Friday, April 12, 2013

How cello can you go?


A Chinese lingerie company called Jealousy International is running an advertising campaign featuring a scantily clad Princess Diana lookalike. Let’s hand over to journalist Sam Chambers, as quoted in the Daily Mail:
I was just going to collect my baggage from the carousel when I saw it flash up on a rolling advertising screen and couldn't quite believe what I was seeing... I thought, surely not, because it was rolling quite quickly. So I waited to check when it came up again and, sure enough, there was an image of Diana. It’s all the more striking because today is the anniversary of her death.
Mr Chambers, we are told, has been working in China for the past decade. Surely it can’t have escaped his attention that the parameters of taste and decency vary from one part of the world to another. There are some things that can be discussed openly in Britain – the Tiananmen Square massacre say, or the Dalai Lama, or the sex life of Mao Zedong – about which you’d probably be a bit more circumspect in China. Similarly, some subjects are pretty much fair game in the People’s Republic, although they might upset people from Mr Chambers’ home county of Kent. He may well have done a double-take when he saw the Di doppelganger in her pants, but I’m sure he must then have remembered that for most people around the world, she’s just another necroceleb that can sell pants or posters or watches or dreams, on a par with Marilyn or Che or Elvis or even Hitler. When he describes the fact that he saw the ad on the anniversary of Diana’s death as “striking”, does he mean that the coincidence magnified the outrage he felt swelling in his proud, Kentish chest, provoking him to wait until the image came round again, like an anti-porn campaigner deploying the research purposes defence? Or that he thought it might be a useful hook when punting the tale to a British tabloid? He is, after all, a journalist.

It’s a bit like the Ross-Brand saga, when the Mail persuaded its readers that they were outraged about something, despite the fact that if they hadn’t read it in the Mail, the vast majority of them wouldn’t have had anything to be outraged about. That said, despite the efforts of the Mail and Express to stir the hotpot thus time, the grief-crazed Dianaphiles storming the Chinese embassy are conspicuous by their absence. The collective derangement that surrounded the deaths of Jade Goody and Michael Jackson felt faintly embarrassing after a few months, so heaven knows what a space of 13 years has done. Practically everyone I’ve known who admits to having gone to Kensington Palace during that weird week claims they went not to mourn, but to watch the mourners. Even before she was buried, Diana had become a commodity, a subject, a meme.

And what exactly is the basis for the purported outrage anyway? Maybe she didn’t play the cello, but did she not wear underwear either?

12 comments:

pleite said...

I mind the child being so small. And say what you like about our Di, but she would never have plaid cello in a tiara.

I went to Kensington Palace with a friend who came to London especially from Sussex because he decided he'd killed her by impersonating her drunk in a game he was playing at the exact moment her car crashed. I think he's forgiven himself since.

pleite said...

played. I do apologise.

Vicus Scurra said...

Perhaps it was an advertisement for seat belts.
Blair says he warned her about her relationship with young Fayed. Shame he didn't tip her off about being a vacuous tart.

blackwatertown said...

It looks like her feet are in stocks. In tiny black bootees in stocks. How odd.

blackwatertown said...

Ah - Paul Merton - he's another Great British Curmudgeon don't you think?
(to continue a conversation from elsewhere)

Tim Footman said...

A plaid cello would be rather magnificent, Pleite.

Hardly vacuous now, Vicus. Look, she’s usefully employed as a pants model.

Didn’t she have huge feet, BWT? Or was that Wallis Simpson? And yes, Merton, indeed.

Rol said...

Speaking as a red-blooded male, I can't think of any woman in history less likely to make me interested in buying lingerie... (for my other half, I mean).

Personally I'd rather see Mother Teresa in a basque.

Is that sexist?

9/10ths Full of Penguins said...

How about Margaret Thatcher in a teddy?

I can think of quite a few women who would make me less likely to buy lingerie. Although, there is something curiously sexless about Diana now that she is a posthumous non-religious icon.

LC said...

I'll just leave this here for you: http://twitter.com/dianainheaven

dh said...

It's not cricket. But neither is cricket.

Billy said...

Her cello technique is appalling.

M.A.Peel said...

Since you mentioned Michael Jackson, I happened to be in London last summer on the day of his memorial service in LA, July 7. I was stunned at how extensive the Brit coverage of the service was, and it seemed to push out all notice of the anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist bombings when 52 people died.