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27 June 2009

Thus Spoke the Spectacle on the Diana Frenzy

Just sub in MJ, and it becomes topical. The problem is, actually, that this is always topical. Click title to see.

4 comments:

  1. Natasha Hardenne27 June, 2009 21:30

    "The Tragedy That Remains presents the global media frenzy surrounding the life and death of Princess Diana to illuminate celebrity culture and the role we play in making that culture possible." I play no part in that whatsoever! I think we need to let the woman rest in peace so we can get with our lives (and I'm English!) and focus on what's important. People like my mother, on the hand, have different ideas... :-(

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  2. Doug: Thanks for posting the link to our video.

    Natasha: As the quote you excerpted from our summary of "Tragedy" points out, the video is intended to illuminate celebrity culture, not hound poor Diana, one of the things the video itself rails against. Our society's predilection for distraction and triviality (among other things) makes this industry possible. If you indeed play no part in that, that's great, but you're by far in the minority, which you yourself seem to recognize.

    "Getting (on) with OUR lives," as you say, is actually the thing we're advocating, and as Doug astutely (in my opinion) points out, you can just sub in MJ into our TTTR video and the same point is made, which is why we have no real desire to repeat ourselves and make a special Michael Jackson video. It's the same script, different celebrity.

    In fact, if you watch the celebrity montage in the middle of the video, MJ is in there, and we feel that the video stands up for all the death serenades to come of all of the people in the montage not already dead. The quote of the day (#32) on our Spectacle website, from Daniel Boorstin, pretty much says it all: http://www.thespectacle.net

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  3. Natasha Hardenne04 July, 2009 11:11

    Hi Eric, just seen your comment and thanks for correcting my typo! :o)

    Just wanted to clarify that I DID understand the point of your video - when I said that I play no part in that, I was responding to "the role we play in making that culture possible". I actually completely agree.

    Did you follow the english press coverage in the aftermath of and years following Diana's death when there was much discussion of the part the public played in her death? One of the questions that was posed time and time again was would diana have died if it wasn't for the massive popular interest in her private life? The uncomfortable and inconvenient answer was of course probably not because if the public stopped buying the papers / magazines with her pictures/stories in and actually had lives of their own, there would be no demand for those articles and photos, thereby the paparazzi would not have needed to hound her to within an inch of her life.

    This phenomenon of being famous just because one is famous is sheer nonsense. The sad thing is, Diana's death should have helped end this lunacy and instead all we see on TV these days is one reality tv programme after another with eager young hopefuls desperately grasping at their five minutes of fame with their lives then documented for months on end in trashy magazines. And we're just as culpable because for whatever reason we cannot bring ourselves to switch our tvs off and stop buying this rubbish!

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  4. Exactly Natasha, and glad to see we're on the same page. I did follow the aftermath and it influenced a number of choices for the video, for example the line "we sellers and buyers of souls make ghosts of the living..." It's not enough for celebrity wannabes to be willing to sell their souls for stardom - in a market economy, you need buyers of those souls to make the equation work.

    Also, some assume the ghouls in the video represent the paparazzi, when actually that metaphor was intended to represent both the paparazzi and the public.

    I'm in Colorado preparing for a screening of TSTS in Denver on Tuesday, and I'll be showing and discussing The Tragedy That Remains among other videos, so thanks for the conversation (and Doug you too for facilitating it through your post). Whenever I discuss this video I usually recommend the book The Image by Daniel Boorstin, the guy who defined the celebrity as the "human pseudo-event." There's a great discussion in there about the difference between the celebrity and the hero. We can sure use more of the latter and far fewer of the former. Anyway, worth a read if you haven't already.

    Eric

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