A measure of the power of the beauty cult can be found in the answer to a question. Suppose Diana had been the mistress of Prince Charles and Camilla were his first wife. If Camilla and not Diana had been killed in that Paris tunnel a decade ago, would the outpouring of grief from people who never met her have been as great? Surely not. No one celebrates or elevates plainness; less so, goodness. Where is the stadium event for Mother Teresa, who died the week after Diana? The media were forced to cover her funeral lest they be condemned as too superficial. That didn't last long.
Consider the power of the beauty cult. Network news, which was once serious, employs women whose makeup increasingly resembles the thickness of a death mask. The new NBC News financial reporter, Erin Burnett (a younger version of CNBC's "Money Honey," Maria Bartiromo) is ogled by Chris Matthews and others, who focus on her looks and not what may be inside her head, if anything.
Cable networks employ Barbie-doll wannabes (do they have a hooker version?) who are blondes with short skirts and apparently little self-respect. They are all interchangeable parts, virtually indistinguishable from one another. Most speak in clichés and have trouble ad-libbing anything that isn't written for them in the teleprompter, but the lip gloss and hair look great. They are the fantasies of aging male management and middle school boys, or am I being redundant?
The Diana cult will continue until someone younger with a better story replaces her. The public always wants a better and younger story. Consider the musical "Chicago," when public attention and favor quickly pass from Velma Kelly to Roxie Hart and then to yet another woman with a more exciting narrative.
Cults ultimately disappoint, and the Diana cult will, too. Germaine Greer concludes by writing that Diana was a "desperate woman seeking applause." No wonder so many still love her, because they are seeking the same thing.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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