Friday, July 1, 2011

Life As An Edna Ferber Novel...

Do you ever find yourself thinking, on occasion, that life is like an Edna Ferber novel? Our lives go along day to day, and suddenly a generation has passed, and during that time, a story of epic proportions has been told.  Today, July 1st would have been Diana, Princess of Wales's 50th birthday.  She was first introduced to the world as the shy English rose, who glanced out from under her long, side-swept bangs, and hairdressers all over the world were besieged by young women who demanded a "Di job". That adulation was the beginning of the road to her early demise at the age of 36.  In this photograph the changes she underwent along that journey are clearly visible; she transformed into a completely different person.  What happened along the way?  How did Shi Di turn into the woman that Prime Minister Tony Blair awkwardly nicknamed "The People's Princess"?

In Edna Ferber's novels, usually the main character was a strong female, who underwent hardships and often discrimination of one sort or another.  Several of Edna Ferber's novels were made into movies, including "Show Boat", "Giant", "So Big", "Ice Palace", "Saratoga Trunk" and "Cimarron". Lady Diana's life could have been an Edna Ferber novel ~~ the young woman as a victim, who marries into a family whom she feels doesn't value her.  She struggles, but she overcomes the feelings of oppression, and produces two wonderful sons who grow up into fine young men to carry on the dynasty.  It's all there ~~ in epic proportions.

As Diana's life went along to its fateful end, I felt she was spinning out of control.  She had become the victim of her own celebrity, but she had also bought into her own myth.  Was that her fault, or her admirers?  I suppose we'll never know.  It's too sad for words.  Perhaps Edna Ferber might have thought of a happier ending to this woman's story. Perhaps she would be celebrating her 50th birthday today, surrounded by her friends and family, rather than as a tragic figure lying in a grave, surrounded by a lake in the quiet English countryside.


PinkPanthress said...

To be honest I think she was killed, but not because of how SHE was.

Also, I think Charles did something very cruel by marrying this woman and then letting her fall down for an ugly horse like this Camilla person.

PhilipH said...

Catherine Cookson's writings seem similar to the author you mention Jo. I've never read any E.Ferber books but have, of course, seen Showboat.
Diana's son Wills and his new bride are in Canada right now and they seem to be warmly welcomed.
I do not know how Kate and Wills marriage will work out but HOPE it stays as firm as Lizzie and Prince Philip. Lizzie was smitten by the handsome Philip from the moment they first met. Wills seemingly fell for Kate in much the same way and so the omens are good, imo.
Phil (no royal connection, lol)

the walking man said...

"Was that her fault, or her admirers?"

I have to lay this one on the machine that monetized celebrity. Look at us now 14 years later and we as a culture are even worse, when people like Palin and Snookie or Pookie or whatever her name is can become overnight millionaires just because everyone recognizes their name.

To her great good credit, even if Diana, had bought into her own fame at the very least she mad em aware of the great problem in the world where all armies have left land mines in place even after hostilities have ended and the other issues she brought to the fore.

What has today's celebrity done except make themselves more famous with wider name recognition so the sheep will buy a poorly written book or watch a poorly acted reality show?

Rebecca Nelson said...

We have only ourselves to blame for the madness of celebritydom. I refuse to watch reality TV or be sucked into the madness of it all. I'm glad I'm not famous and although I'd be willing to have a few more dollars in my wallet I wouldn't want them if it meant giving up my integrity. Too high a price for something that isn't eternal.

Diana loved her prince and the saddest part of her life is that, for whatever the reason, he did NOT love her back. I pray enough of her no-royal-blood runs through the veins of her boys for them to become real men. Something Charles will never ever be.

Love to you~


DJan said...

I will never forget the day her death was all over the news. It seems incredible that she could be gone, with all her beauty and wealth. And now fourteen years have gone by, and she would have turned fifty today.

That seems such a tragedy to me. Her work on land mines and their destruction to innocent life is still ongoing, and I have nothing but respect for the person she was. I wonder who she would have become if given a longer life.

Meryl Baer said...

Hopefully Katherine is much better prepared to face the adulation as well as the negativity of celebrity-dom. Diana never had a fighting chance.

Whitney Lee said...

I can't believe it's been 14 years.

I think her popularity and life in the limelight is just indicative of a problem that's only gotten worse. We're too focused on celebrity and on watching other people's lives to actually focus on our own. I'm not opposed to seeing that the royal family is having a wedding; what I dislike is that there are magazines, tv shows, websites, etc whose only purpose is to allow us to see what those we've deemed important are doing at any given time. So many people have gone from being participants in their own lives to spectators of someone else's.

This laser lake focus is beyond difficult for those under scrutiny, as well. It has to be. And I believe that unless one has a very strong center or balance, that it's going to throw them off, skew their sense of what's important. Perhaps that's what happens so often with celebrities-those all too often tragic endings that smack of self destruction.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

I loved Diana, I admit it. But did not remember that today was her Birthday.

Hers was a sad, sad story, mostly in all. But she did love, love, love those boys.



DUTA said...

The women in the british royal family (including the last addition) are painfully plain-looking.

It was obvious that Diane's angelic beauty will not make her life easy neither within this family nor outside with the paparazzi.

A previous commenter has mentioned Sara Palin. Here's another woman whose beauty draws fire although for other reasons, political ones.

Her opponents know that people are tempted to vote for a beautiful woman with brains, and so they've decided to turn her life into a misery.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I agree with Marks' view of unremarkable people becoming celebrities, famous just for being famous, and he also raises an excellent point about Diana's work concerning land mines. I think that the awkward young girl who married into perhaps the most intimidating family on the planet was evolving into a strong-minded woman who would have continued to do good works. Her celebrity may have offered consolation from the emotional wasteland of her marriage.