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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Now it can be told

I'm glad Helen Mirren won the Oscar for best actress. She's a sexy old broad who can keep the minds of us libidinous old coots off the 22-year-olds at least for a few minutes every once in a while. I've very much enjoyed watching her as Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison in the "Prime Suspect" episodes of "Masterpiece Theatre," a wonderful detective series.

I haven't seen "The Queen" yet, but I hope it does justice to Elizabeth II. She's about the only one who came out of the orgy of grief over Princess Di's death with any dignity at all left. I wrote a column back then deploring (editorial writers are very good at deploring, and our lamenting is pertty good, too) the over-the-top, gushing coverage of Diana and the relatively subdued coverage of Mother Teresa, who died around the same time. It was like: "OH, NO! Diana has been TAKEN from us! How could someone so young and beautiful and good and noble DIE like that! Oh, what WILL we do now? The world will be SO MUCH worse off. Oh, this just in. Mother Teresa died. But, DI DIED, and that was a REAL TRAGEDY!!!!" It was, I thought, symbolic of how screwed-up our priorities had become. And, of course, we have come from there to Anna Nicole Smith. The pope and the president would have both had to die on the same day, and only if they killed each other in a shoot-out, for the coverage of her death to have been toned down much in the past couple of weeks.

But the column never ran -- I think that's the only occasion in all my time here when one was actually spiked. I guess I can write about it now, since I have survived the executive editor and the publisher who were around then and, come to think of it, the company that owned the newspaper, too. It was patiently explained to me that our loyal readers, like most other Americans, had a great affection for Diana and that they might misunderstand the column and be offended by it. Actually, I think the problem would have been that they might understand it very well and be offended by it, but never mind.

I normally have a pretty even temperament, the king of cool. But I remember printing out a copy of that column and carrying it around with me all day, waving it in people's faces and demanding they read it. "I'm sure you'll like it," I'm told I yelled at people, "but you'd better read it here, because this is the only place you can read it, because IT'S NOT GOING IN THE PAPER! WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?!"  Was I beside myself? Where else would you be if you're out of your mind?

Wish I'd saved it. It would have made a wonderful Anna Nicole tribute.


Tue, 02/27/2007 - 6:07am

I can date the death of my respect for the British to the death of Diana. I always thought Brits were above engaging in the maudlin hysteria over celebrideaths so common among my fellows Americanos, but not so.