such a way death has been merchandized. But even after knowing this, there is no way of getting at the truth sans the interpretations of the media. Diana had become, thanks to the media, a simulacrum – more unreal than real. The image created of her eclipsed the real because of the exaggeration of this reality.
A celebrity simulacrum helps in filling the void and coldness of day-to-day life. Manipulated by the media, the people projected their own longings on an empty figure that soon managed to make her saintly and sacred. Thus, she surpassed the other royals in the family whose birth had made them sacred. While she was real, to most peopl she lived through the image created and her death was also like part of a Bond film (Pillow and McNaughton 2078-9).To hammer in the point like an advertising mantra, the media repeatedly showed the same clips over and over again so that the tears were created for the movie and not so much for Diana as a woman. Few and far between were feeble grumblings against the suspension of normal news and other coverage.
Flowers and written tributes poured in showing mass hysteria, which gave the sneaking feeling that people wanted others to read their penmanship. It reminds one Shakespeare’s clever manipulation of the people in his play Julius Caesar. The grief was for the death of a media character and not someone real. Was it a kind of grieving in reaction – something that is laced with enjoyment? The media has developed this form of mass mourning, tapping into public sentiments. Those who did not flow with the tide were compelled to conform as if not to mourn there was something unthinkable.
Non-mourners courted the flak of their neighbors! The entire episode points to the domination of the media. The funeral became one big media event. It was relayed in the way Cup finals are shown – overstatements, hyperbole, melodrama and typical banalities with the pivotal shots being replayed. Sals video, sounddtrack CD and entire range of Diana memorabilia picked up speed with money pouring in (Kvavilashvili and Mirani 1021). For some time, the paparazzi did get the blame and the press was projected as being amoral. The shots of the crash verged on pornography and obscenity.
The public cooperated by lapping up each gory detail. In Paris, death tours became popular. The Princess Diana theme park was opened at Althorp House with visitors displaying ordinary reactions like highly priced tickets and obscure view of the site of the buried ground. It was beginning of the devaluation of the inflated drama (Pillow and McNaughton 2079).Since the tragedy many theories abound circulated by the media to keep the tingle on.
Was the entire thing a staged event with the Windsor Royals and the Governments of England, and France being in cahoots? Actually, Diana disappeared, because many would gain from her vanishing, including the mega media and the Princess herself. Perhaps, working in tandem with her and promising her a life of luxury with her latest boyfriend, they made her evaporate. If Diana had remained in the focus, Charles would have never become the King. The political clout of the Windsor family cannot be ignored. The mega media were at that time stumbling after the trial of OJ Simpson and needed some new fuel to fire them.