Headline July 10, 2014



IN 1712,  aged two, Samuel Johnson was bought to London by his mother. Almost blind and ill with scrofula, he was taken to St James's Palace to be "touched" by Queen Anne.

Rationalist though he was, Johnson always wore the  "touch piece"  bestowed on him by the queen, whom he later hazily recalled as a  "lady in diamonds and a long black hood".

The practice of touching the sick,  with its potent association of magic and semi-divinity, flourished among the medieval and renaissance queens, but seem to have died out by the beginning of the 19th century.

Yet it lived again, and almost the end of the 20th, in the shape of Princess Diana, albeit with the long black hood exchanged for a little black dress.

During her short, sad life, Diana was seen as a scandalously modern princess; after her sadder death, she has been enlisted as a post-humous poster girl for various progressive causes:

"She wasn't seen as posh. She was one of the people," argues Time magazine, hailing her as  fairy-tale princess and floundering, suffering divorcee, Diana's appeal rested in part on the ancient archetype: the monarch who walks among the people:

Working miracles,  "in her case among the lepers" ,  AIDS patients and maimed children she unsqueamishly   embraced.

And just as her draw was in part atavistic, the legacy of her death has proved a surprisingly reactionary one.   

TIME FLIES and primitive fears of mortality; obscure feelings of guilt; globalised media; a hot summer; all that, and a lot besides, -will ever contribute-

To remembering the Princess, -between the crash in Paris and her surreal funeral. The precise chemistry will remain unfathomable, like many great events, the maelstrom is remembered differently by different people.

But at least one interpretation that seemed plausible at the time, -during those strange days in London,    now look conclusively wrong.

At the time, glum monarchists and a few optimistic republicans thought they heard the rumble of tumbrils emanating from the volatile mob outside Buckingham Palace.

Yet five years later, huge and loyal crowds turned out for the queen mother's funeral, and for the queen's Golden Jubilee.  

The exception to that rule involves the institution that once seemed more likely to be changed by Diana's death: the press. Reviled, like the Windsors. for their contribution to her fate, the media refrained from intruding in her two sons lives -but only, just so temporarily.

The commercial and technological forces that made their mother a hyperstar have made celebrity yet more coveted, and privacy still less respected. But Britain's tabloid newspapers did draw another lesson from the post Diana frenzy:

The power and popularity they could muster by launching sentimental crusades. The mood these crusades whip up can feel emotionally coercive, ever intimidating, to those who don't entirely share it.

'''' Had she lived,  Diana would eventually have become less beautiful, less interesting, perhaps less unhappy.''''

By dying  ''she immortalised''   herself as the  "Queen of Hearts". But in truth she became a carnival queen: monarch of a temporary disorder that, when it passed-

Left the old order intact,  or even stronger.

With respectful and loving dedication to Rabo, Dee, Haleema, Saima, Saeeda, Aneela, Mariam, Aqsa, Sorat, Paras, Sanyia, Nabia, Sanyia/UK,  Maynah, Haanyia, Meriam, Armeen, Zainab, Fatima, Amina, Ayesha,  Farzana, Irum, Shazia, and  all the girl students in the world. See Ya all on:

!WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

"'Touch Your Heart  "'

Good night and God bless!

SAM Daily Times - The Voice of the Voiceless


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