Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Diana Spencer killed by high-speed car crash, inquest finds
Alcohol also involved
by Arthur King

April 22, 2008 –
http://arthur-king.blogspot.com -- It took more than six months, and over 240 witnesses gave evidence, but finally the inquest into Diana Spencer's death has ended.

Based on the evidence, the jury found that the crash occurred because the car was driven at high speed, at night, in a narrow tunnel, by a man under the influence of alcohol, hotly pursued by journalists. So much for the obvious.

However, the jury also found the driver, Henri Paul, and the pursuing pack of journalists responsible for the "unlawful killing" of Spencer.

"Unlawful killing" can lead to charge of manslaughter. Since Paul died in the crash, he will not be charged. Since the inquest has no jurisdiction over events that took place in France, the journalists will not be charged.

What is missing from this analysis is the obvious truth pointed out by satirical magazine Private Eye over ten years ago, in the days immediately following Diana's death. The cover of the Eye at the time carried the headline "MEDIA TO BLAME" above a photo of the crowds that gathered outside Buckingham Palace. One of the crowd says the papers are terrible, and another agrees, saying you can't get one anywhere. A third says, "Borrow mine. It's got a picture of the car."

The Eye's satire inevitably drew the ire of those who mourned Diana's death as though a saint had died, leaving the poor bereft of hope and protection. Presumably then I will be assassinated for what I am about to write, for there is even more to it than that.

First let me say that there of course must be causes for all events, and the obvious cause of the car crash in question was the lethal combination of high speed and alcohol. Let me also assert that the relationship between the public and the press, and Diana and the public, was clearly beyond the purview of the inquest. It is not my intention to contest the verdict of the inquest. However, there is a truth beyond that verdict that cannot be discussed, because the prevailing Diana narrative will not allow it. This is what I want to talk about.

First, to return to the Eye's satire. If the press pursued Diana to her death, as the inquest decided, then by logical extension the public who devoured her tawdry private life killed her too – for without them there would be no press pack pursuing Diana and Dodi into the tunnel beneath the Seine. That was the assertion made by the Eye's satire.

Let me pause here for a moment, to allow the cries of wounded innocence to rise from the irate public. "I wouldn't have read it if they didn't write it," they insist. Indeed. And they might add, jabbing their fingers at someone else to blame, "She wanted the publicity."

And there they are right, and there is the addendum to the Eye's satire, for there was an incestuous and powerful relationship between the press, Diana and her public. This is the relationship that was beyond the purview of the inquest, and this is the truth that cannot be discussed.

Shoulda bin banned?
The truth is that Diana Spencer loved publicity, courted celebrity and fame, and was adept at manipulating an image. Born into hereditary luxury, she won fame through marriage and divorce. Over time she became increasingly accustomed to celebrity, learned the power of her sexuality – there is no doubt that she was sensual – and grew increasingly adept at manipulating her image. She loved and despised the crowd who pursued her through the press pack she courted. The crowd in their turn loved and despised her, and her life. She offered her private life for consumption, and they demanded more. And within this intimate and toxic relationship lies the truth of her death, and it is this that cannot be discussed, because it ruptures the convenient and hypocritical narrative that formed in the days following her death, and has since become a mantra to those who hold up her mediocrity as a role model.

Diana Spencer was sensual, and knew it. This cannot be denied. Diana Spencer was virginal, and knew it, and this cannot be denied. The crowd loved and hated her and her life; it was the stuff of the best idle gossip, the mundane stuffing for countless pages of filler which became the endless tattle of tepid lives, repeated over fencebacks, in cafes and brasseries, and across the counters of bars. She was the Fairy Tale princess and a whore to boot; the ultimate male fantasy and the ultimate feminine role model – the virgin-whore.

Never mind that she was mediocre, or that her affairs were tepid and stereotypical, the generic stuff of bodice rippers or Readers Wives. Her affairs titillated and offended Registered Readers, adding a frisson of sexual energy to mundane lives from Derby to Des Moines, from Dartford to Dusseldorf.

She teased the public, and they pursued. She wanted her fame and despised it. They wanted her and despised her, as Registered Readers always do. Had she been a character in a DH Lawrence novel, the public would have banned her, but since she was a princess they devoured her. Over time the relationship deepened and thickened. Her fame grew with her desire for celebrity. Their desire grew with hers. They pursued each other into the tunnel beneath the deep river. The night closed in. The deep river ran on.

Cause and effect?
The test of any causal relationship is to remove certain variables and see if the relationship persists. In this case, if we extract the public's desire for Diana, and Diana's desire for the public from the equation, what are we left with?

We are left with Henri Paul, sipping drinks in a bar somewhere, alone, and a pack of photo-journalists pursuing a different celebrity in a different town.

There would be no celebrity jetset car-crash. There would be no inquest thrashing around in a vain search for simple answers to complex questions, and in the process failing absolutely to allow the story what it ultimately requires: closure, and a loss of publicity.

Instead, we have witnessed the mob jabbing fingers and finding the answer it wanted all along: MEDIA TO BLAME.

And this farce has all been conducted on the public purse: the inquest is expected to cost over £10 million (US$19.9m).

It costs US$35,000 to clear a Cambodian minefield. (Source: