Friday, March 12, 2004

I watched the 2 part NBC show on Princess Diana and the tapes she made in secret. In fact I made a deliberate effort to watch the 2nd part last night, not just landing on it by channel surfing.

First off, I must share this embarresses me. I probably watch all of 6 hours of TV a month in total and little of it falls into the gratuitous, empty or sensational catagories. Actually over time, most of what I watch is music performances.
It occurred to me in a rational moment heading to bed last night that one could argue that the producers may have (probably) made a huge impact on the tone of the show just by selecting certain excerpts to air, sensationalizing the material through editing, despite the veracity of her words captured on tape.
I noted that I didn't much care though. I found myself oddly enjoying the story line of the privately tortured princess who eventually found a way to say "up yours" to the royals, forge her own way, find her own voice and purpose, and then die tragically just as life had turned around. Whatever the critics might find as evidence that she was not the innocent victim, I have no desire to hear it. I'd gladly buy into the conspiracy theories that she was assasinated rather than the victim of an accident. I have to admit, with further embarressment, that I cried at the replay of the funeral when I certainly didn't cry over her death when it happened. She became real to me, and I liked being on her side.

I'm sure this says something about what the public prefers their "history" to look like and how that remakes history into what we'd prefer to hear, or what is more exciting/sensational to believe. It might have been her story as she told it, but it was only part of her story, told in tidbits, told without the mundane trivia such as what color sheets she slept on, what books, or if she read books to her boys, what her favorite TV show was, but her voice, and the obvious vulnerability, made it true. I suppose that is what I like best about reading the sorts of blogs where people talk about their day, their argument with the landlord, their impression of a current event, their struggles with their faith, what they cooked for a dinner party. It's context that allows me to picture them, side with them, cry with them. I probably don't want to read the blog written by the ex-wife or angry child or boss who has a completely different view of that person. I like my one sided, simple impression of things to go unchallenged. So I have to admit, I didn't really want the show last night to be balanced.
And I still feel vaguely unclean for having watched it, like a voyeur. Did anyone else watch?

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