Monday, July 30, 2007

It could be genuine angry bitterness or it could be a narcissistic ploy for attention at a strategic time (does she have a new book in the wings?) but every now and then, Germaine Greer stands up and proclaims an opinion that is so calculatedly unpopular that the public outrage that ensues can only possibly for some kind of personal gain.

The New York Post reports that Greer has come out and said, in an article that ran over the weekend in the Weekend Australian magazine that she thinks Diana, Princess of Wales was:

"devious," "slow" and "disturbingly neurotic . . . Of the four Spencer children, Diana was the slowest . . . [Her] death may have resulted indirectly from [one] of her back-handed manipulations - it is said that she only went to Paris with her late lover Dodi Fayed in order to make heart surgeon Hasnat Khan jealous." Greer continues her rant, "Diana was never a fashion icon; she dressed to the same demotic standard of elegance as TV anchorwomen do, plus the inevitable hat . . . Diana's legacy is no more than endless column inches of adulation and speculation."

And really, it’s just perfect timing. Right now we’re in the period of weeks in between the Diana Memorial Concert and the anniversary of her death so the time to sink the teeth in is perfect.

Why, exactly, Germaine Greer wants attention right now is unclear but this isn’t the first time she’s chosen her moment to pounce on a matter of massed public sensitivity for her own publicity gains.

A few years ago she came out with a public statement of disdain at the way Australia was dissolving into a land of suburban sprawl and mediocrity and as such, it was totally understandable that a million Australians live abroad. This isn’t a new observation about Australia, it’s always been that way and furthermore, Australia always reacts with predictable extreme defensiveness when that particular observation is made. In the end, and I suspect it is the same with this instance about Diana, it simply served to deliver the same negative, outraged and probably alienating negative attention Greer craves and it also delivers a perfect chance for politicians to leap on the populist bandwagon and win the public’s approval. Prime Minister Howard leapt to Australia’s defense with the same salivating opportunism that he declared Steve Irwin’s funeral a state affair then in exactly the same way that Diana’s lounge room dwelling housewife fan base and some as yet unmobilised public figure are and will leap to her defense now. [source]

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