Rant of the Week

Oh What a Circus


Oh what a circus, oh what a show
Argentina has gone to town
Over the death of an actress called Eva Peron
We've all gone crazy, mourning all day and mourning all night
Falling over ourselves to get all, of the misery right.

Added March 12, 1998:

Crazy is right.  Diana may be the most monumentally insignificant person of the 20th century.  What I mean is that the scale of her media coverage exceeded her real importance by an unimaginable degree.  Quick, name one thing Diana was good at?   Name one of her "achievements".  Name one of her special talents or remarkable gifts?  The truth is that any well-brought up girl could have done as well or better at the few things we think she was good at: smiling and giving short, inconsequential speeches. 

And while the world wails about her death and spends millions of dollars on flowers and tasteless mementos, another 10,000 children will have died of starvation or malnutrition around the globe.  But that's the point, you see.   In Diana's death we feel validated as people.   Look at me-- I am weeping. I have a heart.  I am compassionate.  I have real human feelings!   I supported her opposition to land mines and her concern for AIDS victims!  I bought the Elton John record...

One last comment, if you can forgive me the cynicism:  the height of these cheap emotions was reached with Elton John's new version of Candle in the Wind.  Just in case you didn't know, Candle in the Wind was written for the memory of Marilyn Monroe, another physically beautiful woman who first courted, then seemed to despise media attention.  Then it was rededicated to AIDS victim Ryan White. 

I think it was a monumental miscalculation on John's part to not write a new song for Diana.  It makes the whole thing look cheap and tawdry.  And British. 

What's the matter Elton-- can't come up with anything new anymore?!

Marilyn Monroe, depressed, and alone in spite of her popularity, probably committed suicide (some paranoids believe the Kennedys had her snuffed).  Candle in the Wind was a beautiful song that captured something of the tacky ambivalence with which we adore then destroy celebrities (the prurient curiosity about the fact that her body was found "in the nude").  

So Elton John and Bernie Taupin took this sensitive, honest song, and quickly rewrote it to accommodate Princess Diana's funeral.   Unfortunately, they also debauched it.  They removed the lines about how the media, ever exploitive, reported that Marilyn had been found in the nude, ironically proving that while overtly despising the media that "hounded" Diana to her death, Elton wishes also to provide a "tasteful" version of the lyrics for mass consumption.  

Geez, you have to wonder if Marilyn, up there in the sky with all the other dead celebrities, feels a little jilted.   Elton, you're an idiot.


All Contents Copyright Bill Van Dyk
 1997 All Rights Reserved